new body post by Brian Branam transformation of resurrection

You Need a New Body! The Transformation of Resurrection

How would you define resurrection? In simple terms, I think most people would say that resurrection is a dead person coming back to life with a much better body. By better body, I mean one that is no longer susceptible to disease or death. But have you ever really thought about what that better body might be like? The Bible entertains this question.

“But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?'”

1 Corinthians 15:35

I would think that any conversation we may have about a better body would interest us. We are infatuated with our bodies. From daytime television to wellness magazines, from Dr. Oz to Men’s Health we tune in to things that promise to help us live longer, happier, healthier lives.

We have great concerns about body image. Hollywood dictates to us what is attractive and what is not. As a result, our nation is home to over 18,000 tanning salons. Shows like The Biggest Loser and America’s Next Top model get high ratings.

It seems the younger we are the greater the struggle with body image. According to an article at badgerherald.com, in 2003 more than 223,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on patients 18 or younger. 90% of college students say they are unhappy with their body.

Why We Hate our Bodies

Why is it that we pay so much attention to our bodies, work so hard on our bodies, have so much information about our bodies, but still seem to be so unhappy with our bodies?

I think it is because we live as if this body is all we’ve got. When you make your body ultimate, you are bound to be miserable. Eventually, you come to grips with the reality that you are fighting a losing battle.

If you play the comparison game with well-figured people, you may follow their workout or drink their drink for a time. But at some point, you realize there is one key ingredient missing from the equation. Their body is not your body. You can drink seaweed with every meal, but you can’t be them.

While healthier choices are helpful, it is futile to try to preserve a body that is bound to decay and destined to die.

Resurrection is radical body transformation! But it will not come through keto or liposuction. If you will grab on to what the Bible says about your body in light of the resurrection, you will think about your body in a much healthier and happier way.

Think Seed

The Bible says that if you really want to understand resurrection, you need to think of yourself as a seed.

And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.

1 Corinthians 15:37-38

If we are to think of our bodies as a seed, then the real concern we should have of our bodies is not what they look like, but what is in them. If what is in you is resurrected to its fullest potential what does that mean you become forever?

Let’s take this idea of thinking about the resurrection and our bodies like a seed and unpack this idea in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58.

A Seed Must be PLANTED

“You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or some other grain.”

1 Corinthians 15:36-37

When a seed is planted in the soil, that is the end of it as it is, but that is not the end of it.

Death is not the end of you.

They say, “You only live once.” The Bible says that is not true. The Bible teaches that you will live forever. After you die, you will be resurrected as an eternal version of yourself.

The Bible also teaches that there are only two versions of forever. One is the forever blessedness of those Christ has redeemed in a new Heaven and a new Earth (Rev. 21). This version of forever will be the world as God intended it to be in the beginning. It will be good and life-giving.

The other version of forever is one of punishment as those who were not redeemed by Christ are separated from Him in an eternal lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15). This is a horrible and painful end of unimaginable suffering.

Good Looking, Healthy People Die

If we think of our bodies as a seed to be planted, then we surely can’t think of them as an end. For one, death is an inescapable reality. No matter what you do, you are going to die. No one survives life. Very good looking, extremely healthy people die.

The world’s greatest athletes all die. Robert Atkins, the inventor of the wildly popular low-carb Atkins diet, is dead.

Have you ever done Pilates? Joseph Pilates died of emphysema from smoking cigars at the age of 83. He was very flexible when he died.

Being healthy helps, but it is not going to save you. At some point, we have to realize that the question is not how we look or even how we feel. The question we should be asking is what is within us? That’s always the question of a seed – not its color, its size, or its texture. The question of a seed is of what is inside of it?

Perhaps instead of so much working out, we need to spend some time working in.

If what is inside of you is resurrected forever, what is your forever going to be?

It is not true that you only live once. What is true is that you only get one shot to make sure what is in the seed is what needs to be in the seed. And this is not a question of fitness, but of nature. This we will discuss in tomorrow’s post.

