Part 1: Did Jesus Rise Physically from the Dead? 1 Corinthians 15:42-49

Jehovah’s Witnesses and others argue that after the crucifixion, Jesus rose spiritually from the dead.  They say it was not a physical/bodily resurrection.  They use the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 as their primary source.  Were the appearances of Jesus after his death simply a vision projected by God?  Did his physical body stay in the grave?  What implications does this have for our future postmortem resurrection? The verses I will deal with are 1 Corinthians 15:42-49.  Paul is going to write about our future resurrection body and he will draw some conclusions from the resurrection of Jesus.  I have underlined in the verses key words. Paul begins by writing about believers in Christ: So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” Paul argues how our resurrection body is going to be different from the present one.  In verses 42-44 he is going to present four contrasts that are all mutually exclusive. The first contrast in verse 42 is a perishable versus an imperishable body.  The perishable body will decay and eventually turn to dust.  The future body, the imperishable, will not see decay.  Paul is helping the Corinthians understand this new body will be incapable of decaying; it will not die and will be something permanent. The second and third contrasts are found in verse 43 where we see the new body will have honor instead of shame, power and glory instead of weakness.  This new body will have status (glory) and capabilities the present body will never have.  In the future this resurrected body will be given power by the creator instead of the many weaknesses we now possess in our earthly bodies. The fourth and final contrast has traditionally been the most controversial.  I will deal with 1 Corinthians 15:44 in my next post. Go to part 2 here

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