Do you like your physical body?
Unfortunately, many of us would say, “No, thank you,” and we would be happy to
ditch them in heaven. But is that likely to happen? Will we have physical
bodies in the new heaven and new earth? Or will we leave our bodies in the
grave and become merely spirits? Two-thirds of Americans polled on this topic
say "No", but what does the Bible say?
A reading of 1 Corinthians 15:12-13
would indicate that we are raised along with our bodies."But if it is preached that Christ
has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no
resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not
even Christ has been raised."
Could it be that we are raised with
real, physical bodies that have been translated into heavenly ones? 1
Corinthians continues in 15:35-40: "But someone will ask, 'How are the
dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?'How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it
dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed,
perhaps of wheat or of something else.But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed
he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of
flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also
heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly
bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another."
Paul seems to be saying, that YES, we
will indeed have physical bodies but they will be somewhat different than our
earthly ones. Just as a seed takes different form when it becomes a tree, so
our spiritual bodies will take a different form. (In a sense, it’s as if our
earthly bodies become a sort of “seed” for them.)
Christhimself may be an example of what our resurrected bodies
might be like. He was able to eat (Luke 22:42-43), able to have his nail prints
touched (John 20:27) and his feet were grabbed by worshippers(Matt 28:9).
This goes along with Jesus' teaching
when he promised earlier that if his body was killed/destroyed, it would be
rebuilt in 3 days (John 2:19-21). And while Jesus' body was clearly physical,
he was also able to pass through walls. (John 20:19)
Christian author Randy Alcorn adds,
"A non-physical resurrection is like a sunless sunrise. There’s no such
thing. Resurrection means that we will have bodies. If we didn’t have bodies,
we wouldn’t be resurrected! "
From the beginning of creation, one of
the aspects that makes humanity distinct from other creatures is that we are
both physical and spiritual. Adam was
created from the dust of the ground, yet also came to life when God breathed
the breath of life into his body. We are a hybrid. We cannot be considered
alive or identifiable without our spirits—or our bodies!
On earth, sin has damaged our bodies
and broken the connection our spirits have had with God. It makes sense that
both our bodies and spirits will be perfected in heaven.
We need both our spirits and our
bodies to become the beautiful creations that God intended us to be. Without
one or the other, we would not be fully human. So we can look forward to the
“reunion” of our bodies, in their perfected states, with our souls in heaven.
If that’s difficult to imagine, it’s because we haven’t lived with perfect
bodies or perfect souls, nor have we experienced perfect unity between the two.
It will come, though. And when it does, it will be amazing.