Section 9: The End Times
Week 2: The Resurrection
Day 4: Although We Will Receive New Bodies, We Will Be the Same People
At the resurrection, we receive new bodies. Just how new will they be? Will they be so different from our current bodies that we will in essence become different people? No. Although there will be important differences, the glorified bodies we receive will share a basic continuity with the ones we have right now. As Oden explains, “The glorified body is not a different body, but a different form of the same body.”[i]
We can see this when we look at Jesus’ resurrected body. Although there may have been certain post-resurrection differences, Jesus was still recognizable, and he still had the wounds in his hands and feet from the crucifixion (John 20:19-29). His body, therefore, was not completely different.
What about the fact that our bodies decay after death? How can there be any continuity between our new and old bodies if the old one is completely gone? Well, for one thing we need to remember we’re dealing with God here. We may not know exactly how he will do it, but we know it’s not beyond his power. Even if every subatomic particle that comprised our body were scattered to every corner of the universe it wouldn’t be too much for an omnipotent God to bring them back together again.[ii]
Another thing we ought to keep in mind is the fact that even now the cells of our body are constantly being replaced. In other words, the various metabolic components that make up your body today are not the same components you were born with. As a result, your body is not exactly the same from one day to another. Yet, despite all that change, you are still the same person, aren’t you? In a similar way, the exact composition of our bodies may be different following the resurrection, but we will, nevertheless, remain the same person.[iii]
Read John 20:19-21:25.
How was Jesus’ body different after his resurrection? How was it similar to his old body? What does that tell us about our resurrected bodies? Is it comforting to know you won’t become a completely different person? Why/why not?
[i] Thomas Oden, Classic Christianity: Systematic Theology, Three Volumes, ePub edition, HarperCollins e-books (2009), Book 3, Part 4, Chapter 10.
[ii] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Doctrine, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House (1994), 835.
[iii] Oden, Part 4, Chapter 10.