letters to surfers

Q.  What do you mean by the body?

by Robert Brow   (www.brow.on.ca)

Paul said "You do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed , but God gives it a body and to each kind of seed its own body. There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies" (sun, moon, stars, and presumably our own earth, 1 Corinthians 15:35-44).

The body of anything is the continuity of its organization in the midst of constant change. In the case of a star, the heavenly body is disintegrated when it is swallowed by a black hole. The body of most animals is disintegrated by being eaten. I assume that the shell of my body will be disintegrated by cremation or being eaten by worms, but my body will continue in its resurrection form.

God arranged for the bodies of the OT saints to be carefully preserved after death in another form in sheol (Hades). And sheol was emptied of its contents when Jesus invited those in that temporary abode of the dead to receive their resurrection bodies - those who preferred death and eternal darkness were allowed the choice of eternal suicide (John 3:19, 5:28-29).

That is why I view each of the three Persons of the Trinity as having an eternal body, each different in its expressions but eternally united by love. The Son of God is pictured as visiting our world (with a body as a recognizable continuity of organization) throughout the OT period. What he did in the incarnation was to use for thirty years what we call a typical human body. In the resurrection he discarded the shell of that kind of a bodily appearance, but he continues as a body with the glory of the reigning Messiah. And I expect to join him.

Science’s task is to explain the various methods God uses to being bodies of various kinds into being (e.g. stars and planets in their way, and animal and human bodies by the union of the genes of their parents). Theology’s task is to study the Bible’s explanation of what human bodies are designed to be and do. I see no reason why these two disciplines should be reconciled in terms of each other.

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