To be continued in the next post.. Think Resurrection for a Much Better Body.

You might be interested.

Last week’s posts: God’s Good Answer to Bad Things

#TheWalk – How asking this question every day will help you achieve your greatest goals.

Watch this Message on My YouTube Channel

Eternity (Sermon Audio: Sunday A.M.)

When you think about eternity you cannot help but ask lots of questions. We ask questions about the nature of eternal people. Will we know one another in eternity? What will our bodies be like? We also ask questions about eternal places. What will heaven be like? What about hell? Will people suffer eternally or will they at some point simply cease to be?

Listen to audio

Questions About Body and Heaven 2.0

There have been lots of great questions in response to this week’s posts. Unfortunately they are scattered in between my inbox, comment links, and Facebook responses. I will try to gather them and answer them here, concisely in one post. Here are a few of the most notable ones. I will try to answer others a bit later.

  1. Is it O.K. for Christians to choose to be cremated? If one is cremated and ashes scattered will that person’s body be resurrected into a new spiritual body?

    This question is really one of physicality. It could also be stated, “What sort of physical shape does a person have to be in, in order to be resurrected?” The short answer is whether we are ash or dust we will be resurrected. A person can become either whether it be by fire or by burial. Also we must acknowledge that people can die horrible deaths in which the body is all but lost. Some people point to 1 Corinthians 15:35-55 as a reason you should not be cremated because the body must be “planted in the ground.” I am not sure Paul’s teaching here was meant to be taken as a blueprint for burial as much as a theological truth about the resurrection in general. Remember, even though Paul is saying “planted in the ground” in the 1st century a bulk of the population was not actually “planted in the ground” but rather deposited in a tomb. After a year of decay the family would then come in and place the bones in a box, an ossuary.

  2. You mentioned that in my spiritual body, I will be “me”, but will my loved ones know me. For example, will my grandmother know me as her grand-daughter, will I know Chris as my husband, etc? Just something I’ve always wondered and have never gotten an answer.

    This is one of those you have to answer with a sprinkle of “my own personal opinion.” 1 Cor. 7:29-31 says that the “form” of this world is passing away. In short that means the way we do and understand things is going to change. I have a hard time believing that our relational memories will be erased to the point that we cannot recall how we related to people on earth. However, there must be something so wonderful about the way we relate fully to God and to one another that the former ways of relating will seem inferior and we will surely not want to return to them. There are some things the Bible is simply not clear on. What we do know is that the gospel, practiced in this world, should have a profound impact on our relationships. We do know that how we relate to and treat others in this world is of eternal consequence (Matthew 25:31-46).

  3. What Scriptural indication do we have that a baby–born or unborn, or a small child, goes to be with The LORD for eternity if it dies? If we are all descendants of Adam, then is not condemnation the “default” destiny for those who have not accepted Jesus as their Atonement? Corruption cannot enter Heaven. (By the way, great to hear from you Alden and Penny).

    When dealing with eternal concepts and most certainly in dealing with our salvation we want to distinguish between wishful thinking and truth. I think there is a lot of misinformation on the planet that is not truth, but is more based on wishful thinking. No one likes the idea that good, honest, innocent people die and go to Hell, but yet the Bible teaches this is certainly the case.

    However, when it comes to innocent children, I think we can safely remove it from the confines of wishful thinking and relegate what we know of their eternity to truth. With that said, we should also acknowledge there are some rough edges here as to how exactly does all of this work and what ages are included? However, we do know that God saves children who do not comprehend the gospel.

    The most notable case of this is 2 Samuel 12:23. David is a godly man who did a very ungodly thing. Yet David is comforted in the child’s death. He seemed so comforted it was odd to those who surrounded him. He explained his comfort was found in the nature of the child’s afterlife. Some would argue that “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” simply means the afterlife. However we should acknowledge it is very clear that David was a redeemed man and he, as we, know where he will spend eternity.

