Resurrection, part 12
That brings me to the next part, which I think is interesting. It turns out that the resurrection isn’t just something that affects the dead. It also affects the living. Paul said, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (v. 51-52). So both the living and the dead will undergo a transformation from perishable to imperishable; mortal to immortal. The fact that Paul is speaking of transformation strengthens the case that there is continuity between body that dies and the body that rises. Those of us who are alive at Jesus’ coming will be changed. We don’t shed this body and get a different body altogether. Rather, the same body is transformed. The same must be true of the dead.
The continuity is also made clear in what follows. Paul says:
For this perishable must put on imperishable,Read that carefully. He doesn’t say this perishable must be done away with so that we can gain imperishable in its place. Rather, he says this perishable must put on imperishable. This mortal must put on immortality. It is this same body that we already have which gains immortality. The fact that immortality is something we put on implies that we are gaining the property of immortality; not that we are losing the property of physicality. Paul doesn’t say we take off physicality in order to put on immortality. We don’t take off anything at all. We only put on.
And this mortal must put on immortality (v. 53).
For more on bodily resurrection and 1 Corinthians 15, see Bill Craig’s article, The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus.
Next, I want to talk about an interesting philosophical problem raised by bodily resurrection.