June 23, 2013

Commentary on First Corinthians

By: Tom Lowe

Topic #9: The Problem of the Resurrection of Christ and of Believers, 1 Corinthians 15.1-15.58


Lesson 9.5: The Resurrection Body

 Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15.35-50

1 Cor 15.35-50 (KJV)

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 

43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 



35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 

But some man will say, 

The apostle probably means by “some man,” the false apostle, or teacher at Corinth, who was the chief antagonist in opposing the pure doctrine of the Gospel, and to whom he often refers, in this clandestine way.

“Some man,” will object to the statement that the dead will be raised. In this chapter the apostle answers the objection, which is presented as a two-fold question: How are the dead raised up? What kind of a body do they have? It is apparent from 1 Corinthians 15:12 that objections were made to the doctrine of the resurrection—“ Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Some of these people had backgrounds of Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Platonism and they were denying the Resurrection. It wasn’t that they were specifically denying the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but they did not believe in any resurrection at all. 

Paul will answer both questions: the how and the what. Today men fail to recognize the difference between the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul. Plato and Cicero argued from the immortality of the soul. Paul is arguing for the resurrection of the body. The Sadducees denied any resurrection, and that there was any life after death. And Christ Himself had answered that group: “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:31–32). Jesus attacked the Sadducees’ major belief in no resurrection at all, by quoting Exodus 3:6, a statement from the only part of the Old Testament which the Sadducees unquestioningly accepted. He related the eternal “I am” of God to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) to demonstrate that they were of the living, or immortal (a fact unlikely to be denied by the Sadducees in a public dispute). God is not the God of the dead does not mean that He has no relationship to those who have departed; it means that the departed are not really dead, and are therefore still responsible to the living God. The crowd was astonished at Jesus words and the Sadducees were put … to silence.

The first question Paul answers is— 

How are the dead raised up? 

This question deals with how life can come from death—how are they raised up? That is, "By what means? How can they be raised? What power is capable of producing this effect?—and Paul answers it in 1 Corinthians 15:36-38, with an analogy from everyday life. That it was not within the scope of divine power to make mortal men immortal, or revive and restore the dead was an opinion that prevailed among the heathens, and the Sadducees. Men of this sort seem to have been among the Corinthians who denied the resurrection of the dead, and asked here, "How are they raised? How are the dead raised up? In what way or manner, and by what means are they raised. How could they be raised? It is utterly impossible?’’ 

The question is one which would likely be asked by the clever and skeptical Greeks; but it is substantially the same as that which has been asked in all ages. "How is it possible to raise the dead? They return to their native dust. They decay, crumble, and their parts become entirely disorganized. Their dust may be scattered by the wind; so how could it be recollected? Or they may be burned at the stake; how then could the particles which composed their bodies be recollected and reorganized? Or they may be killed and eaten by wild beasts, the carrion birds, or the fishes of the sea and their flesh may have served as food for other animals; how can it be recollected and reorganized? Or it may become food (fertilized) for plants; how can it be remolded into a human body?"

It is foolish to deny a fact of REVELATION, because we do not know the "how" of it. Some measure God's power with their meager intelligence, and they won't admit, even on His assurance, anything which they cannot explain. Ezekiel's answer of faith to the question is the truly wise one—“He asked me: Son of man, can these bones come to life? “Lord GOD,” I answered, “you alone know that” (Eze 37:3; NABWRNT). These bones scattered all over the place are human bones, and the question that is put to Ezekiel is, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel answers, “O Lord GOD, thou knowest.” In other words, he said, “I don’t see how they could. It’s beyond me—You alone know whether these dead bones can live or not!” If God says it, then I believe it! And when Jesus argues a point it is not based on principles of philosophy, but wholly on "the power of God," as declared by the Word of God—“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26; KJV). (see also Mark 10:27, Mark 12:23, Luke 18:27).

The second question Paul answers is— 

and with what body do they come?

This is the second objection or inquiry which he answers. It may be understood to mean, "What will be the form, the shape, the size, the appearance of the new body? Are we to imagine that all the material of which it was composed is to be recollected, and then organized into a new body? Are we to believe that it will be the same as it was before, with the same appearance, the same senses, and the same needs and desires? Are we to presume that the old will be raised as old, and the young as young, and that infants will be raised in the same state they were in when they died, and then to remain infants forever? Are we to expect that the bodies will be composed of disgusting, rotting material that needs care and nourishment, or, that there will be a new glorious body?" All these and numerous other questions have been asked, in regard to the bodies at the resurrection; and it is not the least bit unlikely that they were asked by the clever and philosophizing Greeks, and that they comprised a part of the reasoning of those who denied the doctrine of the resurrection. This question, or objection, is answered by the apostle in 1 Corinthians 15:39-50. 

The dead are said to depart, or to be deceased, whereas those who rise again are said to “come.” The dissenter could not understand how the dead are to rise, and what kind of body they are to have. Is it to be the same body with similar shape, and form, and stature, and members, and qualities? If so, how is that possible, since the resurrection bodies will not eat or drink, or beget children, like the natural bodies do? Besides, the latter have decomposed until, in their final state, they just dust. How then can they rise again? If they must rise in a different body, how can their personal identity be preserved? Paul’s answer will be along this line, “In one sense it will be the same body, in another, a distinct body. It will be a spiritual body, not a natural, body.” His answer will be given in three parts:

First, by a similitude, 1 Corinthians 15:36-38.

Secondly, by an application, 1 Corinthians 15:39-41.

Thirdly, by explanation, 1 Corinthians 15:42-50.

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 

“Thou fool” (Foolish, inconsiderate man!)—If this is addressed to anyone it is probably meant for the false apostle which had become one of the leading men at Corinth. There is a peculiar respectability in it, since this man seems to have exaggerated his own wisdom, and set it up against both God and man; and no one but a fool would do that. At the same time, it is foolish for anyone to claim that something is impossible just because he cannot comprehend it.

“Is not quickened.” Does not become alive; does not grow. 

Here Paul answers the question “How are the dead raised up?” In his reply, the apostle uses a similitude to show them that the resurrection was to be brought about by divine power, that very power which they were all familiar with, because they had all observed something very much like it, year after year, in the death and revival of the corn seed; and therefore it was a weak argument and a stupid one too, to doubt whether the resurrection of the dead could be brought about by the same power. Whenever a seed is sown in the ground it must first die before it can germinate—“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24; RSV). When our Lord says “verily,” He is about to say something very important to hear. And when He says, “verily, verily,” it is of supreme importance. His point is, “Seeds which are not sown are alone, but the seeds which are sown, die, and in so doing bring forth a harvest. Christ used this parable to illustrate His death, which will produce a rich spiritual harvest. Paul uses the same illustration, but for a different purpose—to show how the dead are resurrected. The seed must first decay, before it will quicken and spring up. It not only sprouts after it is dead, but it must die so that it may live. A seed that is planted will produce seeds which are essentially the same as that seed. But the seed itself has died and disintegrated, so that the seed it produces is not the very same seed that died. It is like that seed, but it is not the same seed. In the seed that is planted there is disintegration and yet there is permanence. It is a mystery, but it is not impossibility. Now, I will attempt to provide a scientific explanation of the process of germination. A grain of wheat, etc., is composed of the body or lobes, and the germ. The latter forms an inconsiderable part of the mass of the grain; the body, lobes, or starchy part, forms most of the mass of the grain. This body dies—becomes decomposed, and forms a fine earth, from which the germ derives its first nourishment; from this nourishment the germ is revitalized, it receives its first vegetable life, and through this means it becomes capable of deriving the rest of its nourishment and support from the soil in which the grain was deposited. 

What is death? Death is a separation. It is not the ending of the spirit or of the personality. These do not die. The real “you” goes on to be with the Lord if you are a child of God. It is the body that disintegrates. Death is a separation of the body from the individual, from the person. The body disintegrates, decays, decomposes. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes apply only to the body.

And why would anyone be so foolish that they would suppose that a dead man cannot be made to live again, by the same power which year after year brings the dead grain to life? This is the substance of the apostle’s answer to the first question. Note, it is a foolish thing to question the divine power to raise the dead, when we see it every day quickening and reviving things that are dead.

The objection was, that the body died, and returned to dust, and could not, therefore, rise again. The reply of Paul is, "You may make the same objection to grain that is sown. That it dies also. The main body of the kernel decays. In itself there is no prospect that it will spring up. Should it stop here, and had you never seen a grain of wheat grow—had you only seen it in the earth, as you have seen the body in the grave-there would be the same difficulty as to HOW it would produce other grains, which there is about the resurrection of the body."


