April 8, 2010

With What Kind of Body Will The Dead Rise?

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"But someone may say, `How are the dead raised?' 'With what kind of body will they come back?'" (1 Corinthians 15:35).

The Apostle Paul knows in advance the objections which the unbelievers will make concerning the resurrection from the dead and, in advance, he rejects them. Even today, the non-believers who have not seen with the physical eyes the miracle of the resurrection in nature, much less the spiritual resurrection, ask: "How will the dead be raised?" "You fool!" continues the apostle, "What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies" (1 Corinthians 15:36). Until the seed dies in the ground, the plant will not grow, in other words, something totally different than the seed will sprout up. The non-believers see through their eyes and do not see, but further ask: "How will a dead man resurrect?" How? In the same way that Christ resurrected. He lowered Himself lifeless in the tomb and rose alive. Even nature manifests the resurrection from the dead; but stronger than nature, it is manifested by the resurrected Lord. In order to make it easier for us to believe and to hope - to believe in the resurrection in general and to have hope in our own resurrection, He Himself resurrected from the grave and prior to that resurrecting Lazarus who lay in the grave for four days, the son of the widow of Nain and the daughter of Jarius.

The non-believers ask: "With what kind of body will the dead rise?" In that kind of body which God wills. With God there are many kinds of bodies. The Apostle Paul divides all bodies into two groups: into earthly bodies and into heavenly bodies. Therefore, they who have died in earthly bodies will be clothed with heavenly bodies: the incorruptible will replace the corruptible, the immortal will replace the mortal, the beautiful will replace the ugly. In this heavenly body man will also recognize himself and others around him as man recognizes himself or even when he is clothed in beggar's rags or even when he is clothed in royal purple.

Lord, All-plentious, do not hand us over to eternal corruption but, as royal sons, clothe us in the garment of immortality. Amen.