(60) the resurrection of the body

My physical body is important to God. He created me with this body and expected me to do what I could with it for his purposes. He went to a lot of trouble to build and maintain this body which makes me a part of nature, history, and human society. My body has certainly been important to me. In it, by it, and with it I live and have my being—and write this book.

Death is the ultimate enemy for me as for all God’s creatures. Death threatens every moment of our perishing existence. Dying is no mere illusion, nor is it a welcome release from prison. Otherwise Jesus would not have agonized so in Gethsemane. Death means business-—or rather, the end of all business. It puts a stop to whatever we are doing, puts an end to the possibilities of people growing closer together in this world. The deepest tragedy of death lies in the disruption of love.

“My body” doesn’t mean merely my flesh, blood, and bones. It means all that I am as a creature and a person, as in the words “somebody, anybody, everybody.” It also means all that I have been and done from birth to death, the whole stir I made in the world. Body means me, including my organism. Resurrection of the body doesn’t mean my corpse simply coming alive again. Nor does it imply that, when I have risen, my old kind of life will continue as usual. There will be most unusual alterations! Resurrection means that God will take all of me that has ever been, and so deal with me that I shall be somehow as Jesus is now. He will completely fulfill this life I have lived. I don’t know how he will work this transformation. He made my body once, out of dead stuff eaten as food, and I’m sure he can do it again. What I have been is maybe a kind of seed which he can use in growing some unimaginable new kind of body. What I shall be won’t be merely what I am now, but it will certainly be continuous with what I am now. A full-grown plant is continuous with the seed from which it came, though it is quite different from the seed.

Resurrection of the body means that God has an eternal use for creatureliness, nature, time and space, history, individuality, and all our helpful earthly labors. It means that my world and I not only have a meaning now, but also a goal ahead.

I believe in the resurrection of the body because I believe that Christ is the Lord of all things. All bodily life that rejected Christ will be confronted by its judge and a cosmic garbage dump. All bodily life that acted in the Spirit of Christ will be preserved forever as his body. Only the Lord knows how much of this world he considers his body to be.

When our earthly life first enters the risen and rising body of Christ, a healing wholeness begins immediately to repair sin’s ravages on our health, our homes, and society in general. Our fully risen bodies will truly and fully express what we are already becoming in Christ. We shall be free to serve God and enjoy him and our loved ones in the Lord forever. A blessed reunion with dear ones, still themselves, but delivered from their handicaps and faults! A clear understanding of what the world’s story was all about! The answers to umpteen questions, and a whole perfected universe to explore! I don’t want to miss the resurrection of the body, and—in Christ—I won’t.