Will We Have Physical Bodies in Heaven?

, by Christopher D. Hudson

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.)

Christ  himself 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.

(If you wish to read all of today's verses in the translation of your choice, you can find them all collected hereSource: Today’s reading is adapted from pages 44-47 of Heaven & Hell: Are They Real?)

1 comment:

  1. Well put. I can't wait to get my imperishable, heavenly body. Goodbye arthritis!