But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. (1 Corinthians 15:35-38)
Is Resurrection Possible?
The belief in life after death did not come from the wisdom of human judgment but the divine word of God. Nothing in humanity’s arsenal would suggest what is beyond death because man cannot see beyond the grave. No matter how advanced science or technology will become, peering into the realm before and after life will be impossible. The suggestion of eternity comes from the revelation of God. Through the power of the Creator, life is given to a man and woman to create life. There is no instrument to declare the beginning of life, only the mind of God. When a man dies, he cannot return. The Lord has established the habitation of man that limits his power. Death is final; whatever is beyond death cannot be known from human wisdom.
Resurrection has been accepted by believers in the one true God since the beginning. Abraham believed God had the power to raise his dead son and acted in faith, believing the Lord would perform such an act. Saul spoke to Samuel from the grave. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah defied the orders of King Nebuchadnezzar because they believed the fiery furnace would not end their life and their God would deliver them. Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead after four days. The apostles performed miracles, including raising saints from the dead. Believing in the resurrection was challenged in the first-century church as the people of God wrestled with the questions of how and what. The church of God at Corinth was rocked by disbelief that the dead could rise again because some began to doubt Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.
Some were asking how the dead were raised. It was an honest question. The curious mind of man wants to understand the mechanics of how something is done, and bringing a dead body back to life was a huge concern. Death is final. Nothing in the wisdom of man could change that. To witness Dorcas raised from the dead defied logic and human understanding, but Peter brought her back from the dead. The question by the Corinthians was valid. How are the dead raised up? Paul used the illustration of sowing seed as an example of God’s power. A seed is planted in the ground in one form, dies, and breaks the soil in another form. How does that happen? God makes it happen. If God can show his power in the wheat seed, why can He not raise up the body of a man? How are the dead raised up? By the power of God.
If a man accepts that God can raise someone from the dead, the second question is, what kind of body will they have? The answer to this question is more vague than the first because it requires an understanding that is beyond the wisdom of human logic. Using the illustration of the seed planted in the ground, Paul shows that a new body comes from the tiny seed. When wheat comes out of the earth, it does not have the form of the seed. The seed died and transformed into another body – so it will be with the human body. A man will die in one form and, in the resurrection, arise in another body. Defining what the image of the heavenly man will be is difficult to describe. That does not suggest there is no resurrection. Understanding what kind of body a man will have in eternity is challenging, but this does not deny the resurrection.
A change occurs in death when a body removes the tabernacle of flesh and lives on in the eternal spirit. Most people do not understand that death does not make one an eternal creature. Every human being is created in the image of God. A man does not possess a soul; instead, he is an eternal creature first who inhabits a fleshly body. The spirit a man possesses from creation will never cease. That spirit takes on a new body, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Mortality will be swallowed up by everlasting life. That new body will never die. Eternity comes to all men, good or bad. The difference will be how that eternal body will spend time without end. Most will be in darkness and endless pain. The faithful will rest in the bosom of God in peace. Are you ready for the resurrection?