Comments on The Resurrection of the Body given by St. Paul To the Corinthians (1Corinthians 15)
[The Gospel quotes are in bold italics.]
The resurrection of the body is a Christian belief stated in the Apostles’ Creed. It does not refer to the resurrection of Jesus alone. It is intended for each one of us.
The idea of the dead coming back to life is certainly a strange one, and it was considered as such by many people living during the time of Jesus. But even in the Old Testament we find reference to a resurrection of the body. Your dead shall live. (Isaiah 26: 19) Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. (Daniel 12:2)
After the death of Jesus, this concept of the dead coming back to life became a central fact for those who followed him. Since there were many non-believers, Paul sought to clarify the meaning of the resurrection:
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep.
Jesus was the first to resurrect his physical body – and since that time there have been a few accounts of other holy people who have done the same. While these accounts cannot be proven without a doubt, it does suggest the possibility of resurrection of the body for everyone. Paul says:
But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish one, that which you yourself sow (as seeds planted in the earth) is not made alive unless it dies. (That which) is sown (in flesh is) a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit. However that which is spiritual isn’t first, but that which is natural, then (comes) that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, made of dust.
Paul indicates that Adam, the first man, was a “living soul.” This soul was the Light of conscious awareness, the Light that had been created in the beginning, and it merged with nature to become a soul within a body of flesh. This was the “fall from heaven” – the descent of the spiritual as it became a part of the physical world through the means of a flesh body. It is through a flesh body that the soul finds its individuality, differentiating itself from the unity of its origins. This is the work of the ego or self (with a small “s”), as it develops in the “man of the earth.”
The second man (Jesus, the last Adam) is the Lord from heaven. … flesh and blood can’t inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery… the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
Just as Adam brought the Spirit into flesh, Jesus brought the flesh back to Spirit. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God because different levels of vibratory energy are not compatible. Spirit is a higher level of energy, and materiality is a lower level of energy. The soul, having become “corrupted” by nature’s vibrations through the senses, is now required to balance the energy it has accumulated. When the soul’s vibrations harmonize with Spirit, it gains the power to create in the same way that Spirit created in the beginning. Then it can create another body of flesh that is in harmonic vibration with Spirit. Once the vibratory energy of the body has been transformed into spiritual energy it can “inherit the Kingdom.”
But when this corruptible (body) will have put on incorruption, and this mortal (body) will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (Isaiah 25:8) “Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?” (Hosea 13:14) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
The power of sin is the law because we are subject to the laws of cause and effect, and for each transgression there will be a compensating consequence to create a balancing of energy, known as karma. But the incorruptible body is no longer subject to the law because it has transcended the law by becoming wholly (holy) balanced and in harmony with God.
(John 20:17) verifies the fact that a return to the Father God provides the transformation required to turn nature’s flesh to spiritual flesh:
Jesus said to her, “Don’t touch me, for I haven’t yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers, and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
God intended that every soul should have the possibility of returning to its Source (the Father God) as the completion of a spiritual cycle that went from God to man, and from man back to God. Jesus was the first to bring back to the Father the original Light of awareness that Adam had brought from Spirit into materiality. The life of the soul began in Adam within the natural world with the purpose of bringing the soul back to its spiritual origins, completely transformed in Love, as the completion of a spiritual cycle. This completion occurred as Jesus died, returned to the Father, and was then able to reconstruct the atoms of the physical body to create a glorified body by means of the spiritualized mind. This was much like the original spiritual creation in the Mind of God, but now it was occurring in an individual who had become one with God.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Having completed the cycle of consciousness by bringing it back to the Father God, the body of Jesus became a glorified, incorruptible body of flesh, impervious to death. This is the possibility of at-one-ment (atonement) of God and man – that which was impossible for us until Jesus “opened the gates of heaven” and provided a Way for us to follow him. God became man so that man can become one, again, with God – knowing ourselves to be ourselves, yet One with the Whole. Thus our labor is not in vain if we follow the teachings of Jesus. This we do by transforming our inner selves through virtuous acts of patience and love.
Also see:THE MEANING OF EASTER,
and also see a lecture, Paul as Pastor, by Yale professor, Dale Martin, on Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians that includes the resurrection of the body