There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies.

1 Corinthians 15:40

“…there are different kinds of flesh.” (1 Corinthians 15:39) – read verses 39-41 as a unit.

With all the talk about resurrection we have had over the past several weeks, it is worth reflecting on what Paul means when he uses the term.

Verse 12 states that Jesus has been “raised from the dead.” It is extremely specific language because the raising refers to a definite, physical action: to be awakened or arise from the dead. Similar language is also used in verse 13 where it has the same sense, describing resurrection as a literal “standing up of the dead.” There can be no doubt about what he is saying – the word “dead” is the common Greek word for a dead body or corpse.

Paul is describing the physical raising of a corpse or corpses – of real people who are physically dead. He is certainly not speaking about a “spiritual” resurrection of Jesus or those who have died as believers – the words he uses do not allow any room for this idea.

This is an important fact to keep in mind when considering Paul’s response in verses 39-49 about the kind of bodies the resurrected will have.

In today’s reading, he continues with his previous idea of difference.

He begins by saying there are differences between humans, animals, birds, and fish. They are all flesh, but different expressions of it.

This idea of difference is also seen in the Universe. The earth we live upon and our Solar System are similar in that they are all planets, but there are differences in their glory. It might be helpful to think of a planet’s glory displayed in the night sky compared to the different glory you see in a mountain range.

Difference is also highlighted when you compare the sun, moon, and stars. There is a relationship that exists between them and they each possess glory, but they differ from one another.

Paul is simply saying,

“When it comes to wondering what the resurrected body will be like, why is our thinking limited to only one kind of body, the body we are familiar with? Look at all the variety God has created in the Universe – different types of flesh, planets and heavenly bodies – our resurrected bodies will reflect the unique glory God gives them.”

We will be raised with real bodies, but with a different glory: that is something to hope for!

Q. Have you been limited in your thinking about the resurrected body?

With all the talk about resurrection we have had over the past several weeks, it is worth reflecting on what Paul means when he uses the term.

Verse 12 states that Jesus has been “raised from the dead.” It is extremely specific language because the raising refers to a definite, physical action: to be awakened or arise from the dead. Similar language is also used in verse 13 where it has the same sense, describing resurrection as a literal “standing up of the dead.” There can be no doubt about what he is saying – the word “dead” is the common Greek word for a dead body or corpse.

Paul is describing the physical raising of a corpse or corpses – of real people who are physically dead. He is certainly not speaking about a “spiritual” resurrection of Jesus or those who have died as believers – the words he uses do not allow any room for this idea.

This is an important fact to keep in mind when considering Paul’s response in verses 39-49 about the kind of bodies the resurrected will have.

In today’s reading, he continues with his previous idea of difference.

He begins by saying there are differences between humans, animals, birds, and fish. They are all flesh, but different expressions of it.

This idea of difference is also seen in the Universe. The earth we live upon and our Solar System are similar in that they are all planets, but there are differences in their glory. It might be helpful to think of a planet’s glory displayed in the night sky compared to the different glory you see in a mountain range.

Difference is also highlighted when you compare the sun, moon, and stars. There is a relationship that exists between them and they each possess glory, but they differ from one another.

Paul is simply saying,

“When it comes to wondering what the resurrected body will be like, why is our thinking limited to only one kind of body, the body we are familiar with? Look at all the variety God has created in the Universe – different types of flesh, planets and heavenly bodies – our resurrected bodies will reflect the unique glory God gives them.”

We will be raised with real bodies, but with a different glory: that is something to hope for!

Q. Have you been limited in your thinking about the resurrected body?