UNDERSTANDING OUR FUTURE RESURRECTION BODY —
TWO AREAS OF ANALOGY AND TWO AREAS OF CONTRAST
(:35-36A) INTRODUCTION: TWO MOCKING QUESTIONS REGARDING THE RESURRECTION BODY
A. #1 – How is the Resurrection of the Body Even Possible?
“But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised?’”
B. #2 – What will the Resurrection Body Look Like?
“And with what kind of body do they come?”
C. Mockers Labeled as Fools
Stedman: For twenty centuries now the skeptics of all ages have asked these same questions. Of course, they amplify them by imposing various obstacles they see. They say, for instance, “We can understand, perhaps, that a body that has been carefully embalmed and placed in a grave might possibly be brought back to life, but what about those that have been destroyed? What about all the people that have been cremated?” . . .
These questions always arise when unbelief faces this question of the resurrection of the dead. “How can it be?” That is what some of these Corinthians were asking. The clear implication was, “It cannot be; it is impossible.” The Greeks, of course, were teaching that it was a good thing, an advantage, to lose the body. The body was a prison-house, they taught, where we are limited and restricted. The Oriental religions, on the other hand, were teaching that many bodies were needed in a process of salvation, that you return to earth many times. Their question would be, “Which body is raised from the dead? Is it the ‘cow’ body you once had, or the ‘gorilla’ body you may have had, or the one you are walking around in now?” Reincarnation would, for them, pose an entirely different question concerning the resurrection of the body.
UNDERSTANDING OUR FUTURE RESURRECTION BODY —
TWO AREAS OF ANALOGY AND TWO AREAS OF CONTRAST
I. (:36B-37) ANALOGY OF PLANTING –
TWO MAJOR CORRECTIONS REGARDING THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE PRESENT BODY AND THE FUTURE RESURRECTION BODY BASED ON THE ANALOGY OF SOWING
A. The Seed Planted Must First Die
“That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies”
B. The Seed Planted is Only a Microcosm of the Different Product that will Result
“and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.”
Ray Pritchard: Paul uses the analogy of the seed to correct two common errors:
1) That the resurrection body will be identical to the one that was buried.
2) That the resurrection body will be completely unrelated to the original.
Stedman: Nature teaches us two obvious lessons.
First: Death is a necessary part of the process. Far from being an obstacle to resurrection, death is essential to it. You can put that in the form of an axiom: Nothing that has never died shall ever be raised from the dead. Obviously if it is going to be raised from the dead it has to die. Therefore, death is not an obstacle to resurrection. It is an ingredient of it and necessary to it. To balk at the fact that people die and the body loses its ability to function and its form and consistency as a body, ought never to be any hindrance to believing that life will emerge from it. The body must die just as the seed must die.
The second lesson that nature teaches us is this: The body that emerges from the seed that dies is different from the one that was planted. Put a grain of wheat or a kernel of corn into the ground and what comes up? Another grain of wheat or another kernel? No! What comes up is a green stem which does not look at all like what you put into the ground. Nevertheless it is tied to it; it is continuous from it; it has an identity with it. There is an undeniable tie with that which you put into the ground, and yet it is not the same; it is the “same” without being similar. Now, if you had never seen that process before, would you have believed it if somebody had said that that is what would happen? You would have looked at him as though he were mad and said, “How can that be?” because you can put almost anything else into the ground and that will not happen. It is one of those miracles that is so familiar to us that we miss the miraculous part of it. But Paul says it happens so frequently there should therefore be no struggle with believing in the resurrection of the dead.
Zeisler: Here Paul is testifying to the fact that although humans are planted in the ground when they die, they will be raised very different beings indeed. Bodies may be burned or suffer decay, but what was planted will not be the same as what will be raised. Yet there is continuity, however. The one who was buried will be the one who will be raised. Wheat seed will produce wheat. What you are right now, everything you are becoming inside, all of the changes which God is making in your character, will be there upon your resurrection. You will be raised, but not with the same body. In the resurrection, you will be gloriously different.
