“But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain--perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.”
Which would seem to say that our earthly bodies are akin to seed husks – the dry outer coverings of what will ultimately arise from the ground.
We talk about this often at the nursing home, wondering what our eternal bodies will be like, and how we’ll be able to recognize each other. Seems like everyone has some idea about these things.
One frequently mentioned theory is that we’ll all simply be restored to some ideal age – the age that each of us was happiest, for instance, or the age that Jesus was when He died (i.e., 33). But if the apostle Paul was being somewhat literal with this analogy, our earthly bodies have no bearing on what we’ll look like for all eternity. Instead, today’s bodies are like seed husks. Once they have died and been sown, the living beings within will emerge – and if Paul’s analogy holds, they won’t look anything like the original husks.
Some have speculated that heaven has additional dimensions, which is impossible for us to even imagine. If I’m remembering the number correctly, modern mathematicians have supposedly “proven” that there are at least eight dimensions in our universe, although we can’t see beyond three. In fact, at least one additional dimension would seem to be implied in Ephesians 3: 17b-19, in Paul’s prayer that believers:
“…being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height -- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Width, length, depth and height -- four dimensions, and Paul wasn’t writing about time as the fourth dimension, as we tend to think of it today.
At any rate, this is one of many puzzles that won’t be solved until we get There. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55:
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?'"
I for one can’t wait to find out what our resurrected bodies will look like -- I wouldn't miss it for the world! In the meantime, may we join the apostle in concluding, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 57).
(originally posted 12/25/13)