Jesus’ Resurrected Body

One of the promises the Bible makes to those whom God has saved is that we will one day receive a resurrected body. A resurrected body is not necessarily the same as a body that has been raised from the dead. Some of the people raised from the dead in the Bible account (Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, etc.) were merely repaired and revivified. Their bodies still would wear out. They would die again.

“Resurrected” is a nearly complete remake. There will be some retention of what makes us unique persons. Other than that, we are remade to be without sinful nature and many other genetic defects that have arisen along the way. Paul gives a description of a resurrected body:

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is 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. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Breaking this down, what can we learn? First, it is imperishable. Can a body of flesh and bone be imperishable? It is not too hard to imagine that our genetics could be modified to create systems that would not wear down and cell reproduction that could go on indefinitely. The people who lived before Noah’s flood apparently had genetics that allowed them to live nearly a millennia. God actually modified them down. We could also be given systems that would make us disease free. What about injury? The resurrected body might be self-repairing.

“It is sown in dishonor”, is likely a reference to sinful nature. The genetics that give us a proclivity to sin and resist God will be gone.

“It is raised in power.” This is an exciting description that would suggest higher limitations and new abilities for our resurrected body. How much fun would it be to run faster and farther, to jump and climb, lift and maybe even new stuff like teleport or use telepathy for communication. What will it do for our intellect? As many of us experience the decline of our physical and mental self, due to aging or disease, it is exciting to think or the 2.0 version of ourself that is coming.

“It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” This always baffled me. Now I think it means this. A natural body is one limited to this time-space dimension. A spiritual body is one that can be either here or in the time-space of Heaven or Hell. Paul doesn’t explain, but other places speak of or hint at a Heavenly body (1 Corinthians 15:40, 2 Corinthians 5:1).

The only example of a resurrected body is that of Jesus after His resurrection. Jesus is described as the “first-born of the dead”. This basically means that He is the first to be resurrected with more to come. What can we say of Jesus’ resurrected body? He eats. He is recognizable when He wants to be, and not recognizable when He doesn’t. He moves differently. He doesn’t have to use the door. He still retains the marks of His crucifixion as a badge of honor. That is about it. Do any of these things reflect Him as the Son of God versus a resurrected human? Maybe. Maybe not.

My interest in Jesus’ resurrected body is primarily out of curiosity about what God has planned for me. We have only a little information, but what we do know and the possibilities that flow from that information are exciting. If you are part of a church that says the Apostles’ or Nicene Creeds, I hope that you will think about these things when you say, “I believe in the resurrection of the body” or ” I look for the resurrection of dead and the life of the world to come.”

Scattered to the Wind

I very common way of disposing of somebody’s earthly remains is to have them cremated and then to dump their ashes in a place that had some significance to them while they were living. Maybe it was a trail on a mountain or at the seashore or just scattered to the wind.

This raises a practical question for one of the things revealed by the Bible–the resurrection of the body. If our remains are scattered or even if they are not, the molecules that made up that body end up as part of the soil and very likely a part of another living being, maybe even another person. Right now, your body could have in it carbon that was a part of an animal, a bug, or possibly several other people. At the resurrection of the dead do we fight for our original molecules?

This is part of a bigger question. What constitutes me? We are not just temporary chemistry with the illusion of having a consciousness. That idea, advanced by hardcore evolutionists, does not match the evidence at all. It feels more like the opposite. That I am a soul that is merely borrowing a body. That idea is common in Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) The Bible argues that we are a soul and an earthly body, and I would argue, even a heavenly body.

What is resurrected on Judgment Day, and how can it be me? Throughout our lives we are exchanging atoms with the environment around us. We should not assume personal possession down to the atomic level. What truly distinguishes our physical, earthly self is our DNA. Even our DNA is a flawed blueprint of our earthly being as it contains mutations passed on to us from our original distortion in the Garden of Eden, all our ancestors, and some we have suffered in our lifetime. We are truly not evolving but devolving.

That is why I am skeptical that our resurrection will involve our disposed of remains much or at all. The resurrected body will be raised perfected and indestructible. I expect it will retain many unique qualities that will reflect who we are, but none of the acquired weaknesses and flaws. God retains the design of what we are physically. As Adam was made from the earth, so will we be raised from it. Not necessarily, from the earth of our old bodies, or even in the location. For this reason, choosing a burial place is more a consideration for the living than the dead.

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is 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. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Assuming that our dead body forms a literal starting point for the resurrected body may be true or may be pushing the biblical analogy of a seed too far. Either way God has the matter in control regardless of where our dead remains end up.

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