    We should also acknowledge that there were children “saved” by God in their mother’s womb or soon after birth. The list would include John the Baptist (Luke 1:15), David (Psalm 22:10), and Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5).

    I know I am beating the proverbial horse on this one, but Wayne Grudem has a great discussion of this on pages 498-500 in his Systematic Theology. I am but a waffle ball player (see my note on a previous post)!

  4. Judy in Florida asked some great questions about my last post. I want to simply copy our dialogue:

    From Judy – Jesus tells the Sadducees that they don’t know the scriptures and the power of God in this same discussion. Are there specific Old Testament verses that Jesus is referring to about marriage and the lack thereof in heaven? Also, I was never bothered by the fact that I would not be married in heaven until my husband of 23 years just passed away. Now I find myself in your first camp, like you hope your sweet wife is in, very disappointed and saddened at this thought. I still want to be married in heaven, at least from my current, earthbound perspective. And as to the male/female issue, is it possible that the reason Jesus and Moses and Samuel are still recognized as male is that they still don’t have their new resurrected body, which after we all get them are then “as the angels” neither male nor female.

    My reply – I am not sure Jesus is referring as much to specific verses about post-resurrection marriage (if He is I cannot recall them) as much as he is speaking to their lack of belief in any sort of resurrection. The Sadducees were strict materialists who did not believe in resurrection. Their question was designed only to show how ridiculous the idea of resurrection was in any context. The problem is, their question backfired.

    As far as not being married to your spouse in heaven it is difficult to grasp with our mind. We are only accustomed to certain definitions of things. We cannot conceive of how it may be more fulfilling to relate to our loved ones outside of the current defined relationships, but yet we know this will be true, somehow. What we must be careful of is not to grieve over the state of eternity but rather over the reality of death. Death is the enemy that severs our current relationships.

    As far as the male/female issue and the resurrected bodies, your statement may hold true for the OT saints, but it could not be said of Jesus. His resurrection was the first “full” resurrection and glorification. He was in his glorified body when Mary referred to Him as “sir.” He is the firstborn among many brethren.

    Judy, thanks for your input. I will certainly be praying for you. I am sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. May God be a husband and a father to you during this time.

Will I Still Be Married in Heaven?

A common question concerning the resurrection and the eternal state has to do with marriage. In eternity will we be married to our current spouse? This question becomes even more cumbersome if a person has experienced multiple marriages (Matthew 22:23-28).

Romans 7:3 and 1 Corinthians 7:39 teach that a person is bound in marriage as long as they are alive. Once a spouse dies the marriage bond is broken. Given the fact that death is the vehicle of choice by which most of us will enter eternity, this means our marriages will effectively be over. When the Sadducees tried to trap Jesus with the cumbersome multiple marriage/resurrection question Jesus answered that in the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage (Matthew 22:29,30).

There will be two responses to this idea. Some will be saddened by this news (like my wife Shannon, right my love!). Others will be secretly relieved (careful)! Wherever you fall on this it is hard for us to conceive of life with relationships being redefined. How can you be married to someone for decades and not understand them to be your husband or wife in heaven? How can you be married to a person and not want them to be your spouse also in heaven? Honestly, I don’t know. We know from Scripture that God will be the perfect fulfillment of our relational needs and that in eternity we will perfectly relate to one another. The church in fact is called the “bride of Christ.” The new Jerusalem descends from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. There will be lots of marriage language in heaven, and as such it is safe to say that in heaven we will still know what marriage means, but yet somehow and in someway the relationships will be redefined.

Another common question here concerns gender definitions in heaven. Will we be men and women as we are now? Most mistake Jesus’ comment in Mt. 22:30 that we will “be like the angels” to mean we will be eternally androgynous. This is not the case. John McArthur has a good discussion of this on pp. 135 – 138 in his book The Glory of Heaven.[i] He points out that after Jesus resurrection he was recognized as male. In fact when Mary first saw Jesus in the garden, having no conceivable thought that Jesus would possibly be alive, she mistakenly thought Jesus was the gardener. She referred to him as, “Sir (John 20:15).” After they saw Jesus, Jesus was Jesus, the male Jesus. The same could be said for the postmortem appearances of Moses and Samuel. They were recognized as who they were. There is nothing to indicate their gender had been blurred or redefined. They were male.

