“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:” (1 Corinthians 15:35–37, KJV)
When I was a boy, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother at her place in the country. We did a lot of interesting things that I did not have an opportunity to do in the city. One of those things was to have a garden. We had a large garden with beans, scallions, carrots, sweet-corn, etc. I remember clearing the field of brush, roots, and stones, and cultivating it. After that, we sowed seed into the ground. Basically, to sow the seed meant that we buried the seed under the earth. I remember watching the patch of ground intently to see any sign of plants growing. I do not remember how long it took, but eventually I saw some shoots. It was quite exciting. In particular I remember the corn, for the stalks were the largest thing that grew in the garden. As the corn matured to harvest, what amazed me was the fact that we took something that looked quite dead from a bag, that is the corn seed, and buried it in the soil. Then, awhile later, it came to life, looking completely different from when we planted it. When I look back at this, I see the symbolism of which Paul wrote regarding the resurrection.
Paul, wrote another rhetorical question, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” Then he used a metaphor familiar to those who would receive the letter. He wrote of a person who sowed a seed. Here, the focus was on the seed and its transformation. The point was that in a sense the seed had to die and be buried before it would rise up from the earth in a new form. The imagery is clear in reference to the resurrection. Those who die, are like the seed, buried. They remain for a while, but then there is a time when they come to life. When they do, they are no longer in the same form as they were in death.
Now, the Scripture teaches us that there will be a resurrection of every person who has lived and died on this earth. There will be a resurrection of those who have received eternal life by faith in Christ (1 Thess 4:16). In this the bodies will be raised up in a glorious way to be with the Lord forever. There will also be a resurrection of those who have not believed. They will be raised up to be judged according to their deeds. (Rev 20:11-15).
In this passage, Paul wrote about the resurrection of those who have believed unto eternal life. Paul went on to explain that it was in the will of God to raise up the dead in a different form from when they died. No, they were not going to look like our contemporary idea of zombies. There would be a transformation. Paul made this point by pointing out how God made various elements of His creation with differences in appearance. Each seed had its own kind of body (v38). Every flesh was different. There was a kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, another for fish, etc. (v39). He wrote of the difference between heavenly bodies and earthly bodies (v40-41). His point was that in the same way there is a difference between the earthly body and the resurrected body.
We who have believed, should rejoice that we have a glorious future. There is a resurrection to come when our earthly bodies shall be transformed. (More on this in the next devotion.)