I believe we all have been created by God as tripartite men and women. I like the model that we are body, soul and spirit. In an ancient book in my library I found a drawing by Clarence Larkin. (1850-1924), which illustrates this view. Here is an update.The Bible teaches that we (Man) are the true temple where God ultimately dwells. While he was on Mt. Sinai, Moses was shown the temple in heaven from which exact copies were to made in the Jewish Tabernacle, and the two temples in Jerusalem which followed. Visit The Temple Mount in Jerusalem for more.
The resurrection of the mortal does not mean that our present bodies are not redeemable. They are, and will be, redeemed and made new when Christ returns. The redemption of our bodies and the resurrection of the dead are important teachings in the Bible. Therefore my discussion on Man as tripartite is a bit naive and incomplete.
For the sake of my model, our mortal bodies are containers for our Soul and Spirit which are not physical places, or tangible entities. These invisible dimensions number at least ten, according to Chuck Missler. The Bible locates the invisible, unseen realities in “the heavenly place,”
Hence, Romans 6:7-12. "...because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires."
A relevant teaching from the Bible is found in 2 Corinthians. 5:1-5. Several words from the original Greek are of interest. Notice that our present bodies are likened to a temporary tent and our resurrection bodies are instead solid and permanent. Note the verb tense is present tense, “now.” Our present bodies (limited to only four dimensions) are dying but the "dearly departing" as he or she is leaving earth-time experiences immortality immediately. That is, he or she time travels in an instant --"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" --to the First Resurrection--to join all other believers from the departure in this life into the presence of God, as described in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18. Not all men enjoy a personal relationship with the risen Lord Jesus. Though loved by God, some reject Jesus to their dying day. When they die they cannot join the redeemed in heaven. They will be granted their foolish heart's desires and be excluded forever from the presence of God.
"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, [Greek: skenos, a tent] is destroyed, we (now) have [present tense] a building [Greek: oikos, a permanent building] from God, a house (oiketereon) not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him."
The Soul in Larkin’s diagram above interfaces with the body and the external world on the one hand and the Spirit on the inside. The boundary between Soul and Spirit is generally thought as somewhat diffuse. The Soul is usually modeled as “Mind, Emotions, and Will.” The Spirit of a person is thought to dwell in the “Heart” and “Mind” but these entities cannot be localized in our physical brain or our heart muscle. The role of our emotions, our self-image, our personal history our genetic and cultural valises, and such, are probably recorded in data files resident in the body and the soul. From the Bible we can be assured that God has a long memory and does not forget anything we say or do. This, “How shall we escape if we neglect such great salvation...” (Hebrews 2:3) He does promise us, “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
“Soulish” or “Carnal” Christians (old terminology) are said to have excluded Jesus Christ from the control room of the Spirit, allowing Him to influence them only from the Soul. Many professing Christians have not yet surrendered to Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. This step makes all the difference in the world! If Jesus is not my Lord then my final authority is some other god, not Jesus. In terms of man as tripartite, my spirit attempts to live my life from the soul rather than from the innermost chamber, the Holy of holies of my body. My surrender to the Lordship of Christ, allows God the Holy Spirit to rule over all areas of my life. God has my permission to sanctify me. This is step two in His work of making me holy (whole).
The three stages of Christian life are often categorized as Justification, Sanctification and Glorification. (See Romans 8:30) Those persons who do not yet know Jesus in a personal way are described as “dead in trespasses and sins.” But giving Jesus permission to take residence in our Spirit changes everything! “...and you God made alive when you were dead in trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among whom we all once lived...” (Ephesians 2:1-10) The benefit of the tripartite model of Man (in my opinion) is that I can check the state of the Most Holy Place where my spirit lives in union with the Spirit of the Living God. (1 Cor. 6:17)
One final word, the Bible speaks of “man” in the generic sense. Most of the time this term applies to both men and women. Ray Stedman taught that men and women were identical in spirit but different in soul and body. God addresses all of us as living spirits. He speaks to us Spirit to spirit.