37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 

And that which thou sowest, 

“And that which thou sowest” means the seed which is sown. That which is produced is very different from that which is planted; grain is sown, but a plant is the result. We sow, not the plant that comes forth, but only a bare seed.

thou sowest not that body that shall be, 

Now Paul uses the sowing of grain, something with which the Corinthians were familiar, to illustrate a concept that would otherwise be difficult for them to understand.  You sow one kernel which will produce many others, but they shall not be the same as that which was sown. They will be new kernels raised from that one seed; they will be the same as the seed, with respect to kind and appearance. It is implied through this illustration, that the body which will be raised will not be the same as the one that died in the sense that it will not be composed of the same particles of matter. It will be the same only in the sense that it will have developed (or sprung up) from that original body. It will incorporate the same order, rank, and species of being; it will be subject to the same laws, and deserve the same course of treatment as that which died; as the grain produced is subject to the same natural laws, and will belong to the same rank, order, and species as that which is sown. And, just as the same particles of matter which are sown do not enter into that which shall be harvested, so it is that the same particles of matter which constitute the body when it dies, do not constitute the new body at the resurrection.

Christ is the firstfruits, and then we’ll be coming along later. We are waiting for the rapture of the church when Christ takes the believers out of the world. If at the time of the Rapture we are already dead, we will be raised up. If we are still alive at the time of the Rapture, we’ll be caught up and changed. The seed, you see, does not provide itself with a new body, neither does the sower, but God provides it.

BODY — the material or physical part of a person, whether alive or dead. Some religions consider the body evil or inferior to the soul, but the Bible teaches that the body is God’s good gift to us (Gen. 1:31). It is a necessary ingredient for a fully human existence (Gen. 2:7). In the Old Testament the word “body” sometimes means “corpse” (Num. 6:6). Occasionally the reference is to the body as that part of a person that is involved in reproduction (Deut. 28:4).

In the New Testament these Old Testament meanings are carried forward, but new insights appear. Paul teaches that the body is often the instrument of sin (1 Cor. 6:18); that the body must die as a penalty for sin (Rom. 7:24); and that sin dishonors a person’s body (Rom. 1:24). On the other hand, believers in Christ may “put to death the deeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13) and present their bodies as holy sacrifices that please God (Rom. 12:1).

Since human life requires a body, and sometimes the term “body” symbolizes the whole person. Both Jesus and Paul used the word in this way (Matt. 6:22–23; Phil 1:20). The Bible reveals little about existence after the death of the body. But complete salvation and full humanity begin not at death but at the return of Christ. Only then do believers receive their eternal resurrection bodies (1 Cor. 15:35–49).

but bare grain, 

“But bare grain” refers simply to grain; a mere kernel, without any husk, leaf, blade, or covering of any kind. Those things are added in the process of reproduction. The design of the seed is simple to make what is produced from it appear more remarkable. It was not only the grain that would be produced, but there were also the appendages and ornaments of blade, and flower, and beard of the new grain. How could anyone tell but what it would be likewise in the resurrection? How could anyone know but what there might be appendages and ornaments on the new body, which were not part of the body that died? 

The seed undergoes a germination process to become body beautiful and no longer a "bare grain.” No longer without stalk or ear, but clothed with blade and ears, and yielding many grains instead of only one. All the particles of the old body are not identical to all the particles of the new body, because the perpetual transformation of matter is inconsistent with this. But there is a hidden germ which constitutes the identity of the body and that part does not change, even though there may be many outward changes: the outward layers fall off in its development, while the germ remains the same. Every such germ (seed) "shall have its own body"—“But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body” (1 Cor 15:38; KJV). And is there any other way of accounting for it but by the miraculous working of God's power? Because out of that one bare grain is produced a system of roots, a tall and vigorous stalk, with all its appendages of leaves, etc., besides the full ear of corn; the whole making several hundred times the quantity of what was originally planted. There is no evidence that what some call nature can effect this process: it will always be a philosophical as well as a Scriptural truth, that God giveth it a body as it pleaseth him; and that is how He manages all His work, by seeing to it that every seed has its own body: that the wheat germ will never produce barley; or the rye germ produce oats.

Every seed of a particular kind looks the same and can be instantly recognized, just as the appearance of each plant can now be known from the seed that was sown. Therefore, Christ by using the same image illustrated the truth that His death was the necessary prelude to His putting on His glorified body, which is the ground of the regeneration of the many who believe—“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24; KJV). Seeds which are not sown are alone. The seeds which are sown, die, and in so doing bring forth a harvest. Christ used this to illustrate His death, which will produce a rich spiritual harvest. Progress is the law of the spiritual, as well as the natural world. Death is the avenue not to mere revitalization or reanimation, but to resurrection and regeneration. 

(Matthew 12.28; NKJV): “So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Seeds which are not sown are alone.” The seeds which are sown, die, and in so doing bring forth a harvest. Christ used this to illustrate His death, which will produce a rich spiritual harvest.

(Philippians 3.21): “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” “Our vile body” might be better translated “body of humiliation” or “body of corruption.” It means that He shall change our earthly body. This body that we have is an earthly body, subject to all kinds of limitations. It is adapted to this earth. We are not naturally equipped to go up into space. Our bodies are earthly bodies, and they are corruptible. But one of these days you and I will move out of these bodies. We will leave them because they are corruptible. They are going to be changed—I’d like to trade mine in right now for one—“fashioned like unto his glorious body.” It will be a body like the one the Lord Jesus had after His resurrection. It will be a glorified body. Paul speaks of it in his letter to the Corinthians: “Behold, I shew 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 trump …” (1 Cor. 15:51–52). The point is that it will be sudden—when the trumpet shall sound.

(Romans 6.5; KJV): “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” In other words, if we are united by being grafted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also united by growth—grafted, vitally connected—in the likeness of His resurrection. We actually share the life of Christ somewhat as a limb grafted into a tree shares the life of the tree. The life of Christ is our life now.

it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

The apostle has been talking about the germination and growth of a corn seed, but here he said it could produce wheat or some other grain: For example; suppose it produces wheat or any other grain. The apostle mentions this merely for an example; he does not intend to imply that there is any chance that it could happen. 

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 

But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, 

You will recall that the second question was “and with what body do they come?” Paul begins here to answer that question and his response will take longer than his answer to the first question, “How are the dead raised up?”

He begins by observing that there is a change made in the grain that is sown: It is not the body that will be that is sown, but simple grain, of wheat or barley, or corn etc.; but God gives it whatever body He pleases, and in a way of His choosing, in order to distinguish the various kinds from each other. Every seed sown has its distinctive body, is composed of materials, and shaped in a manner, that are proper for it only; proper for that kind only. This is clearly within the divine power, although we do not know how it is done, any more than we know how a dead man is raised to live again. It is certain the grain undergoes a great change, and it is implied in this passage that the dead will too, when they rise to live again, in their bodies.

Although he has been teaching primarily regarding the process a seed goes through to become a mature plant, the word “body” here, as applied to grain, seems to mean the whole system, or arrangement of roots, stalks, leaves, flowers, and kernels that is a product of the seed that is sown. The meaning is that God determines the form of the plant that is produced from the seed that is sown. Paul here traces the outcome back to God as creator/designer, to show that it is not a matter of chance, and that it did not depend on the nature of things, but was dependent on the wise plan, preparation, and arrangement of God. There was nothing in the decaying kernel itself that would produce this result; but God determined it would be so. There is nothing in the decaying body of the dead which in itself would lead to the resurrection; but God chose to make it so.

At creation, He gave to each of the (kinds of) seeds a body of its own (Ge 1:11, "after its kind," suited to its species). Similarly, God can and will give to the blessed at the resurrection their own appropriate body and He will be pleased to do it, because it will be appropriate for their glorified state: a body peculiar to the individual, substantially the same as the body sown.

All of nature illustrates the providential control of God. The precise nature of the body of every living thing is determined by the good pleasure of God. All of this is the mystery of life. Actually the mystery of life is greater than the mystery of death. When you sow wheat, wheat comes up—not barley or corn. That little grain that forms on the stalk is like the one you sowed—not identical, but certainly very similar. A new and incorruptible body will be received by those who are raised from the dead by the power of God. It, however, maintains the continuity and identity of the human person.

and to every seed his own body.

