Jesus’ Resurrection and the Nature of the Believer’s Resurrection Body (1 Cor 15:1-58) -- By: Dan Lioy

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 12:1 (Sep 2011)
Article: Jesus’ Resurrection and the Nature of the Believer’s Resurrection Body (1 Cor 15:1-58)
Author: Dan Lioy

Jesus’ Resurrection and the Nature of the Believer’s Resurrection Body (1 Cor 15:1-58)

Dan Lioy


This journal article undertakes a biblical and theological analysis of 1 Corinthians 15, in order to discern what Paul had to say about Jesus’ resurrection and the nature of the believer’s resurrection body. The essay first considers Paul’s theology within the context of Second Temple Judaism and Adamic motifs in ancient Jewish literature. Then, the essay highlights Paul’s teaching that the Messiah conquered death so that believers could have new life in Him. The apostle revealed that the resurrection body would not die or engage in sin, and it would share in the resurrection power of the Messiah. Furthermore, Paul declared that this transformation would not be slow and gradual; instead, when the Saviour returned, believers—whether dead or alive—would be instantly changed. They would receive incorruptible bodies, and this transformation would display the Son’s complete and final victory over death.


My previous journal article explored the question of human origins (Lioy 2011). Of central importance in this regard is the issue of Adam and Eve’s historicity (cf. Lane 1994b:161; Niehaus 2008:15; Plantinga 1991; Schaeffer 1972:41). Some claim that Adam and Eve never really existed and so could not have been the principal source of genetic endowment for all humans (cf. Barbour 2000:133-134; Day 2005:17-18, 21, 25; Domning and Hellwig 2006:4, 6, 20, 71, 74, 190; Harlow 2008:197-198; Harlow 2010:181, 190-191; Haught 2000:137-138; Kass 2003:60; Lamoureux 2008:274-277, 319, 329; Murphy 2010:2; Peacocke 2001:78; Schneider 2010:201). In contrast, this essay maintains that Adam and Eve are not fictional, generic characters appearing in an ancient Hebrew myth. Instead, they are a literal, historical couple who, before the Fall, initially existed in a genetically pristine state as persons having moral integrity. Furthermore, when Adam and Eve sinned in the ancient Eden orchard, they experienced spiritual separation from God. Also, as a consequence, all their physical descendants are born into this world as mortal creatures who are separated in their relationship with their Creator-King, as well as from one another.

In 1 Corinthians 15:22 and 45, Paul made explicit reference to Adam. The apostle’s discourse presupposes that Adam actually existed in space-time history. Furthermore, in verse 45 (which quotes Gen 2:7), the apostle made a distinction between the ‘firs...

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