THE PHYSICALITY OF THE RESURRECTED BODY

39 See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43 and He took it and ate it before them (Luke24:39-43)

Just a brief follow-up to the previous post on resurrection (Luke 20) where a few chapters later Jesus appears to His disciples shortly after His resurrection. They believed Him to be a ghost which is probably the main reason Jesus asked for food – to show them he was not a spirit but “flesh and bones” (v39) capable of eating. Drinking too, for in Mt26:29 Jesus had declared He would no longer partake of the fruit of the vine that He drank at the last supper “until I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” which He well knew would be after His resurrection and theirs. As for the resurrected bodies of ordinary mortals: “(Jesus) shall transform our humble bodies into conformity with His own glorious body by the exertion of the power that He has to subject all things to Himself” (Phil3:21).  

If you have been following these posts or read my book*, you’ll know I understand Paul to be teaching that it is not the soul per se but the body and brain that is the source of man’s problem – that which has been ultimately procreated from our fallen first parents. The body with its ingenious but morally disordered control centre returns to the ground after a few decades, unlike the spiritual component of man. For it must be remembered that what leaves the body after death is a memory-retaining intellectual entity in its own right (cf. Lk16:25). The precious soul is both spiritual and eternal. It is not derived from human sperm but was planted in the embryo by the Spirit of God.  And so “the dust shall return to the earth as it was and the spirit will return to God who gave it (Eccles12:7).

So it should come as no surprise that both Paul and Peter refer to the physical body as our vessel or tent. But “who can deliver me from the body of this death?” – I thank God it is Jesus Christ”, writes Paul (Rom7:24-25). For the Christian can bedelivered to an extent from the corrupting influence of the human brain as it processes the bodily senses that are at odds with the conscience-directed spirit or inner man (Rom7:23). Aided by celestial grace the believer can come to “possess his own vessel with sanctity and honour” (1Thes4:4). Yet even then, “if Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin but the spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Rom8:10). The matter is therefore not fully resolved for anyone until resurrection. Is it any wonder that Paul concludes:

“The whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only they, but also we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons – being the redemption of our body!  (Rom8:22-23).

* Free PDF of The Little Book of Providence HERE