“His own body” is that which belongs to it, is appropriate for it, and is of the same kind. He does not cause a stalk of rye to grow from a kernel of wheat, or of corn from barley; or of potatoes from beans. He has fixed proper laws, and he makes sure that they are observed. It will be the same in the resurrection. Every one shall have his own, i.e. his proper body—a body which shall belong to him, and is suited to him. The wicked will not rise with the body of the just or with a body adapted to heaven; nor will the saint rise with a body adapted to perdition. There shall be a fitness or appropriateness in the new body to the character of the one who is raised. The argument here is intended to answer the question HOW would the body be raised; and the fact is, that there is nothing more remarkable and impossible in the doctrine of the resurrection than in the reality constantly before us, that grain that seems to rot sends up a shoot or stalk, and is reproduced in a wonderful and beautiful manner. In a manner similar to this, the body will be raised; and the illustration of Paul meets all the difficulties about the fact of the resurrection. It cannot be shown that one is more difficult to understand than the other; and as the facts of vegetation are constantly passing before our eyes, we should not think it strange if similar facts shall come to our attention in regard to the resurrection of the dead. 

SEED — a fertilized and ripened egg cell of a plant, capable of sprouting to produce a new plant. The word seed is also used figuratively in the Bible to express several important truths. It refers to human descendants or offspring (Gen. 21:12). The apostle Paul explained that the seed of Abraham not only referred to his physical descendants, “but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham” (Rom. 4:16). In Galatians 3:16, Paul went even further, stating that Abraham’s seed is Jesus Christ rather than the nation of Israel.

Jesus often used the imagery of seeds in His parables. In the 13th chapter of Matthew, He told three different parables involving seeds: the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:3–9, 18–33), the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13:24–30, 36–43), and the parable of the mustard seed (Matt. 13:31–32). He compared His own death and resurrection in a figurative sense to the sowing of seeds (John 12:24). And, of course, Paul uses the seed to illustrate the resurrection of the body in this passage.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 

All flesh is not the same flesh: 

There is a great deal of variety among bodies, as there is among plants: although all bodies have flesh; All flesh is not the same; the flesh of men is one kind, the flesh of beasts is  another, the flesh of fishes is still another, and the flesh of birds is another kind. There is a variety of flesh in all the various kinds, and every kind has something unique to its particular kind, to distinguish it from the others. Though the relationship and function of the components comprising all animals is generally the same, yet there are not two different kinds of animals that have flesh with the same flavor, whether the animal is beast, fowl, or fish. And this is precisely the same with vegetables.

This verse and those that follow are designed to answer the question in verse 35—“with what body do they come? And the argument here is, that there are many kinds of bodies; that none of them are alike; that while they are bodies, yet they have different qualities, forms, and properties; and therefore, it is not unreasonable to presume that God may transform the human body into a different form, and cause it to be raised up with somewhat different properties in the future heavenly world. Why (as the argument continues) should it be regarded as impossible? Why should it be assumed that the human body may not undergo a transformation, or that it will be absurd to suppose that it may be different in some respects from what it is now? Is it not a matter of fact that there is a great variety of bodies on the earth at the present time? The word flesh is used here to stand for body, as it does in 1 Corinthians 5:5—“deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (also see 2 Corinthians 4:11, 7:1; Philippians 1:22,24, Colossians 2:5, 1 Peter 4:6). The idea here is that although all the bodies of animals may be composed of essentially the same elements, yet God has produced them in a wonderful variety in regard to their structure, strength, beauty, color, and places of habitat (air, earth, and water); therefore, it is not necessary to suppose that the body that shall be raised will be precisely like that which we have now. It is certainly possible that there may be as great a difference between our new body and our present body, as between the most perfect outward appearance of the human form in the here and now, and the lowest reptile. It would still be a body, and there would be nothing irrational about the transformation. The body of the worm, the chrysalis, and the butterfly is the same. It is the same animal, but in three forms. But still, how different the gaudy and gay butterfly is from the creeping and unpleasant caterpillar! In view of that, there may be a similar change in the body of the believer, and yet it will still be the same. I would ask one of the many skeptics on this subject whether he had received a revelation of the changes which a caterpillar must undergo before it became a butterfly—a new species of existence adapted to a new element, requiring new food, and associated with new beings—if he had never seen such a transformation, I believe he would have as much difficulty accepting metamorphosis as he does the doctrine of the resurrection? The skeptic would no more have believed it on the authority of revelation than he will believe the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. 

FLESH - the physical bodies of humans or animals. When God removed a rib from Adam with which he created Eve, he closed up the place with flesh (Gen. 2:21). The apostle Paul spoke of the flesh of men, beasts, fish, and birds (1 Cor. 15:39).

The imagery of flesh expresses several different ideas in the Bible. Rather than only the "fleshy" parts of the body, the word could also refer to the entire body (Gal. 5:13). From this idea, the concept of a fleshly or human bond between people follows. A man and his wife "shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24), while a man can tell his family that "I am your own flesh and bone" (Judg. 9:2). "Flesh" is even used occasionally to describe all of mankind, and even animals (Gen. 6:3).

Biblical writers thought of the flesh as weak. The Psalmist sang, "In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?" (Ps. 56:4). The weakness of the flesh was blamed for the disciples’ inability to keep watch with Jesus in Gethsemane on the eve of His crucifixion (Mark 14:38).

In an even stronger sense, flesh is the earthly part of a person, representing lusts and desires (Eph. 2:3). The flesh is contrary to the Spirit (Gal. 5:17). Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:8). Galatians 5:19-23 contrasts works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. The flesh is not completely condemned, because Christ Himself was described as being "in the flesh" (1 John 4:2). Christ alone is our salvation, since by the works of the law "no flesh shall be justified" (Gal. 2:16).

but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

The apostle implies by the word “flesh” that our resurrection bodies will be in some sense really flesh, not mere phantoms of air, or ghost like. Consequently some of the oldest creeds expressed it this way, "I believe in the resurrection of the flesh." Instead, it will be comparable to Jesus' own resurrection body—“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39; KJV). He told them to handle Him and see Him. He ate before them. Jesus did all this to show them that He was not, as they thought, a spirit. And what better evidence could He have given them? He appealed to their senses, and performed acts which a disembodied spirit could not do. Doubting Thomas would not believe that Jesus was resurrected, but Jesus convinced him by appearing to him in His resurrection body, and “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” (John 20:27; NABWRNT). The biblical record doesn’t tell us that he ever reached out his hand to touch Him. He didn’t have to. I know that today there are many people who say, “If only I could see Him, if only I could touch Him, then I would believe.” The problem is not with the lack of available evidence of the death and Resurrection. The problem is in the human heart.

God will meet with a man who may have some honest doubt, but I do not think He deals with dishonest doubts. Many people say they can’t believe the Bible. They claim their problem is intellectual. Most people will not believe the Bible because they have moral problems. A man told me that he couldn’t believe the Old Testament. Later I learned that he is living in adultery. The Old Testament says “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exod. 20:14). He doesn’t want to believe the Old Testament, because it says he is a sinner, and he doesn’t like that. However, I am confident that God will always meet an honest doubter.

You will never find a higher testimony to the Lord Jesus than the one given by Thomas. It is one of the great confessions of Scripture—“Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (John 20.28; KJV). For a Jew to say “My Lord and my God” is the absolute pinnacle of faith. This comes from the lips of that doubter, Thomas. Our resurrection Body will be like Jesus’ body, like the body Thomas saw, and therefore it will be flesh, but not animal flesh which is prone to corruption—“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Php 3:21). But 1 Co 15:50 below implies, it is not "flesh and blood" in the animal sense because now we understand that these "shall not inherit the kingdom of God."


40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 

In order to understand this verse, we must first know the meaning of “glory.” “Glory” is beauty, power, or honor; a quality of God’s character that emphasizes His greatness and authority. The word is used in three senses in the Bible:

1. God’s moral beauty and perfection of character. This divine quality is beyond human understanding (Ps. 113:4). All people “fall short” of it (Rom. 3:23).

2. God’s moral beauty and perfection as a visible presence. While God’s glory is not a substance, at times God does reveal His perfection to humans in a visible way. Such a display of the presence of God is often seen as fire or dazzling light, but sometimes as an act of power. Some examples from the Old Testament are the pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. 13:21), the Lord’s deliverance of the Israelites at the Red Sea (Exodus 14), and especially His glory in the tabernacle (Lev. 9:23–24) and Temple (1 Kin. 8:11).

