I Corinthians 15:35-49
A husband and wife are having a hard time
sleeping, given the fact their neighbor’s dog is
barking in the backyard all night long. Eventually,
the wife tells her husband to go next door and get
the dog to stop. The husband obeys and comes
back a few minutes later.
“Okay, honey, that should solve the problem,
” he says as he goes back to bed. “But the dog is still barking!” the wife complains.
“What did you do?”
“I put their dog in our backyard. Now let’s see how
the neighbors like it!”
Today we are going to see how Paul describes the
resurrection body. He’s been defending the truth of the
resurrection, and writing about how critical it is to the
faith. In today’s text he is going to share some important
truths about the resurrection bodies that believers will
one day receive.
I Corinthians 15:35-38
Paul anticipates the church may have questions about the
resurrection body so he answers them before they have a
chance to ask them.
How are the dead raised?
What kind of body do they have?
He calls them fools for their lack of understanding.
Example of the Seed
Paul describes the resurrection with an example from
nature. He compares the resurrection to a seed.
A seed doesn’t come to life unless it dies.
It has to go into the ground in order for it to be
transformed into what it was meant to be.
Jesus also used this same analogy when He was talking
about His resurrection in John 12:23-25.
“And Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for
the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to
you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and
dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much
fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever
hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal
Just as the seed must die to come to life, Jesus had to
die to be raised from the dead. If there was no crucifixion
there could be no resurrection.
A seed sown is not the same as what is grown.
The seed looks nothing like what comes out of the
ground. An oak tree comes from a tiny acorn. When you
put the acorn in the ground it transforms into roots which
spring up a sprout which grows into a trunk with
branches and leaves.
They look nothing alike but they are the same essence.
The tree will drop acorns that once planted will only yield
more oak trees.
Acorns will never grow fig trees or olive trees. The
essence is the same but what comes out is transformed
by God in the soil.
It’s similar for us.
What comes out of the grave will still be us, but it isn’t
going to be the same exact body we had on earth. People
will still be able to recognize us. Remember, Jesus was
still known by His disciples after His resurrection. They
were able to see His scars.
I Corinthians 15:39
Example of the Flesh
Paul shares two truths here in this verse.
First, in the context of the resurrection, he is saying:
Just because you can’t imagine what your
resurrected body may be like, doesn’t mean it isn’t
All Flesh is NOT the Same
God has made all different types of flesh to exist in their
specific environment. Fish can live in the water, birds live
in the air, animals live on the ground. God has suited
each of his creations for the environment He has them in.
so, when Jesus comes back we are going to get our
glorified bodies so we can live in heaven.
No more corruptible bodies that get sick and injured.
Glorified bodies fit for life in heaven.
Don’t fall into the thinking that when we die we are just
spirit beings. Christ has a body and is in that body in
heaven. We too will have a physical body in heaven.
The second truth Paul shares is that:
You can’t change DNA.
A bird is always going to be a bird and lay eggs that will
hatch other birds.
Fish will always be fish and lay eggs that hatch other fish.
Gorillas will always give birth to gorillas.
Humans will always be humans. Apes didn’t one day give
birth to a human. God created humans just like He
created every species on earth. Each their own kind.
In that same vein, a woman will never be a man. No
matter what you do to her physically she will always have
the DNA of a woman.
I Corinthians 15:40-41
Heavenly Bodies differ from Earthly Bodies
What Paul is saying here is that we can’t take our earthly
bodies to heaven. They are earthly.
God is going to take our earthly bodies and transform
them into glorified bodies that are fit for heaven.
Remember, God made everything on earth and in
He made the sun and the moon and the stars. And the
glory they show reflects the power and majesty of God.
God also made man to live on earth. Man is the only
thing God made in His own image!
We bring glory to Him when we allow the Holy Spirit to
guide us throughout our lives.
I Corinthians 15:42-44
4 Differences in our Earthly Bodies and Glorified Bodies
Perishable Romans 8:21 – decay and death
Dishonor – disgrace and shame
Weakness – fragile, sickly
Natural – earthly life, sinful
Imperishable – will not deteriorate
Glory Phil 3:21 – honor, splendor
Power – strength and ability from God
Spiritual – suited for life in heaven
Once again, God gave us our earthly bodies for our time
on earth. When it is time for believers to receive their
glorified bodies, He will provide them for us. It’s the hope
that Christians have. The hope of glory and being in the
presence of the Savior.
I Corinthians 15:45-49
The Natural Body comes before the Spiritual
Adam was the first human – formed from the dust.
Jesus was the first to be resurrected, because of that He
is the life giving spirit.
He is the first of many who will be resurrected on the day
of His return.
Paul writes that the natural comes first.
We have our physical birth then the spiritual birth – Jesus
told Nicodemus he must be born again.
Adam was created from dust.
Jesus has always existed, he came from heaven but He
came in a human body.
We know that one day our earthly bodies will be traded
for a heavenly body like Jesus.
Listen to how Stephen Um describes Jesus.
The imperishable became perishable that the perishable
might become imperishable. Jesus, the glorious one,
experienced dishonor so that the dishonorable might
experience glory. Jesus, the powerful one, became weak
so that the weak might become powerful.
Jesus who deserved life experienced death so that those
who deserved death might experience new life. Jesus,
“the man of heaven” (v. 49), made himself a Son of
Man—a man of the earth—so that the sons of Adam, men
of the earth, might become men of Heaven. In this Jesus
the natural and the supernatural come together.
Stephen T. Um, 1 Corinthians: The Word of the Cross, ed. R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the
Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015), 278.
Believers are anticipating the day we receive our glorified
bodies. It’s part of the hope we have. While we wait for
that we can allow God to use us here on earth.
Just like the seed is transformed into a beautiful tree,
God is transforming us.
Paul told the church at Rome not to be conformed to this
world, but transferred by the renewal of their minds, that
by testing they might discern the will of God.
Only God can transform us, now and on the last day.
Be Transformed by God
Let God shape you into who He wants you to be.
Don’t be conformed to this world.
Be transformed by God. Let Him renew your mind.
Let Him guide you day by day to serve Him.