Sown Natural, Raised Spiritual: The (Nevertheless) Physical Resurrection Body

Many readers of 1 Corinthians 15:44 have puzzled over the language with which Paul contrasts the Christian’s body as it presently exists, on the one hand, and as it will exist after being resurrected, on the other hand. In the preceding verses, Paul says the former is “perishable,” exhibits “dishonor,” and suffers from “weakness,” but the latter will be “imperishable,” display “glory,” and enjoy “power” (vv. 42–43). So far, so good. Paul goes on, however, to confuse readers for generations to come, calling the Christian’s present body “natural,” and her future resurrection body “spiritual.”

Some readers interpret Paul as meaning that believers’ resurrection bodies will be composed of a fundamentally different kind of substance (to use the philosophical jargon). For example, in the late nineteenth-century, hyper-preterist James Stuart Russell argued that Paul’s contrast is between material (i.e., physical) bodies and immaterial (i.e., non-physical) ones.1 In Hebrew-like parallelism, he writes, “We are not certain that the eye can see the spiritual, or the hand grasp the immaterial.”2 More recently, former Christian Bart Ehrman argues that Paul’s contrast is between bodies constituted by vulgar matter and those made of sublime matter.3 For Paul’s readers, Ehrman writes, “the body was made of coarse, gross stuff that had to be dispensed with so the more highly refined and immortal soul could live on,” but for Paul, resurrection bodies “will be made up of the most highly refined ‘stuff’ there is: pneuma, or spirit.”4 Whatever the specific interpretation, such readings as these assume that Paul means to say something about the composition or makeup of bodies.

In fact, all such interpretations are mistaken, for Paul’s contrast has nothing to do with bodily substance or composition. The same contrast is applied elsewhere to equally material entities, the one characteristic of mortal, earthly life, the other driven more by spiritual concerns. Paul’s point is that perishable human beings cannot inherit the imperishable kingdom of God. They must instead be transformed, glorified and made immortal by the Holy Spirit. And this the Holy Spirit will do for those united by faith to Christ, whom he likewise raised immortal and glorious, but whose resurrection body was nevertheless physical.

Natural vs. Spiritual

The Greek words translated “natural” and “spiritual” are ψυχικός and πνευματικός, respectively, and neither has much, if anything, to do with an object’s composition or makeup. Ψυχικός refers both to immaterial abstractions—like the envious, selfish mindset James calls “earthly, unspiritual [ψυχικός], demonic” (Jas 3:15)—and to concrete, physical entities—as in the unsaved embodied people Jude says are “worldly [ψυχικός] people, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 19). Πνευματικός likewise describes both immaterial things—such as supernaturally endowed abilities called “spiritual [πνευματικός] gifts” (1 Cor 12:1)—and material things—like the sustenance God provided Israel in the wilderness, which Paul calls “spiritual [πνευματικός] food” and “spiritual [πνευματικός] drink” (1 Cor 10:3). This variety of things, all capable of being described with these two adjectives, demonstrates that they do not primarily, if ever, describe the composition of a substance.

The contrast itself, between ψυχικός and πνευματικός, is one Paul offers elsewhere, and it clearly has nothing to do with objects’ differing composition or makeup. The “natural [ψυχικός] person,” he writes, “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God,” but the “spiritual [πνευματικός] person” has “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:14–16). Of course, Paul is describing two equally physical entities—embodied human persons living in the here and now. What differentiates them is not constitution and opacity, but disposition and capacity: The one’s mind is set only on worldly things and cannot concern itself for spiritual matters, to which the other’s mind is oriented and enlightened by the indwelling Spirit himself. As N. T. Wright aptly puts it, “the basic difference [Paul] is describing is between people in whom God’s spirit has come to dwell, opening them up to new depths and dimensions of truth and experience, and people who are living as though the world, and human life, was rumbling along in the same old way.”5 It is a contrast between people exhibiting different qualities or characteristics, not people composed of different substances.

