In Jesus’ debate with the Sadducees, He defended His resolve that the dead are raised by quoting from Exodus 3:6. Luke records Jesus as saying, “But even Moses revealed that the dead are raised in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live before him.” (Luke 20:37-8, NET Bible).

Jesus’ argument seems to be as follows:

(1) God can only be “the God of…X”, if X exists

(2) God identified Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob centuries after their death

(3) Therefore, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob still existed when God spoke to Moses

I don’t see how Jesus’ argument supports His resolve. At best, Jesus demonstrated that man is a dualistic being whose immaterial self lives on beyond death (something the Sadducees denied). But how does it follow that the dead will rise? It could be that they continue in their non-corporeal state for time everlasting. It seems to me that Jesus would have to supply another argument to demonstrate why it is necessary for these non-corporeal persons to return to a bodily existence. No such argument is given.

I confess some trepidation in even writing this, but I don’t find Jesus’ argument persuasive. And yet when you read the text, Jesus’ opponents found it extremely persuasive. They were not able to offer any rebuttal. Am I missing something here? I do not want to say Jesus’ argument missed the point, but I cannot deny the fact that his argument appears to fall short of its intended goal. Does anyone have any insight on this passage they would like to offer me?