Thanks for your post to me earlier, Chris. Sometimes it is hard to reconcile/understand our perceived inconsistencies. I do think they're perceived - a glass darkly.Hi James, thanks. Still not sure I see those same connections in these passages, so I will wait for Gilbert to direct me elsewhere if he has something else in mind. But, in the meantime, let me ask you about how you see the verses above, if you don't mind?
I'm not Gilbert, and he can answer for himself as to what he was referencing. I did find these two passages that may be related.
"As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: 'I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.'
"Therefore He also says in another Psalm, 'YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.' Acts 13:34,35
42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"[e]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we[f] bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I Cor. 15
God's blessing, James.
In the passages in 1 Cor 15 it speaks of the last Adam as "a life-giving spirit". What does that mean to you and how do you see that in relation to "a spiritual body"? Do you see "a spiritual body" as "a body of flesh and bones"? Do you believe that, even today, Christ has "a body of flesh and bones"?
Or might it be that that which is seen (Christ's physical death and bodily resurrection) is given to us "for an example" so that we can "see" that which is not seen... in the same way that Christ's miracle, though physical in nature, were meant to show us spiritual truths about how Christ heals the blind, the deaf, the lame and even the dead - after a spiritual truth?
If you don't mind, I would like to jump in with some additional comments concerning the spiritual body.
The Bible teaches us that there is a process of complete transformation which man must undergo in order to attain spiritual maturity (aka: 'perfection'). We can read about it in that well-known text in 2Cor 5:17, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come".
In chapter 3 verse 18 the Apostle used the basic word 'metamorphosis': "And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit". This verse refers to a transformation which ongoing; not yet complete.
The transformation first begins by a change in our way of thinking, Paul also used the word 'metamorphosis' in Rom 12:2, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind". The third occasion we encounter this word in the New Testament is in Matt 17:2 & Mark 9:2 where we read the account of the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of His disciples. Here the word refers to a change from His natural form to His supernatural or heavenly form; the distinguishing feature here being the 'glistening attire'.
The spirit has two purposes: first, to form and develop the physical man and, secondly, to form and develop the spiritual man. The physical development comes first and then the spiritual, (1Cor 15:46).
We all possess the possibility within ourselves to undergo a metamorphosis from a physical to a spiritual being. Our spirit is the bearer of life and our soul has the characteristics which make us human. Spirit and soul together form our spiritual, invisible body.
It is not the visible or physical human being that is able to undergo a metamorphosis, but rather the invisible, inner man, with his spiritual and immortal body. The physical human has a normal, mortal body. We therefore have two bodies. "If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body", (1Cor 15:44).
In 2Corinthians 5:1, the Apostle states that on death the Christian leaves his mortal body, his earthly tent, behind. However, he still has his immortal body, his eternal, spiritual house. Thus, we understand why 2Cor 4:7 states that we have this treasure in an earthen vessel.
The physical body is material but the spiritual body is not material. The first is temporary and transitory and the other is eternal and imperishable. One is formed by the elements of the earth, while the other by the elements of heaven.
In the first phase of life, the spiritual body develops parallel to the physical body. The older a person becomes the more responsibility he can shoulder, the more stamina he has, the more knowledge and wisdom he possesses and the more his creative abilities in art and technical skills are developed. These are earthly things connected with the spiritual body and, in this way, the human grows "under the sun".
This does not always develop perfectly and harmoniously because no one can fully escape the influence of the prince of this world. All people have walked "following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit which is now at work in the sons of disobedience", (Eph 2:2). They have become useless, unable to enter a new phase of life or to undergo a metamorphosis by which they would be able to raise themselves into the dimension of God's Kingdom.
There is also a veil over everyone which can only be removed when they turn to the Lord (2Cor 3:16-18). By nature we are children of wrath because of our development in our earthly, natural life. A veil of deceit and sin is over us and we are spiritually blinded and deafened by the god of this world. We cannot see the glory of God and do not experience the inner metamorphosis by which we can grow to be mature, spiritual people.
God once tried to teach Adam to become a mature, spiritual person so that eventually his physical body could be changed in a moment of time, at an opportune moment, and swallowed up by his spiritual body. This is what is said will happen to the sons of God who in the end time have reached perfection, (1Cor 15:51-54). Adam's development came to a halt at his fall; he became useless.
In the Old Testament there were no spiritual people as God had originally desired and so the spiritual body could not develop to enable it to enter the Kingdom of God. Under the New Covenant there is a possibility for the spiritual body to undergo a metamorphosis, whereby man is enabled to live in a new dimension - just like the caterpillar when it becomes a butterfly.
The Bible calls the first period of the spiritual body a 'worm' condition. Of course, the Bible is not referring here to a garden worm: the Greek word used here can also mean maggots or larva and these are forms of life which can undergo a metamorphosis. The worm does not stop existing. The worm does not die because it belongs to the spiritual world "where their worm does not die", (Mark 9:48).
In Isaiah 41:14 we read about the "worm Jacob" and in Job 25:6 Bilead calls man a maggot and the son of a man a worm. Under the Old Covenant the chosen ones were not spiritual beings. The very best of them were natural, unspoiled people. The righteous people gained a special place in the Kingdom of Death but their inner spiritual man was not transferred into the Kingdom of God.
