In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul doesn’t fully answer our questions about the resurrection, but he gives us the basic parameters for how to think about it using the analogy of a seed. He says, “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain” (1 Corinthians 15:36–37 ESV). Our physical bodies are like a seed of what we’ll later become.
Think about this for a second. A watermelon seed and a watermelon are made of the same stuff, but the watermelon is awesome and complex and rich and colorful. The watermelon seed is just a boring little black teardrop. The seed and the watermelon are the same, but the adult version is so much more complex. Our bodies now and our resurrection bodies are the same, but the one to come is infinitely more intricate and beautiful.
Here’s how Paul describes them:
1. Our resurrection bodies will be awesome (v. 37).
Our current bodies are like seeds in comparison to the full-grown fruit of our resurrection bodies. We can’t even fathom what they’ll be like. They’ll be limber, without pain, and likely be able to fly and walk through walls. (I don’t think I’m being cheeky with that: Jesus did both of those things with his resurrected body. And he said he was the “firstfruits” of the resurrection to come.) How fantastic will that be, waking up each morning simply feeling awesome?
2. Our resurrection bodies will be eternal (v. 42).
“What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” There will be no more deterioration. No more getting old. No slow decline. Only self-regeneration.
3. Our resurrection bodies will be beautiful (v. 43).
Our bodies will be raised in indescribable beauty. I don’t just mean physical beauty, though I’m sure it includes that. We’re talking about real beauty, the sinless beauty of a soul united to God now reflected in a body.
4. Our resurrection bodies will be powerful (v. 43).
Again, I don’t even fully know what this will entail. Physical power, spiritual power … superpowers? The Bible says that we’ll be like Jesus, and in his resurrected body, he could go fishing, eat meat, and, like I already said, walk through walls and fly. Whatever it is, I’m here for it. We’re not going to need things like walkers or wheelchairs or reading glasses.
5. Our resurrection bodies will be Spirit-filled (v. 44).
We will know the perfect fullness of the Spirit, perfect communion with God. The book of Revelation says that we won’t even need the light of the sun anymore because the Lord our God will be our lamp and our constant, indwelling light.
6. Our resurrection bodies will be perfectly Christlike (v. 49).
No more will we need to be commanded in the ways of God. No more will we have to urge each other, “Know the Lord. Press into him.” Knowledge of him will fill our hearts like the waters cover the sea. The love of God will be poured out in our hearts, and we’ll be just like him, John says, because we’ll see him just as he is.
Church, what’s it like to …
… wake up one day perfectly in Christ’s image?
… not feel jealousy or hatred or anxiety or worry or dread or suspicion or self-centeredness or impatience, all of which flood our hearts almost immediately when our feet hit the floor each morning?
… be filled, consumed with perfect love?
… know joy unspeakable at every moment?
… have the eternal joy of the Trinity pulsating inside of our hearts?
The Bible promises that in the resurrection, this is what we’ll experience. I can’t wait.