Consistent with Paul’s contrast in 1 Corinthians 2, the foundational meanings of ψυχικός and πνευματικός appear to be as simple as “having to do with earthly life [ψυχή]” and “having to do with spirit [πνεῦμα],” respectively. Bauer’s lexicon defines ψυχικός this way: “pertaining to the life of the natural world and whatever belongs to it, in contrast to the realm of experience whose central characteristic is πνεῦμα.”6 According to Louw and Nida, the πνευματικός person is so called because the word pertains “to a pattern of life controlled or directed by God’s Spirit.”7 Thus, the “natural,” “unspiritual” (Jas 3:15), or “worldly” (Jude 19) person is the one who is characterized by focused concern with earthly life or ψυχή. Jesus might admonish her, saying, “do not be anxious about your life [ψυχή] . . . seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matt 6:25, 33). To her, such spiritual concerns may seem foolish, just as all “the things of the Spirit [πνεῦμα] of God” (1 Cor 2:14) seem foolish to the natural person. The “spiritual” person, however, is the one who is characterized by those very spiritual concerns. She is the one who bears “the fruit of the Spirit [πνεῦμα]” (Gal 5:22). She is the one who serves “in the new way of the Spirit [πνεῦμα] and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6). She is the one who, by her “spirit [πνεῦμα] of faith,” is able to “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen,” including her future “eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor 4:13, 18, 17). Again, the words ψυχικός and πνευματικός contrast different characteristics, not different substances.

A ψυχικός body is therefore a body characterized by its orientation to transient, natural life (ψυχή), dependent upon the earthly needs it is so instinctually driven to acquire, while a πνευματικός body is one transformed and reoriented by the Holy Spirit (πνεῦμα). This involvement of the Spirit, in the resurrection and immortalization of resurrection bodies, is spoken of elsewhere in the New Testament. Christ, Peter says, was “put to death in the flesh but made alive by the spirit” (1 Pet 3:18; CSB). The latter clause is sometimes mistakenly taken as referring to the time between Christ’s death and resurrection, but Peter is talking about “the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (v. 21).8 Paul likewise writes of “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead,” adding that if this Spirit “dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom 8:11). Therefore, God’s πνεῦμα indwells believers in the here and now as a “guarantee” (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13–14; 4:30) that he will one day resurrect and transform their bodies, rendering them πνευματικός (1 Cor 15:44) and thus, as Alan Johnson puts it, “suited for the full functioning of the Holy Spirit.”.9

Flesh and Blood

Paul goes on to say, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 15:50), and some have misread this as support for the notion that only ψυχικός bodies are comprised of flesh and blood (and other viscera), but this would be out of keeping with what Paul and others elsewhere and consistently say disqualifies a person from this inheritance: unrighteousness. Earlier in the same letter, Paul writes, “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God” (6:9–10). Likewise, writing to another congregation, Paul says those who do “the works of the flesh . . . will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19, 21). Jesus implies it is those who are not “poor in spirit,” “meek,” and willing to be “persecuted for righteousness’ sake” who will therefore fail to receive “the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:3–11). He indicates it is those who refuse food, water, and clothes to those in need who consequently will not “inherit the kingdom” (Matt 25:34–36; cf. Mark 10:17–21; Luke 18:18–22). He implies it is those who do not “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself,” who therefore will not “inherit eternal life” (Luke 10:25–28). In John’s revelatory vision, the enthroned God promises “water free of charge from the spring of the water of life,” but those who will not “inherit these things” includes “cowards, unbelievers, detestable persons, murderers, the sexually immoral, and those who practice magic spells, idol worshipers, and all those who lie” (Rev 21:5–8; NET). Nowhere is bodily composition said to be what determines whether one will inherit the kingdom of God.

Besides, the phrase “flesh and blood” does not refer specifically to those respective parts of a natural human body to begin with, but to mortal humanity in the earthly realm, as distinct from undying entities in the heavenly realm. Thus, Paul says that when God commissioned him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, he “did not immediately consult with flesh and blood” (Gal 1:16; NASB). Elsewhere, he says, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). When Peter identifies Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus replies, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 16:16–17). In the Septuagint, Ben Sira writes of “the generation of flesh and blood,” saying, “one cometh to an end, and another is born” (Sir 14:18). Craig Keener therefore rightly points out that the phrase “was a common figure of speech for mortals.”10 It is simply a merism referring to mortal human beings by enumerating their parts.

This is why, after saying “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” Paul goes on to say the same thing in a different way: “nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Cor 15:50). As Gordon Fee observes, “The two lines are most likely to be understood as synonymous parallelism, so that the second makes the same point as the first.”11 Consistent, then, with the phrase’s use elsewhere, “flesh and blood” is here synonymous with “the perishable”—that is, the mortal. Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner sum it up well: “Taken together, the two clauses imply that perishable humanity (flesh and blood) cannot inherit the imperishable kingdom of God.”12 Put simply, to inherit the kingdom, mortal human beings must be made immortal.

