Summary: Do you ever hear those commercials for beds where they are giving big discounts on last year's model when the only difference is the fabric? As we study the second half of 1st Corinthians 15, we will look at our new model of resurrected body. But it's far
My granddaughter got a cool 4 wheeled toy vehicle for her 1st birthday that she can ride and it’s battery powered. But what is that compared to a big 4 wheel Pickup truck? That’s sort of like comparing this body with the resurrection body. The body we have in this age is like one of those battery powered trucks. It drives pretty slow, doesn’t have many features, and won’t go at all once the battery runs out. But in the resurrection, we receive new bodies that never run out of juice and have some pretty cool options. The problem many of us face is that we are stuck on the toy version, either because we think it’s pretty cool or because we can’t see past it to the new body.
As we get into the latter half of 1st Corinthians 15 I think we might get a hint of why the Corinthians had given up on the idea of the resurrection. Either they had begun to fall back to the Greek idea that the body is not resurrected at all but just a disembodied spirit—so what happens in the body doesn’t matter
They looked around and saw the effects of aging and disease on the human body and thought “What is the resurrection going to be like—just preserving for all of eternity this body that is in a constant state of decay?” That’s actually more of a description of hell then heaven. Jesus spoke of hell as a place “where their worm never dies and the fire is never quenched” (Mark 9:44 ). Fire is a process of continual oxidation or the breaking down of a substance, yet even a fire goes out when the fuel is expended. But Jesus says that fuel, the worm, never dies.
No. Heaven and the resurrected body is not like that, and so Paul uses verses 35 through 58 to described 1) that there is a distinct difference between this body and the one we get in the resurrection, 2) some of the qualities of that body and 3) a hint at the timing of when we get those new bodies.
35 – 36
Right away Paul wants them to know that this body they possess now will be put aside to receive a new one. It is transformation, not preservation.
Paul will say to these same people later on:
2 Corinthians 5: 1For we know that if our earthly house, a tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.�
So point 1: you don’t get a new body until the old one is dead.
37 – 38
Next he points out that the new body is related to the old, in the same way that a seed is related to the plant that grows from it. So you will be recognizable in your new body, but better. You’ll be the “you” you always wanted to be.
Point 2: The new body is related to the old, but is not the same.
39 – 44
Paul uses two analogies to demonstrate what he’s talking about. Everyone knows that there is a distinct difference between animal life and human life. Humans can reason, for the most part, are self aware, and have vastly higher thinking powers than animals.
Secondly he uses the distinction between a physical body on earth and a heavenly body like the sun, moon, or stars. Each is made of different materials and is governed by different laws of physics. So too, the resurrected body will be fundamentally different because it is made to live in a different environment—God’s environment, which is fundamentally different than living on earth only where we depend on an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere and the constant influx of water and fuel.
So in verses 42 through 44 he makes four comparisons of the old body to the new:
Corruption vs incorruption: in the end for the flesh, gravity wins. But our resurrected bodies will never corrupt and fall apart—ever!
Dishonor vs honor: There is nothing honorable about a corpse. But we are not going to be zombies in heaven. Our new bodies will be glorious in that they will more fully reflect the character, or glory, of the Father.
Weakness vs power: in the flesh we cannot maintain life, but the resurrected body will not need to be constantly replenished, it will always live because the life we are getting comes spiritually from the Lord, and not just physically (more on that in verse 45).
Natural vs spiritual: As I already mentioned, the old body was suited for this environment, but the new body will be suited for the heavenly environment of God’s kingdom.
45 – 49
This is such a great comparison here. God gave life to the dust, the very substance of the earth, to Adam, by breathing. Jesus, the second and last Adam, wasn’t given life—He Himself gives life. There is such a great picture of Jesus breathing on His disciples in John 20:22 “And He breathed on them and said ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”