‘What, we may ask, is the nature of the resurrection body? It is not a speculative or a useless question because the criterion of what is useless and speculative is that there is no teaching on it in scripture; and there is some clear teaching in the Bible with regard to the resurrection body. For example, we read in Philippians 3:21 that the Lord Jesus Christ ‘will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body’. It is not entirely clear what the Lord’s glorious body was like. We may think immediately of His post-resurrection appearances: to Mary in the garden on the first Easter morning; to the two on the road to Emmaus; to the disciples and Thomas; but the body with which He was seen on these and other occasions has, in my view, undergone serious transformation or transfiguration. When Mary saw Him she thought He was the gardener (John 20:15): He looked so very ordinary. But not for a moment did Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road imagine that what he saw was a gardener. All the paraphernalia of divine majesty was there. Again, the One John describes in Revelation 1, who is ‘like a son of man’, is a splendid and glorious figure.
‘The position appears to be that the risen Christ and His various appearances assumed different forms. We are told explicitly that He appeared to some of the disciples ‘in another form’, another morphe, looking different (Mark 16:12). Besides that, we know that the Lord underwent not only the experience of the resurrection but also the ascension to ‘the right hand of the Majesty on high’ (Hebrews 1:3), and His post-ascension appearances are quite different to the pre-ascension appearances. So, when Paul speaks of our one day having a body like the glorious body of Christ he is speaking not of the resurrection but of the ascension body of Jesus: the kind of body that Saul saw on the road to Damascus; the glory that John saw on Patmos; and perhaps most significantly, what Peter and James and John saw on the Mount of Transfiguration. Brilliant, brilliant light. God is light (1 John 1:5). Light is the primal basic form of energy and the resurrection body is described so often in terms of light: bodies so luminous, so splendid, so light-bearing, so majestic that in them the glory of God Himself is seen.
‘The fact that the Lord’s post-resurrection body appeared to be able to move with great rapidity, to appear and disappear at will, is perhaps a further hint of the nature of our resurrection body; but it is probably not possible to understand the resurrection body without understanding the new heavens and the new earth. That body will have different physical properties because the world itself will probably have different properties from those that we know at the present moment. It is possible, in fact, that when God gives us the new universe it will be multi-dimensional and our bodies will behave in it in ways that today we cannot even begin to imagine.’
Donald MacLeod, A Faith To Live By