PMW 2022-091 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Christ’s resurrection and ours
First Corinthians 15 is an important chapter regarding the resurrection. Here Paul clearly ties the believer’s resurrection to Christ’s, requiring that we understand both in the same way (Phil. 3:20–21). For he states that Christ’s resurrection was the “first fruits” of the believer’s resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20). This first fruits image establishes two important truths:
(1) Christ’s resurrection is actually the beginning of the general resurrection of the dead. This is because the first fruits of a harvest are a part of the full, final harvest, though occurring before the full harvest (cf. 1 Cor. 15:12–13).
(2) As the first fruits of the resurrection, Christ’s resurrection serves as a divine promise that our resurrection body will be like his. The first fruits of wheat are also wheat. Thus, like him we will have a physical body though it will be glorified and incorruptible (1 Cor. 15:42–43, 52–54). For after his resurrection, Christ’s tomb where his physical body was placed was empty (John 20:1–7), he was seen alive (1 Cor. 15:5–7) and could be touched and felt (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:39; John 20:27) by witnesses.
So, as C. K. Barrett notes in his commentary on 1 Corinthians (p. 350), the word means “the first instalment [sic] of the crop which foreshadows and pledges the ultimate offering of the whole.”
Though we are currently spiritually resurrected (John 5:24–25; Eph. 2:6; Col. 2:13; 3:1; 1 John 3:14), like Paul we still today continue to await “the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). This will occur on the final day of temporal history at the resurrection of the dead (John 6:40, 44, 54; 11:24).
Why I Left Full-Preterism (by Samuel M. Frost)
Former leader in Full Preterist movement, Samuel M. Frost, gives his testimony and theological reasoning as to why he left the heretical movement. Good warning to others tempted to leave orthodox Christianity.
See more study materials at: KennethGentry.com
Paul’s teaching and current naivete
Unfortunately, too many Christians do not carefully analyze passages in terms of their original settings. This is especially the case when they are busy trying to establish a whole new theology to overthrow the historic, corporate, public, universal, systematic Christian faith. The fifteenth chapter in 1 Corinthians is easily misunderstood if one simply jumps into it and interprets it by a surface understanding of certain words, rather than by using Paul’s contextual meaning.
Because of this superficial approach, many orthodox Christians are confused about Paul’s statement that when we are resurrected we will have a “spiritual [pneumatikos] body” (1 Cor. 15:41). They believe this wording speaks of an immaterial, intangible, ethereal spirit-body and forbids the notion of a material physical body. If that were a proper interpretation of the word “spiritual” (pneumatikos), however, we would have to believe that the Christian who properly understands God’s thoughts (1 Cor. 2:11–14) has an immaterial body – for “he who is spiritual appraises all things” (1 Cor. 2:15). In fact, several Bible versions legitimately translate 1 Corinthians 2:15 as “spiritual man” or “spiritual person” (English Standard Version; Amplified Bible; Revised Standard Version; New American Bible Revised Edition; Contemporary English Version; God’s Word Translation; International Standard Version; Phillips Bible).
On this naive understanding of pneumatikos in 1 Corinthians 3:1, Paul would be wishing that the Corinthians were ethereal spirit-beings. For there the same word is used for faithful, committed Christians: “I could not speak to you as spiritual [pneumatikois] men” (see also 14:37). The same would be true in Galatians 6:1, where we read “Brethren, even if one is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual [pneumatikoi], restore such a one.” Surely Paul is not calling on Christians who are spirit-beings to help the fallen brother. And should we believe that the children of Israel who crossed through the sea ate immaterial food and drank immaterial drink, because Paul says that they ate “spiritual” (pneumatikon) food and drank “spiritual” (pneumatikon) drink (1 Cor. 10:3–4). No wonder they were hungry (Exo. 16:3)!
Then to make matters worse, these Christians stumble once again by misconstruing what Paul means by declaring that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (v. 40). They wrongly suppose that this means that in eternity we will not have “flesh and blood” bodies, i.e., physical bodies. But that is not at all what Paul is arguing.
Why Not Full-Preterism? by Steve Gregg
This work exposes some of the key flaws in Hyperpreterism by someone who has formally debated them. Much insightful material for those who might be tempted to forsake historic Christian orthodoxy.
For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com
Paul’s context and proper understanding
An important first step in understanding Paul’s wording is to understand the peculiar problem he is facing in Corinth and the consequent method he employs to confront it. This will not immediately explain his expressions in 1 Corinthians 15, of course, but it will put the interpreter on the right track for tracing Paul’s logic, and therefore for understanding why he chose the words that he did.
Unfortunately, in this post I will not be analyzing the verses about the “spiritual” or “heavenly” bodies that trip up naive interpreters (e.g., vv. 40, 41, 44, and 48). Rather I will be giving a short introduction to and summary of the problem Paul is facing. This is a necessary first step to properly seeking Paul’s meaning.
To be continued.
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In your view where are the apostles currently?
Kenneth, I can’t find any scripture anywhere where we will have flesh and bone bodies at the resurrection. With Jesus being God it was crucial for him to show his disciples a physical body so there would be no doubt he had risen from the tomb. Please notice there is no mention about any blood still pouring out the wound in his side or hands and feet. No blood means no heart beat or blood circulating through his body. When Jesus went back to heaven he became glorified once again, like he was on the Mount of Transfiguration and like he was when Saul of Tarsus was on the road to Damascus. Also like he is today. One day we will shine bright too because this fleshly body will be done away with. We will have spirit bodies. I know you love the song “Amazing Grace. What line comes after “When we’ve been there 10,000 years”? That is the glorified body we will have for eternity. We will be on a glorified earth and will be able to look up and see the glorified New Jerusalem. You might say the earth will not be glorified. Let me put it this way, the bible says there will be no more sea. Without the sea no clouds will carry the evaporated water over the land and dump their life giving water over the land to nourish the plants. The earth will quickly dry up, the temperature will rise to 155-160 degrees. The ground water will dry up all plant life will die. Fire will devour the dry trees and any plant life left on earth. That is why we will have a glorified earth. Why is is so important for us to think physical about everything? When God let it rain in Eden there was a river to water the garden with after man was created Genesis chapter 2, I think verse 10. This is what I glean from the scriptures. To assume anything else would be to only assume. The bible says we will have a body like unto his glorious body. (glorified). If I’m wrong scripturally, may God forgive me. I can only go by how the Apostle Paul explains it. Christ’s resurrection was real and so will be ours. I think we differ only on the type of body we will have, the type of earth, and city we will have.
You are not looking in the right place or reading carefully. Jesus’ human body was buried, then resurrected with “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). His is the firstfruits of ours (1 Cor. 15:20), which means his was the first of the eschatological resurrection at the end of history that was to be like his. The spiritual-body is the Spirit-dominated body (incorruptible and no longer subject to hunger and death) as over against the animal-appetite dominated body (corruptible and subject to hunger and death). The “spiritual man” is not a man made out of spirit but the man led by the Spirit. Jesus did not have a human body for evidentiary purposes, but for redemptive purposes as he became true man and dwelled among us (Phil. 2:8; Heb. 2:15).
In heaven for “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8; cp. Phil. 1:23). See also Rev. 6:9.
1Cor 6:13f is placed in the context of the resurrection of believers. The elimination of the stomach and food seems to be tied to this.
Was this true of Christ after His resurrection when He was demonstrating how He could still eat food and thus by transference will be true to our resurrection or is it associated with some other eschatological event?
You are misunderstanding Paul’s argument. The statement of v. 13 that “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them” is the argument of the sinful Corinthians. They believe that food is a part of the transient, temporary world in which they live and that eventually God will destroy both. Consequently, they believe that what people do with their transient, mortal bodies does not matter. These are proto-gnostics who downplay the material realm in extolling the spiritual, upper-level of ultimate reality. That is how they also justified immoral conduct with prostitutes and other matters mentioned in 1 Corinthians.