“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” (John 20: 24 - 27)
The Greek word τύπον (typon) means “mark”, in this context referring to the marks on Jesus’s body, specifically his hands and his side, that resulted from the nails being driven into those parts of his body during the crucifixion.
However, in Christian theology, the dead are supernaturally resurrected into an altogether different body, as Paul of Tarsus explained:
“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15: 35 - 52)
Paul’s own theology, which today’s orthodox Christians adhere to, is that the supernaturally resurrected body is not a body of flesh and blood, but a spiritual or celestial body, which is “glorious” and “incorruptible”. Although man is born with a terrestrial, flesh and blood body, in the resurrection he shall be changed into a celestial, spiritual body. This concept of Sôma Pneumatikon (“spiritual body”) obviously conflicts with the idea that when Jesus was resurrected from the dead, he still had the “marks” or “imprint” of the wounds he received during the crucifixion.
And we see that no exception can be made for Jesus of Nazareth’s resurrection in Paul’s theology, since he cites Jesus in his example of the “last Adam” who is not an earthly body, but a Pneuma (“spirit”).
So if it true that Jesus did in fact appear to his disciples days after having supposedly died on the cross, and appeared to them with his flesh and blood earthly body, then according to Christian theology itself that body could not have been a supernaturally resurrected body. And this is what we Muslims believe; that Jesus was not supernaturally resurrected, but rather survived the crucifixion and recovered from his wounds, which is why the “marks” and “imprint” of his wounds were still visible on his body.
Likewise, the Gospel of Luke explicitly states that Jesus was not resurrected with a Sôma Pneumatikon (“spiritual body”), but he appeared with a flesh and blood body:
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24: 36 – 43)
According to this account, when Jesus appeared to his disciples after his supposed death on the cross, naturally they were alarmed and imagined that they were seeing a spirit. But Jesus dispelled that notion emphatically, by stating “for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have”. He even ate a broiled fish and honeycomb right before their eyes to dispel the notion that he was a spirit.
Christians can therefore:
(a) discard Paul’s theology of the resurrection being the change of the earthy, flesh and blood body into a spiritual body, or
(b) discard the belief that Jesus was supernaturally resurrected from the dead