A post of this nature will arouse a multitude of questions. I welcome them, but I must warn you, I am like you, I probably cannot answer them. However, if you will send them on in, I will give it a shot Thursday or Friday.

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[i] I should also add that Hank Hanegraaff has an interesting chapter on “Sex” after the resurrection in his book simply titled “Resurrection.” With that said, Mr. Hanegraaff, you can thank me in heaven for making your book a best seller.

Do People Die and Go to Heaven Forever? Not Exactly.

There is nothing like a conservative Christian who takes the Bible literally to use an issue of semantics to construct a catchy, cheap title just so you will read his post. Yet you are here. I win.

People talk about dying now and living in heaven “as it is now” forever. Such a thought or statement isn’t exactly right. It is true that the most prominent use of the word heaven is to describe the place in which the full presence of God is manifested. In that sense, saying, “When saved people die they spend eternity in heaven” is true and will always be true. Yet, we should acknowledge that heaven as it exists right now at 11:00 a.m. on June 30, 2009 is not the heaven that will be for all eternity.

After all chaos and judgment is complete, after the resurrection, after the followers of Christ have received body 2.0, John says in Revelation 21:1-4,

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. . . (v. 4c) for the former things have passed away.”

Heaven and earth as they exist now will pass away, they will cease to be. It seems that the new place generally referred to as heaven will exist in three recognizable parts. There will be a heaven above as there is now. There will be an earth below, as there is now and from which I am writing to you today! There will be a capital city, the new Jerusalem.

So what will life be like in the new heavens and new earth? Revelation 21 and 22 gives us a marvelous picture that at the very least tells us that there is not a sin worth clinging on to, or a persecution to endure, or a trial to suffer worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us. Paul was spot on (Rom. 8:18). There is nothing in this world that even compares to what is to come. If you have yet to repent of your sin and receive the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ the coming glory revealed in Rev. 21 and 22 ought to be reason enough. I could write on and on about this, but it does not fully answer our question. What will life be like in the new heavens and new earth?

  1. That which is in part shall be done away (1 Cor. 13:12). There are a lot of verses in the Bible that we take metaphorically, devotionally, ideally, or spiritually. When we read a verse like Psalm 73:25-26 we may have a moment or two in which we experience what it might be like for God to be our portion, but not fully. In the new heavens and the new earth, God will actually be our portion. The metaphors of the Bible will be actualities. Spiritual truth will be physical, tangible, sensational (in the most literal sense). Psalm 73 will not be an ideal, in heaven and earth 2.0 God will be the energy, the light, the sustenance, the fullness. He will be our everything.
  2. There will be no more tears, death, mourning, or pain.
  3. While the physics of life have changed, there will be physical elements of life that will be familiar. Many scholars, including Wayne Grudem, do not take the description of the New Jerusalem literally. I have read many who say the dimensions alone indicate this cannot be a literal city because it simply would not fit on earth. The new Jerusalem is physically impossible. I would disagree.[i] It is obvious in the new heavens and new earth, physics as we know it will change. The glorified body in and of itself will make physics quite interesting. Jesus said that in His Father’s house were many mansions, dwelling places. Yet in the glorified body, who needs walls? But yet there will be walls, but why? While the physics of the earth and heaven 2.0 raise interesting and pointless debates we do recognize from Rev. 21-22 some things that are familiar to us, like walls, foundations, trees, rivers, streets, music, gates, jewels, and the throne. Jerusalem is the capital city, but will there be states and cities throughout the world as there are now? My guess is, yes. I like what Grudem says about life in 2.0,

“Perhaps people will work at the whole range of investigation and development of the creation by technological, creative, and inventive means, thus exhibiting the full extent of their excellent creation in the image of God.

