PMW 2023-036 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The physical resurrection of the dead is under attack in modern Christianity. Again. However, this time it is not just the liberals. Rather, some evangelical Christians themselves are denying the physical nature of the resurrection body. They often begin their denial by citing 1 Corinthians 15:44, which speaks of the resurrection body thus: “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual [pneumatikos] body. If there is a natural [pseuchikos] body, there is also a spiritual body [pneumatikos].” By misunderstanding this passage, the remainder of the Bible, and the power of God, opponents of the future, physical resurrection are, like Hymenaeus and Alexander: their faith is suffering shipwreck (1 Tim. 1:19–20; 2 Tim. 2:16–18).
This denial of the physical resurrection based on this famous passage is remarkable in that 1 Corinthians 15:44 has been in the NT for 2000 years. And during that time the universal, historic, orthodox Christian faith has held to a future physical resurrection. It even creedalized this great truth, which is “of first importance” regarding the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1–3). For instance, toward the end of the Apostles’ Creed we declare with the universal, historic, corporate Christian church that we believe “in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” In the original language versions of the Creed, the resurrection of the “body” is more exactly declared to be the resurrection of the “flesh.” For in Latin the word carnis was used and in Greek sarx.But there is abundant evidence in Scripture that the resurrection will be future, physical, and corporate. That is, it is not occurring now (for it is future). Nor is it a spiritual transaction (for it is physical). Nor does it transpire at the moment of each believer’s death, as they occur one-by-one (for it is corporate).