1 Corinthians 15:39-49 NKJV
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
It’s easy to get distracted into side conversations or topical tangents that go off into completely different areas of thought. Paul’s inspired writing aims to keep the Corinthians in a godly mindset. He moves from his consideration of the vegetation to an analogy from the creation of living creatures. Obviously plants were created in many various forms, and the same is true of animals — both of which God brought about on the 5th and 6th days of creation. Paul writes them in the opposite order from how they were written in Genesis, beginning with human beings and ending with the fish. Each has its distinct type of “flesh” which gives each its own order from the others.
Paul then moves up the scale when describing the heavenly bodies — the sun, moon, and stars. Not only is there diversity when considering earthly bodies, but the heavenly bodies must be taken into account as well. Their brilliance is of a whole different level.
Christians will enjoy the glory of being heavenly when they have been set free from the corruption and weakness of their earthly bodies and will bear the image of the Man from heaven. Such language exudes a fulfillment of Daniel 12:3…
“Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.”
The risen body will no longer be subject to the earthly limitations and mortality that have resulted from the fall, nor the inner battle with our sinful flesh, but will be enlivened by the Holy Spirit. What bliss for our resurrected bodies!
Luther writes: “A spiritual body… is nourished and preserved spiritually by God and has life entirely in Him. And then, when the body thus lives spiritually in God, it will sally forth into heaven and earth, play with sun and moon and all the other creatures, and also be delighted by this. It will be a completely spiritual existence, or life of the whole person, covering both body and soul.” (LW 28:189-190)
Let us pray: Amen, Amen. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.