Summary: This section concerns the nature of the resurrection body. 1st, it is not the same body that was laid in the grave, simply reconstituted; & 2nd the new body is related to the original 1. It will be related to the original yet different.
[RESURRECTION REALITIES SERIES]
1 CORINTHIANS 15: 35-42
THE RESURRECTION BODY IS A TRANSFORMED BODY
[John 12: 23-28]
After having established that the resurrection of Christ is the pledge of the raising again of the believer’s body, Paul answers the question: "What kind of body will the raised dead have?" The atheist can only mock for he wants it all to end. The philosopher can only speculate, for his wisdom stops on the burial side of the grave. It is beyond scientific evidence to observe what is yet to happen. Divine revelation, however, understands the resurrection of the dead. God tells us that it is the resurrection of new body that will then carries us on into the eternal ages to come.
This section also corrects some common errors concerning the nature of the resurrection body. First, it is not the same body that was laid in the grave, simply reconstituted; and second the new body is related to the original one. Here the Scriptures explains that it will be the body God has chosen or designated (v. 38), it will be related to the original (v. 36), yet it will be different (vv. 39-41).
I. RAISED TO A NEW DIMENSION, 35-37.
II. RAISED TO A NEW DESIGN, 38 .
III. RAISED TO A NEW DISTINCTION/ DIFFERENCE, 39-42a.
One objection to belief in anyone’s resurrection might be its incomprehensibility. This bewilderment was the point of the two questions "How?" and "What?" that are asked in verse 35. Someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"
The questions, ‘How are the dead raised?’ and ‘With what kind of body?’ most likely come from those who are doubting or denying the resurrection of the body. One objection to the idea of resurrection was, and still is, its seeming impossibility. How can a corrupted and dissolved body be restored to life. How is it possible for new life to come out of death. Paul refused to even answer the idea that resurrection is impossible. Why would anyone who acknowledges a Creator God think His restoring bodies, in whatever way, would be any more difficult for Him than making them in the first place? To Paul the first requires no reply. It is obvious. God will raise the dead by His irresistible creative power.
The second question, "What kind of body?’ is echoed by many today. Some, simply cannot imagine a ‘dead man walking’, that is, a re–animated corpse. Paul anticipates that question by insisting that resurrection means transformation. It is this question that verses 36-42 will answer.
Paul did not consider these questions or doubts the sort a wise person would raise, as is obvious from his response in verse 36. You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;
How foolish! ("how senseless or thoughtless") it is to assume that our future bodies will consist of flesh and blood, be sustained by air, food and sleep as are those we have now. The answer to the question is a constant fact or occurrence in nature. Belief in the Resurrection was like belief in seedtime and harvest. Neither could be completely understood but both are real.
To help us understand this unexplainable miracle Paul uses three analogies. The first is an illustration from the farm. In an agricultural age, when everyone depended on sowing and reaping, two things were obvious. First, the seed sown in the ground dies before it sprouts with new life. It must cease to exist in its original form, actually decomposing as a seed before it can come to life in its final form as a plant. Seeds placed in the ground don’t grow unless they "die" first. [Before Christ could bear the fruit of salvation for us, He had to die.] Just as with growing crops, there had to be an end to the old before there could be a beginning of the new. In the case of men, one body will die to give life to another.
Second, the plant that rises from the soil has a different ‘body’ from the ‘naked’ seed that was sown. The plant that grows looks very different from the seed because God gives it anew "body." The self–same seed that ‘dies’ in the ground is ‘raised’ in a transformed ‘body’.
The same is true of the resurrection of the dead. As a plant which sprouted from a seed was directly linked to it but remarkably different from it, so too was the relationship of a natural and a resurrected body. Believers who die will be raised alive, but changed into a different form.
What happens to a body that is placed in the grave? It goes back to dust. Grain or seeds sown into the ground seems to decay, but the farmer knows that it will bud and bring forth an even more abundant yield of the same kind of grain. Likewise, a wonderful transformation has been prearranged by God for His children. To transform our body in the resurrection seems impossible to our finite minds. But God has established the fact of resurrection to new life into the very fabric of nature. [Faith does not set reason aside; faith supplements reason.]