In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, a series of relevant topics is addressed one at a time. Among other matters, Paul discusses church leadership, sexual behavior, lawsuits, marriage, food sacrificed to idols, corporate worship and the unity of believers. His last major topic (1 Corinthians 15) addresses the resurrection of the dead.
As we are still in the Easter season, I believe it to be helpful to offer a few reminders of resurrection theology, which is often very confusing to believers. To counter the Platonic notion of the duality of matter and spirit, Paul declares, So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable (he is talking about our earthly bodies), it is raised imperishable…it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:42,44).
All who are already dead in Christ are with Him, in the temporary holding place we call heaven. They, as well as we, are waiting for the completion of God’s plan and the end of history. When that time comes, all who belong to Christ will be given a forever resurrection body. We have a clue about what this body will be like because there is already the testimony of one resurrection that has taken place.
Jesus’ resurrection body, is real, physical, visible and human. So will we be. He existed in two worlds, the heavenly and the earthly. He was able to transition to either. For us, heaven and earth will be joined as one reality. Our destiny is not to die and go to heaven to be with Jesus forever; our destiny is to be with Jesus forever as he brings heaven to earth.
God’s creation will be restored, not obliterated. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time (Romans 8:22).
We can take heart that all we love about creation, all the relationships we have, are within the redemptive work of God. Nothing that belongs to God will be lost forever. There will be a great reunion day. Thanks be to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!