My present body is a masterpiece of design, but it leaves somethings to be desired. It hurts, aches, groans. When injured it hurts a lot! My body must be carefully maintained and fed. It’s trapped in time. I’ll get less than a hundred years of service in this body before it’s time for an upgrade. My resilient old body is getting old and seems nowadays to be shutting down. My body fights valiantly against diseases, tolerating much abuse, and still works overtime to repair itself when diseased or damaged. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is at work. Repair, healing, rebounding systems are working less well every day. Not only that but my body is porous spiritually regarding many deleterious outside influences—such as lust, greed, covetousness, lust, envy and selfishness.
For example, the world outside (and within me) besieges all the time enticing me from the reality of knowing and obeying Jesus:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
By nature I was previously dead and unresponsive to Jesus—who is the Source of Life. I may have hoped for a better life, but I was still trapped in an old body in an evil world. Now at least I have been given an entirely new life which struggles against decadence, death and destruction—because Jesus lives within me and His resurrection power countering death is evident in me every day.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
The good news of the Bible is that my upgraded body is not only on order, it is ready for immediate occupancy!
“Brothers, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:17-21)
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing (epiphaneia) of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:8-12)
“For our citizenship (politeuma) is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform (metaschēmatizō) our lowly body (tapeinōsis) that it may be conformed (symmorphos) to His glorious body, according to the working (energeia) by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
“For we know that if our earthly house, (epigeios oikia), this tent (skenos), is destroyed, (katalyō) we (now) have a building (oikodomē) from God, a house (oikia) not made with hands, (acheiropoiētos), eternal in the heavens. For in this (oikia) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-7)
My present body is adjusted and calibrated to last me 70-90 years (Psalm 90). Apparently God can not trust us with more than a century of life on His good earth? This number (70-90 years) is down from the ~900 years people lived before the Flood. We can anticipate moving into our on-order new body starting now! We are actually enabled today to live now “in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” as if we were already wearing our new bodies today. This is evident by looking at the verse tenses in the New Testament passages that describe what actually happens when anyone of us allows Jesus into his life as Lord!
“...you have come (not ‘will come’) to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel(. (Hebrews 12:22-24)
The accounts in the New Testament of the activities of our Lord Jesus after His resurrection (for 40 days) provide a wealth of insights into the nature of resurrection bodies! When Jesus came back from the dead on that Sunday morning He was, after all, in a new body.
“...Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:1-3)
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:4-11)
Therefore, your resurrection body already exists (if you know Jesus):
1. It comes “Ready to Wear.” The new body is not to be found in this life, nor available to be test driven in the present space-time domain, where we are presently imprisoned.
2. Your new body is disease-free, tangible, fully functional home for spirit and soul. No sin, no sickness, no disease, self-renewing.
3. Resurrection bodies are apparently capable of time travel. This is a difficult subject for secular science, confined as science is to very limited spatial and time dimensions. Flights of fancy and fairy tales from SciFi miss the mark as well.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-15)
Jonah walked 600 miles to Nineveh. Possibly he traversed 20 miles per day. Caravansaries for wealthy camel caravans for the rich were there, but no motels, hotels, or hospitality houses existed for the lone prophets of God. No tents nor sleeping bags either--huddle for comfort. Wear a heavy outer garment if you own one. Moses walked xxx miles from the Nile Delta to Mt. Nebo. He put in forty years of active duty on foot. No SUV, no Jeep, probably not even a donkey. Total miles walked in 40 years? The Apostle Paul walked at least x miles in y years. He went on foot mostly but occasionally by boat. There were good Roman roads, but there were many perils.
“...I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things...” (2 Corinthians 11:23-33)
“Frequent flyers” today go z miles a year at 500 mph subsonic. Frequent Flyers build up a thousand miles with ease. Still others take a slow boat to China at 30 knots or drive the highest at 65. Bullet trains on the other hand are faster but they still go only 200 MPH. Cruise ships have all the luxuries of home and more. They cost a lot.
Resurrection bodies will surely be more fun to soar around in than a flying carpet. Expect no clear-air turbulence. No lightning strikes. Good weather I suppose? No airport check-ins or delays. Automated security and safety checks are built in to resurrection bodies? Imagine visiting a far-away friend all the way off in a different land, and by means of a time warp going there in “no time at all!” No jet lag. Back home in time for dinner. Faster than light travel in our future? Why not! ("Sanctified Imagination" is all that is required).
Meanwhile back in conventional space time, “eternal life” means living in the Now without “zoning out.” It’s available today while waiting for our new bodies.
