Resurrection, Part 10

So, after building his case for the fact that there is, a resurrection of dead because of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul at this point – starting at verse 35 – enters into the best description of what the resurrection WILL look like.

Now, I emphasize “will” for a couple of reasons.  Paul was the Apostle called to the Gentiles of that day.  Those who converted to the faith would be saved at the last approaching day which would coincide with Jesus coming and would bring about the resurrection Paul describes.

Prior to Paul and His ministry, Jesus had been resurrected.  And His resurrection – along with those who actually rose from the grave and showed themselves in Jerusalem, experienced a physical resurrection.

This was purposeful to those who witnessed him rise up from death.  Remember, Jesus appeared to the frightened eleven and said to them when they had gathered after His resurrection:

Luke 24:39 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, again and as stated, we know that many in Jerusalem rose from the grave after Him and were seen in Jerusalem.

These appearances of resurrected beings cause most believers today to believe that the resurrection is a physical experience where our actual earthly bodies come up from the grave where we were laid and that we will re-inhabit them for eternity.

I suggest strongly that what Paul teaches here is NOT the case even though it was the case for our Lord and some others from the House of Israel.

Why was there a literal “from the grave” resurrection of them in that day and time and then why would it change.

I can’t answer the second question of, Why this would change, but it does – and we know this from the very words of Paul written right here.

As to the question of why WOULD Jesus and others at that time be resurrected with the bodies they once inhabited?

I suggest that this would be the only way they could prove that they had been resurrected!  It was the only way that people would recognize them or Him and admit – Yes, Jesus rose from the grave.

Had Jesus risen with a gloried “heavenly body” that we all receive today, which again, is heavenly and not earthly, I don’t think anyone could have given true witness that it was Him!

He needed the very body that was tortured and put to death to show His victory.

Additionally, Jesus promised to return to earth to take His bride at His second coming and it was here that He came WITH that heavenly body, and it was there that those who were His were able to see what the actual resurrection would look like and would know then what they would be like too.

But prior to that, there was only uncertainty.  For this reason, John wrote:

1st John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Well, this is all too much for most Christians and so they cling to the idea that because Jesus rose the way He did we will too.  And therefore they cite Jesus and say, as a means to describe the resurrected body:

“Handle me and see, a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see me have.”

And so the idea that our resurrection is just like His perpetuates.  And that is fine – I think Christians will be more than pleasantly surprised with the eternal heavenly body they get from God, but the reason I stick to the idea that our resurrections will not be like Jesus (again, His had a purpose and I believe that this ultimately was changed by the time He returned) but it’s because of what Paul says here, which are words that describe the resurrection that they (and all of us, I maintain) will experience.

Now know this from the onset, we will all receive a body – this is clear – so I am not in any way suggesting that we are spirits.  Not in the least.  But what I am maintaining is the body we will receive is heavenly, and therefore not of the earth, and therefore not material, and therefore not the bodies we used while here on earth.

Because of this I maintain that OUR resurrection will be very different from the Lord’s unique and purposeful resurrection for them/then.

So let’s now embark on what Paul says and see if what I maintain is supported by what Paul wrote.  And we will begin at verse 35:

1st Corinthians 15:35  But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

37 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:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

39 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.

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

41 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.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

Okay, back to verse 35:

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

When Paul says, “But some man will say,” he could be speaking of those who mocked the idea of resurrection there or he could be speaking generally of any person – believer or not.

I am of the opinion that because the idea of resurrection was so foolish to the Greeks and the Sadducees, that the some men Paul addresses are these.

Again, to these naysayers, it was utter foolishness to teach that physical bodies that they had seen hacked to pieces in wars, and corroding for centuries in cracked sepulchers (their exposure to rotting flesh was much greater in their day than it is in ours) was way too much of a fairy tale – and so the teaching of a resurrection WITH these same bodies was foolish.

Paul appears to step right into their method of arguing here, and having established the fact that there is a resurrection, now speaks directly to their method of mocking it, saying again, 

Some men ask:

Well, how are the dead raised up? (snicker snicker) and with what body do they come? (hee, hee, hee, ha, ha, ha)

I suggest that these questions are what cause Paul to explain the resurrection that all WOULD or WILL experience in the future of his writing which again, would begin at his return to save them.

See, the Christians were talking about Jesus rising from the grave – and that they saw Him, and touched his wounds, and that it was Jesus of Nazareth and His actual body that was pierced and bruised, right?

The Greeks were in all probability saying, “Okay, okay.  Your Lord and your Savior rose from the grave – after three days and nights.  And you all saw and some of you touched him.  Great.  Let’s just say that this is true.  But to suggest that all are going to experience resurrection like this is pure and utter foolishness.  I mean come on, what about the body of Socrates?  He’s been in the grave nearly 500 years?  He’s gonna rise up like your Lord?

