Body, Spiritual

spir'-it-u-al: Paul describes the body after the resurrection as a spiritual body (soma psuchikon) and contrasts it with the natural (psychical body, soma pneumatikon, 1Co 15:44). Our present natural body has for its life-principle the soul (psuche) but the resurrection body is adapted and subordinated to the spirit (pneuma). See PSYCHOLOGY. The apostle does not argue for a literal and material identity of that future body with the present one, but thinks of it as the counterpart of the present animal organism so conditioned as to be adapted to a state of existence which lies wholly within the sphere of the spirit. Against his Corinthian readers he argues that the resurrection cannot be succeeded by a state of non-existence, nor is he willing to admit a mere etherealized state. There must be a body, but between it and our present body there is a similar difference to that between the first and second Adam. The present body and the first Adam were alike dominated by the soul (psuche); but as the second Adam became a life-giving spirit, so will the resurrection body be a spiritual one. Christ became a life-giving spirit through the resurrection (Meyer on 1Co 15:45); and since we are to bear His image (1Co 15:49), it becomes evident that Christ's resurrection-body is the nearest possible approach to a sensible representation of the spiritual body. For this Paul argues more directly when he affirms that our resurrection-body shall be transformed according to the body of His glory (Php 3:21; compare 1Jo 3:2). The body of Christ after the resurrection was conformed in many respects to the body of His earthly life, yet with some marked differences. He ate (Lu 24:42-43); He breathed (Joh 20:22); possessed flesh and bones (Lu 24:39), and could be apprehended by the bodily senses (Lu 24:40; Joh 20:27). His body possessed characteristics which differentiated it entirely from the popular fancy of ghosts or apparitions (Lu 24:36-43). Yet His body was superior to the usual barriers which restrict human movements. Barred doors and distances did not impede His going (Joh 20:19-26; Lu 24:31-36). The context shows that the purpose of His eating was to convince the disciples that it was really He (Lu 24:41-43), and not to sustain life which His body was probably capable of maintaining in other ways. John speaks of His appearances after His resurrection as "manifestations" (Joh 21:1-21). A change in His person and appearance had certainly taken place, for those who knew Him best did not at once recognize Him (Lu 24:16; Joh 20:14). It is evident therefore that the post-resurrection-body of Jesus was one that had the power of materializing itself to natural senses, or withdrawing itself at will. It was this same body which was taken into the heavens at the ascension, and which remains in heaven (Ac 1:11; 3:21). There is no hint that it underwent any change in its removal from earth. Hence, the spiritual body of which Paul speaks is not to be unlike the body which Jesus possessed after His resurrection. There is to be an absence of the desires and passions which belong naturally to the present bodily existence (Mt 22:30; Lu 20:35-36).

William Charles Morro

 
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