1 Corinthians 15:38–49
But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
“What will heaven be like, Mommy and Daddy?” I have been asked this question or a form of it many times. The easy answer is, of course, “we don’t really know.” But that answer is not entirely true. Yes, there is a great deal that remains a mystery about the eternal life we will experience in the new heavens and the new earth. One thing that the Bible tells us emphatically is that, like Jesus, we will have a resurrection body. In this passage, Paul, carried by the Spirit, gives us some insight into what that resurrection body will be like.
First, we should note that it’s a body. This may seem obvious, but we should recognize that so many religions of the world, and many Christian traditions, downplay the material world and exalt the spiritual. Humanity seems to have this notion that what’s wrong with the world is the material, the physical. Perhaps it’s because deep down we want to be God, and God himself is spirit. We think that if only we were spirits, or enlightened, or one with nirvana or whatever, then everything would be better. But that’s not true. The problem with the world is sin, not its material character. Humans are spiritual beings but we are also physical beings, and that will not change when we receive our resurrection bodies.
Second, we should note that there is also discontinuity between our current bodies and our resurrection bodies. Our current bodies are perishable–we all die–but our future bodies shall be eternal. We frequently experience dishonor and shame here on earth, but our future bodies will be glorious. We are so often, even daily, physically, emotionally and spiritually broken. Our resurrection bodies will be raised in power. Unable to die, get sick, or live life apart from God’s sustaining grace.
How should we respond to this truth? With great joy and expectation. We have all seen someone devastated by cancer or some other disease. We have all seen someone destroy their lives by their foolish and sinful actions. We all know what it’s like to hurt, to long, to miss, and to be weary. All of that will one day change. Jesus said, “I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:4). That includes us, every part of us. Each of us will have a glorious, new body, after the likeness of the heavenly man, Jesus himself. It will be better than we can ever imagine.
Note: Each day’s devotional is written by a different member of the GRC family.