Now, of course I am making this up but I am fairly convinced that this was the situation with the real question being asked in essence was:

“With all we know and have seen about the dead, how is it possible that the dead should be raised?”

In their estimation, the dead decay, and then return to their native dust. Plants absorb their minerals and bring forth flowers.  The dead become entirely disorganized and their dust is often scattered – how will it be re-collected if it is literally their same body? What about those burned at the at the stake?  Or those who have been drown in the sea and eaten by fish?

It is these objections and criticisms that Paul responds to here for us.

Now to a Christian who creates answers as a means to retain their prejudices, the answer is that “God can do anything, right?”

And Paul could have said this here.  But instead of resorting to cliches, Paul chooses to teach them what and how the resurrection will look like WHEN it comes.  So, again, he has opened up the conversation and said:

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

Now listen carefully how the apostle of the Lord responds to the some who ask such things! He says

36 Thou fool!

In Matthew 5:22 Jesus said, But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 

And yet here Paul says, “you fool.”

The answer to this is in the Greek as Jesus used MOROS (where we get the English term, “moron”) but Paul uses the Greek term, “afron.”  

It seems that Jesus is talking about delivering personal insults and Paul is describing a condition, like that of being “uninformed, mislead, or blind to facts” and this is manifest in the different Greek terms.

Nevertheless, Paul does directly say that those who ask these question are lacking facts and information, and that the questions that they are asking are proof of this.  What questions were they asking about?  The resurrection?  And specifically –

  • How are the dead raised up? and 

2.   with what body do they come?

And Paul right here begins by calling them uninformed then in the next 14 verses we are given a direct teaching on what THEIR resurrection (and therefore ours) will look like.

“Uninformed Mislead questioners!” Paul says before adding the first principle of the resurrection we must consider, saying

“that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:”

OR (listen carefully)

“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.”

This was an agrarian culture generally speaking.  And so Paul immediately speaks to agriculture in my opinion, and likens the way and process by which  a plant grows to the resurrection of Man.

And his first point seems to be,

The seeds you plant in the ground will not produce a new life or a new body unless that seed first dies.

Of course, the parallel here is to the human body, and Paul seems to be saying:

Until this body, this seed, is sown (buried) and dies, there is no possibility of a new plant!

Automatically folks – automatically – look at the analogy relative to the resurrection.

What does a farmer sow in the ground?  A seed.  They are round, or oblong, and appear dry, very small relative to what will come from it.  The point is, the seeds planted have zero resemblance to the plant that grows up and out of it.

Do you see this?  Because this is the comparison that Paul makes.  Right off the bat.

When Jesus walked the earth, He made mention of the necessity for Him to die and be buried, saying in John 12:23-24:

23 “ . . .The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, unless a seed of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

So thus far we know that the first or main body of the grain dies and decays so that it may become the food and nourishment to the tender germ which produces an entirely new, different looking plant.

A what? An entirely new, different looking plant.

The seed is often hard and brown and small and of one shape, but once planted, dead, and decaying, it produces AN ENTIRELY different plant that is green, and tender, and long leafed, and flexible.

So having established this idea, Paul adds more supportive evidence to this concept, saying:

37 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:

Better put, Paul says:

“But that which you plant is NOT the body of what will be, but instead is a seed – perhaps of wheat or some other grain.”

Isn’t that an interesting fact when we think about it?  When it comes to planting corn, we plant a corn kernel, not a corn plant – and the kernel itself grows into something magnificent and entirely different – especially when compared to its original kernel state!

Traditional Christian thought says that the human body that we live in (in this case, the kernel) is planted at death, and it will rise again in the SAME FORM as what was planted!

Not so, as Paul clearly maintains here, and the differences in what will be in the human resurrection to what was buried are as vast and magnificent as the differences between a single kernel and a giant corn stalk!

In the LEAST – in the least, at this point, we have a difference in appearance between what is buried and dies and what rises.  In the least.

“But that which you plant is NOT the body of what will be, but instead is a seed – perhaps of wheat or some other grain.”

So, what will determine what kind of body our buried grain will produce?  Is it systematic, like our system in agriculture?  A corn kernel produces a corn stalk, and an avocado seed produces an avocado tree?

I would have to say to some extent, yes, but with some variation.  Based on what?  Listen to what Paul says in verse 38:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

And herein we are met with another fact about the resurrection – God is the one who gives to the seed that is sown its own body to come – its formation, its growth, if you will, its glory

So, let’s step back to the analogy – a farmer plants ten corn kernels.  He waters and waits.  Waits on what?  For the kernel to die, germinate and produce a corn stalk.