Since the close of the Old Testament, the glory of God has been shown mainly in Christ (Luke 9:29–32; John 2:11) and in the members of His church. Christ now shares His divine glory with His followers (John 17:5–6, 22), so that in their lives Christians are being transformed into the glorious image of God (2 Cor. 3:18). Believers will be fully glorified at the end of time in God’s heavenly presence (Rom. 5:2; Col. 3:4). There the glory of God will be seen everywhere (Rev. 21:23).

3. Praise. At times God’s glory may mean the honor and audible praise that His creatures give to Him (Ps. 115:1; Rev. 5:12–13).

4. In common everyday use the word has several meanings: 

a. Very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown: to win glory on the field of battle. 

b. Something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride: a sonnet that is one of the glories of English poetry. 

c. Adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving: Give glory to God.

d. Resplendent beauty or magnificence: the glory of autumn. 

e. A state of great splendor, magnificence, or prosperity. 

In this verse “glory” may bring together several of these meanings—“Very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent (or by God) due to the object’s resplendent beauty, magnificence, splendor, or success. 

The apostle declares that “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial,” but he does not speak of celestial and terrestrial bodies in the sense in which we use those terms: we invariably mean by the former the sun, moon, planets, and stars; by the latter, masses of inanimate matter. But the apostle speaks of human beings, some of which were clothed with celestial bodies and others with terrestrial bodies. It is very likely, therefore, that by celestial bodies he means those improved human bodies with which Enoch, Elijah, and Christ himself, appear in the realms of glory: to which we may add the bodies of those saints which arose after our Lord's resurrection; and, after having appeared to many, were taken up to paradise. By terrestrial bodies we may take him to mean those in which the saints now live.

The apostle hastens to point out that there is a difference in the glory possessed by these two bodies. But the glory of the celestial is one; that is, the excellence, beauty, and perfection of it, is one kind of glory. Even the present frail human body possesses an indescribable degree of innovation, art, efficiency, order, beauty, and excellence; but the celestial body, that in which Christ now appears, and the one in which we will be raised (Philippians 3:21), will exceed the excellence of this one beyond all expectations. A glory or splendor will belong to the resurrection body which does not belong to this one: here there is a glory of excellence; there, there will be a glory of light and splendor; because the bodies of the saints shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father—“Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43; KJV). The splendor, beauty, dignity, and magnificence of the heavenly bodies differ a great deal from those on earth. That is one thing; the beauty of earthly objects is another and a different thing. There is Beauty in the human form; beauty in the plumage of birds; beauty in the flowers, the fossil, the mineral, the topaz, and the diamond, yet they differ from the heavenly bodies, and are not to be compared with them. Why should we think it strange that there may be a similar difference between the body as it has been adapted to its residence here and as adapted to its residence in heaven?

Earthly bodies are not adapted to the heavenly regions, nor heavenly bodies fitted to the condition of earthly beings. 

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 

The sun has one amount of magnificence, and the moon another, and the stars have yet another amount. They differ from each other in magnitude, in intensity, and in splendor. The idea in this verse differs from that in the former. In 1 Corinthians 15:40, Paul says, that there was a difference between the different categories of bodies; between those in heaven and those on earth. He says here that in the former class, that is, in the heavenly bodies themselves, there was a difference. They not only differed from those on earth, but they differed from each other. The sun was more impressive than the moon, and one star more striking than another. The idea here is, therefore, not only that the bodies of the saints in heaven shall differ from those on earth, but that they shall differ among themselves, in a sense somewhat like the difference that exists between the magnificence of the sun, the moon, and the various stars. The thought is, that to every condition is given a form suited to that condition. Though all bodies shall be different from what they were on earth, and all shall be glorious, yet there may be a difference in their splendor and glory. The argument then is this: “Since we can see for ourselves such great differences in the creations of God, why should we doubt that he is able to make the human body different from what it is now, and to endow it with immortal and eternal perfection.” 

“There is one glory of the sun” and this may be illustrated by the appearance of the celestial bodies which belong to our system. The sun has a greater degree of splendor than the moon; the moon than the planets; and the planets than the stars. And even in the fixed stars, one has a greater degree of splendor than another, which may be due to either their different sizes, or their distance from our earth, or from some other yet undiscovered cause.

All this is said in order to suggest to us that the bodies of the dead, when they rise, will have been changed, so that they will be suitable for the heavenly regions, and that there will be a variety of glories (see v. 40 for meaning of glory) among the bodies of the dead, when they shall be raised, as there was among those same bodies when they lived, as there is among the sun, and moon, and stars, and among the stars themselves. This argument carries along with it an assumption that it must be as easy for divine power to raise the dead, and restore their decomposed bodies, as it is to form out of the same materials so many different kinds of flesh and plants, and, for all we know, celestial bodies as well as terrestrial ones. The sun and stars may, for all we know, be composed of the same elements as the earth we walk on, although divine skill and power may have refined and changed them. Standing, as we do in the midst of this wonderful universe, in which we see matter in every conceivable modification, from a clod of earth to a sunbeam, from dust to the luster of the human eye, how unspeakably absurd it is to say that if we are to have bodies in the hereafter, they must be as gross, and heavy, and as corruptible as those which we have now. Does anyone think that God can form various beings out of the same materials, and yet He is not able to raise the dead? There is nothing unreasonable about the doctrine that our present bodies differ from our resurrection bodies, while still continuing to be bodies. 

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 

“So it is with the resurrection of the dead.” That is to say, just as the heavenly bodies differ from the earthly bodies, and as one star differs from another star, so shall the resurrection body differ from our present body. The apostle does not mean that one risen believer will differ from another in the same way one star differs from another star, in glory. This, no doubt, is true; but it is not what Paul has in mind here. His intention is simply to show the absurdity of the objection based on the assumption that the resurrection body must be the same as it is here. To that end, he shows that it will be a body and yet differ as much from what it is now as the light of the sun differs from a clod of dirt.

Though the bodies of the dead (of both the saved and lost) are all immortal, they shall possess different degrees of splendor and glory, according to the state of holiness in which their respective souls were found (of course those who reject Christ will be without any splendor or glory). We must remember that Paul is speaking only of believers. I find it interesting that the rabbis have some crude notions concerning different degrees of glory, which the righteous shall possess in the kingdom of heaven. They suggest there will be seven degrees:

"The first of which is possessed by ‏(צדיקים‎  tsaddikim) the just, who observe the covenant of the holy, blessed God, and subjugate all evil affections."

"The second is possessed by those who are (‏ישרים‎  yesharim) the upright; whose delight it is to walk in the ways of God and please him."

"The third is for ‏(תמימים‎  temimim) the perfect: those who, with integrity, walk in the ways of God, and do not curiously pry into his dispensations."

"The fourth is for (‏קדושים‎  kedoshim) the holy ones; those who are the excellent of the earth, in whom is all God's delight." Psalm 16:3.

"The fifth is for ‏(בעלי תשובה‎  baaley teshubah) the chief of the penitents; who have broken through the brazen doors, and returned to the Lord."

"The sixth is for ‏(תינוקות של בית רבן‎  tinukoth shel beith raban) the scholars and tender ones; who have not transgressed."

"The seventh is for ‏(‎chasidim) the godly and this is the innermost of all the departments." 

These seven degrees speak for themselves. There is a saying among the rabbis very like that of the apostle in this and the preceding verse: "The faces of the righteous shall be, in the world to come, like suns, moons, the heaven, stars, lightnings: and like the lilies and candlesticks of the temple." How wonderful would it be to be one who belongs in that first degree; but just to be there will be glory for me!

 “It (the body) is sown in corruption;” in death; in a manner similar to how grain is sown—Planted in burial in corruption. It goes to decay. Burying the dead is like sowing them; it is like committing the seed to the earth, so that it may spring out of it again. And our bodies, which are sown, are corruptible, liable to putrefy and molder, and crumble to dust; but, when we rise, they will break out of the power of the grave, and never again be liable to corruption; and there shall be a difference between the body here and the body in the resurrection.  The analogy of reaping and sowing is appropriate because it reflects the same principle of unity and diversity. The resurrection body is related to the earthly body in the same sense that the plant is related to the seed. Yet, it will be different; “it is raised in incorruption;”and to the different degrees of splendor and magnificence that the apostle has illustrated by comparing the bodies in the sky and on the earth. The dead shall be raised in a manner analogous to the springing up of grain. 

Consider Adam, you see, the body that was given Adam was always subject to death. Although he would not have died if he had not sinned, his body would have been subject to death. However, by resurrection we get a body that is incorruptible.