“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Visiting remote places will surely not be a problem. Visit Timbuktu for instance. Jesus probably did not walk to Galilee to serve breakfast to his disciples (John 21) after His resurrection. In a resurrection body one does not need a moped, an SUV or a glorified donkey, as far as anyone I have talked to knows.
Jesus did not apparently overnight in the Garden of Gethsemane after the resurrection, nor crash at some disciple’s house. Apparently Jesus did "commute" from heaven to earth and back to earth again during the forty days between His Resurrection and His Ascension? He did have a new body.
4. My resurrection body is evidently like the new body Jesus now has. Genetically it is probably consistent from my old body to the new. I will be appropriately dressed and not naked. I expect to breathe the air and smell the roses. My earthly origin, family tree, my descent from Adam, my redemptive history remain part of who I became--my records, my “inheritance” was sent on ahead.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
5. New bodies are tangible, recognizable but evidently are equipped with some sort of a cloaking device. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus hid His identity from Cleopas and his traveling companion, until the right time, (Luke 23:13ff).
Food and Water are evidently still needed. Quality time with real people down below is probably readily possible though none of them yet have their resurrection bodies. A fully enjoyable lifestyle is at hand. We will have Eyes that See, and Ears that Hear. Extended range of sensing—but no x-ray vision. Memory healed. Missing limbs restored. Self-repairing. Non-aging.
How old will I look in my new body? Not everyone will look as if they are 30, most likely. Life would be dull, even in heaven, if we were all the same age. So I suppose the populace of New Jerusalem will consist of men, women and children of all ages? The diversity and variety will be great as three main branches of mankind will be there, descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth. There will be no marrying or reproduction as there is now. But new bodies are said to be “glorious.”
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
The resurrection body each Christian will receive at the time we enter heaven, will be like the body Jesus traveled around in during the 40-day interval between His resurrection and ascension.
6. There will be no defects nor breakdowns in a resurrection body.
7. Your work assignment and mine from the time of the Rapture to the Second Advent (in New Jerusalem and elsewhere) will probably be to serve Jesus in the Army of the Lord while living at home in New Jerusalem. There will be plenty to do for those who stay at home and who are not called into “military service.” That great City of New Jerusalem exists now as the eternal home of God’s heavenly people. John the Apostle saw NJ in the First Century--it is not a dream city still on the drawing boards.
The majority of Christians showing up at the Rapture will not be well-read Bible students. Others who understand more will have to explain to others how they arrived home in New Jerusalem and what the future holds (near term and longer). No rivalry, selfish completion or vying for first place. Jesus is Numero Uno.
8. We will be non-frangible in our new bodies. Walking through walls will probably not be a problem. Walk on Water? Probably not a problem.
9. We will be at home in Gardens of Delights. Eden restored! Animals welcome. Plenty of children around.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:6-9)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7)
9. Male and Female, but there will be no reproductive sex, no marriage and giving in marriage. Narnia-ready. Animals surely. Lots of kids. No more people will be needed. Male and Female reflect the Image of God in man, and are features of the original creation and the New.
10. There will be plenty of “time” for everything. Time is multidimensional in New Jerusalem!
11. New bodies come with a whole new new sensor array! Eyes that see, ears that hear...
12. We will probably have the ability to appear and disappear into and out of earth (linear) time. In this light we can see that Jesus did not retire when He ascended into heaven!
Probably New Jerusalem will be “lightly coupled” to earth below, for a season, then the City will descend to earth later. It is helpful to explore the theme of the City of God and the City of man which dates as far back as Augustine. See Jerusalem Above, Jerusalem Below
Consider what we know about His post-ascension activities. Please pay attention to verb tenses!
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”
Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.” (Ephesians 4:7-10)
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
And He has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who (now) fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:15-23)
13. No sleepless nights in heaven. No bad dreams. Most of us live trapped now in linear time. When we see favorable--yet future--promises for our future we easily future evidence as “not yet.” But tomorrow never comes! Jesus came that we might have life now, and have it more abundantly.
How do we know these things?
