Paul says of the resurrection of the dead, ‘The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.’ (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
The resurrection body will be:-
1. a spiritual body. This does not mean that it is ethereal and ghostly, but that it is free from the limitations of the flesh.
2. a real body, not a phantom. Jesus, after his resurrection, challenged his disciples to “Touch me and see”.
3. a recognisable body. It will be organically related to the physical body which had been laid to rest in the grave. The disciples recognised Jesus.
Note further that this resurrection body is:-
1. sown perishable, but raised imperishable. Sooner or, later, our physical bodies will waste away. But our resurrection bodies will never decay.
2. sown in dishonour, but raised in glory, v43. There is nothing lovely about a decaying corpse. But the resurrection body will be glorious, wonderful, and beautiful. Cf Phil 3:21.
3. sown in weakness, but raised in power, v43. Here in this life, the strength and energy of youth gives way to the weakness and tiredness of old age. Our new bodies, however, will be strong and healthy.
4. sown a natural body, but raised a spiritual body, v44. The natural body is adapted for life in this world. If confines and cramps us, and in the end returns to its constituent elements. But when our Lord returns, ‘we shall be changed’. Our lowly bodies will become like his glorious body.
‘The form of the resurrection body – the ‘spiritual body’ of 1 Cor. 15 – can only be glimpsed from what we know of Christ’s risen body, which left no corpse in the tomb, and, it seems, passed through the graveclothes (Lk. 24:12, 31). His bodily ascension does not necessarily suppose movement to a certain locality known as heaven, but suggests the emergence of his body into a larger life transcending the space-time limitations which bind us.’ (NBD)
J.I. Packer writes:- ‘Our new body, we may be sure, will match and perfectly express our perfected new heart, that is, our renewed moral and spiritual nature and character. That body will reflect us as we were at our best rather than as we are physically at the time of leaving this world. Indeed, we should expect it to be better than our physical best ever was. The new body will never deteriorate, but will keep its newness for all eternity. It will know no inner tensions between one desire and another, each pulling against the other, nor will desire to do something ever outrun energy and ability to do it. Nor, when we are in glory, shall we ever lack, or fail to show, love to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to all the brothers and sisters in Christ who are with us there.’ Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength