I’ve been trying to show that Paul thought eternal life would be lived not in some kind of bodiless spiritual existence, but in the physical body. How is *that* supposed to work? And didn’t he say that “flesh and blood” would NOT inherit the kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50)? Here I explain how Paul understood it was all to happen. I pick up with the last bit of my last post, taken from Heaven and Hell (Simon & Schuster, 2020).
The future resurrected body Paul imagines will be utterly and completely transformed. It will be a different kind of body. Paul argues that the human body that goes into the ground is like a “bare kernel” of some kind of grain that grows into a plant. What grows is intimately tied to and related to what went into the ground; but it is also vastly different. When you plant an acorn it doesn’t grow into a forty-foot acorn, but into an oak tree.
So too the human. When the body comes out of the ground it is transformed into “the body that God gives it, as he wishes” (15:38). That is because “there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies” and they have different kind of glories, just as there is “one glory for the sun, another glory for the moon, and another for the stars; even the stars differ in glory from one to the next” (15:40-41).
Paul insists that this is how it will be at the future resurrection. The body that does into the ground is
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