What you sow does not come to life unless it dies (1 Corinthians 15:36).
Paul, speaking here in the context of the resurrection of the dead, compares our earthly body to a seed. The seed must be planted, and die, in order for it to eventually become the full-grown plant. Similarly, Paul goes on in the very next verse to insist, our earthly body is only the bare kernel of what our glorified body will be. This is a stunning analogy, with awesome implications for the afterlife!
Do not miss what Paul is saying here: the body that is raised from the dead is what a plant is to its seed.
There is continuity with discontinuity. When you plant an acorn, you know at least two things: 1) the oak tree that comes from it will be from, related to, the acorn; and 2) the oak tree will be immeasurably more mighty, complex, and majestic than the acorn ever was or could be. Similarly, Paul says, your resurrected body will be from, related to, the body you had here on earth; but your resurrected body will be more mighty, complex, and majestic than you ever were or could be in your earthly body.
Remember, Paul has already in this chapter explained that Jesus’ resurrected body is the “firstfruits”, the representative sample, of our resurrected bodies.
We can look at Jesus’ resurrected body to learn about our future, glorified body.
While Jesus’ glorified body was related to his earthly body – it even retained the scars from the cross – it was immeasurably more complex and majestic. Jesus’ resurrected body was no longer limited by time, space, or material substance. The resurrected Jesus walked through walls, transported instantly between distant locations… and eventually flew into the clouds!
Dear Christian, one day you will fly! Again, there is both continuity and discontinuity between our earthly bodies and our heavenly bodies, just as a plant with its seed. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4 that we will know our deceased loved ones when we rise from the dead (continuity), but also that we will fly to meet Jesus in the air (discontinuity).
And so, Paul continues in verse 38, God will give each seed its own plant, each earthly body its glorified body – as it pleases him, as he has chosen.
Beloved, do you trust God to choose the right body for you to spend eternity in? It will be more glorious than you can imagine, like trying to imagine an oak by looking at an acorn. However, it will be the body that God himself has chosen for you, and so you can rest assured that it will be as heavenly as heaven itself. And if we can trust God to give us the perfect body in heaven, we can also trust that he has given us just the right body for this earth in the meantime.
There is no need to be insecure when your body has been fashioned by your wise Creator.
The joyful expectation of the resurrection and glorification of our bodies should give us confidence in God’s good purposes for us now. And when the time comes for us to lay this body down, like a seed in the ground, we can rest assured that God will bring us out of the grave as the glorious oak he intends for us to be.