(Vs. 35.) There were some who denied the resurrection of the dead (v.12). The question is presented: "How shall dead bodies be raised which have been in the earth so many years?" They have been reduced to dust, and this dust has undergone a thousand changes. With what bodies do they come out of their graves? Will they be the same bodies?
(Vs. 36.) Paul does not answer in anger nor call them fools in violation of Matthew 5:22, but he calls them foolish people who claim to be wise in the Scriptures and yet are ignorant of the power and ways of God (Gal. 3:1). He takes them to the farmer to learn the answer to these questions. When the farmer sows grain (whether wheat or corn), it must be put into the ground before it produces a stalk of fruit. The seed, being buried in the earth, corrupts, rots and dies; and in time it rises up as stalk, blade and full ear. This shows that the decaying of the body by death is not an objection to the resurrection, but really necessary to its resurrection. If God is able to quicken a grain of corn that is entirely dead and rotten, why should it be thought incredible that God should quicken dead bodies?
(Vs. 37.) The farmer does not take a full stalk of corn with full blade and ear and plant it in the earth; he only plants the bare grain. In other words, that which we plant is not the finished product but only bare grain. When a believer rises from the grave, it will be, in a sense, the same body but with infinite glories and excellencies, as the new stalk of corn is so much greater than the bare seed which was sown!
(Vs. 38.) God gives to the seed the kind of body which pleases him; yet none can deny that the body of corn or wheat which comes up is from the seed sown, though with a different body in respect to quality, beauty and usefulness. It is not the farmer, nor the sun, nor the rain, but God, by his power and sovereignty, who gives the seed a new and glorious body. So the resurrection of the dead is God's work. All the glory in which our bodies shall rise springs from his free grace and is bestowed on the same person who is buried in the grave.
(Vs. 39.) Paul is showing in these next verses that, though God will raise our bodies from the grave with flesh and bones, we shall rise with qualities and conditions much different from the flesh and bones which we now know. There is now a difference in flesh. All flesh, as we know it, is not the same. Humans, beasts, birds and fish are all flesh, yet not the same.
(Vs. 40, 41.) "There are celestial bodies" (such as the sun, moon and stars) "and terrestrial bodies" (men, beasts, birds and other elements). The celestial is greater than the terrestrial. Even in the celestial bodies, the sun has a greater glory than the moon, and the moon greater than the stars. He is not saying that there will be a difference in the risen bodies among themselves, but he is only stressing the great difference in what we shall be compared to what we are now!
(Vs. 42-44.) "So is the resurrection of the dead." The resurrection of the dead will be in real flesh, in our own flesh as to substance (the way we know it now), but as to its qualifies, as different as human flesh from fish flesh! Our vile bodies shall be fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body (Phil. 3:21, John 3:1, 2; Luke 24:36-43).
1. Our bodies are buried in corruption, sickness and disease and are subject to decay and putrefaction, but when we are raised from the dead, our new bodies will be immortal, no longer subject to disease, decay, nor corruption.
2. We are buried in dishonour and shame We were conceived in sin, shapen in iniquity, brought forth from the womb speaking lies. Our whole existence from birth to death (in thought, word and deed) is sinful, shameful and dishonourable (Isa. 1:5, 6; Rom. 3:10-18). We shall be raised in glory in perfect beauty and comeliness, physically and spiritually. There will be no cause for shame in any way (Gen. 2:25).
3. We are buried in weakness. We come into the world in great weakness. What is weaker than a new-born babe? When we become adults, we are weak before disease and injury. We are weak and frail and subject to thirst, hunger, weariness and finally death. We are weak before Satan, the world and our own passions (Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:24). We shall be raised in power! We are raised by the power of God but with great power in ourselves. We shall no longer be subject to these enemies of the flesh, no longer dependent on food, nor subject to evil (which shall be no more). We shall know weariness no more; we shall know as we have been known (1 Cor. 13:12). We shall he raised in spiritual, physical and mental power.
4. We are buried a natural (physical) body. We shall be raised a spiritual (supernatural) body. Now we have a body generated from another body, supported by food, water, breath and sleep. We are limited to time, places and information. When we are raised, our bodies will be as the body of Christ is now, not subject to nor dependent on these things. Our bodies shall be beautiful, incorruptible, free from infirmities, not subject to hunger, thirst or injuries, not needing meat, drink, clothes, nor marriage, but bodies which perfectly obey the soul made perfect.