Death is part of the life cycle, not the end of life. This is evident throughout nature, but perhaps nowhere more clearly than in the example that Jesus gave His disciples when preparing them for His death. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop.”1
The apostle Paul elaborated on this analogy when explaining our “end,” which will actually be our new beginning. “When you sow a seed, it must die in the ground before it can live and grow. And when you sow it, it does not have the same ‘body’ it will have later. What you sow is only a bare seed, maybe wheat or something else. But God gives it a body that he has planned for it, and God gives each kind of seed its own body. … It is the same with the dead who are raised to life. The body that is ‘planted’ will ruin and decay, but it is raised to a life that cannot be destroyed. When the body is ‘planted,’ it is without honor, but it is raised in glory. When the body is ‘planted,’ it is weak, but when it is raised, it is powerful. The body that is ‘planted’ is a physical body. When it is raised, it is a spiritual body.”2
It’s hard to imagine what those spiritual bodies will be like, but the Bible gives some clues in its accounts of the resurrected Jesus, coupled with this statement by Paul: “He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body.”3
Jesus appeared as a man, but usually even His closest friends didn’t recognize Him immediately.4 He had substance—“flesh and bones.”5 He walked, talked, and could eat,6 but He could also materialize and disappear at will.7
Jesus was still very much Himself, but His body had undergone a quantum upgrade. The same will be true for us. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye … we will be changed. Then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory.”8
- John 12:24 HCSB
- 1 Corinthians 15:36–38, 42–44 NCV
- Philippians 3:21 HCSB
- See Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13–16, 36; John 20:14.
- See Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:38–43; John 20:16–17, 27; Acts 1:3.
- See Luke 24:15–17; John 20:16–17; Acts 1:3.
- See Mark 16:19; Luke 24:31, 36, 51; John 20:19, 26; Acts 1:9.
- 1 Corinthians 15:52, 54 HCSB