“... (God)...has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” (2 Timothy 1:9-11)
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud (the Shekinah) received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men (angels) stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:1-11)
“For I (Paul) delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Peter, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
...First: Death is a necessary part of the process. Far from being an obstacle to resurrection, death is essential to it. You can put that in the form of an axiom: Nothing that has never died shall ever be raised from the dead. Obviously if it is going to be raised from the dead it has to die. Therefore, death is not an obstacle to resurrection. It is an ingredient of it and necessary to it. To balk at the fact that people die and the body loses its ability to function and its form and consistency as a body, ought never to be any hindrance to believing that life will emerge from it. The body must die just as the seed must die.
The second lesson that nature teaches us is this: The body that emerges from the seed that dies is different from the one that was planted. Put a grain of wheat or a kernel of corn into the ground and what comes up? Another grain of wheat or another kernel? No! What comes up is a green stem which does not look at all like what you put into the ground. Nevertheless it is tied to it; it is continuous from it; it has an identity with it. There is an undeniable tie with that which you put into the ground, and yet it is not the same; it is the "same" without being similar. Now, if you had never seen that process before, would you have believed it if somebody had said that that is what would happen? You would have looked at him as though he were mad and said, "How can that be?" because you can put almost anything else into the ground and that will not happen. It is one of those miracles that is so familiar to us that we miss the miraculous part of it. But Paul says it happens so frequently there should therefore be no struggle with believing in the resurrection of the dead.
On the occasion reported in the book of Acts where Paul is defending himself before King Agrippa, he says to the king, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead?" Acts 26:8). And why should it, when we have the testimony of nature all around that this kind of thing can and does happen? If it was not incredible in the 1st century how much more should it be believable today, when, by the efforts of science, we know a great deal more about the processes of transferring energy and of retaining life. We are now familiar with a process called "cloning." Scientists say that it is possible to take a single cell of the human body, any cell, it does not have to be a sex cell, and by a process now known in theory, though not yet in practice, to restore that body completely as a human being. Why then should it be thought incredible that God can do it, that all he needs is a single cell from a body to restore the body exactly as it was? Man can do it; surely God will catch up with man one of these days.
Some of the other things that science is facing as possibilities are even more remarkable and confirming of this. Dr. Dirks, who is in this congregation, is in many ways the inventor of the great electronic computers we are so familiar with. Several years ago he told me that it is possible to take the genetic structure of any human being and reduce it to an electronic signal which could then be bounced off the moon and returned to earth and reconstructed as the human being again. If that is possible to science, surely it is possible to God. So why should there be this strange unbelief about the process of resurrection from the dead? Paul says it is foolish to talk that way when there is such a wealth of evidence from nature that this very kind of thing happens all the time.
Paul now faces the skeptics' second question, "With what kind of body do they come?" All right, supposing there is a resurrection, they said, "What is the resurrection body like? How will it differ from the one we have now?" Paul's answer is found in the next ten verses, Verses 39 through 49. He takes it in three movements: First, he goes back again to the lessons which are visible in nature itself; then he draws the parallel with the reality of resurrection; finally, in a great theological argument, he establishes the absolute certainty that this is going to happen. First, the lesson from nature (Verses 39-41):
For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. (1 Corinthians 15:39-41 RSV)
Paul is still back in the world of nature, of observable phenomena, which are designed to teach men spiritual lessons. Here is the first truth that he brings out. All bodies are not alike. Human bodies are different from bird bodies and animal bodies are different from fish bodies. Even the very nature of their flesh is different. If you do not believe that, you are going to have difficulty when you go to a restaurant because you would order beef and they would serve you fish and you would never know the difference. But there is a visible difference. In fact, science confirms this. There is such a difference that a trained scientist can tell whether a single cell comes from a human, an animal, a bird, or a fish. This is a wonderfully truthful and accurate scientific statement of that fact.
The second part of Verse 38 suggests that this difference is a result of the inner difference of nature, or personality, that these beings have. It says, "to each kind of seed its own body." In other words there is a correspondence between what the body looks like and what the being inside is like. That is why animals have various natures. For this reason, animals are used in Scripture as symbols of corresponding qualities about human beings -- wolves are always ferocious and dangerous, sheep are always helpless and needing protection, and pigs are always dirty. All these qualities are there because God wants to demonstrate to us truth about ourselves that we see reflected in the natural world. This is a great truth which I have not time to enlarge upon here. The second thing the apostle says is there are two major divisions of bodies, Verse 40:
There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. (1 Corinthians 15:40 RSV)
Now, "celestial bodies" are heavenly bodies. Paul goes on to list them -- the sun, the moon, the stars. There are also "terrestrial bodies," which are earthly bodies. He has already said what they are -- men, animals, birds, and fish. The point he makes is that there is a marked and deliberate difference between heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. Heavenly bodies shine. That is their function -- to shine, to have a glory about them. Earthly bodies, however, do not shine: They function, they articulate and coordinate in various says. That is the glory of an earthly body.
