1st July 2011

How Will It Be?

“The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving Spirit.”
Corinthians 15:45 (NIV UK)

Some Corinthian church members, given their background in Greek culture, were concerned about the nature of the resurrected body. 

Several Greek philosophers taught that matter was inherently corrupt and thus evil. This conflicted with the Hebrew idea that, when God made everything, it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The Corinthian dilemma was: with what kind of body will we be raised? 

Paul just cut through all the flack. “Don’t ask silly questions!”, he appears to say (1 Corinthians 15:36), and then he is gracious enough to give an inspiring answer. In a way he uses Adam, the first recorded man, and Jesus, symbolically the last Adam, as the bookends of human experience. Paul’s thought is to contrast their respective stories, and, in so doing, to present a vision of what men and women will become in Christ. 

The first Adam’s story is that he is life-receiving. He is nothing without God’s creativity. “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7). Adam marked the beginning of God-given physical life. Our bodies in this life are perishable and weak, made in the likeness of the man of dust. 

The last Adam’s story is that he is life-giving. Jesus, the Word who dwelt among us, is also the “life-giving Spirit”. The same Lord who gave us our physical existence also supplies us with everlasting life in spiritual bodies. These are not natural bodies, but they are imperishable, glorious, and powerful in the likeness of the man from heaven.

Therefore we don’t have to be concerned in the least about the resurrected state. God has it all worked out from beginning to end. “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53). 

The hymn In Resurrection Bodies by the late Margaret Clarkson is often sung to the tune of Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. Perhaps it would have helped the Corinthians to know some of the lyrics: 
“O, resurrection body – young, radiant, vibrant, free,
With powers unthought, undreamed of -how rich your joys shall be!
Through endless years to marvel, – design, create, explore,
In resurrection wonder – to worship, serve, adore!” 

Father, we hope in you and in your future for us, and thank you that Jesus is the life-giving Spirit in whom we place all our trust.

Study by James Henderson

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One Response to “1st July 2011”

  1. Dr Steve H Hakes on November 13th, 2017 10:28 am

    Have been looking at Margaret’s song. It covers a stirring theme not often sung, and would have been of some help, but A few hiccups, such as “poor sinners home” (saints will enter (not return to) their home); “complete in Christ the Son” (since we’re already singing about Christ God’s son, a pronoun is better); “Christ’s victorious breath” (possibly misunderstanding Jhn.20:22; maybe change ‘death’ to ‘doubt’, and ‘breath’ to ‘shout’); asking Jesus (Lord, teach us) instead of God. Still, I look to quote the same stanza you have, though it seems strange to sing to a resurrection body which indeed is yet to be.

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