1 Corinthians 15: With what body are the dead raised?

1 Corinthians 15: With what body are the dead raised?

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is central to the Christian system of faith. Therefore, it seems odd that the church at Corinth would struggle with the idea of the resurrection of their own bodies to the point of dispute. Verse 35 seems to indicate that the primary point of contention or confusion was the type of body we have in the resurrection.

Paul opened the discussion with the resurrection of Christ (vv 12-19). He makes the point that if the dead are not raised, then no exception can be made for Christ. It then follows, if the dead are not raised, then Christ is not raised. And if Christ is not raised, our faith is futile, and we are still in our sins.

Paul here illustrates one way that false doctrines can be corrected. Specifically, this is called ad absurdum, taking a doctrine to the extreme to show its ridiculous or impractical conclusion. Obviously, those who were denying the resurrection hadn’t thought it through.

In response to those who questioned the type of body one would possess in the resurrection, Paul hearkened back to a principle of biology first noted by the Lord in John 12:24, “Unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces much fruit” (cf vv 36-38).

What a seed becomes after it dies is far greater and more glorious than the seed itself. So it is with our resurrection body, for “God gives it a body as He pleases.”

Moreover, our resurrection body is the same as the body now possessed by the Lord Jesus Christ, “who will transform our lowly body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (Phil 3:21).

This body will consist of our resurrected physical body being enclosed by our spiritual body, as “we shall be changed” (v 51), “for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (v 53).

What exactly is this body? We do not know, for “it has not been revealed what we shall be, be we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

That should be good enough for all of us.

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