Paul said that one day Jesus “will change our frail bodies into glorious bodies like his” (Philippians 3:21 Casual English Bible). What kind of body do you think Paul had in mind?
Paul may have been thinking of the kind of body Jesus exhibited at the Transfiguration and after his resurrection.
Transfiguration: “While he was praying, something happened to him. His face looked different and his clothing beamed a dazzling white” (Luke 9:29).
Resurrection: He could disappear and suddenly appear elsewhere, pass through walls, yet eat food with a physical body (Luke 24:13-43). The description might sound like a physical body with super powers.
I remember an editor at a Christian publishing company I won’t identify telling me he thought bodies in the afterlife would be flesh and bone with no blood. He said blood limited our lifespan.
I think it’s just the opposite. The less blood in our body, the worse off we are.
When he told me what he thought about our bodies in the afterlife, the word that came to mind for me was “zombie.”
His point was that the afterlife body isn’t just some kind of energy or ethereal spirit. It’s a punch-you-in-the-nose body, though we shouldn’t do that in heaven.
Paul gave a good description of resurrected bodies when he wrote to the church in Corinth.
What a resurrected body looks like
Some folks are going to ask, “How on earth are people raised from the dead? And what kind of body will they carry around with them?”
Don’t be absurd. It’s as simple as this. When you plant a seed, it has to die before it comes to life.
The body of any seed you plant—whether it’s wheat or something else—isn’t the same body you get when it comes to life.
God gives each kind of seed whatever body he wants to give it.
Not all living creatures are the same. There are humans, animals, birds, and fish.
There are also bodies made for heaven and bodies made for earth. Each kind of body is wonderful in its own unique ways.
The sun has its own brand of splendor. So do the moon and the stars—in fact, each star has its own unique splendor.
It’s the same way when it comes to the resurrection of the dead. The body is buried dead. But it is raised never to die again.
It is buried in humility. It rises in majesty. It is buried limp. It rises strong.
It is buried as a physical body. It rises as a spiritual body. Both exist. Just as there are physical bodies, there are spiritual bodies.
The Bible says, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” Well, I’d like you to know that the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.
But notice the sequence. The Spiritual One didn’t come first. The physical one came first, and the Spiritual One came afterward.
The first man comes from the earth and was made of dust. The Second Man comes from heaven.
Everyone on earth has a physical body, just as the man of dust did. Everyone in heaven has a heavenly body, just as the Man of Heaven does.
Right now we resemble the man of dust. One day we’ll resemble the Man of Heaven.
I’m telling you, dear family, this flesh and blood body of ours will not make it into the Kingdom of God. Nothing that decays is fit for immortality.
Listen up. I’m going to tell you a secret. We’re not all going to die. But we’re all going to be changed.
It’s going to happen in an instant, in the blink of an eye. The final trumpet will blow, the dead will rise as immortals, and we’ll never be the same again.
This temporary body of ours needs a makeover. We’re mortal now, but we need to dress for immortality.
When that happens—when this mortal body gets a permanent upgrade to immortality, the Bible prophecies will be fulfilled:
“Death got chewed up and spit out.
Hey Death, you’re a loser.
Hey Death, you sting like a butterfly.”
1 Corinthians 15:35-55 Casual English Bible
Adapted from Leader’s Guide & Atlas for Philippians
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