It is God that gives that corn stalk its dimensions, health, growth and glory.  Some stalks are tall and powerful and glorious.  Others are diminutive, diseased, and of lesser stature.

The farmer cannot change the status, neither can the seed itself – the growth and stature are in the hands of God.

And so, it is with the resurrection of Man.

In this case, Paul’s use of the term body (in reference to the plant) seems to speak to the full spectrum  – the roots, stalk, the blade, the ears, those pesky corn thread things, and the new bounty of kernals themselves.

All of this is determined by God through various means – and so it would be with each resurrected body God would give every individual person. It would all be predicated on God and Paul adds,

“As it hath pleased him.”

As He chooses – by his arrangement and agency. In the raising of plants from kernels that have died, God also (in the resurrection of Man) acts according to his own pleasure, in the formation of each.

Paul adds to this:

“And to every seed his own body.”

Remember, he is teaching on the resurrection of the dead human.  This is the point of everything that he says here.

So, apparently the seeds that are human on earth will correlate to the resurrected body God will give in the hereafter.  A dog seed died and buried will not receive a resurrected cat body and a woman will not get the resurrected body of an owl.

Every seed his own body, is what Paul says.

Remember, Paul proffered some of the questions men would ask about the resurrection, including:

  • how are the dead raised up? 
  • and with what body do they come?

The response here seems to be answering the second query, and with what body do they come.

Having said, “and to every seed its own body,” Paul now, in my opinion, begins to speak to those BODIES that will be given by God at the resurrection.

I do not think that he is speaking to species differentiation here that exist in the differing bodies prior to death but is now striving to teach about the various types of resurrections Man will experience at the hand of God.

Remember, he is teaching us about the Resurrection of Man – this is his point and purpose – and he draws from anything that his reader would comprehend as a means to help explain what this resurrection would be like.

And so he begins to describe AGAIN what the resurrection of Man will be like by saying:

39 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.

Again, I suggest that Paul is saying that  JUST LIKE THERE ARE “many kinds of bodies on earth – different types – the flesh of Man, beasts, fish and birds” so will the resurrection of Man be.

In other words, all will not be the same – any more than all the flesh on earth is the same.

I think we need to be cautious not to take the fact that Paul uses different fleshes here to describe the resurrection and use it to assume that the resurrection is fleshly.

He is merely using various fleshes on earth to point to the fact that there will be varied resurrections.  This fact will become more evident as we consider the next few passages, including verse 40.

In 39 Paul brings a comparison to various earthly bodies being different, according to species, and now he provides another comparison in his teaching about the resurrection, saying:

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

Again, taking about RESURRECTION, Paul has introduced the fact that there are different bodies in the earthly realm.

Now he says that there are ALSO celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial. 

Stepping back from Mormon rhetoric which uses these words to describe Kingdoms (called the Celestial and the Terrestrial and the Telestial – which was made up and tossed in to this teaching by Joseph Smith, the founder) Paul is simply saying that there are bodies that exist in heaven (celestial) and bodies that exist on earth (Terrestrial – as in, Terra Firma).

That is ALL that he is saying.  Celestial refers to heavenly things – in this case, bodies or heavenly forms – and Terrestrial refer to the bodies that inhabit this world.

Paul then adds that the “glory of the celestial” is one and “the glory to be found in bodies terrestrial” is another.  In other words, there is a difference between bodies that are heavenly and bodies that are earthly.

So here is ANOTHER fact – there is a difference between the bodies that inhabit each place in the cosmos.

Then turning his focus to the heavenly bodies, and leaving the terrestrial bodies alone for the moment, Paul now says:

41 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.

Obviously, when Paul speaks of the sun, the moon and the stars his focus is on celestial glories NOT terrestrial.  And he is making a comparison to how the resurrected bodies will differ – remember this is the topic – when the resurrection takes place.

This is a huge principle to admit – the glory of the resurrected bodies God bestows on all may be different. This far he has explained a number of factors to us:  They include:

  • “What you sow (in the resurrection) does not come to life unless it dies.”
  • “But that which is planted is NOT the body of what will be”
  • But God will give the seed a body as it hath pleased him
  • That to every seed will God give its own body.
  • And that just as there are many types of flesh on earth, and just as there are bodies that inhabit the heavens and those that inhabit the earth, so will be the resurrection.
  • And then regarding these heavenly bodies, they are all different in their glories, just as there are differences in the glories of celestial planets like suns, moons and stars.

In other words, they differ from each other in the glory they possess.

