To the objections drawn from the scattering of the corporeal dust, the devouring of human flesh by brutes and cannibals, the words of our Savior furnish an abundantly satisfactory reply: “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” For these human reasonings arise from an ignorance of the Scriptures and of the absolute and infinite power of God. For whoever is firmly persuaded of both can easily beat back such cavils.
Truly, if the thing was to be measured by human strength, this would end the matter. But, since it is a work of God, whose knowledge nothing can escape, whose power nothing can hinder, who can suppose this to be impossible? It is as easy for God to restore to the dead their own bodies and to separate them from all other bodies (even of cannibals themselves, who may have devoured others) as it was easy to form the body of the first Adam out of the dust or to bring all things out of nothing. If a careful and attentive head of a family knows well where each thing is to be found in his house, however large, why should God, whose wisdom and power are infinite, not know where the matter of our bodies lies concealed, since the whole world is far smaller to Him than the most contracted chest or case to any man?
Therefore, He can, by His almighty nod alone, recall these who, at any time, may have either been devoured by beasts or turned into ashes and dissolved in moisture or sunk in the waters or exhaled into air – nor is there any hiding place or cave or recess which is either concealed from the knowledge of the Creator or can escape His power. For, as nothing vanishes into nothing and always, at least, a minute particle containing the seed of a new body remains, and which, wherever scattered and thrown, nature holds at least in her bosom and care – so she restores it to God asking it back. Here belongs the passage of Tertullian [ca. 155-after 220]: “Not the soul alone is separated; the flesh also has its place of concealment: in the waters, in fires, in birds, in beasts, since it seems to be dissolved into these as if poured into vessels, if also the vessels themselves have ceased since it has flowed out of them also, it will be absorbed as if in a roundabout way into its mother earth, that it may again be recovered from her” (from On the Resurrection of the Flesh). Besides, neither is it necessary for the essence of the same body that all its particles of dust be reckoned up and be united together in its new formation. It is sufficient that the principal and more solid parts remain. For every day, some particles perish from the body, some are added to it, and still we see that the same man remains. – Francis Turretin (1623-1687)
From: Institutes of Elenctic Theology by Francis Turretin; 3 volumes; translated from the Latin by George Musgrave Giger; edited by James T. Dennison, Jr. (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1992-1997), 3:569-570 (20.1.24)