Flesh and Blood Cannot Inherit the Kingdom of God
Passage: 1 Corinthians 15:35–58
The Big Picture: Paul addresses the philosophical root of the resurrection deniers who assume that the resurrection refers to God’s animating corpses. But Paul explains that God will give resurrected believers better bodies. God does not simply resurrect corpses with the result that there is complete continuity between one’s earthly body and one’s heavenly body. God resurrects and transforms corpses with the result that there will be both continuity and discontinuity between one’s earthly body and heavenly body.
- The nature of the resurrection body: it is reasonable (35-49)
- Analogies of seeds and “bodies” (35–44)
- The analogy of the seed (36–37) illustrates from everyday experience that one living thing, through death, can have two modes of existence.
- The analogy of the “kinds of bodies” (38-44) is intended to illustrate the phenomenon of bodies’ being adapted to their existence.
- Together, these analogies are applied to the resurrection. They illustrate 1) both the genuine continuity of our future resurrection body with our present body, and thus the reality of our bodily transformation; and 2) the fact that a “body” for each mode of existence (both now and in the resurrection) is given to us by God himself.
- Analogy of Adam and Christ (45–49)
- The contrast between Adam and Christ is made in terms of the nature of their humanity: Adam, by virtue of creation is “of earth”; Jesus, by virtue of his resurrection, is “of heaven”
- Just as believers have shared the earthly body of the first man, so also will they bear the heavenly body of the resurrected second man.
- The assurance of triumph: the heavenly body is necessary (50–58)
- Transformation must take place in order for believers, whether dead or alive, to enter into heavenly existence.
- When the transformation does take place, death is not only defeated, it is swallowed up in victory!
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