This is not often addressed folks, that there are resurrections among people – even believers – which will differ in glory, and it is to this fact that Paul described hoping to “attain to (what he called, the Out- resurrection” and to the writer of Hebrews writing about characters in the Old Testament wanting to receive “better resurrections.”

We don’t know what these differences really mean, how they will look and play out exactly – and so to present suppositions is a waste of time.  But it is clear – resurrected bodies will vary in glory – as different as terrestrial bodies differing in glory with the celestial.

That is why Paul now says, “There is one glory of the sun – the sun has one degree of splendor, and the moon another, and so also the stars. 

So again, just so we are clear, in verse 40, Paul says that there was a difference between the different classes of bodies; between those in heaven and those on earth. But here he says that in the former class, that of the heavenly bodies themselves, there are differences too. 

So, they not only differ from those on earth, but they differed from each other in heaven.  In other words, though all will be unlike what they were on earth (he will later explain how they will be unlike earthly bodied) and that ALL in the celestial realms will be glorious he admits that there will be differences in their heavenly  splendor and glory.  Are we sure this is what he means?  Look at verse 42 where he now says: 

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead.

This has been his topic from the start and everything he has said is in relation to it – the resurrection of the dead.

“The dead will be raised analogously to the things I have provided here,” he seems to be saying.  In the way a seed is sown, buried, dies and brings forth an all-together different plant, in differences between earthly bodies and heavenly, and in difference in GLORY of celestial planets . . .

SO ALSO IS THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.

Already, we have learned more about the resurrection of the dead then I have ever heard from the mouths of Christians, which is typically that they are saved, that they have been born-again, that they are going to escape hell forever and enter heaven and be resurrected!

This is good news.  But it is limited news, and fails to address a very meaningful and important piece of information that is constantly overlooked – there is a resurrection waiting that will be awarded by God to every person, and will be eternally born, and the resurrected states all receive will differ one from another.

(long beat)

Because I am convinced by scripture that hell has been beaten and that all are reconciled to God through the victorious work of Christ, I am frequently maligned.

But I malign right back with the failure of teachers introducing and teaching the biblical fact that there are eternal ramifications to the lives believers choose to live here, which to me may lead to as hellish an existence as the fires that are so often described.

In my estimation the only way to at least mitigate the pain of the fact that there are eternal resurrectional differences awaiting all is for Christians to at least be AWARE that this is a biblical reality.

So, after admitting that the resurrection is just like the examples he has given, Paul returns to the resurrection itself and delivers a series of short phrases to assist in our understand of it, saying:

It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

So, let’s plot these descriptions on the board.  Ready?  I am going to describe them in terms of ORIGINATION (how the resurrection begins) and the DESTINATION (how it ultimately ends).

Okay?

ORIGINATION DESTINATION

  • It is “sown in corruption” “It is raised in incorruption

2.   It is “sown in dishonor” “it is raised in glory

3.   It is “sown in weakness” “it is raised in power” 

4.   It is “sown a natural body” “it is raised a spiritual body.”

So, he first says at verse 42:

  • It is sown in corruption . . .

The human body, like a seed, is planted or sown in death.  It must die. And in death it sees or experiences corruption, decay, rot.  It is planted in death. 

Then he adds

“It is raised in incorruption.” 

Just as a seed is buried and dies but then it rises up to a new and totally different life, so is the resurrection.  And the resurrected body, the new celestial body of glory will no longer be subject to decay, sickness, disease or death – it will be raised in incorruption.

43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: 

On account of sin, disease, decay and death itself there is not much honor in the corpse of a human body.  And things only get worse.  That is dishonorable to man and offensive to others.

But Paul says:

It is raised in glory – in beauty, in a body far removed from the curse, stripped of all vileness.  The resurrected is to be praised as that is the definition of the Greek word translated Glory – doxa.

The former body of death would have no such honor.  We note that though they are raised in glory that the glory that they possess is different, depending on God.

Then . . .

“it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

Our fleshly bodies are week and feeble (obviously, they die and corrode and are placed in terra firma graves) but Paul adds that they are “raised in power.”

What this means is up to more conjecture, but we note that Paul says in Philippians 3:21, speaking of Christ:

“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

In the least, it seems that we can apply Paul’s use of the term dunamis (translated power) to offset the claim that the body buried is full of weakness.

Perhaps power here means strength or strengths; perhaps it means abilities – we don’t know… yet.

Finally Paul adds on last clarification, and it’s an important one as He says:

(#4 on board)

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

And we will begin to discuss this . . . next week.

Shawn McCraney
Shawn McCraney
Articles: 108

Leave a Reply