02 April 2010

What the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ means to me (PJ)

by Phil Johnson

hat adjective is what amazes me most: bodily. It's the very thing that made the gospel message so revolutionary in the first century. Not just life after death, but the idea of real, physical existence in these very bodies, albeit glorified.

Even the pagans in Paul's time had some concept of life after death. In Greek mythology it was Elysium, a spiritual state of perfect bliss. To them (as well as the gnostics) the body was hopelessly corrupt and irredeemable. The resurrection of the body was a grotesque and foolish idea. Their only thought of life after death was some kind of disembodied existence on an ethereal, spiritual plane. The idea of physical resurrection was unthinkable. That's why Paul's sermon on Mars' Hill ended so abruptly (Acts 17:32).

But Christ was raised bodily, glorified so that His human frame was perfectly suited for both heaven and earth. His body could be seen, and touched (Luke 24:39; John 20:27; 1 John 1:1). He ate food (Luke 24:42-43) and walked and talked as He had before the crucifixion. At this very moment, he sits on the Father's right hand in that same body—making intercession for the saints, including me.

More amazing than all of that, I will one day have a body like His: able to traverse heaven and earth, immortal, yet familiar in its physical form. In fact, it will be this very body, thoroughly healed of all its infirmities and imperfections. That amazes me and thrills me at least as much as it shocked and offended those philosophers in Greece.

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brentjthomas said...

Amen! These things you have conveyed are some of the most profoundly beautiful portions of our expectations. When Job (19:25-27) in poetic verses speaks of knowing that his Redeemer lives, he also discusses, it seems, bodily resurrection. In 26,27: "And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall behold, and not another."
Happy Easter! Thanks for the post.

Slim said...

Hi Phil. I have a question. Our bodies are going to be like his body in the resurrection. But people assume that because Jesus, in his glorified state was able to transport himself through locked doors, we will be able to do the same. I would think that particular ability was a function of his divine nature, and that we falsely assume that whatever Jesus can do, we can.

In other words, was that particular ability a result of His divine attributes that we will not share in?

I do not think we will be able to transport ourselves (Star trek style) at will.

D.J. Williams said...


catonb513 said...

Tisk tisk, Phil. You broke the rules. That post was definately more than 100 words! Wonderful posts once again by the Pyro team!

Phil Johnson said...


I don't know. But I'm not inclined to assign Jesus' post-resurrection ability to pass through walls to his deity (apart from His humanity).

It was, after all, the body that passed through walls, and the body is an aspect of His humanity, not His deity. It seems to me that whatever property made these things possible, it had to be a characteristic of the body's glorified state.

Moreover, our glorified bodies will be fashioned after His (Phil. 3:21). Plus, the new heavens and new earth will be linked (Rev. 21:10), and I gather we will be free to roam all of it. So I think it's reasonable to think our glorified bodies will not be bound by the limitations of space and distance.

But Scripture doesn't expressly describe these things in great detail, so no one really knows exactly what it will be like.

However, I'm confident it will be better than we could possibly imagine.

Phil Johnson said...


Thanks for quoting Job 19:27 in the first comment. I was going to quote that in the post itself, but I was already 150 words over my 100-word limit. Well done.

Topher said...

Question: what age will our bodies be after we're resurrected? Will they be same as when we died?... I know this goes way outside the bounds of what scripture has revealed, so it's probably wrong to even discuss.

ross said...

Could you maybe tell us your thoughts as to the period between our death and the glorification of our bodies?.. Many thanks.

SamWise said...

Jonathan Edwards wrote about this:

Upon this all the dead shall rise from their graves; all both small and great, who shall have lived upon earth since the foundation of the world; those who died before the flood, and those who were drowned in the flood, all that have died since that time, and that shall die to the end of the world. There will be a great moving upon the face of the earth, and in the waters, in bringing bone to his bone, in opening graves, and bringing together all the scattered particles of dead bodies. The earth shall give up the dead that are in it, and the sea shall give up the dead that are in it.

However the parts of the bodies of many are divided and scattered; however many have been burnt, and their bodies have been turned to ashes and smoke, and driven to the four winds; however many have been eaten of wild beasts, of the fowls of heaven, and the fishes of the sea; however many have consumed away upon the face of the earth, and great part of their bodies have ascended in exhalations; yet the all-wise and all-powerful God can immediately bring every part to his part again.

Of this vast multitude some shall rise to life, and others to condemnation. (John v. 28, 29). “All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

When the bodies are prepared, the departed souls shall again enter into their bodies, and be re-united to them, never more to be separated. The souls of the wicked shall be brought up out of hell, though not out of misery, and shall very unwillingly enter into their bodies, which will be but eternal prisons to them. Rev. xx. 13. “And death and hell delivered up the dead that were in them.” They shall lift their eyes full of the utmost amazement and horror to see their awful Judge. And perhaps the bodies with which they shall be raised will be most filthy and loathsome, thus properly corresponding to the inward, moral turpitude of their souls.