Resurrection Bodies Like Christ’s

First Corinthians 15:44 and 50 do not indicate that believers’ resurrection bodies will be immaterial or composed of something other than physical matter, and meanwhile, the rest of the chapter makes clear that they will be made up of such matter, by grounding assurance of resurrection in that of Jesus Christ. Paul explains, “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised” (v. 13), whom God “did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised” (v. 15). Paul’s reductio concludes, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (v. 17). Thankfully, “in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20; emphasis added). The word “firstfruits” translates ἀπαρχή, which means, “the first of a set.”13 Therefore, the body with which Christ was raised is the sort of body with which his people will be raised, the first of the larger set: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. . . . Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (vv. 47–48).

Importantly, Christ was raised with an unmistakably physical body. After he is raised from the dead, women “took hold of his feet and worshiped him” (Matt 28:9; emphasis added). His identity is questioned by his startled disciples, who think they must be seeing an immaterial angelic being (Luke 24:37). He reassures them, inviting them, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (v. 39; emphasis added). In the body with which he was raised, then, Jesus has tangible flesh and bones. He is particularly explicit with doubting Thomas, to whom he says, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side” (John 20:27). Clearly, whatever transformation Jesus’s body had undergone in resurrection, it was nevertheless physical.

The physical resurrection of Jesus is also consistent with the agricultural analogy Paul uses for resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. “What you sow,” Paul writes, “does not come to life unless it dies” (v. 36), referring to the seed one plants in the ground (v. 37). The grammatical subject here is the relative clause ὃ σπείρεις, “that which you sow,” and it is that which will “come to life.” Paul goes on to say, σπείρεται σῶμα ψυχικόν—“it is sown a natural body” (v. 44). Therefore, it follows grammatically that what will “come to life” is the physical body that “is sown.” Indeed, the believer’s physical body is the subject throughout Paul’s series of contrasts in verses 42–44:

Thus, the physical body that goes into the ground when buried is the physical body that will be raised up out of the ground one day, albeit changed—just like a seed rises from the ground much more glorious than when it was planted.

Glorious, indeed, will be the transformed, yet physical bodies of resurrected believers. Their present, mortal bodies are fallen and frail, subject to pain, disease, aging, and death. Their transient nature drives mortal human beings to be excessively concerned with acquiring material sustenance and security, so as to prolong life as much as possible, to the exclusion of more weighty spiritual matters. Thankfully, things will not remain as such forever. “For the creation was subjected to futility,” Paul writes, “in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God . . . who have the firstfruits of the Spirit” and “wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Rom 8:20–23; emphasis added). Creation will not be abandoned; it will be redeemed, transformed and freed from all corruption. So, too, will the bodies of believers. Paul thus concludes his resurrection magnum opus, writing, “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor 15:54). Amen.

Chris Date is Adjunct Professor of Bible and Theology at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary and a contributor to the ministry Rethinking Hell. He is co-editor of Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism (Cascade, 2014) and A Consuming Passion: Essays on Hell and Immortality in Honor of Edward Fudge (Pickwick, 2015), and he has published articles in Evangelical Quarterly and the McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry. Chris graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Religion from Liberty University, and he earned a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Seminary. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and four sons.

On Tuesday, August 11th, 2020, Chris will defend Christianity’s belief in the bodily resurrection of the dead in debate versus hyper-preterist Michael Miano. The debate will be streamed live and can be watched for free at the Revealed Apologetics YouTube channel.

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  1. Hyper-preterism is the belief that all biblical prophecies—including the general resurrection—have been fulfilled in the past, most particularly in the years leading up to and including 70 C.E., when the second Jerusalem temple was destroyed.
  2. James Stuart Russell, The Parousia: A Critical Inquiry Into the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s Second Coming (London, UK: Daldy, Isbister and Company, 1878), 210.
  3. Anthony C. Thiselton observes that this view was promoted in the late nineteenth century, too, by German liberals Otto Pfleiderer and Johannes Weiss. The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK; Carlisle, UK: Eerdmans; Paternoster, 2000), 1276.
  4. Bart D. Ehrman, Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2020), 181–2; italics in original.
  5. Tom Wright, Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians (London, UK: SPCK, 2003), 30.
  6. BDAG, s.v. “ψυχικός, ή, όν.”
  7. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, eds., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Based on Semantic Domains, vol. 1, Introduction and Domains, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1989), 508. However, they mistakenly define the same word in 1 Cor 15:44 as meaning “pertaining to not being physical” (693).
  8. See also Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2003), 184.
  9. Alan F. Johnson, 1 Corinthians, IVP New Testament Commentary (Downers Grove, IL; Leicester, UK: InterVarsity, 2004), 305.
  10. Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2014), 495.
  11. Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 798.
  12. Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK; Nottingham, UK: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2010), 828; italics in original.
  13. Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon, 610.
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Tavis Bohlinger

