Transphysical!

The nature of the future resurrection body is further clarified: it will be incapable of dying or decaying, thus requiring a transformation not only for those already dead but for those alive. This new mode of embodiment is hard to describe, but we can at least propose a label for it. The word ‘transphysical’ seems not to exist, surprisingly enough (one might have thought some enterprising ontologist would have employed it long since), and I proffer it for inclusion between transphosphorylation and transpicuous in the Oxford English Dictionary. The ‘trans’ is intended as a shortening of ‘transformed’.

— N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God

Perhaps not yet in the tomes of the OED, but we are amused/dismayed to report that ‘transphysical’ in already in use in the world of amateur mathematics. This remarkable study addresses the ‘transphysical problem’ in its project of an “extension to symbolic logic – the temporal propositions, as well as the intuition on which they are based … allowing statements that emulate the entire breadth of human thought.” This extension apparently exceeds the limitations of that most metaphysical of theorems, Gödel‘s Second Incompleteness Theorem: Any (formally recursively enumerable) system of logic strong enough to encode basic arithmetic (and some basic things about formal provability) can prove its own consistency if and only if it is, in fact, inconsistent. (Consistency means that a statement ‘A’ and its negation ‘not A’ are not both provable.)

Judging from Google results, Wright’s ‘transphysical’ will have to contend against much usage in the vein of the physical/spiritual dualism he argues against throughout RSG, let alone the mathematical wackos. We should get to work popularizing his usage! (Or suggest something better?) Currently the first hit it gets isn’t even the first eschatological use of the word — it gets beat out by some architectural/cybernetic notion of the Transphysical City.

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