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Sunday, September 07, 2014

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 51

What about the bodily existence of believers, after death? There are some hints about this in scripture, especially in 1 Corinthians 15:

1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish one, that which you yourself sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 That which you sow, you don’t sow the body that will be, but a bare grain, maybe of wheat, or of some other kind. 38 But God gives it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial differs from that of the terrestrial. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown perishable; it is raised imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body.
45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However that which is spiritual isn’t first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let’s also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood can’t inherit God’s Kingdom; neither does the perishable inherit imperishable.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must become imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable body will have become imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Paul seems to be describing a physical body, although he uses the term “spiritual body”. The NIV Study Bible (Zondervan, 1995) says this, in a note on verses 42-44:
. . . the apostle says that in the case of the resurrection of the dead, God will take the perishable, dishonorable, weak (and sinful) body – “a natural body” characterized by sin – and in the resurrection make it an imperishable, glorious, powerful body. “Spiritual body” does not mean a nonmaterial body but, from the analogies, a physical one similar to the present natural body organizationally, but radically different in that it will be imperishable, glorious and powerful, fit to live eternally with God.

When Jesus appeared to the twelve, on one occasion, He told Thomas to touch Him:
John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but believing.”
28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Thomas didn’t seem to have done so, but apparently he could have, and this, of course, indicates that the body of Jesus, after resurrection, was present in physical form, and was not merely a spirit. Jesus invited the twelve to share breakfast with Him in John 21. He sat at the evening meal with the two disciples in Emmaus in Luke 24. It is not clear as to whether or not He ate and drank in either of these episodes, but it seems to be at least possible that He did so. If He did eat or drink, again, this would be evidence of a physical body, and, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, we will be like Jesus, the last Adam.

I conclude that Jesus had, upon His resurrection, a glorified, but physical, body, and that He still has this, and that believers will also have a glorified physical body.

The above material is an excerpt from my self-published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, which is in the public domain.

The previous post in this series, on the topic of the idea of a new heaven and new earth, is here. God willing, the next post in this series will continue with the appendix to the book. Thanks for reading.

A recent post, not from the book, considered this topic a little more thoroughly.

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