Resurrection: Renewed Hope
1 Corinthians 15:35-49
In verses 12-34, we saw that bodies were not the problem. In fact what Paul taught us was that any idea of a body-less afterlife, where we are just floating spirits, destroys the gospel. And it destroys the hope that we have, any motivation to live for the gospel. If you only live once, do what you like. Our bodily resurrection is what gives meaning to the sacrifice which we are called to make now. Because Jesus rose, we don’t live once, we live twice. Our bodies will be raised.
But though we will be raised bodily, our resurrection bodies will be changed. So you might ask:
But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” (v. 35)
The idea of bodies being changed, being made new, is not something which contradicts the physical nature of our new bodies, in fact, it something we already know about our physical bodies. He gives two pictures to help us see this.
The first is a seed in the garden.
When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. (v. 37)
When plant a seed it grows into something completely new, In a sense they are both the same thing but they are completely different. And God gives each seed, the body that is required, verse 38. But you see the change from the seed to the plant?
Or Paul says go out into the field, look at the animals, look at the field and the sky.
All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. (v. 39)
A fish is not a bird, a bird is not an animal, and an animal is not a man. There are different types, kinds of physical bodies.
Why is Paul telling us this? He applies it the resurrection, v. 42. There are problems, with your current physical body, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be raised in a physical body, but it does mean that for your body to last forever it needs a change.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. (v. 42a)
Paul describes our current bodies as perishable, dishonourable and weak. That is what is sown, but just like a seed gives rise to something very different so with our resurrection. The perishable becomes imperishable, the dishonourable becomes glorious, the weak becomes powerful. But it is not just the physical element of decay which is reversed, the moral element of decay is also reversed.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (v. 42b)
Now natural vs. spiritual does not mean, physical vs. unphysical, that would be a contradiction of everything Paul has said, we have seen that both our current bodies and our future bodies are physical. It means earthly, a physical body driven by earthly desires, and spiritual, a physical body driven by spiritual desires.
We will be raised, but raised with new spiritual bodies, in perfection. In a world ravaged by disease, what a hope.
Heavenly Father, Thank you that you will raise us in renewed resurrection bodies, That we share in the hope to live in glory forever with you. May you help us to live today in light of that hope. Amen