The dead are buried, and their body decays until it eventually becomes dust, but on the Resurrection Day, “It is raised in incorruption.” In the previous verses (1 Corinthians 15:36-41) he had used analogy to make his argument, and had demonstrated that it was possible that the dead would rise, and that for God there was no greater difficulty associated with it than that which actually occurred in the events which were in fact constantly taking place. But here He states positively what would take place, and insists that it was not only possible, but that such a resurrection would actually occur. The body would be raised "in incorruption," "uncorruptible,"—“It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed” (1 Cor 15:52; NLT). I believe we will be fully clothed and have a new body that will live forever. It will never again be subject to decay, sickness, hunger, thirst, pain, and disintegration. This is one characteristic of the body that shall be raised, that it shall be no more prone, to wasting sickness, to disease, and to the loathsome corruption of the grave. No one can doubt that God can form a body of that kind, and here Paul positively affirms that he actually will do it. This is one of the most encouraging prospects that anyone like me can have, that this body which is full of arthritis will someday be replaced by one that is no longer subject to pain. 

43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 

It is sown in dishonour; 

This body that we currently have is vile, according to Philippians 3:21—“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body...” Paul asks, “Who shall make this humiliating body new; it is right for this world, but not for the next. These earthly bodies are subject to disease, death, and decay.” Nothing is more detestable than a dead body; it is thrown into the grave like a broken bowl is thrown into the trash. Death is the most dishonorable condition, since the body is stripped by death of all the glory it had as a mechanism, fearfully and wonderfully made by the hands of God; and also consigned to death and destruction because of sin. 

In the grave, where it is hidden from human view it is as loathsome and offensive as a mass of rotting flesh. There is, moreover, a kind of disgrace and humiliation assailing it here, because it is under the curse of God, and, on account of sin, sentenced to the unpleasantness of the grave. 


it is raised in glory: 

The body will be raised in honor and beauty. God honors it by removing the curse and by giving it a form and nature that shall be glorious. This refers to the fact that everything like dishonor, vileness, and humiliation, which resides with it here, shall be removed there, and that the body shall bear a resemblance to the glorified body of Jesus Christ, (see Ephesians 3:21). It shall be adapted to a world of glory; and everything here which caused to be it vile, worthless, burdensome, offensive, or degraded, shall be removed there. Every impression which we get from the apostles argument is predominantly negative, and amounts to denying that the resurrection body will have qualities which caused the natural body to be vile or loathsome. The word glory means dignity, splendor, honour, excellence, perfection; and it is used here to denote the combination of all those things which shall rescue it from humiliation and disgrace. The glory it will receive at the resurrection consists of it being made like the glorious body of our Saviour; it will be purged from all the dregs of earth, and refined into an ethereal substance, and shine out with a splendor resembling His.


it is sown in weakness; 

“It is sown in weakness” means all its powers are exhausted. The principles of finality, corruption, and decay, have triumphed over it; disease undermined it; and death made it his prey. It is laid in the earth like the poor helpless thing that it is, entirely in the power of death, deprived of all vital capacities and powers, of life and strength: it is completely unable to move or revive. But when we do arise our bodies will have heavenly life and vitality infused into them; they will be healthy, and strong, and durable, and lively, and no longer susceptible to any sickness, weakness, or decay—“For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you” (2 Cor 13:4; KJV). Christ submitted himself unto death, voluntarily choosing the weakness of mortality. He “emptied himself” (Phil 2:7, 8). But by the power of God he was raised from death to life. So it shall be with us. His life is reproduced in us. Those who suffer and die with him shall live with him through the Divine power. 

it is raised in power:

This does not denote power like that which God possesses, and not like the angels either. Neither does it assert that it shall be endued with remarkable and enormous physical strength, or that it shall have the power of performing what would now be regarded as miraculous acts. It is to be regarded as being the opposite of the word "weakness," and means that it shall no longer be affected by disease; no more will it be overcome by the attacks of sickness; no more subject to the infirmities and weaknesses which it experiences here. It shall not be made miserable by sickness, or overcome by fatigue. It shall be capable of serving God without weariness and sluggishness; it will not need to rest as it does here—“Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them” (Rev 7:15; KJV). “Serve him day and night,” means continually or constantly. Day and night constitute the whole of time, and this expression, therefore, denotes constant and uninterrupted service. On earth, toil is suspended by the return of night, and the service of God is interrupted by the necessity of rest; in heaven, since there will be no weariness, there will be no need for an intermission, and the service of God, varied no doubt to meet the state of the mind, will be continued for ever. In heaven we shall be in a world where there shall be no fatigue, lethargy, and disease; but where there shall be ample power to engage in the service of God forever. There is, however, no reason not to suppose that the physical powers of man, as well as his intellectual powers, may be greatly increased in heaven. But on this point there is no revelation. 

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. 

The word "natural" denotes that which is gifted with animal life, having breath, or vitality. The word from which it is derived denotes the breath; the soul; the animal soul, or spirit; the soul, as the seat of conscious desires, passions, and tendencies; and then a living thing, an animal. It may be applied to any animal, or any living thing, whether beasts or men. It is distinguished from the soul or spirit which commonly means the rational spirit, the immortal soul; that, which thinks, reasons, reflects, etc. The word "natural," as it is used here means that which has animal life; which breathes and acts by the laws of animal adaptability; that which draws in the breath of life; which is endowed with senses, and which has need of the things that support animal life, and of the rejuvenation derived from food, exercise, sleep, etc. The apostle asserts here that the body will be spiritual, and by that he intends to deny that it will need that which is now necessary for the support of the animal functions; it will not be sustained in that way; it will lay aside these distinctive animal characteristics, and will cease to convey the impression which we now attach to the word animal, or to possess that which we now include under the name of vital functions. Here the body of man is equipped simply with animal functions. It is the dwelling-place of an immortal mind; but as for the body, it has the properties of animal life, and is subject to the same laws and inconveniences as the bodies of other animals. It is sustained by air, and water, and food, and sleep; it is endowed with the organs of sense; sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touch, by which the soul can communicate with the external world; it is subject to disease, lethargy, decay, and death. These animal or vital functions will cease in heaven, and the body be raised as a different type of being that will not be bothered by all the inconveniences of this meager animal life. 

 For our purposes a natural body is literally, "an animal body;" a body molded in its life form of "flesh and blood"—“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Cor 15:50; NKJV). Flesh and blood bodies are bodies arranged as ours are now; bodies that are fragile, weak, prone to disease, and subject to pain and death. An animal body has a multiplicity of solids and fluids of different kinds, with different functions; composed of muscles, fibers, tendons, cartilages, bones, arteries, veins, nerves, blood, and various juices, requiring continual support to avoid sickness; and therefore labor is necessary to provide food, and skill to prepare it; which food must be chewed, digested, and absorbed; brought into the circulatory system, further refined, and prepared to enter into the composition of every cell; growth and nutrition are the result; without which no organized body can possibly exist. Every part must be repaired and strengthened daily; they are subject to decay, and are wasted away by sickness, and of course they are not appropriate for a world where there shall be no decay and no death.  The natural body is dominated by the animal soul, which is predisposed to sin. The Holy Spirit in the spirit of believers is the down-payment (deposit) on a superior state—“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11; KJV), where the Spirit shall predominate, and the animal soul be fittingly subordinate.

Many years ago in the city of New York (in fact, it was way back in the day when liberalism was called modernism, back in the 1920s) they had an argument about whether resurrection was spiritual. The liberal even today claims it’s spiritual. He doesn’t believe in bodily resurrection at all. A very famous Greek scholar from the University of Chicago read a paper which was based on this verse. His paper put the emphasis on the word spiritual. He concluded by saying, “Now, brethren, you can see that resurrection is spiritual because it says it’s spiritual.” The liberals all applauded, and somebody made a motion that they print that manuscript and circulate it. Well, a very fine Greek scholar was there, and he stood up. And when he stood up, all the liberals were a little uneasy. He could ask very embarrassing questions. He said, “I’d like to ask the author of the paper a question.” Very reluctantly, the good doctor stood up. “Now, doctor, which is stronger, a noun or an adjective? A very simple question, but I’d like for you to answer it.” He could see the direction he was going and didn’t want to answer it, but he had to. “Well,” he said, “a noun is stronger, of course.” “Now doctor, I’m amazed that you presented the paper that you did today. You put the emphasis upon an adjective, and the strong word is the noun. Now let’s look at that again. ‘It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.’” He said, “The only thing that is carried over in resurrection is the body. It’s one kind of body when it dies, a natural body. It’s raised a body, but a spiritual body, dominated now by the spirit—but it’s still a body.” And, you know, they never did publish that paper. They decided it would be better not to publish it. May I say to you, just a simple little exercise in grammar answered this great professor’s whole manuscript and his entire argument which he presented at that time.

