The Resurrection Body

“But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised?’ and, ‘With what kind of body do they come?’” (1 Corinthians 15:35)

Like the Corinthian Christians of long ago, we today wonder — and sometimes disagree — about the details of the resurrection. Let us examine closely what Paul writes in response to these questions:

You foolish one, that which you sow is not made alive unless it dies. That which you sow, you do not sow the body that will be, but a bare grain,… But God gives it a body even as it pleased Him, and to each seed a body of its own. “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals,… There are also heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly differs from that of the earthly… So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a physical[1] body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”[2] The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, that which is spiritual is not first, but that which is physical, then that which is spiritual.

Let us pause here and take special note of the underlined portions:

That which you sow, you do not sow the body that will be. / God gives it a body even as it pleased Him. / So also is the resurrection of the dead. / It is sown a physical body; it is raised a spiritual body. / that which is spiritual is not first, but that which is physical, then that which is spiritual.

From this we can discern that a person does not have two bodies at the same time, one physical and one spiritual;[3] nor does one have a spiritual body before the physical body. The body ‘sown’ in death is a physical, fleshly body. The resurrection body is one that ‘pleases God.’

Where do Christians spend eternity? Hebrews 10:19, 20 tells us,

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the [heavenly] sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh.”

Since Christians are to live in heaven, the spirit realm, they need spiritual bodies; not physical bodies. Their physical bodies are not resurrected. In agreement with this, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:1,

“For we know that if our earthly house, a tent, is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

NOTES

[1] The Greek word is psuchikos.

[2] The Greek word psuche is often translated soul. Yet, the adjective form psuchikos is translated as physical or natural. In this verse a “living soul” is being held in contrast to a “life-giving spirit.” From this, we can see that the “soul” is not a spirit body inside of our fleshly body, a concept which is actually derived from paganism.

[3] Spiritual has two senses for Christians. One sense, the one being used in this study, is a dimension of existence, the spirit realm, the realm of God and angels, as opposed to the physical or material realm in which humans and animals live. The other sense refers to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In this sense a Christian can be spoken of as spiritual even though he is yet a being of flesh and blood. See Romans 8:5-9, 14.

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