Friday, November 19, 2010

A Non-Physical Body In 1 Corinthians 15:44?

Does 1 Corinthians 15:44 contrast a physical body against one that's spiritual, thus suggesting that the resurrection body is non-physical? Here's a summary of Michael Licona's findings in his study of the passage:

"Moreover, it is worth observing that had Paul desired to communicate this sort of contrast [between the physical and the non-physical], he had better words at his disposal, one of which he had employed just a few chapters earlier [in 1 Corinthians 9:11] while using a seed analogy similar to that of 1 Corinthians 15....if he had desired to communicate that our resurrection body would not be physical but rather immaterial in nature, why use the former term in a sense not employed earlier in his letter or for that matter anywhere else in the Pauline corpus, the New Testament or by any known author from the eighth century B.C. through the third century A.D., while ignoring a clearer term used just a few chapters earlier in a similar seed analogy?...I located 846 occurrences of the former [the term 'natural' in 1 Corinthians 15:44] from the eighth-century B.C. through the third-century A.D. and could not locate a single occurrence of the term that meant 'physical' or 'material.' This discovery in itself eliminates any interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:44 that has Paul asserting physical corpses are buried while resurrection bodies will be immaterial (a la Wedderburn, RSV/NRSV et al.)." (The Resurrection Of Jesus [Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2010], pp. 414-415, 618)

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