Two Questions About the Resurrection 1 Cor 15: 35-58 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In 1 Cor 15:35, Paul asks two questions about the resurrection and in the remainder of the chapter he answers them. The first question is, “How are the dead raised up?” The second question is, “With what body do they come?” In 1 Cor 15:36-49, he answers the second question. In 1 Cor 15:50-57, he answers the first question. In 1 Cor 15:58, Paul gives the Corinthians a final exhortation.
With what body do they come?
We come up with a different body than we have here now. Paul gives four examples to illustrate the differences between our bodies now and our bodies in the resurrection:
The different bodies of grain – 1 Cor 15:36-38 – the body of the seed that is sown is not the same as the body of the seed that is reaped. When the seed is planted, it is “bare grain.” That is, it has no husk or covering. It is bare. When it is planted, it dies [Jn 12:24]. Then it springs up into a plant and the plant bears grain. The grain comes up with a covering or on a head and comes up in a quantity much greater than was sown. Nevertheless, wheat always yields wheat, corn always yields corn, barley always yields barley, etc. And each of these grains differs from the other and is unique. So, our bodies will be different than our bodies are now, having a new covering, our glorified bodies. And our bodies will be unique from one another, as they are now.
The different bodies of creatures – 1 Cor 15:39 – all flesh is not the same flesh. Men, beasts, fish and birds all have different flesh. This statement refutes evolution to this day. Hair and hair follicles, fish scales and bird feathers are so vastly different that they could not have come from the same body through natural processes. They are made differently and will be different in eternity. Our bodies will be similar to our bodies now; not to the bodies of beasts or fish. So, there is no such thing as reincarnation.
The different bodies of celestial and terrestrial beings – 1 Cor 15:40 – the bodies of angels are different than the bodies of men, for instance. Angels appear as men [Gen 19:1, 5; Lk 24:4, 23; etc]. However, they can appear and disappear [Jud 13:3, 19-21], they can ascend up from and descend down to the earth [Gen 28:12], and so forth. We will be like the angels of God in glory [Matt 22:30].
The different glories of the heavenly lights – 1 Cor 15:41 – the “glories” of the sun, moon and stars differ from each other. The sun and stars are hydrogen and helium. Yet, the sun lights the earth in the day, like Jesus is the light of the world [Ps 19:1-5, Mal 4:2; Jn 8:12]. The moon, which typifies the church, lights the earth at night [SoS 6:10, follows the path of the sun and reflects the light of the sun, it doesn’t have it’s own light]. The stars typify the angels (the sons of God). See Job 38:7; Rev 1:20; Rev 12:4, 7; etc. Evidently, in glory, we will replace the fallen angels since we are now the sons fo God [Jn 1:12, 1 Jn 3:2]. And our glories will differ depending on our rewards [Rom 8:17-18].
Then he explains the differences between the bodies sown and the bodies resurrected:
Our bodies are sown in corruption and raised in incorruption – 1 Cor 15:42 – our bodies return to the dust after they die. But when they are raised, they will never die again.
Our bodies are sown in dishonor and raised in glory – 1 Cor 15:43 – there is no glorious way to die; our bodies are vile and death is abhorrent. But when we are raised, we come up with a glorified body fashioned like Jesus [Phil 3:21].
Our bodies are sown in weakness and rise in power – 1 Cor 15:43 – we are weak and have no power to stop death in our lives. But when we rise, death will be powerless against us.
Our bodies are sown as natural bodies and rise as spiritual bodies – 1 Cor 15:44-49 – our bodies are natural. We are made living souls from the dust of the earth [Gen 2:7; Ps 139:15]. We bear the image of Adam [Gen 5:3]. When we rise from the dead we will be spiritual, like Jesus [Jn 5:21; Rom 8:2, 11] and we will bear his heavenly image.
How are the dead raised up?
We can’t inherit the kingdom of God in mortal bodies of flesh and blood [1 Cor 15:50] because it is a spiritual kingdom, not a physical one [Jn 4:23-24; Lk 17:20-21; Jn 3:3-7]. Neither can we inherit it in corruptible bodies that are dead. Therefore, we must be resurrected or changed with bodies that are not dead and that will never die [1 Cor 15:51; Jn 11:25-26].
This change takes place in a moment [1 Cor 15:52]. The Lord himself descends [1 Thes 4:16], he shouts, with the voice of the archangel, with the trump of God. The trumpet sounds, the dead rise first in bodies that are incorruptible. Then those who are still alive shall be changed and rise together with those who were dead to meet the Lord in the air [1 Thes 4:17]. Corruption (those who are dead) will put on incorruption and mortality (those who are alive) will put on immortality and death will be swallowed up in victory [1 Cor 15:53-55].
We have this victory over death because of Jesus Christ [1 Cor 15:56-57] who condemned sin in the flesh, fulfilled the law [Rom 8:3-4] and rose from the dead to live forever [Rom 6:3-5]. We have this victory when we put our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ [1 Jn 5:4-5].
Concluding exhortation: When we have this victory in Jesus Christ, we should be stedfast [constant Prov 21:28, loyal, faithful], unmovable [contrast Eph 4:14], and always abounding in the work of the Lord [not coasting, Titus 2:14]. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord because there is a resurrection and a day of glory when you are rewarded for what you did here for him.