Dr. Tavis Bohlinger is Editor-in-Chief of the Logos Academic Blog and Creative Director at Reformation Heritage Books. He holds a PhD from Durham University and writes across multiple genres, including academia, poetry, and screenwriting. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three children.

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  • A very easy-to-read article with a thorough nicely laid out presentation of evidence, especially for readers who are used to seeking & searching for scriptural Truth through Paul’s writings first. No reasonable complaints there, however, personally, I, a person with follows the teachings & template of the Son in the gospels, combined, & then therafter, view & analyze the commentary & sometimes not crystal clear explanations as mapped out as appendices of the epistles upon the template. I find that many of the misunderstandings in theological circles are totally avoided if the life, words, & deeds/activities are the first & foremost, prominant focus. Meaning, of course, I would have started out with the post resurrection form of Jesus himself, rather than starting out with what fallible men wrote concerning the to post resurrected men. The layout was great, for the Pauline Christian, but awkward for the follow Jesus only or Jesus first to provide definition & context first believer. Kinda like putting the cart before the horse, like teaching the final & advanced curriculum on the first day to a confused class then instructing on what nuts & bolts even are.

    I would have started out presenting the various scriptures & easy-to-read & understand verses give undeniable proof for the believer in the fundamental gospels that the resurrected Jesus/Ιησούς/Yeshua was, in fact, a physical man, someone to be both seen & touched. I would additionally added the article the initial forbiddance to touch him with his explanation that he had not yet ascended to the Father. Not only does that reveal that he was not a ghost or spirit, as mankind theorizes. And it was not an eternal forbidden, but a not yet.

    You see, the third day after the Passover/1st day of the unleavened bread is the Feast if firstfruits. Apparently, the resurrected Yeshua had to ceremonially present himself, post resurrection to the Father paralleling the convocations of God going on in Jerusalem. He had been the 1st born lamb of God dead to save his people, dead without leaven/sin, resurrected to be a first fruit. Resisting being corrupted through physical touch with a corrupt world until after fulfilling the Father’s will & then only as it promotes His will & purpose. A time for for all things in its season.So logically, after having presented himself, the Son would be okay to touch.

    And he was. The verses about “holding” his feet, & commands to the startled & confused disciples to “touch” him in order to confirm that he was & is not simply a mirage, spirit, or ghost, but rather a physical body. And the third declaration of physicality in the form of a command for Thomas to touch the hallmarks in his hands & put his hand in his side reveal not only a physical body, but that the resurrected body still yet bore marks of the crucifixion torture. The resurrected body was not yet completely restored. This confirms the final restoration & healing of the physical happen in the kingdom, hence the Father wiping away tears & removing pain, & walking with believers in the kingdom. Even The healing of the nation’s with the leaves of the tree which bears 12 fruits monthly is significant. Of course, all of the physicality of these future prophesies can be explained away if one has already supposed a spirit body. But the clear text of at least 3 verses verifying the resurrected Son as physical substance as far as flesh men could touch & see is paramount.

    Albeit, that body must also be able to either pass though stone walls or miraculously unlock doors & enter hiding places such as the Upper Room. Thus, the resurrected body must be both physical & spiritual. Of heaven & earth.

    Notice, the use of the word “also” in 1 Corinthians. Addition, summation, not replacement. Not physical altered to be not physical, meaning becoming only spiritual. Physical becoming also spirit. And like the article intimated, the creation is not to be destroyed, but recreated, anew.

