2008-08-13 - Summer Question #7
2008 #7 ~ Resurrection Bodies
1 Corinthians 15:42-44, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body."
Today's Question: "When we go to heaven, will we get a new physical body?"
This is a good practical question, although, by God's grace, may it be a long time, if He tarry in returning, that any of us have to truly apply it. The short answer is: yes and no. There are considerations here, because it will not be the same body we experience and have here. It will be far better, because it will no longer be marred by sin. Our bodies now are like an open port to sin. Temptations and our minds, hearts, affections assail us, and our bodies are misled into evils of every kind. We get a taste of what our renewed bodies will feel, when we cleave to Jesus Christ in this life. When we experience those moments and times of close communion with Christ, we have a flavor of what the renewed body will know all the time in the resurrection. This is only something we experience in a small measure, compared to what we will one day - when days are over - know unto eternity.
Let us remember that both Enoch and Elijah were translated to Heaven in both soul and body. There are many examples of the dead being restored to life in Scripture through the ministries of Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, and the Apostles. Those raised are all given life again in their same bodies. The chief example, however, in Scripture, is that of our Lord. In His resurrection He had an identifiable body. It was identifiable as Himself. Let us remember that God is the God of the living, even now. When God identified Himself to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3), He did so as the God of the patriarchs, and they were long dead. Yet God claims to be their God after they are dead (Luke 20:34-38).
If the same body is not raised, it would not be a resurrection, but a new creation. It is our body that is raised, "He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies," Romans 8:11. It was once vile, diseased, and mortal. It was once dead and buried, but it is raised. It is changed. It is glorified. Speaking of our citizenship in Heaven, the Apostle Paul says of Christ, "Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory," Philippians 3:20, 21. The author of the book of Revelation (John), speaks of seeing "The dead, the great and small, standing before the throne," and the books are opened, and they are judged. The sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged." Revelation 20:12, 13.
We have to make the assumption that the dead are recognizable, if John sees the dead and can distinguish the great and the small among them. They have to have had bodies, and it has been the consistent teaching of The Faith that while we are given new bodies that are without the deformities sin has wrought in us, those bodies are still our bodies.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Editor's Note: The questions in this series are stated in the exact form sent by the readers - unedited, unproofed, in order to remain true to the reader's original wording.