Goins: But there is a continuity, and that’s the point of verse 38: “…To each of the seeds a body of its own.” The seed changes radically, but it does continue the same life form. A wheat seed doesn’t turn into a barley plant, and a kernel of corn doesn’t turn into flax. The identity of the seed continues into the full-grown plant. In Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances in his resurrection body, none of his disciples and followers recognized him until he chose to reveal himself to them. But once he told them who he was, they did recognize him. They saw the wound in his side and the nail prints in his hands. They knew his face. The promise for us is that we will have some kind of continuity of our personhood, our personality, our unique individuality, after death.
II. (:38-41) ANALOGY OF CREATION –
GOD GRANTS EACH TYPE OF CREATION ITS OWN DISTINCTIVE QUALITY AND ITS OWN UNIQUE GLORY
A. (:38-39) God Grants Each Type of Flesh its Own Distinctive Quality
1. The Creator Makes Everything Unique
a. Nature of each body determined by God – a Sovereign Gift
“But God gives it a body just as He wished”
b. Independence of each individual body
“and to each of the seeds a body of its own”
c. Uniqueness of each type of flesh
“All flesh is not the same flesh”
Look at the implications for the erroneous theory of evolution
2. Four Examples of Different Types of Flesh
a. Men – “but there is one flesh of men”
b. Animals – “and another flesh of beasts”
c. Birds – “and another flesh of birds”
d. Fish – “and another of fish”
Zeisler: Think for a moment about the animal world, says Paul. Take earthworms, for instance. They are uniquely adapted to their environment. Humans could not survive in the same circumstances. We cannot ingest what worms eat; such a diet would not be suitable for us. In the same way, polar bears are uniquely adapted to their environment. They can swim and hunt in the frigid waters of the Antarctic. Humans, of course, would die if they tried that. Fish also are uniquely adapted to the water. They have gills, not lungs like humans have. From this, Paul concludes that when we are raised, we are going to be given bodies quite unlike the bodies which we now have which enable us to survive on earth, but rather we will have bodies uniquely fitted for heaven very different environment. Christians should expect this. God creates bodies to fit their environment.
Stedman: . . . this difference is a result of the inner difference of nature, or personality, that these beings have. It says, “to each kind of seed its own body.” In other words there is a correspondence between what the body looks like and what the being inside is like. That is why animals have various natures. For this reason, animals are used in Scripture as symbols of corresponding qualities about human beings — wolves are always ferocious and dangerous, sheep are always helpless and needing protection, and pigs are always dirty. All these qualities are there because God wants to demonstrate to us truth about ourselves that we see reflected in the natural world.
Goins: I remember a Broadway musical in which there is a love song. The lady sings, “Fish gotta swim, and birds gotta fly, and I gotta love one man till I die.” Each one uniquely fulfills the purpose for which it was created. Fish are created to swim in the seas, birds to fly, and human beings to know love relationships with other human beings. Fish don’t fall in love. Fish swim in the ocean. And we are created to love another human being, but we are not created to flap our arms and fly around like an bird. The sun generates tremendous light and energy in our solar system. The moon is just a rock that reflects the light of the sun toward the earth. And all this variety and diversity in the worlds of biology and astronomy is a marvelous hint of the same diversity of resurrection glory in our heavenly bodies.
B. (:40-41) God Grants Each Type of Creation its Own Unique Glory
1. Distinction in Type and Glory Between Heavenly and Earthly Bodies = Two Major Divisions
“There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.”
2. Distinction in Glory Among the Unique Heavenly Bodies
a. Sun – “There is one glory of the sun”
b. Moon – “and another glory of the moon”
c. Unique Stars –
“and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”
Grosheide: Among the celestial bodies themselves also there is a difference of glory. Not only between the sun, the moon and the stars, but also between the various stars. This goes to prove that though there may be equality between the one body and the other, yet there is a great variety because of a difference in quality and in glory.
Summary and Transition: Resurrection Body is Unique in Type and Glory
“So also is the resurrection of the dead.”
