What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
1 Corinthians 15: 36b-38, 42-44
Over the past couple of days, I’ve considered the power of the resurrection on a more personal note than most Easter seasons when I write about these particular verses. Right now, I’m sitting in an ICU listening to my mom sleep after a major stroke earlier this week. My mom will likely die in a few days or so, but she has the hope expressed by Paul in the verses above.
As it relates to the passage, a few years ago, Patrina and I gathered a few acorns from an oak tree with the hope that at least one of them might sprout into a mighty oak sometime in our lifetime. Not one of those sprouted, but we do have one volunteer oak on the hillside behind our house. It likely originated from another oak from our hillside. Isn’t it remarkable that a tiny acorn can be transformed into such a great tree?
That’s exactly the picture Paul is painting regarding the truth of the concept of death and resurrection for followers of Christ.
One theologian’s view is that a better translation of Paul’s words of the natural/spiritual body is found in the comparison of the natural and the supernatural. A spiritual body gives us a picture of a body that is more spirit than body, but the term supernatural more closely relates to the kind of body as Christ presented Himself to his followers following the resurrection.
Christ made it clear to His disciples by encouraging them to touch him and He ate and drank with them. He was not a ghost. He rose with a supernatural body.
Later in the chapter, Paul again compares Adam with Christ saying that “just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15: 49).
If an acorn can grow into an oak, imagine what God can do with a little dust.