Heavenly bodies move in limitless space, which we measure in light years, but earthly bodies are limited. They have to function within a very tightly compressed time-space sphere. Heavenly bodies control and influence and affect other things. The sun affects this planet in every way. We are dependent upon it. The moon affects us too. It controls the tides and the seasons and much of our life, in ways we hardly understand. And the stars also affect the earth. So it is the nature of heavenly bodies to control and affect; and it is the nature of an earthly body to respond, to follow, to adapt. Thus Paul is pointing out a very important distinction which nature would teach us if we had the eyes to observe.
The third thing he says here is that there is a difference in the glory of celestial bodies. There is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, "for star differs from star in glory." You know how obviously true that is. The sun shines with a tremendous power. All of earth is dependent upon it. Solar power is far and away the greatest power known to man, and though we have only touched a fraction of its use, all energy in life, basically, comes from the sun. There is a different glory of the moon, but it has a profound effect, even upon lovers. Out together on a moonlit night they will do things they would not have done otherwise. Then the stars differ in glory. As some of you know, I have been enjoying the gift of a hot tub. While lying in it at night, studying the stars in perfect comfort, I have noticed the difference in their magnitude. Some shine brilliantly, while others are very faint and dim. What is Paul saying about all this? Well, he is saying that all this has its parallel in the truth of the resurrection. If you would only read the lessons of nature you would have a panorama of theological truth about the resurrection spread before you. Just open your eyes and see it, he says.
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:42a RSV)
And then he goes on to draw the parallel for us:
What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:42b RSV)
What is there about me that is perishable? Well, it is my body. My body is losing its ability to function. It is perishing; it is decaying; it is gradually slowing down. So are your bodies. They are going to perish one of these days, so do not look at me that way! Just as the seed buried in the ground becomes a beautiful plant, so an earthly body put into the ground in death, or scattered across the oceans, will become a body designed for the heavens, an imperishable body, no longer subject to decay. That is what Paul is teaching us here.
It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. (1 Corinthians 15:43a RSV)
What is it about you and me that is dishonorable? Well, it is the body, isn't it? Let me tell you a secret about mine: It sags; it groans; it even smells. When it dies it will become foul, loathsome. One of the ugly things about the story of Jonestown was what to do with those corrupting bodies that no cemetery now wants to receive. When put into the ground, or in any other way disposed of, the body ends its existence in dishonor. But it will be raised, Paul says, in glory. It will be clean, sweet, fragrant, eternally fresh, and able to function in a marvelous way.
It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. (1 Corinthians 15:43b RSV)
Isn't it amazing how we boast about our strength as human beings, yet just a tiny, invisible microbe can carry us away and end it all? A gnat so small you can hardly see can choke you to death. Human life is really very fragile and very easily ended. Muhammad Ali boasts that he is "the greatest," but a half-sick gorilla with one hand tied behind his back could whip him. There is nothing very impressive there. No, what you see up here, walking around before you, is a body that, Paul says, is suited to the soul:
It is sown a physical [soulish, literally, not physical] body, it is raised a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:44a RSV)
There is a "soulish" body. It is designed to function by the control of my soul -- my mind, my emotions, my will. I like to think of it as a kind of an "earth suit" designed for time, a "time suit" that I live in. It is not me. I live in it. And that is what your body is. I am standing up here wiggling the lips of my "earth suit," and you hear sounds coming out of it. You say that is me speaking to you. Well, yes, you are right. Behind the "earth suit" is me. I could not talk to you without it, but the "earth suit" is designed only for this life. It is not designed for anything else. It works fairly well in this life, but something could happen to this "earth suit" while I am talking to you and I would fall over and somebody would walk up here and say, "He's dead!" But it would not be so. I would not be dead. The "earth suit" would have died, but I would be as alive as I have ever been, and already enjoying the new body, the "heaven suit," the "eternity suit." There is also a body designed for the heavens, as well as the earth, and what the apostle is saying throughout this whole chapter is that there is a definite link between the two.
