Christians, be courageous and do not invent a hope not in the Bible. The Christian hope is the redemption of the body (Rom 8:22–24). The Bible reveals repeatedly that Jesus will return and resurrect those who are dead as Jesus rose from the dead (Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 6:14; 15:20–23). Resurrection from the Greek word anastasia means bodily rising from death to life again. Paul revealed that to deny the resurrection of the dead is to deny the resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 15:12–19).
Today, believers often deny the resurrection by believing in a bodiless eternal life or afterlife in a new ghostly body. When a person dies, the spirit separates from the body (Jas 2:26). However, this is not the eternal state of the faithful. Pagan philosophers including Platonists, Stoics, and Epicureans had various views of a bodiless afterlife looking forward to an existence without the natural body. Pagans believed that some would receive celestial or ghostly bodies. Some believers in Christ today have concluded that they will have ghost-like bodies, because the Bible says, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 15:50). However, they do not see the following scriptures to apply the whole teaching. The Greco-Roman world believed the same that the dead would have ghostly-spirit bodies. Paul addressed this grievous error that many believers were denying the bodily resurrection of eternal life and so denied Jesus’s resurrection as he is the first of the resurrection. Some would ask about the resurrection, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” (1 Cor 15:35).
The answer is not that the faithful will resurrect to ghostly spirit bodies, rise to natural bodies that decay, or live in a bodiless bliss. By the resurrection of Christ, the natural body must change by putting on a new glory not putting off flesh and blood. The bodies of the faithful become spiritual and heavenly in nature to inherit eternal life (1 Cor 15:42–49). The “flesh and blood” body is mortal and must put on immortality to inherit the kingdom of God when Jesus returns (1 Cor 15:51–52). Paul revealed, “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:53). Jesus resurrected “flesh and bone” with glory and power having put immortality on His once mortal body (Luke 24:39; Col 2:9). Likewise, the bodies of the faithful will resurrect “flesh and blood” and put on immortality. The faithful will not put off their natural bodies but the natural bodies will change and “be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor 5:4).
The Christian hope is in a bodily resurrection to eternal life on the last day (John 6:40). This is the redemption of the body (Rom 8:23–24). This is why Jesus resurrected from the dead. He is the firstfruits of the resurrection (1 Cor 15:20–23).
Glad to see that another faithful bible student can see the profound discrepancy between a bodiless life prior to the general resurrection and what Paul describes unusually concisely in 1 Corinthians 15 and not see that the resurrection is the very foundation of our hope in Christ. He is the firstborn from the dead and we will be raised exactly as he was, at His return. Jesus told Nicodemus that “no one has ascended into Heaven, except the one who descended from Heaven; even the son of Man”. That logically means evern Enoch and Elijah did not go to heaven where God dwells. Neither did the thief on the cross, or Jesus’ earthly mother or our brothers Peter and Paul.
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Perhaps I misunderstand your view. If there is a bodily resurrection, will my sister that died at three years old be that age throughout eternity and my ninety year old father be that age for eternity or will we all be thirty five years old?
Good question. The Bible says that the faithful will put on immortality becoming powerful, heavenly, and spiritual as Christ resurrected bodily “flesh and bone” (1 Cor 15:42–53). As far as age, I reflect on Adam and Eve’s maturity in the creation, because Isaiah revealed the resurrection as a restorative creation (Isa 26:19).