With what body will the dead be resurrected?

388 with which body the dead will be resurrectedThat believers are resurrected to immortal life at the time of Christ's appearance is the hope of all Christians. Therefore, it is not surprising that the apostle Paul, when he heard that some members of the Church in Corinth denied the resurrection, their incomprehension in his 1. Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, energetically rejected. First of all, Paul repeated the message of the Gospel to which they also confessed: Christ was risen. Paul recalled how the body of the crucified Jesus was placed in a grave and three days later bodily raised to glory (verses 3-4). He then explained that Christ, as our forerunner, had risen from death to life - to show us the way to our future resurrection when He came (verses 4,20-23).

Christ is risen

To affirm that the resurrection of Christ was truly true, Paul referred to 500 witnesses whom Jesus appeared after being brought to life. Most of the witnesses were still alive when he wrote his letter (verses 5-7). Christ also appeared to the apostles and Paul personally (verse 8). The fact that so many people had seen Jesus bodily after burial meant that he had been resurrected bodily, even though Paul was in the 15. Did not explicitly comment on this.

He did, however, let the Corinthians know that it would be absurd and unreasonable for the Christian faith to doubt the future resurrection of the faithful, for they believed that Christ had risen from the grave. Not believing in a resurrection of the dead logically meant nothing more than denying that Christ Himself had risen. But if Christ had not risen, believers would have no hope. But that Christ was risen, give the believers the certainty that they too will be resurrected, Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

Paul's message about the resurrection of the faithful is central to Christ. He explains that the salvific activity of God through Christ in his life, death, and resurrection leads to the future resurrection of the faithful, and thus the final victory of God over death (verses 22-26, 54-57).

Paul had preached this good news over and over again - that Christ had been brought to life and that believers would also be resurrected when he appeared. In an earlier letter, Paul wrote, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, God will bring those who have fallen asleep through Jesus with him" (1, Thessalonians 4,14). This promise was, Paul wrote, in harmony "with a word of the Lord" (verse 15).

The Church has placed emphasis on this hope and promise of Jesus in the Scriptures and taught from the beginning to faith in the resurrection. The Nizabi Creed of 381 n. Chr. Says: "We await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." And the apostolic creed of about 750 AD confirms, "I believe ... the ... resurrection of the dead and eternal life. "

The question of the new body at the resurrection

In the 1. Corinthians 15 responded specifically to Paul's unbelief and misunderstanding regarding the bodily resurrection: "But someone might ask," How will the dead be raised, and with what kind of body will they come? "(Verse 35). This is about the question of how the resurrection would take place - and which body, if any, the Risen One would receive for the new life. The Corinthians mistakenly thought that Paul had spoken of the same mortal, sinful body that they possessed in this life.

Why did they need a body at the resurrection, they wondered, especially a body so corrupt as the present one? Had not they already achieved the goal of spiritual-spiritual salvation, and did not they have to free themselves from their bodies? The theologian Gordon D. Fee says: "The Corinthians are convinced that they have already begun the promised spiritual," heavenly "existence through the gift of the Holy Ghost, and especially through the appearance of the tongues. Only the body that was to be discarded at death separates them from their ultimate spirituality. "

The Corinthians had not understood that the resurrected body was of a higher and different kind than the present physical body. They would need this new "spiritual" body for life with God in the kingdom of heaven. Paul cited an example from agriculture to illustrate the greater glory of the celestial body compared to our earthly physical body: He spoke of the difference between a seed and the plant that grows out of it. The seed may "die" or pass away, but the body - the resulting plant - is of much greater glory. "And what you sow is not the body that is to become, but a mere grain, be it wheat or something else," wrote Paul (verse 37). We can not predict what our resurrected body will look like in comparison to the features of our present physical body, but we know that the new body will be much, much more beautiful - like the oak compared to its seed, the glans.

We can be confident that the resurrection body, in its glory and infinity, will make our eternal life much greater than our present physical life. Paul wrote, "So too the resurrection of the dead. It is sown and becomes incorruptible. It is sown in lowliness and will be resurrected in glory. It will be sown in wretchedness and will be resurrected "(verses 42-43).

The resurrection body will not be a copy, a precise reproduction of our physical body, says Paul. Also, the body we receive at the resurrection will not consist of the same atoms as the physical body in our earthly life, which is destroyed or destroyed at death. (Apart from that - what body would we get: our body at the age of 2, 20, 45 or 75 years?) The heavenly body will stand out in its quality and glory of the earthly body - as a wonderful butterfly, the cocoon , previously habitation of a low caterpillar, leaves behind.

Natural body and spiritual body

It makes no sense to speculate on how our resurrected body and immortal life will look exactly. But we can make some general statements about the great difference in the nature of the two bodies.

Our current body is a physical body subject to corruption, death and sin. The resurrection body will mean a life in another dimension - an immortal, eternal life. Paul says, "It sown a natural body and will be resurrected as a spiritual body" -not a "spiritual body", but a spiritual body, that it does justice to the life that is to come. The new body of believers in the resurrection will be "spiritual" - not immaterial, but spiritually in the sense that it was created by God to be similar to the glorified body of Christ, transformed and "adapted to the life of the Holy Spirit for ever ". The new body will be completely real; the believers will not be disembodied spirits or ghosts. Paul juxtaposes Adam and Jesus to emphasize the difference between our present body and our rearing body. "As the earthly is, so are the earthly; and as the celestial is, so are the celestial ones "(verse 48). Those who are in Christ when He appears will have a resurrected body and a life in Jesus' form and being, not in Adam's form and being. "And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one" (verse 49). The Lord, says Paul, "shall transform our vain body, that he may become like his glorified body" (Philippians 3,21).

Victory over death

This means that our resurrection body will not be made of transient flesh and blood like the body we now know - no longer reliant on food, oxygen and water to live. Paul said emphatically, "But I say, dear brothers, that flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God; neither will the corruptible inherit incorruption "(1, Corinthians 15,50).

When the Lord comes, our mortal bodies will be transformed into immortal bodies - subjected to eternal life and no longer to death and decay. And these are the words of Paul to the Corinthians: "Behold, I tell you a secret: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed; and suddenly, in a moment, at the time of the last trumpet [a metaphor for the future appearance of Christ]. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise incorruptible, and we shall be transformed "(verses 51-52).

Our bodily resurrection to immortal life is the reason for the joy and vitality of our Christian hope. Paul says, "But if this corruptible will put on incorruption, and this mortal will put on immortality, then the word that is written," Death is swallowed up with victory "will be fulfilled (verse 54).

by Paul Kroll