What God reveals through Paul in 1st Corinthians 15 is a new revelation to an ancient faith, and for us today, it is the most supreme hope offered by any religion. For centuries humanity had only an imagination’s view of the afterlife. Egyptians were famous for their hopeful aspirations of living a life of luxury and victory in conquest after this physical life, but until Jesus came, no one offered visible proof. So many Jews discarded all the fanciful pictures of Egyptians living in sumptuous splendor after death. Jews and still today many Christians accept the myth that anything physical is too bad or sinful to live past the grave. But God in Christ revealed the reality. Remember when God brought physical life into creation, he pronounced it ‘good’, Genesis 1:31. When Paul writes by God’s Spirit about the afterlife, he promises more than just a spiritual existence, he promises a spiritual body. This is a revelation to ancient thought. In comparison to modern thought of nirvana, reincarnation or celestial unity, the idea of a unique spiritual body is superior. During the past 2000 years, no idea is more appealing, nor has any other idea been given more evidenced hope, than the bodily resurrection of Christ Jesus. The declaration of divinity in Christ was proven by the historical & eye-witnessed fact of his bodily resurrection, Romans 1:4. The bodily resurrection of Christ was unique and Paul taught it as being the firstfruit of all resurrections, meaning it was the superior and holy one. The thought of being a firstfruit is originally found in Leviticus 23:9-12, showing sacrificed grain after the harvest was waved over the sacrificed lamb before the Temple, showing to all Israel that only the best was offered and publicly certified as holy. This act holds the original thought of Christ’s resurrection being the firstfruit (choice/best/elect) of every person’s resurrection, John 5:28-29 & 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17.
The promise of a super-natural spiritual body for faithful Christians is clear, 1st John 3:2. Paul makes clear, “flesh and blood can not inherit the Kingdom, (1st Cor. 15:50) while at the same time clarifying that we will have a body, which is spiritual, permanent, powerful & incorruptible. At the sound of the last trumpet, we will be changed from a weak & corruptible body into an incorruptible body, eternal mass. Our present body is temporary, not sinful, yearning for permanence. What this temporary flesh desires is evil, but sin is not committed by us, until we use the evil desire in the wrong way. For example, our fleshly mind wants to enjoy pornography, the desire is not sin, but the actual looking with the intent to lust is indeed sinful, ie. adultery! Paul thought whatever was temporary wasn’t real, Read 2 Corinthians 4:18 “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Read also, Colossians 2:17.
Our body to come will in some miraculous sense be conformed to Christ’s resurrected body, see Philippians 3:21. Paul is convinced humans have a desire to be clothed, 2nd Corinthians 5:4, eternally. Peter confirmed that truth with miracles in performing his act of resurrecting Dorcas. Peter wrote “Therefore since all these things will be dissolved, what kind of people ought we to be in holy conduct and godliness (2nd Peter 3:11). This body we have now is indeed beautiful and we are all made in the image of God, male & female, but the glory we have now is fading. Paul points us to the future greater glory. Read 2nd Corinthians 3:11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. The dissolute destruction of this wondrous flesh is something Paul boasts in, as we read 1st Corinthians 15, Paul borrows from Isaiah 25:8 & Hosea 13:14 in order to mock death & the grave. Sin & death had met their match in the love & life of Christ. Paul thought nothing spiritually significant happened to humanities’ fleshly state between Adam’s death & Christ’s resurrection! Through the centuries, Paul could not have even imagined the evolution of humanity, instead, he knew only of our dissolute demise until the resurrection of Christ turned everything upside down. Do you believe this?