What will our resurrected bodies be like? Believers commonly ask this question in our day, but we are not the first generation to do so. The first generation of Christians also wanted to know the nature of the resurrected body, and Paul addresses this topic in 1 Corinthians 15.
As we saw in verses 35–41, there will be both continuity and discontinuity between our preresurrection and postresurrection existence. The seed and the plant that grows from it have things in common, but they are also very different. In fact, the Lord has appointed differences among the various earthly and heavenly bodies He has made in all creation. Similarly, our resurrected bodies will be similar to but different from our present bodies, and our resurrected bodies will have their own kind of glory given by God.
The Apostle focuses on the differences between our pre- and postresurrection existence in verses 42–45. Here he emphasizes the inferiority of our present bodies to the resurrected bodies we will inherit. Currently, our bodies are perishable, weak, and merely natural. When we are raised, our bodies will be imperishable, powerful, and spiritual (see also 15:50–57). Paul does not mean to denigrate the physical, for our resurrected bodies will be physical. It is just that they will be free of the infirmities associated with sin and life in a fallen creation. The Apostle notes that the resurrected body is a spiritual body not because we will have a noncorporeal existence but because we will be glorified and thoroughly transformed by the Holy Spirit even in our physical flesh. That much is clear from 15:46–49, where we read that our bodies will be like the resurrected body of Jesus, which could be seen and touched even in its glorified state (John 20:24–29).
We will inherit a resurrected body that is like the body of Jesus because we belong to the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. He has become “a life-giving spirit” (v. 45). The risen, incarnate Son has become so closely identified with the work of the Holy Spirit in granting new life to God’s people that He is the source of both our physical and spiritual lives. Christ, by His Spirit, will make our glorified physical bodies fit for life in the new creation. Dr. Sinclair Ferguson writes in his book The Holy Spirit: “Christ’s resurrection body is the firstfruits and prototype of a new humanity. Not only so, but Christ as life-giving Spirit is the source of our resurrection existence. He gives life suited to the Spirit.”