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The Resurrection of the Body


One helpful place to turn in order to understand the New Testament teaching about the resurrection of the body is 1 Corinthians 15:35-54. There Paul writes...
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory. 
So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is 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 physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven. 
What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, 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 imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
From this passage I believe we can learn at least four things about our future resurrection bodies. First, Paul tells us, there will be continuity between our mortal bodies and our immortal bodies just as there is continuity between a seed and a full grown plant.

If we look at Jesus' resurrection we see this to be the case. Jesus was raised in the same body in which he died. The tomb was empty and his body was raised up. He even retained the nail marks in his hands and the wound of the spear in his side so that he could invite Thomas to touch him and see that it was really him, in the flesh, not a ghost.

Ben Franklin wrote his own epitaph:

The Body of 
B. Franklin, Printer,
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And Stript of its Lettering & Gilding
Lies here. Food for Worms;
But the Work shall not be lost,
For it will as he believ'd
appear once more
In a new and more elegant Edition,
Corrected and improved
By the Author.

Personally, I think that is a great way of expressing hope in the resurrection. One day, God is going to redeem, re-fashion, re-make the entire universe (according to Paul in Romans 8) and our new bodies will be a small result of that remaking of the cosmos. How God is going to accomplish this, we are not told. But the resurrection of Jesus is a foreshadowing and a guarantee that it will happen.

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