Moreover, since God is infinite and we can never exhaust his greatness (Ps. 145:3), and since we are finite creatures who will never equal God’s knowledge or be omniscient, we may expect that for all eternity we will be albe to go on learning more about God and about his relationship to his creation. In this way we will continue the process of learning. . .”[ii]

Do people die and go to heaven forever? Absolutely, but not exactly. The marvelous part of it all is that most of us will experience heaven 1.0 and 2.0. The salvation of God in His Son Jesus Christ is marvelous.


[i] You have to love it when I say I disagree with some of the most prominent and respected scholars in the world. It is like the year I hit thirty homeruns in my back yard playing wiffle ball and comparing that summer to anything Major League! Even still, I, Mr. Wiffle Ball of Indian Springs 1986, disagree with Wayne Grudem. Hilarious!

[ii] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 1162.

Will You Be Recognizable After the Resurrection?

This week we will be looking at issues surrounding the final state. What will life be like in the end, permanently, eternally? When discussing this topic there are two questions that must be answered:

1) What will be the final state of the body?
2) What will be the final place of existence?

Let’s first talk about the body. For those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit the Bible gives a wonderful promise that one day they will receive a new glorified body (Romans 8:18-25). Even if a person dies and undergoes decay for many years, to the point that all is left is a pile of dust, they will not be exempt from resurrection and glorification. Even if a body is totally destroyed it can be and will be resurrected. At this point the question usually becomes, what will those bodies be like and will we be recognizable?

The popular answer to this question is that we will have bodies much like we did in the prime of our life, between the ages of 25 and 30. Even yesterday at church someone said they heard a man on the radio, or the internet, I cannot remember which, provide this answer to his listeners/readers. I have heard this answer often given from the pulpit, penned in books, and yes, it is all over the internet and radio. My problem with this answer is that I was about 225 at 25. Now at 35 I am about 203 and feel much better. The problem is now I have some minor thickening of my heart. If I have a say in the matter I don’t want my body back, not now, not at 25, not at 20, and surely not when I was a teenager! Who wants eternal acne and that horrible voice break thing? If I could submit a request, I am for something much better than this body at any age. Fortunately, Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 that the resurrection will render us something much better than the current version of the body. Something much better is exactly what we are going to receive.

In 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 Paul calls body 2.0 a spiritual body and offers a list of comparisons between version 1.0 and 2.0. Version 2.0 sounds great, but the question remains. Will 2.0 people be able to recognize their old 1.0 friends? Notice vv. 37 and 38. Paul compares the resurrection to the sowing of a seed and the subsequent birth of a plant. I love what Wayne Grudem says about this (Systematic Theology, 834)[1]. There is a massive difference between a seed and the subsequent plant, but there is also continuity. There is nothing similar between an Oak and an acorn, but yet they are somehow strangely the same.

Though body 2.0 will be incredibly different than 1.0, it will still be “you.” Isaiah prophesied that at His crucifixion the condition of Jesus’ body would render Him unrecognizable (Isa. 53). Yet post resurrection those that knew Him recognized Him. On the isle of Patmos John saw Jesus again, the very glorified, very regal Jesus, and yet John knew exactly who Jesus was. At the transfiguration (Luke 9) the inner circle of apostles recognized Moses and Elijah, though they had never met. Just imagine, in eternity there will be no need for introductions and no chance of forgetting names! In Matthew 27:52 and 53 the Bible records an event that surrounded Jesus’ crucifixion. Many people who were buried were resurrected, went into Jerusalem and appeared to many. These were not partially decayed zombies but recognizable people.

Will you be recognizable after the resurrection? The answer is unequivocally, unquestionably, absolutely, “Yes!” Yet, if Jesus is not your Savior now, what does it matter? Those who have received eternal life in Jesus Christ and follow Him have incredible hope. Would you be saved today?

[1] Once again I must say, you need this book.