1 Cor. 7:14
1 Cor. 15:22
1 Cor. 15:52
1 John 1:9
1 John 2:2
- 1 Corinthians 15:52
- "The dead shall be raised incorruptible."
- It is argued on the basis of this passage that the righteous "sheep" are known of the Shepherd during their life and therefore there is no need for them to appear before the Judgment to obtain immortality. They will rise from the grave immortal.
- The dead shall be "raised incorruptible", but this is not the same as saying the "dead shall come out of their graves immortal." The word "raised" (translated from the Greek, "egeiró")
does not in itself imply immortal emergence. Lazarus was raised (egeiró)
(John 12:1), but he did not come forth immortal.1
Neither does "egeiró" denote an instantaneous change from mortality to immortality. The following examples indicate this:
Therefore, when Paul says the "dead shall be raised incorruptible", he is not using a word (raised) which in itself denotes an instantaneous transformation in which the dead come forth immortal.
- Luke 1:69 "And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David."
- Acts 13:23 "Of this man's [David - v. 22] seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus."
- Romans 9:17 (Speaking of Pharaoh), "Even for this same purpose have I raised [Grk: exegeiró] thee up . . . "
- In 1 Corinthians 15:35, the question asked is: "How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?"2 The answer given compares the raising of the dead with the raising of wheat. To raise a crop of wheat implies the whole process of sowing, cultivating and reaping. As Jesus said: "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." (Mark 4:28). Likewise, "the dead shall be raised incorruptible" is a process. It commences (as the parable of the sower indicates) when the word is heard, understood, and obeyed. (Matt. 13:23). The process involves the resurrection of the dead from their graves (1 Cor. 15:42; Isa. 26:19) and judgment with the subsequent granting of immortality. (Matt. 25:31-34, 46; Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10). The process is complete when believers are given a "spiritual body".
- It is sometimes argued that believers are "sown" when at the resurrection their mortal bodies are made alive. But this interpretation must be rejected since at the resurrection believers are reaped, not sown. Jesus said, "the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels." (Matt. 13:39). The "sowing" is the life of the believer in a nature which tends to corruption, dishonour, and weakness (inherent in the natural body). (Gal. 6:7, 8; 1 Cor. 15:42, 43). Jesus further employed the analogy of the seed in the context of resurrection: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." (John 12:24, 25). Likewise, Paul protested, "I die daily". (1 Cor. 15:31). The dying in these two passages cannot be restricted to mere physical death. The dying is a continuos process in the life of the believer in which the "old man" of the flesh is crucified with his lusts and affections. (Gal. 5:24; Rom. 6:6).
- "It is sown a natural body" (vs. 44) cannot refer to the dead body in the ground (as is required by the doctrine of immortal emergence) since the Greek for natural body is "psuchikon soma" which means a living body.3 This point becomes even stronger once it is noted that Paul compares the natural body and Adam (a living soul, not a dead body) with a spiritual body and Christ. The contrasts are as follows:
||It is sown in
||It is raised in|
|weakness, a natural body
||power, a spiritual body or quickening spirit|
|first that which is natural
||afterwards that which is spiritual|
- Although the judgment of believers is not detailed in this section of the epistle, it is in 2 Cor. 5:9-10. The consideration here is with those whose privilege it is to inherit the kingdom, not with those who are unfaithful. Similarly, although Paul asserts we "shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22) and "we shall all be changed" (1 Cor. 15:51), these statements do not nullify his earlier teaching that believers can be destroyed, can perish and become castaways. (1 Cor. 3:17; 8:11; 9:27).
- It requires stressing that the righteous go "into life eternal" (and therefore are not already immortal). (Matt. 25:46). The invitation to enter into eternal life is preceded by the Judgment which determines who are sheep and who are goats. The "sheep" (i.e. the righteous) come forth mortal, therefore, and not immortal. Similarly, Jesus stated that those in the graves who hear his voice will come forth "unto the resurrection of life." (John 5:28, 29). The righteous come forth to eternal life, not with eternal life.
- Lazarus could not have come forth immortal, since Christ was the "firstfruits of them that slept". (1 Cor. 15:20, 45). This obviously applies to Christ's resurrection to immortality since he was not the first fruits by virtue of being raised only. Many resurrections preceded his. Return
- In answer to these questions the Apostle sets out two arguments:
Two analogies are cited in support of these two arguments:
- The life to come is not merely the continuation of life as it now is - life in the resurrection is different in kind.
- Resurrection preserves personal identity; there is a continuity of personal identity before and after resurrection.
- When grain is sown ("bare grain" - vs. 37) it produces a different seed bearing plant from the original seed, yet the distinctiveness of the grain is preserved - corn produces corn seed, not wheat or barley.
- There are different kinds of flesh - human, animals, birds, and fish, yet each is flesh. (vs. 39). Return
- Cf. Gen. 2:7, Adam was made a "living soul" ("Psuche" being the equivalent of the Hebrew word, "nephesh"). Return