III. (:42-44A) CONTRAST OF INNATE QUALITIES –
FOUR DISTINCTIONS HIGHLIGHTING THE SUPERIORITY OF THE RESURRECTION BODY
A. #1 Indestructible — Perishable vs Imperishable – Permanent, not Transitory
“It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body.”
B. #2 Triumphant — Dishonor vs Glory
“it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory”
Goins: This contrast addresses value or potential. We know that as sinful men and women we are dishonorable. At the fall our potential for pleasing, serving, and glorifying God was drastically reduced. Genesis tells us we were created in the image of God, designed to reflect his glory and perfection, created to honor him. But we know that sin is at work in us now. Even though we’ve been redeemed from the penalty of sin by Jesus Christ, we still struggle with fleshly patterns of sinful rebellion. Even the most faithful follower of Jesus Christ knows that his body, his intellect, his emotions, and his will are in a sense dishonorable or imperfect or incomplete. We live in a fallen, flawed world, and we reflect that fallenness. But we will one day be raised in glory, to use Paul’s phrase. When we get to heaven we won’t be sinful anymore.
C. #3 Transformed — Weakness vs Power
“it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power”
D. #4 Transcendent — Natural vs Spiritual (transcending material existence)
“it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body”
MacArthur: Focusing directly on the resurrection body, Paul gives 4 sets of contrasts to show how the new body will differ from the present ones (cf. v. 54; Php 3:20,21):
1) no more sickness and death (“perishable”)
2) no more shame because of sin (“dishonor”)
3) no more frailty in temptation (“weakness”)
4) no more limits to the time/space sphere (“natural”)
2) Value or Potential
4) Sphere of existence
Paul tells us about some of the differences between the physical and spiritual bodies.
– the earthly body wears out (decay, corruption, ruin). . . the heavenly body will not
– the earthly body knows embarrassment and all kinds of sinful desires . . .the heavenly body will know glory
– the earthly body is limited and weak held captive by the forces of the world such as disease and aging . . . the heavenly power will know power and strength.
– the earthly body is natural (or anchored to nature)….the heavenly body is spiritual
IV. (:44B-49) CONTRAST OF PROTOTYPES –
JUST AS OUR PHYSICAL BODY IS PATTERNED AFTER ADAM SO OUR RESURRECTION BODY WILL BE PATTERNED AFTER CHRIST
A. (:44B) Certainty of the Resurrection Body –
Reality of the Existence of both the Natural and Spiritual Body
“If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”
B. (:45-47) Case for the Superiority of Christ as the Prototype of the Resurrection Body — Three Distinctions Between Adam and Christ
1. Supreme Distinction – Self Sufficient, Self Existent Life-Giving Spirit
“So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
Psalm 36:9 “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”
2. Sequence — Order of Appearance on Earth
“However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.”
Deffinbaugh: True spirituality in the present is our identification with our Lord’s earthly body. We must identify with Him in His weakness, in His dishonor, in His death, and (partly) in His resurrection. This is why Paul speaks of his ministry in terms of dishonor and weakness. This is the calling of the Christian: to identify in body, soul, and spirit with the Lord in His earthly coming, in His rejection, weakness, shame and death. Spirituality cannot be separated from what we do in and with our bodies:
Stedman: The Mormon church teaches that we were once spirit beings who then came to earth and became men, but this verse flatly contradicts that. It is not the spiritual which is first, it is the physical. We came into existence on a physical level, but designed by God, beyond that, is the spiritual. That is next, and death is but a stop in that process, and necessary to it. So now we are in a state of transition, as Paul goes on to describe,
“The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.”
C. (:48-49) Consistency in Matching the Prototype –
Two Very Different Prototypes – But in each case they establish the Pattern
1. Adam is the prototype for all earthly bodies
“As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy”
“Just as we have borne the image of the earthy”
2. Christ is the prototype for all resurrection bodies
“and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly”
“we will also bear the image of the heavenly”