1 Corinthians 15:35-50

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; 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. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Observation

  • Asking “What kind of body will we have in the resurrection,” demonstrate ignorance.
  • What is sown does not come to life unless it dies.
  • What we sow is not the body that will be resurrected.
  • A seed produces a plant, not simply another seed.
  • God give the seed a body he chooses.
  • Each kind of seed has its own body
  • There are different kinds of flesh, animal, human, fish
  • There are different kinds of heavenly bodies, sun, moon, stars.
  • Heaven and earthly bodies each have their own different glory.
  • Heavenly bodies have different glories, e.g. the sun glory is different from the moon which is different from the stars.
  • Each star has its own separate and unique glory.
  • We currently have a perishable body
  • At the resurrection we have an imperishable body.
  • Our current body will be buried in dishonor.
  • We will be raised in glory.
  • Our current bodies are weak.
  • At the resurrection we will be raised with power.
  • We currently have a natural body
  • At the resurrection will we have a spiritual body.
  • The first Adam became a living being.
  • The last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving spirit.
  • First comes the natural then comes the spiritual.
  • The first Adam was from the earth.
  • The second Adam came from heaven.
  • Those who are from Adam are of the dust.
  • Those who are from Christ are of heaven.
  • We bear the image of the man of dust
  • Those who belong to Christ bear the image of the man of heaven.
  • Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
  • That which is perishable cannot inherit that which is imperishable.

Interpretation

Do you remember a teacher telling you there is no such thing as a stupid question? Right here Paul says they were wrong. Asking, “What kind of body will those who are resurrected have” is a stupid question. The reason is, those asking this question were not trying to understanding. They were trying to be argumentative. They are trying to argue the resurrection of the dead is impossible.

Paul shows that resurrection is not contrary to nature because we have a clear everyday example in our garden, the sprouting of a plant from a seed. Before we get to far into the example let me point out the bible is not intended to be biology text book. There are those who try to make the bible a scientific textbook, both inside and outside the church. Paul is not attempting to describe the science or biology of what happens in the germination process. There are those who will point out that the seed does not actually die from a biological view point. Since the bible is wrong on this point that is proof the bible is not an infallible book. Paul’s point is the seed buried and in that since it is dead. To argue that there is an error in the bible because the seed does not die biologically is an exercise in missing the point. To use the bible as a scientific text book is simply bad exegesis. It is done because of either ignorance or trying to be argumentative.

Paul’s point is a seed is buried and from that standpoint dead and buried. From the seed comes a body. That body does not look like the seed. You can find similarities but they are not the same. This comparison consists of two parts. First, we should not be surprised the body rises for rottenness; the seed’s resurrection takes place after the seed rots away. Second, to believe in the resurrection is not contrary to reason. Our bodies will be restored in another condition just as with the seed. To avoid the illustration of the seed being stretched beyond what it should be Paul ends the analogy with the statement, “But God gives it a body as he has chosen.”

The passage comparing the glory of one to another is often misunderstood. Paul is not saying in this passage that after the resurrection, the saints will have different degrees of honor and glory. While that is true and clearly stated in other areas of scripture, that is not the point Paul is making here. Paul is not arguing a difference in condition among the saints after the resurrection. His point is the difference between present bodies and our resurrected bodies. Paul explains this by unfolding the difference between the present condition and the condition after the resurrection.

Our bodies currently are subject to mortality, illness and disease. But, after the resurrection we will have a glorified body which will not only be pure but incorruptible. Paul says the same thing in Philippians 3:21. Our animal body will become a spiritual body. Note: simply because it is spiritual does not mean it not physical. Christ rose physically with a glorified spiritual physical body. We will have a body like His glorious body. The substance of the body is the same. It is the quality that is improved and made perfect.

“The first man Adam became a living being…” the meaning here is more than zoological life. Adam became a living soul. (Genesis 1:20,24). The soul of a man has something peculiar and distinguishing, namely, immortal essence. Moses states that Adam was given a living soul. Christ, on the other hand, is endowed with a life-giving Spirit. It is a much greater thing to be life or the source of life than it is to simply live.

In Romans 8, Paul states that the body is dead because of sin. We carry within us the elements of death. But the Spirit of Christ, who raised Him up from the dead dwells in us and He is life. Therefore he will raise us up from the dead. (Romans 8:10-11)

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” This is a pure statement of doctrine. Paul is not addressing the newness of life, but continues to address the resurrection of the flesh. The animal nature, Adam’s image, has precedence in us currently. Our conformation to Christ’s heavenly nature will be complete in resurrection. Now we start to bear the image of Christ and are made to conform to it more and more daily both in body and soul. What is started will be completed and perfected and we will obtain what we currently only hope for.

We must be renewed. Our bodies being susceptible to disease, illness and simply wearing out are corruptible. They cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore, we cannot be admitted into the Kingdom of God unless Christ renews us in His image.

An Application

Wow what a passage! It is so comforting to know that my job is not to be perfect. That is the Spirit’s job. I am being sanctified by Christ’s Spirit. I will fail. Christ knows that. But I am being made more like Him daily. I am being made in the image of Christ. I am an incomplete product. My perfection will take place when Christ glories me at the resurrection.

That gives me peace and release today. It gives me hope and excited expectation for tomorrow.

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