But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies (1 Corinthians 15:35-36).
Paul, in discussing the truth of the general resurrection of the dead, anticipates some possible queries and objections. Someone might ask, for instance, “How are the dead raised?” This is a good question!
Christian, linger here and learn from the heretic. While it is wrong to deny the resurrection, it is also wrong to affirm it without thinking about it.
The doctrine of the resurrection is not a simple or self-evident dogma.
It should not be lightly considered or underestimated in its sheer enormity.
Too often our own view of the resurrection is so small that our view of God’s power and greatness is likewise small.
The false teachers whom Paul is confronting in this passage are at least recognizing the magnitude of the Christian claim… even better than Christians sometimes do. We claim to believe in the resurrection but do not spend the time or focus or effort to allow its implications to sink into our daily lives. If the resurrection is true, then the way we view everything here and now will be different!
If this life is not all there is to life, then this reality should transform our aspirations and mitigate our griefs.
So when Paul addresses the inquirer in as a “foolish” person, he does so not because the question is not a fair one. He answers this way to anyone who is claiming to believe in God as Creator, which even the false teachers in Corinth clearly were, and yet who can’t conceive of how God could accomplish such a gigantic feat as raising everyone from the dead.
If there is a God who created us all in the first place, then he has the power to also raise us up again. As Paul put it to the crowd in Agrippa’s presence: “Why should any of you think it so incredible that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8).
When the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, tried to trip Jesus up by asking about marriage for those who are resurrected, Jesus replied in: “You err, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). There are at least two things necessary in order to believe the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the dead: you must know the Scriptures, and you must know the power of God.
In the Christian doctrine of the resurrection, we are not talking about some local event – a single family raised, or one graveyard being emptied on the final day of Jesus’ return. The general resurrection means the raising of every human being who has ever lived throughout history… some whose bodies were buried, while others were burned, or thrown into the sea, or eaten by animals.
This is no small undertaking, probably over 50 billion people being brought from the dead at one time!
So, Christian, do not scoff at the doubts or questions of others, but rather let the question sink in: “How can the dead be raised?!” Only those who know the Scriptures and who know the power of God will ever be able to understand the answer to this question. Yet those who by faith embrace the Scriptures and trust in God’s power will be living in the light of this glorious anticipation.