Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Resurrection of My Body (Part 1)

We were moving through our Bible study of 1 Corinthians 15 the other week and I was preparing I found the notorious verses forty-two through forty-nine. Here is the Jerusalem Bible translation:
    It is the same with the resurrection of the dead: the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable; the thing that is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful; when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit.
    If the soul has its own embodiment, so does the spirit have its own embodiment. The first man, Adam, as scripture says, "became a living soul" [Gen 2:7]; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. That is, first the one with the soul, not the spirit, and after that, the one with the spirit. The first man, being from the earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven. As this earthly man was, so are we on earth; and as the heavenly man is, so are we in heaven. And we, who have been modeled on the earthly man, will be modeled on the heavenly man.
Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verses 42-49. Jerusalem Bible.

I haven't thought much about the resurrection of my body.  Sure, it's one of those things we chant in the Nicene Creed that we believe as Christians.  And there's Pascha.  It's just that I don't think at all much about my body.  True, we are more seasoned now and the end is closer and I can rationalize about meteorites coming down any moment, so who knows when?  But reading this passage just confuses everything for me.  This translation is not common nowadays.  For example, the NRSVCE translation gives:
42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is[a] from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will[b] also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Here verse forty-four contrasts a "physical body" with a "spiritual body" rather than an "embodiment" of the "soul"  with an "embodiment"of the "spirit".  Obviously, there is something obtuse here.  After all, we believe in the resurrection of the body at the Second Coming of Jesus, the parousia.  How do I find a way to understand what he is writing about?

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