Tuesday, October 24, 2006

the actual resurrection of the body

Last night after a meeting somehow I got into a discussion with a good friend about how our physical bodies will be resurrected from the grave. I am continually surprised at how so many people think that in eternity we won't have physical bodies. Yet this is one of the foundational doctrines of our faith - the resurrection of the body. Check out these passages from I Corinthians 15:
12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

35But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" 36You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41There 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. 42So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (ESV)
One of my favorite Scriptures about the resurrection of the body is Philippians, chapter 3:
20But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21He will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. (NRSV)
One thing that I have noticed in recent years is the increasing popularity of cremation instead of burial. When people ask me if I think its a good option, I usually say I think its fine, but then remind them that God will raise our literal bodies from the grave when Christ returns. And often people act as if they've never heard that before. Its coming folks.
"Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." - Jesus (John 5:28-29 NRSV)

9 comments:

di dooley said...

jason,
not sure i understand your view on cremation. does God not have the power to raise our bodies even after cremation? what about the poor guy burned to a crisp in an explosion.....basically cremeated. does he fall in the catagory of those that have been cremated? i beleive God will bring all of his believers back with the body He wants, i don't beleive a little thing like cremation will stop him.
di

Jason Woolever said...

me neither. i agree with you di doo. i was just saying that i use it for a springboard for conversation about the fact of the upcoming resurrection of our bodies.

God can definitely raise our bodies after cremation just as you said.

JD said...

Jason,

This understanding is part of my theory about age in the Old Testament. In the beginning, our bodies and souls were perfect. In the end, they will be again. The corruption of sin has caused our bodies to deteriorate and untimately "give out."

Just a little something to think about.

PAX
JD

Jason Woolever said...

yeah, i would agree with that JD

Keith Taylor said...

Jason,

I am really enjoying the line of posts that you are putting up the past few days.

I have about decided that I want to be cremated. My personal reason is that I don't think my wife would handle a funeral with a vault and casket very well.

As for the actual, physical resurrection of the body, that is a foundation of my Christian Faith. I will have a raised physical body.

I think that the way you should approach the subject with those who are surprised, is that we will have resurrected bodies exactly like those of the Lord. Christ's body was real. It was touched by many. Thomas put his finger in the nail holes. Christ walked and he ate food after he was raised from the dead. However, He could also appear and disappear at will. He could go through physical barriers. Maybe that is why they think we won't have a physical body.

That is the physical body that we are going to have.

Jason Woolever said...

those are good points to bring up keith. i have to admit that cremation is cheaper. i currently have a mental block to having myself cremated because of my belief in this doctrine.

JD said...

Jason,

I have always thought the same about creation as well. I also believe that the body is the temple of God, yet I have a tatoo, eat really bad food, and don't exercise as much as I should. When you look at it, I am sort of disrespecting the body God blessed me with. I know that I will not get cremated, by choice, but I have run across, fairly recently, very Christian, spiritul people that want their ashes spread across Hawaii.

PAX
JD

Keith Taylor said...

When, I understand the traditional Christian doctrine and the desire for Christian burial.

However, what if you or I went to Alaska, and while we were there, we got attacked by a Grizzly Bear and completely eaten and then defecated all over the great Northwest Territory?

If God is fully capable of creating the Heavens and Earth out of nothing, (and I fully believe it to be a fact that he did!) then He is also capable of finding my individual molecules and atoms and putting them back together. Or giving me a new physical body and putting my soul back into to.

Jason Woolever said...

you're right keith. I really like the Grizzly Bear analogy! Very graphic!