Even though they had the divine Law, they could not reach perfection because they lived under a veil. "Yes, to this day, whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their mind". They, therefore, have no insight into or knowledge of the unseen world. The best of them just saw a glimpse of it. These believers received a word from God because they had glimpsed the Kingdom of Heaven. They had merely caught a glimpse of the promise. Abraham saw from far off his spiritual son and he was glad.
Therefore, we now recognize how Jesus again became a worm on the cross. He was not there as a mature, spiritual man, (Psalm 22:2). He had cast off his glory as a spiritual man and had become as a natural man, burdened with sin and guilt.
In the last verse of Isaiah we read the following about the rebellious and godless people, "their worm shall not die, their fires shall not be quenched and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh". Jesus quoted this verse in Mark 9:43-48 and He referred to people who prefer darkness to light, that is, He referred to the unrighteous and godless people. The larva of their spiritual body which has not undergone a metamorphosis will, at the Second Resurrection, be thrown into the Lake of Fire. In Revelation 20:15 we read about this: "and if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he (as the larva of the spiritual) was thrown into the lake of fire".
In Matthew 10:28 Jesus warns "Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul, rather fear him, the evil one, who can destroy both soul and body in Hell". So keep your distance from the evil one who is able to ruin your body by death, by delivering you into the lawless power of death, through which the body reverts to lifeless dust. Fellowship with this enemy is also able to drag your spiritual body, the larva, into the fire, that is into the power of darkness. You must keep your spiritual body in contact with the Holy Spirit and not with unclean spirits.
There is, therefore, a possibility for the larva to undergo a metamorphosis. The Bible says that we must put off the old nature and put on the new. The word 'metamorphosis' is concerned with the law of creation of the Supreme Being. Another illustration is that of rebirth. At birth the child already exists but enters a new phase of life - out of the darkness of the womb into the light. This is the same with the rebirth. The inner man is already in existence but he enters a totally different phase in his fife. The words 'metamorphosis', 'resurrection' and 'rebirth' all refer to a new phase of development in life.
In Isaiah 41 God talks to the "worm Jacob", the people of God who are on the point of undergoing a great change. Then the Lord says, "You are my servant. I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand"; that is, with my Spirit. The powers of darkness always want to hold back this development and that is why we read "Behold all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded".
God helps the worm Jacob in the metamorphosis to become a spiritual Israel. How does He do this? First of all through Christ, through His gospel, the veil is removed. The falsehood and deceit are replaced by truth; the guilt disappears through the expiation of our sins. Therefore we read that they have conquered the Evil One through the expiation -by the blood of the Lamb- and by truth -the word of their testimony- (Rev 12:11).
First there must be a conversion, a turning away from evil to good, and then a definite turn towards God. For those who accept Jesus' offer to become righteous, keep His word and keep on believing, a new life begins. For only a righteous person can enter the Kingdom of God, and then only through Christ.
The caterpillar becomes a butterfly and the larva becomes a melolontha. They start a new life in a new world. After this metamorphosis has taken place, it has new aims and interests. The Bible says that after we have come to know Christ we also become quite different. The veil is removed and the darkness is left behind; different food is eaten.
The more we keep to the truth, the more the veil disappears. The cloud is removed from the mind and the Christian receives enlightenment for the eyes of the heart. The heart is an organ in the spiritual body and has ears to hear what is said by the Spirit who teaches and helps by developing the spiritual talents and who supports the human spirit so that it can reach full maturity. Thus the divine nature is revealed in the precious fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The air is the domain of the butterfly. Even if it lands on a flower it still remains a butterfly. This 'landing' often makes the life of the spiritual person difficult because he then comes into the domain of the prince of this world, while his true domain has become the Kingdom of God. That is why Paul said, "to be with Christ is far better", (Philippians 1:23), which means to be solely in the Kingdom of God.
Our works on earth form the garments for our spiritual body. We do not want to be found naked but clothed. We, therefore, pursue not only the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit but also the good works which are the outworking of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit in the visible world.
A butterfly will never return to being a caterpillar. We lay aside the first stage of our life, just as a caterpillar leaves its cocoon. Then, as our spiritual body continues to develop in God's Kingdom, we grow from a child into a son, from a son into a father and thus reach perfection and maturity.
Then the moment arrives where death will be swallowed up in victory, (1Cor 15:54). In a moment of time the mortal will put on immortality; the physical will become spiritual, full of spiritual power. The spiritual body will rule over the dust of the earth, in the same way as when the Creator, merely by His Word, ordered the dust to become matter. When we too, with our glorified body, will be able to command the dust to take on a form or to decompose. We will have a body just like the Lord after the Resurrection when He could eat and drink with His spiritual body but could also withdraw completely into the unseen world.
Those who see the possibilities open to man once he has undergone such a metamorphosis are no longer able to look back to the past but become more and more drawn to "no eye has seen and no ear has heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him", (1Cor 2:9).
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has passed a way behold the new has come" (2Cor 5:17). "And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the lord who is spirit" (2Cor 3:18).(Some above portions were copied/pasted from content hosted at "stolen spirit" to save me time)