    Additionally, new heavens & a new earth are spoken of as replacing the old ones. The earth & the earthly realm are not completely annihilated. The seas that were formed by the gathering of the waters on the 3rd day are no more. But the earth as a new ultrarefined, purified earth are still an element of the coming kingdom. The meek shall inherit the earth, just not the current corrupted earth. The New Jerusalem will come down to earth, from the heavens, like a bridevadorned for her husband. Physicality is rampant in the kingdom. Thirst is no more, but eating, worship, planting of fig seed, production of figs, & an individual’s ability to retain the sole right for the joyful consumption is clearly physical as well as the permittance to build a person home despite the provision of one by the Father. If a man builds it, he will live in it. No longer will one man build for another to live in. Employers, employees & commerce as we know it will be abolished. A man will be able to work for the direct righteous desires himself while worshipping the Father, & serving the Son, His properly appointed, perfect, acting, eternal king. All of the citizenry of the kingdom will get along, despite the complete healing taking place over time. People who had presupposed spirit bodies & others who had presupposed physical bodies will have to come to terms with themselves & the individuals of the nation’s who believed differently. Everyone is wrong about something & mistaken concerning tons of things, & misjudging without even recognizing they are judging or prejudging.

    Either way, The Israelites of the OT never expected a spirit Messiah. The NT gospels don’t speak of one either. The human Jesus walked on water during his lifetime & stopped a thunderstorm in progress. To this day, even atheists call thunderstorms acts of God. Yet, the Son said that Peter, right then & there was capable of walking upon the very same waters that the Teacher calmed. The physical & the supernatural are not that far apart. Peter stood upon the water yet soon started to sink. Faith is needed to control the physical realm. If men aren’t moving mountains with their willpower that has a mustard seed’s worth of faith now, when are they? Once in the kingdom, faith, the belief in & of what is unproven & unseen will No longer be faith. And if the physical realm were suddenly inconsequential due to spirithood, the promises of the Son would seem wasted air or even false.

    Only a supernatiral, physical body fits the gospels, the OT prophecies, & the epistles & the revelation.

    The men after Adam were born into a corrupted earthly realm. Assuming that the perfect earthly garden of Eden ceased to exist is a dangerous theory. Cheribrum with swords were placed by God to guard the earthly Eden from being entered by a rebellious mankind. It was never stated as ceasing to exist. The new earth of the Father’s kingdom seemingly will be that Eden spread over the whole new, purified earth. No one will fear being naked, because all sin will have been eradicated. Only individuals who would be happy in a sinfree & obedient society will gain entry.

    Jacob described a ladder with angels ascending & descending to & from heaven & walking into Abraham’s camp & walking into the courtyard of Sodom. The Son Saud we will become like angels, not that we would become angels. Furthermore, we will judge angels.

    Our resurrected bodies with still be of the creation, merely the potter will have broken the pots, sinful malformation that occurred after its original formation, Adam, but through the second Adam, Jesus, a better pot is formed, the kiln of Satan will strengthen the remodel, & Jesus will inspect the product, what has endured to the end. If he approves, our substance has really went from evil & sinfulness turned toward the Father, gone away from the courtyard of judgement having received his reprieve, gone & sinned no more, honoring the Father, treating everyone as you would want to be treated, following him, the Son will welcome you in, the corrupted, corruptable body will be transformed into a supernatural incorrptable body. Leaving the body dead in a crypt, a coffin, a mausoleum, an urn, a morgue, ocean burial, is not a resurrection & don’t fulfill all scripture.

    Man does not live by bread alone, but rather by every word/Breath coming out of the mouth if the Father. Stones aren’t truly bread. Men make stones into idols by engraving. The modern form if engraving is printing books or online articles claiming that we become gods. Eating from the tree of life was prohibited by Adam & Eve as they were in an active state of rebellion & shame. For they shall become like us, living forever. Nothing was said they were going to physically change. Seriously, they were already formed in God’s image, male & female. Yet, people worldwide, Catholic & Protestant alike are so much of becoming a spirit. In other words, they are still unhappy with the body given at the time of creation. The light will be 24 hours a day, no coldness, not undue heat, seasonal scarcity of food impossible, personal productivity unhindered, personal health problems repaired, restored, or even given to those who never had, yet man wants to say there’s no substance. The creation with turn into an alternative reality which is all spiritual & only spiritual & all symbolic.

    Now wouldn’t that make the kingdom of heaven a downgrade? God made the heavens & the earth with planning & organization & purpose & made inhabitants for it, but their will be a new heavens & a new earth, where the earth isn’t even solid & the inhabitants aren’t either. The wedding feast where you will be able to eat with Abraham will have no physical food & no physical wine or bread to break.

    I mean, it’s all possible I suppose. But I cant find that in the scriptures nor in the translations from the original tongues of scriptural penmanship.

    Sorry, for going on a tangent.

    This was a great article providing scripture proving the physical body of Jesus having been resurrected. If Jesus had been a spirit after the resurrection, he could have been portrayed like technology portrays most everything these days. A screen, a hologram, facsimile. No, he said touch me, it’s really me.

