If you can think of your body as a seed, it will lead to a much better body (well, sort of). In 1 Corinthians 15:36-37, Paul says that in light of the resurrection that we need to think of our bodies like a seed. This is a revolutionary thought. Suddenly we realize that what we look like or feel like is not nearly as important as what we ARE like. Healthy choices help, but we need to be ultimately concerned about what is within us.
In my previous post, I said that if we are to think of our bodies as a seed, then death is not the end of us. When a seed is planted that is the end of it as it is, but that is not the end of it. In the same way, death may be the end of you as you are, but it is certainly not the end of you. If what is within you is resurrected forever, what is your forever going to be?
Once the seed is planted, what else is important about it that helps us understand more the nature of our resurrection?
A Seed is Purposed
In the next part of the passage, Paul explains that our bodies serve a purpose. He does this by pointing to the various kinds of bodies we see in creation. Each one of them is purposed for the existence it enjoys.
“For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”I Corinthians 15:39-41
You are Not Fit for Forever
The body you have is fit for life now, but it is not fit for life forever. It does well with air, water, and food. It has senses that connect you to the world around you. If everything is working properly, you see the world, smell it, taste it, hear it, and feel it. This is another reason why making our bodies ultimate leads to misery. If we think this life is all we have we try to get our fill of the sensory experience of this body. We want food, sex, drink, and never-ending amounts of pleasure; but it never satisfies. It is as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 1:
“All things are full of weariness, a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear with hearing.”Ecclesiastes 1:8
The reason for this is that there is something on you (your body) that is fit for life on Earth, but there is something within you (your spirit) that longs for a life that lasts forever. Your flesh works well for the sensory experience of the natural world, but your spirit longs for deeper things. The flesh is satisfied with now. Your spirit is longing for forever.
If you think of a seed, it has a shell or a husk. That shell or husk serves an important purpose. It secures what is within the seed so that it can get into the soil. Once in the soil, that husk is not fit for the next phase of life. The husk is non-essential to an organism that is now going to exist with deep roots below the surface and a stem, branches, leaves, and fruit that longs for the sun above the surface. The seed doesn’t last. Neither will your body.
A Seed is Perishing
Because a seed serves the purpose of getting the DNA of an organism into the soil, it is naturally perishing. The same is true of our bodies. If we are not going to exist like this forever, our bodies are serving an important purpose, but there will come an end of them. Paul describes our bodies as they are with words like perishing, dishonor, weakness, and natural. He describes what we need to become with words like imperishing, glorious, powerful, and spiritual. Something decaying brings forth something amazing!
“So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.”1 Corinthians 15:42-44
Have you ever seen a magnificent tree? I know that statement sounds boring and pedestrian as we see trees all around us. Most of them are merely filler for the scenery throughout our day. But what I mean by a magnificent tree is one that is so old, so large, and so full that you take notice of it. You stop and stare, marveling at the sheer size of it.
What a Tree!
I ride a bicycle for mental release and exercise. There is a tree on one of my bike routes that is truly magnificent. The branches of this tree are as large as most full grown trees. The trunk is so large in diameter that it would take 4-5 full grown adults to wrap their arms around it. I wonder how much of our nation’s history has come and gone with this tree standing where it is?
As magnificent as this is, there is not one time that I have ever ridden by it and thought, “Wow, I would like to see the acorn that thing came from!” The glory of this tree was not in its seed. The glory of this tree is in the maturity it has reached. The seed has perished so that this tree could reach its purpose.
This being the case, it makes one wonder why we give so much time and attention to fit bodies. We parade them on magazines. We admire them in movies. They’re just seeds man! Have you ever seen anyone flipping through the pages of a seed fitness magazine? Have you ever heard anyone say, “I sure would like a seed like that?”
As much as we put into our bodies, keeping them as they are is not our ultimate purpose. Again, health helps, but our bodies are perishing. There is a reason why that same girl that was on the magazine at 25 is not there at 45. If she is, it is probably with much more clothing. There is a reason why Arnold Schwarzenegger became the Terminator in 1984 and not 2019. One thing is for sure – Arni’s body from 1984 will not be back!
A Seed is Powerful
We can eat right, lose weight, have liposuction and plastic surgery all in hopes of transforming our bodies, but the real transformation takes place after death. The true nature of a seed comes out only after it is planted. The same is true of our bodies. As the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, what is perishable is raised imperishable. What is sown in dishonor is raised in glory.
And this is the heart of our conversation concerning this passage. What you look like or feel like is not nearly as important as who you are. Your concern for your shape is not nearly as important as concern for your nature. If what’s inside of you is resurrected forever, what is your forever going to be?
How many apples?
I heard a quote one time and I am not certain of its source, but it says, “Any fool can count the number of seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.”
This concern of God for what is inside of us is expressed as Samuel seeks to anoint Israel’s next king. Samuel goes to the household of the king as he is told and he is impressed by each of the sons, but none of them would be king. They were tall. Handsome. Stately in appearance but none of them were fit to be king. And then the forgotten son shows up, small, ruddy, dirty from being in the field keeping sheep. It is this one, David, that will be anointed king. And then God explains that men count seeds rather than counting what is within them.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7
God is not nearly as concerned about your body as you are. God is concerned about what is in there!
The Seed is Promised
From verses 45-49 the Bible now begins to focus on nature. As far as we know, there are about 60,000 species of trees in the world. When it comes to humans there are only two natures within us; Christ or Adam.
“Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”1 Corinthians 15:45-49
The nature of Adam is man in rebellion against God. It is man deciding that he had rather be god than serve God. The Adam in us is why our mouths had rather curse than bless. It is our rebellious nature that explains why we had rather use our senses to indulge the world than simply connect with it.
We need a nature change. Christ gives us this new nature we need. This is the idea behind what Jesus refers to as being, “born again (John 3).” In Christ we become more like God created us to be and less like the rebels we have become.
Sure, we may need to lose a little weight, but what we really need is a new nature!
An apple seed will only bring forth apple trees. You will NEVER plant an apple seed in your yard and be surprised by watermelons. A seed never betrays its nature.
The Lesson of the Methuselah Tree
In 1963 archeologists uncovered some seeds that dated back to the time of King Herod. These date palm seeds are from the first century, from the time that Jesus lived on earth. At the time of Jesus, these seeds were somewhere on one of Herod’s tables waiting to be planted. But Herod didn’t plant the seeds. In fact, the seeds were not planted until 2005.
Amazingly a date palm seedling broke through the soil and now stands a flowering date palm tree appropriately known as Methuselah. No matter how old it is, a seed never betrays its nature.
When it comes down to it, you know your nature. You know what is within you. If what is within you is resurrected, what will your forever be like?
Two Natures, Two Forevers
There are two natures in this life and there are two versions of eternity in the next one. The nature of Adam resurrected becomes an eternity of torments, separated from God forever in an eternal lake of fire. The nature of Christ resurrected becomes an eternity in a world as God intended it. We live in a world that is right, a new heavens and a new earth. Revelation 20–22 reveals these ends to us.
In the same way that an apple seed will not surprise you with watermelons; you know your nature now – there will be no surprises in the resurrection.
So lose some weight. Eat better. All of that helps, but what about your nature? Working on the seed is one thing, but changing the seed is quite another. Only Christ can redeem us from what we have become in Adam. Repent of sin and turn to Christ today!
You are going to live forever. What will your forever be like?