Courtney asked me to address a question from the curriculum after class on Wednesday.
It was basically question number 16 in lesson 8. The question is “What is at stake in affirming the importance of the body- that is, what do we lose if we disdain our physical bodies or neglect the resurrection of our bodies?” “I didn’t really understand how the previous verses (1 Corinthians 15:35-44 and Romans 8:18-23) answered that question.”
We “wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Rom 8:23. Paul goes on to call this the hope in which we were saved.
Concerning the I Corinthian 15 passage, it helps to keep reading to these verses,
“For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
What is ultimately at stake in the resurrection of our bodies is God’s power to overcome death, and the decay that we experience in these “mortal” or “natural” bodies. His power is manifested by the resurrection — first of Christ, then of his people. It is clear that Jesus was raised from the dead, and 1 Corinthians 15 makes it critically important that this is a reality. Otherwise, we are “of all men, most to be pitied.” Why? Because this is our hope. Redeemed, glorified bodies like our Savior. And these redeemed bodies will be able to enjoy the pleasures of heaven in ways that we cannot imagine — living in the decayed condition we now experience.
So the “creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God”. We should interpret this both spiritually — we will be free from the ravages and constraints of sin — and physically. We will have the freedom from physical limitations that will enable us to shine like the true children of God that we are.
There are so many references to the physical realities in the new heavens and the new earth, that we should not view them as metaphorical or spiritualize them away.
We will enjoy the “marriage supper of the lamb”.
We will see the new Jerusalem coming down as a place for God to dwell with His people.
We will watch the lion eat hay like the ox, and the wolf dine with the lamb.
There will be no more tears.
We will physically see the scars in the hands, feet, and side of the Lamb of God.
If we are thirsty, we will “drink from the spring of water of life.”
I’m not sure, but I hope we will eat of the tree of life with its 12 different fruits.
And best of all, by the light of the Lamb Himself, “we will see His face.”
It seems to follow from the passages in 1 Corinthians and Romans 8 that our physical resurrection, like Christ’s, is important. And our ability to enjoy the new heavens and new earth will be, in part, a physical enjoyment. And that will enhance our ability to give God glory in new and magnificent ways.
And we will be like kids running through sprinklers on a hot summer day!
Thanks for posting this John! This was helpful in clarifying the question and then answering it! I think I understand the answer better now. 🙂