You see it so wonderfully in the resurrected body of Jesus. He rose from the dead, and yet upon his body still were the marks of crucifixion by which his apostles could be absolutely sure that it was the same Jesus in the same body. And yet what a difference! His body had been glorified, transformed. It was functioning at a different dimension and level of existence. It was able to pass through doors, able to appear and disappear, to eat or not to eat. It was able to function in fellowship with people in their "earth suits" and yet it was able to disappear from the earthly scene and still function in an "eternity suit," a "heaven suit" that God had provided for him. What a marvelous truth this is!
Now we come to the statement of certainty about it in the closing section, beginning in the middle of Verse 44. Paul argues:
If there is a physical [soulish] body [designed to be operated by the soul], there is also a spiritual body [designed to be operated by the spirit]. (1 Corinthians 15:44b RSV)
And then he proves it:
Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being [soul]"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which 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 shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:45-49 RSV)
How certain it is! Paul says there are really only two men who have ever lived in all of history, and both of them he calls "Adam." There is the first Adam and the last Adam. Do not call him "the second Adam" because that would allow for a third and a fourth and a fifth. There are only two -- the first Adam, and the last Adam, Jesus. The only other human being to head up a race is Jesus.
The first Adam, Paul says, was made a living soul. He had a body made from the dust, and into that body of dust God himself, a Spirit, breathed a breath, and the joining together of spirit and body produced another phenomenon called the "soul," the personality. It is the presence of a spirit in a body that creates the soul and allows a person to function as a human being with mind, emotion, and will. That is what the first Adam was. Now, in the fall, the Holy Spirit that dwelt in the human spirit of Adam was withdrawn, and the human spirit was as though it was lifeless and dead. Man, therefore, was governed by his soul, the highest part of his being, which can feel and touch and taste and reason and think, but it has no contact with anything beyond and above. It is "dead in trespasses and sins," ( Ephesians 2:1). We were all born that way. Every human being is a son or daughter of the first Adam by nature.
But then there came a last Adam. Jesus, a life-giving Spirit, came, and as a Spirit he indwells, by faith, our human spirits when we receive him, when we open up our life to him. He regenerates our human spirit, and he is now, from that vantage point within us, beginning to impart life to the soul again, to recapture the mind, the emotions and the will and bring them back under subjection to his Lordship. So we begin to experience in our life, right now, the joy of being once again in right relationship with the God who made us. He is a life-giving Spirit, and he is waiting to impart life to the "earth suit" as well and to make it into a "heaven suit," designed for the heavens. And the order is determined by God:
... it is not the spiritual which is first (1 Corinthians 15:46a RSV)
The Mormon church teaches that we were once spirit beings who then came to earth and became men, but this verse flatly contradicts that. It is not the spiritual which is first, it is the physical. We came into existence on a physical level, but designed by God, beyond that, is the spiritual. That is next, and death is but a stop in that process, and necessary to it. So now we are in a state of transition, as Paul goes on to describe,
The first man was from the earth, a man of dust [and we share that nature from Adam]; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is [notice the change of tense] the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:47-48 RSV)
Let me ask you a question: Are you "of heaven"? Having been born into this race, part of Adam's race, have you gone on to become also a part of the Kingdom of God? Have you opened your heart to him? Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ into your human spirit so that you have the hope expressed here of becoming body, soul, and spirit, a man or woman as God intended a man or woman to be? That is the great question of all time. Are you also of those who are "of heaven?" For the promise is,
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust [we look and act and talk and think like Adam], we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:49 RSV)
I love the way John puts it. He says,
...it does not yet appear what we shall be. [The sons of God do not look any different than anybody else, do they?] But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2 RSV)
What a hope! What a difference that makes to everything in life! It transforms the way you act, the way you think. It transforms your dreams, your aspirations, what you do with your time. Everything is changed if you are a man of heaven as well as a man of the dust.
The New Body: What is it Like? APRIL 08, 1979
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.
There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 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. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-58)
“In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
“Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
“And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.
“Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:1-12)
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:28-31)
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:19-31)
Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says he Lord.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.” (Isaiah 66:1-2)
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