“It is raised a spiritual body.” Not a mere spirit, because a spirit does not have a body. The word spiritual stands opposed to the word natural, or animal. It will not be a body that is subject to the laws of the vital functions; it will not be organized or sustained in that way. It will still be a "body," but it will have a spiritual nature, without the vital functions which in our current state control the body. This is all that the word means here. It does not mean improve, mystical, or angelic; it does not mean that it will be without shape or form; it does not mean that it will not be a proper body. The idea Paul has seems to be this: "We think of soul or spirit as not being subject to the laws of vital or animal organization. It is independent of them. It is not sustained or nourished by the functions of the animal organization. It has a vitality of its own; living without nourishment; not subject to decay; not liable to sickness, pain, or death. This will be the body as it will exist in the resurrection. It will not be subject to the laws that govern vital bodily processes. It will be so much LIKE A SPIRIT that it will not require food or nutriment; it will be without the peculiar physical features of flesh, and blood, and bones; of veins, and arteries, and nerves, like we have here, because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15.50); and it will live in the way in which we imagine spirits to live; sustained, and exercising its powers, without squandering provisions, and with no weariness, decay, or the necessity of having its powers recharged by food and sleep. Therefore, all that has been said about an improved body, a body that shall be spirit, a body that shall be untainted, etc., is not sustained by this passage. It will be a body, but it will have a spiritual nature, without the vital functions which in our current state control the body. It will be a body like Jesus has:

“And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:31; KJV).

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you” (John 20:19, 26; KJV).

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 

And so it is written, 

“And so it is written,” is practically the same as “and this agrees with Scripture.” The little word “so” connects this to the previous verse—“so” that which is said here is in accordance with the distinction just mentioned between the natural or animal-souled body and the spiritual body. "Man became (was made to become) a living soul," that is, endowed with an animal soul, the living principle of his body—“Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person” (Gen 2:7; NLT).

The first man Adam was made a living soul; 

“Adam was made a living soul” seems to refer to the earthly animal nature given to Adam in the original creation, and this goes well with the similar ideas expressed in verses 46 through 49. It corresponds to the different natures these two persons have: The first Adam was made a living soul, a being like ourselves, and with the power to reproduce  beings like himself, and to pass on to them a nature and animal body like his own, but not like any other, or better than his own. The second Adam is none other than our Savior, Jesus Christ.

These forms of expression, such as “living soul” and “quickening spirit” were common among the Jews: that's why we find ‏ Adam harishon, "Adam the first;" and ‏Adam kadmai, "Adam the last." They establish that there are two Adams: 

1. The mystical heavenly Adam.

2. The mystical earthly Adam. 

 “The first man Adam was made a living soul” is quoted precisely from the translation by the Seventy, except that the apostle has added the words "first" and "Adam." This is done to designate whom he meant. The meaning of the phrase "was made a living soul" is, became a living, animated being; a being endowed with life. The use of the word "soul" in our translation does not quite convey that idea. We usually apply the word soul to the intelligent and the immortal part of man; that, which reasons, thinks, remembers, is conscious, is responsible, etc. The Greek and Hebrew words, however, do a better job of expressing the idea, since they signify that which is alive, which is animated, which breathes, which has an animal nature (see 1 Corinthians 15:44). And this is exactly the idea which Paul has in mind here, that the first man was made an animated being when the LORD breathed into him the breath of life, (Genesis 2:7) and we display the image of this animated or vital being—“As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy…” (1 Corinthians 15:48). Both Moses and Paul agree that, in addition to our natural life, man was endowed with a rational soul, and an immortal nature; but that is not the idea which they present in the passage in Genesis which Paul quotes. 

the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

It is apparent that the One who is intended by “The last Adam,” or “the second Adam,” or the "second man," is Jesus Christ—“The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47), and the great majority of commentators agree with this explanation. Christ may be called Adam because he stands in sharp contrast to the first Adam; or because, we derive our animal and dying nature from the one, in a way that is similar to how we derive our immortal and undying bodies from the other. From the one we derive an animal or living existence; from the other we derive our immortal existence, and resurrection from the grave. The one represents all those who have an existence characterized by the words, "a living soul;" the other represents all those who shall have a spiritual body in heaven. He is called "the last Adam," which means that there shall be no other person after him who shall affect the destiny of man in the same way, and no one shall ever stand at the head of the human race in a manner similar to what had been done by him and the first Father of the human family. They each maintain a distinctive relationship to the race of men; and in this respect they were "the first" and "the last" in their peculiar affiliation with man. The name "Adam" is not given to the Messiah anyplace in scripture, although a comparison is made several times between Christ and Adam, like in Romans 5:12-19—“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” 

“A quickening spirit” means an animating spirit; a spirit giving or imparting life. Not a being having mere life-giving functions, or an animated nature, but a being who has the power of imparting life. This is not a quotation from any part of the Scriptures, but it seems to be used by Paul either to affirm what was true according to his own apostolic authority, or to convey the substance of what was revealed about the Messiah in the Old Testament. He may also be making a reference to what the Saviour himself taught, that He was the source of life; that He had the power of imparting life, and that He gave life to all whom He pleased—

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4; KJV).

“The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son” (John 5:26; NLT).

The word "spirit," as it is applied here to Christ, stands in clear contrast to "a living being," as it is applied to Adam, and seems to be used in the sense of spirit of life which Christ uses to raise the bodies of his people from the dead, and to impute life to them. Adam was created not only with life, but with the power for imparting life; he was endowed with that spiritual or vital energy which was necessary to impart life. All life is the creation of, or a product of, spirit, as it applies to God the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit. Spirit is the source of all vitality. God is a Spirit, and God is the source of all life. And the idea here is that Christ had such a spiritual existence, such power as a spirit; that He was the source of all life to his people. The word spirit is applied to his exalted spiritual nature, which is distinct from his human nature—

“And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4; KJV).

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim 3:16; KJV).

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18; KJV).

The apostle does not suggest that He did not have a human nature, or that He did not live as a man; but that his main characteristic in contrast to Adam was that He was endowed with an elevated spiritual nature (because He is God), which was capable of imparting life to the dead. The contrast here is not so much between the soul and the spirit as it is between “living” and “life-giving.” The principle of life is something all men have in common, but the last Adam is infinitely more than that. The first Adam partakes of life temporality, the last Adam, eternality.

Our natural or animal-souled body is the fruit of our union with the first Adam, who was an animal-souled man, but our spiritual body will be the fruit of our union with the second Adam, who is the quickening Spirit—“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor 3:17; KJV). Christ became the representative of all humanity through His union of the two natures, and He has exhausted in His own person the sentence of death passed on all men, and now He giveth spiritual and everlasting life to whom He will.

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 

Paul concludes his lecture on the doctrine of the Resurrection by explaining that there were two types of bodies, “natural” and “spiritual.” The first man, Adam, was created with a natural, physical body, which became subject to decay and death. Jesus Christ, “the last Adam,” overcame death and was given a “spiritual” (glorified), immortal body. 

Perhaps the apostle is anticipating a question, when he asks, “Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual,” or, in other words, “Why didn’t we receive a spiritual body in the first place?” The first Adam came before the second Adam. The natural body which proceeds from the first Adam is our tabernacle first; after this life we will have the “spiritual body,” which the second Adam gives. You see, there is a proper order that must be observed, which is spelled-out in 1 Cor 15:23—“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. The decaying, the dying, the weak, the corruptible, in the proper order of events, was first. This order was necessary, and this is observed everywhere. It is seen in the grain that dies in the ground, and in the resurrection of man. The imperfect is succeeded by the perfect; the impure by the pure; the vile and degraded by the precious and the glorious. The idea is that there is a movement towards perfection, and that God adheres to the proper order of things so that that which is the most glorious can be obtained and made secure. It was not his intention to create all things in a perfect condition; but that perfection should occur over time, and as part of an appropriate order of events. The natural or animal body, described in 1 Corinthians 15:44, was the first; it was the body with which Adam was created. The spiritual body is the last, and is that body with which the soul is to be clothed in the resurrection. The purpose that Paul had in this verse seems to be to vindicate the statement which he had made, by showing that it was in accordance with what could be observed everywhere, and for that reason the proper order should be maintained. This idea is continued through the following verses.

