The Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting
1 Corinthians 15:35–49
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 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.
The resurrection of the dead has tremendous implications for the living. We cannot live as though Creation does not matter. When it comes to the end of time, Scripture makes a few things somewhat clear. Heaven will not be some ethereal existence “up there.” Heaven comes down and ushers in a New Creation. There will be continuity with the old creation and yet there will be discontinuity. The same is true with respect to our bodies. The mystery is what aspect of our created self continues and what is discontinued. Does knowing there will be elements of continuation with your present body in the New Creation change your perspective on your physical body here and now? How?
But you do not believe that the dead are raised. When the resurrection shall take place, then you will believe, whether you will or no; and your faith shall be reckoned for unbelief, unless you believe now . . . Moreover, you believe that the images made by men are gods, and do great things; and can you not believe that the God who made you is able also to make you afterwards?
—From a letter to Autolycus
Theophilus of Antioch
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