    If anyone thinks that Jesus resurrected is a familiar spirit of the slain freshly body, that person had better search the OT to see what it says. Familiar spirits are not who they seem. Occult worship.
    We better be careful to recognize who we are bending our knee to. All will bend their knee to the king Jesus, even the most stubborn sinner. So if any entity is demanding the bending of knee on the threat physical death, keep in mind that is not Christ. The unbeliever will bend his knee prior to dying while the believers witness. So the Christs may even seem similar.. The decision is which you follow the authentic Christ or the false pretender who uses fear to gain compliance.

    All will bend knee. And a knee is part of one’s physical body, thank you.

  • Hello Chris,

    Thanks for sharing the exposition here. Have you read over Asher’s work on 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 (Jeffrey R. Asher Polarity and Change in 1 Corinthians 15: A Study of Metaphysics, Rhetoric, and Resurrection (Hermeneutische Untersuchungen Zur Theologie; “SPEIRETAI: Paul’s Anthropogenic Metaphor in 1 Corinthians 4:42-44,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 2001)? It is quite helpful and I highly recommend it if you have not already read over it. For example, he argues persuasively that the ‘seed’ metaphors used in two different sections in the chapter, at vv. 36-37 and at vv. 42-44, do not have the same meaning. The first use refers to the contrast between the body at burial (hence the imagery of being ‘sown’ in the ground) and the resurrection body that leaves the grave behind. He thinks that this leads to the common confusion that the next usage also has the same meaning, but here he points out that the predicates do not apply convincingly to the ‘corpse vs resurrection’ body contrast since some of the predicates do not seem applicable. For example, to describe a corpse as ‘weak’ sounds like a wild understatement. Also, the “σῶμα ψυχικόν” refers to a living body with organic and nutritional needs (on the normative understanding of ψυχικόν in Greek anthropology dating back to Aristotle), but a corpse has no need of nutrition and could not be described as living. For this reason, he locates the meaning of the second ‘seed’ metaphor in an appeal to Greek anthropogenic myths notable even in Corinth for claiming that the people come from the earth and from seeds in some cases. Paul appropriates the anthropogenic accounts and locates it in Jewish framework with the contrast between Adam and Jesus. Hence, the contrasts of opposite properties in vv. 42-44 refers to contrasting properties of Adam’s natural body and Jesus’s resurrection body. Hence, the singular action ‘it is sown’ applies in one case to God’s breathing of life into Adam and in the other to God’s resurrecting Jesus. Adam’s natural body is ‘sown perishable,’ in ‘dishonor,’ ‘weakness,’ ‘animate/natural’ when God breathed life into Adam as Paul reminds us in v. 45. This reading makes sense against the diagram in vv. 39-41:

    Earthly Bodies

    human beings




    Heavenly Bodies




    Paul is thinking in terms of the contrast between terrestrial matter vs celestial matter, a common understanding in the ancient world. The four elements in our sphere include Earth, Water, Fire, and Air whereas the matter of the celestial sphere is a fifth element, the ether. Paul also uses the common Greek understanding of change through an exchange of opposites to make sense of the resurrection for the Greek mind-frame in Corinth since they apparently rejected the idea as absurd. It would be like believing that a human could change into a crocodile…it does not happen. In good dialectic fashion, Paul uses their own understanding of change to appeal to their reason…and this explain why he uses opposites in the 2nd seed metaphor. The underlying material substrate remains the same throughout the exchange and this is what ground numerical identity and makes the resurrection physical. The matter moves from one state as in Adam before physical death to the other state as in Jesus’s glorified resurrection body.

    Just wanted to share some insight from Asher’s work because the work here is highly developed and could stand to benefit from some consideration of his work. There is much potential to glean insights…little pearls of wisdom.

    Thanks again for sharing the hard work.

    Brothers in Christ

  • In a time where science is close to resurrect the dead body of your pet by advanced cloning or even resurrect an extinct species we have to look at the resurrection at a different level. If Jesus did not come to life inside those who follow him his resurrection was in vain. For the materialists amongst us it may be hard to say goodbye to our materialistic body, but to those who want to be part of God again they have to let go of the idea of the everlasting self to encompass the wisdom that one has to accept the death of the self in order to be part of the whole again as in earth to earth, ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

    To live forever
    Is the art
    To learn to live
    In Jesus heart

Written by Tavis Bohlinger