Adam had a soul which was not necessarily mortal (prone to death), as it became afterwards as the result of sin. He had "a living soul," destined to live forever, if he had eaten of the tree of life (Ge 3:22). His body was an animal-souled body, not a spiritual body, like the ones believers shall have; and he certainly did not have a "life-giving spirit," like Christ has. His soul had the germ of the Spirit, rather than the fulness of it, such as man shall have when he is restored "body, soul, and spirit," by the second Adam—“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:23; NKJV). Just as the first and earthly Adam came before the second and heavenly Adam, so the animal-souled body comes first, and must die before it can be changed into the spiritual body (that is, that body in which the Spirit dominates the animal soul).

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 

The terms “first man of the earth,” and “second man from heaven,” are used frequently among the Jews:  ‏the superior Adam; and Adam the inferior; that is, the earthly and the heavenly Adam: Adam before the resurrection, and Adam after it. It was the natural man which came first; it was the spiritual man which came afterward. Adam is “of the earth,” Christ is “the Lord from heaven.” Therefore, the former is thus earthly, the latter is heavenly. Adam was “of the earth,” by virtue of creation, and by virtue of the Resurrection, Christ was “from heaven.” Paul said that these two were prototypes: the first possessors of the two kinds of bodies. The first man Adam represents all those who have a physical body. The last Adam represents all those who bear the spiritual likeness of Christ 

The first man is of the earth, 

“The first man” was Adam. He was “of the earth,” meaning he was made out of the earth, and was earthy. But he was not merely earthly or born upon the earth, but was of earth; literally, "of heaped earth" or clay. "Adam" means red earth. His body was well-suited to the earthly region where he was to have his dwelling. 


“The first man is of the earth”—that is: Adam's body was made out of the dust of the earth; and for this reason the apostle says he was of the dust; for the body was made from the ‏dust of the ground—“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7; KJV).


“Earthy” means “partaking of the earth;” Adam was a mass of animated clay, and he could be appropriately called "DUST,"—“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19; NKJV).  The first man is of the earth and is “earthy”—meaning “clay,” rubbish if you please; must partake of a nature that was falling, poor, mortal, and corruptible. 

There is a lot of talk about ecology today. Who messed up this earth anyway? Man, of course, because man is earthy. Everything that is the refuse of man is rubbish. He is that kind of creature. He fills the garbage cans. But the Second Man is the Lord from heaven.

the second man is the Lord from heaven

“The second man” is Christ. He is called the second man, since He is the second person who sustained a relationship to men that was to significantly affect their conduct and destiny; the second and the last who would sustain a special headship to the race. 

 “The second Adam is the Lord from heaven;” is, of course, referring to the Lord Jesus who “came down from heaven, and giveth life to the world” (Jn. 6:33); he who came down from heaven and was in heaven at the same time—“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13; KJV); the Lord of heaven and earth. If the first Adam could communicate to us natural and animal bodies, cannot the second Adam make our bodies spiritual ones? If the delegated lord of this lower creation could do the one, cannot the Lord from heaven, the Lord of heaven and earth, do the other?

“The Lord from heaven” is called the "Lord of glory" in 1 Corinthians 2:8—“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor 2:8; KJV). This expression refers to the fact that the Lord Jesus had a heavenly origin, in contrast to Adam, who was formed from the earth. The Latin Vulgate renders this, "the second man from heaven is heavenly;" and this idea seems to agree with the meaning in the first part of the verse. The point the apostle wants to make here is, evidently, that just as the first man had an earthly origin, and was therefore earthy, so the second man being from heaven, which was his proper home, would have a body adapted to that abode; unlike that which was earthy, and which would be fitted to his exalted nature, and to the world where he would dwell. And while the phrase "from heaven" refers to his heavenly origin, the essential idea is that he would have a body that was adapted to such an origin and such a world—a body unlike that earthy body that Adam had. That is, Christ had a glorified body, but the saints must wait a little longer for theirs.

 Jesus came “from heaven,” and I John 3.31 it says, “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.” Humanity in Christ is generic. In Him man is impersonated in his true ideal as God originally designed him. Christ is the representative man, the federal head of redeemed man.

“The second man is”—“from heaven” (or heavenly). The resurrection body shall be of a heavenly nature, and not subject to decay or death. What is formed of earth must live in an earthly manner; must be nourished and supported by the earth: what is from heaven is of a spiritual nature; and shall have no connection with, or dependence upon, the earth. 

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 


“As is the earthy”—specifically, Adam. Similar to how Adam was, who was formed from the earth, so are all his descendants, who derive their nature from him; they live in an animal body like he did and as a result they are frail, decaying, and subject to death, because all have earthly bodies like the one Adam had. This idea is more fully expressed in Philippians 3:21, where Paul asks, “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.” 

“Such are they also that are earthy,” which is a reference to all of Adam's posterity in their natural state—“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew’” (John 3:6, 7; RSV). God does not intend to change the flesh, meaning this old nature which you and I have. The fact of the matter is that it can’t be changed. The Word of God has much to say about this. The old nature is at war with God. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7–8). God has no program for our old nature, to retrieve it or improve it or develop it or save it. That old nature is to go down into the grave with us. And, if the Lord comes before we go down into the grave, we are to be changed in the twinkling of an eye, which means we will get rid of that old nature. It can never be made obedient to God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” That is an axiom. God does not intend to save the flesh at all. This old nature must be replaced by the new nature. The spiritual birth is necessary so that you and I may be given a new nature. We get a spiritual nature the same way Nicodemus did, by being born again; but we must wait until the resurrection to get our spiritual body.

We are all earthy. We are from Adam and that is our condition. But we are also in Christ. We are joined to Him, and therefore we have a hope, the hope of the resurrection in an eternal body which will forever be with Christ. Today we bear the image of the earthy, but we look forward to the day when we will bear the image of the heavenly. The Lord Jesus is now in His glorified body, and at the resurrection, all those who are found fit for glory will get a body like Jesus’.

 “The heavenly”—Christ.

“As is the heavenly” looks ahead to when we are raised to heaven in our spiritual, Christ like bodies, like Christ's; not like the body he received from Mary, but the glorious body in which He appeared to saints and angels on high. We do not need to ask, “What kind of body will I have?” It shall be like Christ's glorious body (See Phil 3:21).

“Such are they also that are heavenly” are His people as they appear in their regenerate state. Just as the former state precedes the latter state, so the natural bodies precede the spiritual bodies.

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 

The certainty of the resurrection is verified by the reality of human, earthly existence. “As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Consequently the human body, instead of becoming an argument against the resurrection becomes an argument in its favor.

Even “as we have borne the image of the earthy”—“And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image…” (Gen 5:3; NKJV); because we are descended from Adam we have all been born in his likeness, and subject to the same kind of corruption, disgrace, and death; we shall also be raised to an immortal life like he now enjoys in the kingdom of God. This interpretation is based on the opinion that what is said here about Adam relates to the two states in which he has existed; namely mortality and immortality; disgrace and honor; earth and heaven. Just as we are so closely connected with Adam that we resemble him, so shall we become by the Divine arrangement, and by faith in the Lord Jesus so closely connected with Him that we shall resemble him in heaven. And since He is now free from frailty, sickness, pain, sorrow, and death, and since He has a pure and spiritual body, adapted to a residence in heaven, so shall we be like Him in that future world. The connection which is forged between the believer and the Saviour is as close as that which existed between Him and Adam; and just like that connection with Adam involved the certainty that he would be subjected to pain, sin, sickness, and death, so does the connection with Christ involve the certainty that he will, like Him, be free from sin, sickness, pain, and death, and, like Him, will have a body that is pure, indestructible, and immortal.

We must first have natural bodies from the first Adam before we can have spiritual bodies from the second; we “must bear the image of the earthy before we can bear the image of the heavenly.” This is the order God has established. We must have the weak, frail, mortal bodies which we inherit from the first Adam, before we can have lively, spiritual, and immortal ones that are produced by the quickening power of the second. We must die before we can live to die no more. However, if we are true believers in Christ, it is as certain that we will have spiritual bodies as it is now that we have natural or animal ones. We are now “earthy, like the first Adam, and we bear his image; but we shall be like the second Adam, and have heavenly bodies like His, and consequently bear His image. And we are as sure to bear the one as we have been born to bear the other. As surely therefore as we have had natural bodies, so shall we have spiritual ones. The dead in Christ shall not only rise, but shall rise gloriously changed.

