How Are the Dead Raised Up?

Biblical Authority Devotional: The Resurrection, Part 12

by Jeremy Ham on April 26, 2011

Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., discusses Paul’s instruction on how the dead are raised.

But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” (1 Corinthians 15:35)

Today’s big question: how are the dead raised up?

After Paul explained why the resurrection of the dead is a fact, he further clarified the specifics of how the dead are raised up. Paul addressed people who doubted the resurrection of the dead and the Resurrection of Christ, so it was important to give a comprehensive explanation on the “how” to clear up any misunderstandings. Actually, we can be thankful there were skeptics of the resurrection so that we have Paul’s instruction on this truth. The question is introduced in verse 35, and the complete answer is given in 1 Corinthians 15:36–49.

Paul starts by calling the skeptics “foolish” in verse 36. The truth that we must die to be made alive had been taught by Jesus (e.g., see John 12:24), but there were those who doubted God’s Word and accepted man’s word. When they tried to be their own authority and decide truth for themselves, they were seen as fools in God’s eyes.

Paul’s words to the Romans are applicable here: “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Even if we do not understand all the details regarding the resurrection of the dead, we must take God at His word—the wise thing to do. After all, God is the ultimate Authority on truth.

Paul went on to state that “God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body” (1 Corinthians 15:38). The resurrection of the dead is possible because of God. He is the one who created everything in the first place, each creature after its kind, and He is the one who will reform us and give us a new body.

This death and resurrection can be seen as our purifying process. Paul stated, “The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:42). He concluded the answer to this question by stating, “And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Corinthians 15:49). In other words, in Adam, we die, but in Christ, we live.

Jesus Christ is central to the salvation message, including the resurrection of our bodies to live eternally with Him. We are not only made alive physically because of Christ but also spiritually.

However, do not take my word for it; I would encourage you to read the entirety of 1 Corinthians 15:35–49 with today’s question in mind. God has given us the truth through His Word, and rather than doubting Scripture like the skeptics Paul addressed, we should read and understand His Word with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Today’s big idea: we are made alive because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What to pray: thank God for the truth in His Word about our future resurrection.

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.