Resurrection, part 10
If there was any part of 1 Corinthians 15 that would cause me to change my mind, it’s the next part. In v. 45 it says, “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” There you have it. Jesus became a spirit. That seems to settle it, doesn’t it? The problem is that it goes against everything else in the Bible. That makes me wonder if maybe there’s some other way to understand it. I think there is.
Let’s take this position to its logical conclusion. If the contrast is between material and immaterial, and if “spirit” refers to immaterial, then “soul” must refer to material. But that isn’t what “soul” refers to. Nowhere in the Bible does “soul” mean “material.” Soul either refers simply to any living person, or it refers to the immaterial aspect of our nature. When it refers to the immaterial aspect of our nature, then soul and spirit mean the same thing. But even God, who is spirit, is said to have a soul (see Leviticus 26:11).
I think Paul’s emphasis is more on the fact that Adam is “living” and Jesus is “life-giving.” It is because Jesus is a life-giving spirit that we will bear his image. He is the one who gives us life at the resurrection. The term, “spirit” need not refer to Jesus’ immateriality either. John uses the term “spirit” to refer to physical human beings (see 1 John 4:1-3), so “spirit” doesn’t strictly imply immateriality. But even if “spirit” does refer to Jesus’ immaterial nature, it doesn’t cause a problem. Jesus was spirit even before his death and resurrection, because he’s God. He has a dual nature. In fact, all humans have a dual nature. We are all spirits. Calling us spirits, then, does not mean we have no material nature. It certainly didn’t in John 4:1-3 when John referred to human beings as spirits.
to be continued... Part 11