I am unaware of any place where Jesus Christ is called the second Adam in either the Old or New Testament; though it is strongly implied in this passage, and in Romans 5:14-19 there is a comparison drawn between Adam and Christ; but that comparison refers to the extent of the sin and condemnation brought upon all men by the transgression of the first man; and the redemption purchased for all men by the sacrifice of the last man; and the superabundant grace procured by that sacrifice. But here, the comparison is obviously between the state of man in this mortal life, and his state after the resurrection. Here, all men are corrupt and mortal, and here, all men die. There, all men shall be incorrupt and immortal, and, whether holy or unholy, they shall be eternally immortal.


Yalcut Rubeni asserts that rabbis have made the following testimony about the image of Adam, in his heavenly state: "God created Adam with a double image, earthly and heavenly; that he was the most perfect of all beings; that his splendor shone from one extremity of the earth to the other; that all feared before him; that he knew all wisdom, both earthly and heavenly; but when he sinned, his glory was diminished, and his wisdom departed from him." And they go on to say that "in the time in which Adam received ‏the heavenly image, all creatures came to him, and acknowledged him king of the earth." It seems that Paul has followed these sentiments of his countrymen as well as their phraseology in preparing this passage, at least as far as they agree with his understanding and interpretation.


 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 

Now this I say, brethren, 

“Now this I say, brethren” can be restated in the following manner: "Now, this is what I want to say in regard to this whole subject. I do it to summarize all that I have said previously and to prevent confusion and mistakes concerning the nature of the bodies which shall be raised up." This assertion is made with respect to all the dead and all the living—that there must be a substantial and important change made to them before they are prepared for heaven. Paul had proved in the previous verses that it was possible for God to give us bodies which are different from those which we now possess; here he insists that it is absolutely necessary for us to have bodies which are different from what we have now, and he gives the reasons for it. 


flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; 

This is the first statement of this principle, (rule, law)—“flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Jesus told Nicodemus as much: “Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-5; NKJV). Nicodemus was afraid, or ashamed to be seen with Christ, therefore he came in the night. When religion is out of fashion, there are many like Nicodemus. But though he came by night, Jesus welcomed him, and afterward he confessed Christ publicly. He did not talk with Christ about politics, though he was a ruler, but about his concern for his own soul and its salvation. Our Saviour spoke of the necessity and nature of regeneration or the new birth, and quickly directed Nicodemus to the source of holiness of the heart. Birth is the beginning of life; to be born again, is to begin to live a new life of holiness and purpose.  We must have a new nature, new principles, new affections, and new aims. By our first birth we were corrupt, born in sin; therefore we must be made new creatures. 

It is indeed true that our unsanctified nature cannot inherit the kingdom of God. But that is not what the apostle is speaking about. He is speaking of the body and of its state after the resurrection. A change is mandatory if the believer is ever to realize the promises and blessings of God’s word. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.” "Flesh and blood" denotes the kind of bodies we have here—bodies that are fragile, weak, prone to disease, and subject to pain and death. They are composed of changing particles which need to be repaired and strengthened daily; they are subject to decay, and are wasted away by sickness, and of course they cannot be fitted to a world where there shall be no decay and no death. Man, in his present state, cannot inherit the kingdom of God; his nature is not suited to that place; he could not, in his present weak state, endure an exceeding great and eternal weight of glory. Therefore, it is necessary that he die, or be changed; that he should have a celestial body suited to the celestial state. The apostle is certainly not speaking of flesh and blood in a moral sense, to signify corruption of mind and heart; but in a natural sense; as such, flesh and blood cannot inherit glory, for the reasons already given. Our old bodies are not going to heaven—I’m glad of that. I would like to trade mine in.

The natural body is flesh and blood, bones, muscles, nerves, veins, arteries, and several fluids; and therefore, it is corruptible and likely to rot away. It is impossible for these animal-souled bodies of ours to inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore the believer gladly complies with the lawful verdict of the holy law, which designates the death of the present body as the essential preliminary to the resurrection body of glory. Hence he "dies daily" to the flesh and to the world, as the necessary condition to his regeneration here and hereafter—“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2.20; KJV). This is Paul’s personal testimony, which may be repeated by every believer in Christ (Rom 6:3–11). Having been crucified with Christ when He died on Calvary, Paul is truly dead to everything else except Christ and what He represents. Paul’s faith united him to Christ in such a way that Christ’s death was his death, and Christ’s resurrection was his resurrection. In Christ, Paul found a perfect sacrifice for sin and a perfect righteousness forever. A Christian is one in whom Christ lives. Christ is our life—“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col 3:4; NKJV). The old self-righteous, self-centered Saul died, and the new Christ-centered Paul lives. Paul’s new life is really Christ living His life in and through Paul. It is not a matter of imitation, but of realization. A Christian is not an unregenerate, religious sinner trying to attain salvation by works, but a regenerated saint manifesting the life of Christ through the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This new life must be lived in the flesh, but not by the flesh. We live by faith. Not by works. Note how personally Paul appropriates to himself the love and sacrifice of Christ, which belong equally to the whole world. Christ is our sovereign, sufficient sacrifice.

The resurrection body will be still a body though spiritual, and substantially retaining the person’s personal identity, which is proved by the following verses: 

“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39; KJV). Even with these clear words, given in the context of correcting a false view of the nature of Christ’s resurrected body, there still persist some false cults and “isms” who maintain the heresy of a “spiritual resurrection” of Christ. The fact that Jesus said flesh and bones rather than “flesh and blood” does not necessarily indicate that His body had no blood. One cannot say, but flesh and bones usually do operate with blood. However, the life principle in a resurrected body may not be in its blood, but in the spirit of God.

“Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27; NKJV). Jesus body was solid, since He invited Thomas to touch Him; but he was able to enter the room while the door(s) was locked. The resurrection body is very special, indeed.

“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” (Phil 3:21;NKJV). “His glorious body" is, the body which he has in his glorified state. We have not been informed of the change the body of the Redeemer underwent when he ascended to heaven; nor do we know what is the nature, size, appearance, or form of the body which he now has. It is certain that it is adapted to the glorious world where he dwells; that it has none of the infirmities to which it was subject when here; that it is not subject, as it was here, to pain or death; that it is not sustained in the same manner. The body of Christ in heaven is of the same nature as the bodies of the saints will be in the resurrection, and which the apostle calls "spiritual bodies" (v. 44). 

neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

The first great heresy in the church was the denial of the bodily resurrection. We see how Paul has shown the truth of the Resurrection. He has spoken against the three major philosophies of his day. STOICISM said the soul merged into Deity at death, and there was a destruction of personality. Paul says our bodies shall rise. EPICUREANISM said there was no existence beyond death. Paul says Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and our bodies shall rise too. PLATONISM believed in the immortality of the soul but denied the bodily resurrection. Paul says that our physical bodies shall be made alive as spiritual bodies.

Here Paul declares “neither doth corruption inherit incorruption; that is, neither can that which has a nature that corruptible, and likely to decay, be adapted to a world where everything is incorruptible. Here the apostle simply states a fact. He does not tell us why it is impossible, but we may speculate, from what we have learned thus far. It may be because the mode of communication there is not by the bodily senses; it may be because bodies like ours would not be able to relish the pure and exalted pleasures of an incorruptible world; it may be because they would interfere with the glorious worship, the active service, and the continuous activity of the heavenly world; it may be because a body like ours is designed to derive pleasure from objects which shall not be found in heaven. It is adapted to find enjoyment in eating and drinking, and the pleasures of the eye, the ear, the taste, the touch; in heaven the soul shall desire to participate in more devout and unsullied pleasures than these, and, of course, such bodies as we have here would hinder our progress and destroy our wellbeing, and could not be adapted to all the activities and pleasures of that heavenly world. Our heavenly inheritance is incorruptible, and never fadeth away—“to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4; NKJV). It will not fade away and vanish, like that which we inherit in this world does. The meaning here is that the inheritance (our resurrection or heavenly bodies) will be imperishable, or will endure forever. Here, in this present world, whatever we may inherit, we must soon part with; there it will be eternal. 

God is not going to send these bodies into a repair shop. Corruption cannot inherit incorruption. This body must be put into the ground, like a seed. It will come up a new body, a new tabernacle for us to live in. It will not be identical to the old body, and yet it will be like the old body. The bodies of the saints, when they shall rise again, will be greatly changed from what they are now, and much better. They are now corruptible, flesh and blood; then they will be incorruptible, glorious, and spiritual bodies, fitted to the celestial world and state, where they are ever afterwards to dwell, and have their eternal inheritance.