|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:35-50 1. How are the dead raised up? that is, by what means? How can they be raised? 2. As to the bodies which shall rise. Will it be with the like shape, and form, and stature, and members, and qualities? The former objection is that of those who opposed the doctrine, the latter of curious doubters. To the first the answer is, This was to be brought about by Divine power; that power which all may see does somewhat like it, year after year, in the death and revival of the corn. It is foolish to question the Almighty power of God to raise the dead, when we see it every day quickening and reviving things that are dead. To the second inquiry; The grain undergoes a great change; and so will the dead, when they rise and live again. The seed dies, though a part of it springs into new life, though how it is we cannot fully understand. The works of creation and providence daily teach us to be humble, as well as to admire the Creator's wisdom and goodness. There is a great variety among other bodies, as there is among plants. There is a variety of glory among heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly state; and there will be a variety of glories among them. Burying the dead, is like committing seed to the earth, that it may spring out of it again. Nothing is more loathsome than a dead body. But believers shall at the resurrection have bodies, made fit to be for ever united with spirits made perfect. To God all things are possible. He is the Author and Source of spiritual life and holiness, unto all his people, by the supply of his Holy Spirit to the soul; and he will also quicken and change the body by his Spirit. The dead in Christ shall not only rise, but shall rise thus gloriously changed. The bodies of the saints, when they rise again, will be changed. They will be then glorious and spiritual bodies, fitted to the heavenly world and state, where they are ever afterwards to dwell. The human body in its present form, and with its wants and weaknesses, cannot enter or enjoy the kingdom of God. Then let us not sow to the flesh, of which we can only reap corruption. And the body follows the state of the soul. He, therefore, who neglects the life of the soul, casts away his present good; he who refuses to live to God, squanders all he has.
Verse 38. - But God giveth it a body. The material body of each living organism results from those laws of assimilation which God has made a part of His secret of life. They are not the life, only the instrument and expression and manifestation of the life. The "life" is the individual identity. The life of Hamlet is not in its essence the physical life of "the machine which is to him Hamlet," but the spiritual life which is linked on earth to that perpetual flux of material particles which we call the body, but is independent of those particles. As it hath pleased him; literally, as he willed. And in the word "as" lies the scope for all theories about the part played by what are called "natural laws." Their action is a part of God's will. To every seed his own body. Each of the seeds sown is provided with a body of its own, which is not identical with the seed, but results from the germ of life in the seed.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But God giveth it a body, as it hath pleased him,.... It is not the husbandman, nor the sun, nor the rain, that give the grain of wheat, or any other, its verdure and beauty, the form in which it springs up, its stalk, blade, and ear, but God by his own power, and of his sovereign will and pleasure; and he does not create this new form, but gives it; and does not barely give it, but gives the body to it: to the selfsame grain, and not another: so the resurrection of the dead is God's work; it is an instance of his power, and of his sovereign will; and is to his people a branch of that eternal life, which is his pure gift through Jesus Christ; all that glory in which the body will arise springs from his free grace, and is bestowed upon the selfsame body, which was carried about here, and laid in the grave: and to every
seed its own body; which is suitable and natural to it, according to its kind; see Genesis 1:11 as cummin to cummin, anise to anise, wheat to wheat, barley to barley, and not on the contrary; showing, that it is the same body that is raised that dies, though it is in a more glorious, and with more excellent qualities; which is manifest from express passages of Scripture; see Job 19:26 from the signification of the word resurrection, which is a raising up of that which is fallen and if the same body that falls by death is not raised, but another is given, it will not be a resurrection, but a creation: and also from the figurative phrases by which it is expressed, as here by the quickening of seed cast into the earth, and elsewhere by awaking out of sleep; now as it is the same seed that is sown that springs up again, and the same body that sleeps that awaked out of it, so it is the same body that is interred in the earth, and falls asleep by death, that will be quickened and awaked at the resurrection: and it is clear from the places from whence the dead will be raised, the repositories of them, as death and hell, or the grave, and the sea; for none but the same bodies that are laid in the grave, or cast into the sea, can be said to come forth out of them, or be delivered up; by them: and from the subject of the resurrection, the bodies of men, their vile and mortal bodies, which can be no other than their present ones; and from the end of the resurrection, which is that some may come to life, and others to damnation; and from the justice of God, which requires that the same bodies Christ has purchased, find who have served and suffered for him, should be glorified; and the same that have done evil against him, and abused themselves and his people, be punished: this might be argued from the translations of Enoch and Elijah in their bodies to heaven, in which they were on earth; and from the resurrection of the bodies of the saints at Christ's resurrection, and the change that will be on the bodies of living saints at the coming of Christ; for it is not reasonable to suppose, that some of the saints shall have their own bodies, and others none at all, or not the same they lived in here: this may be further confirmed, from the resurrection of Christ's body, which was the same he had before; it was not changed into a spirit, but consisted of flesh and bones, as it had done; and had on it the very print of the nails, and spear in his hands, feet, and side; and to this the bodies of the saints are to be fashioned: add to all this, if it is not a resurrection of the same body, but new ones are created, to which the soul will be united, it will not be a resurrection, but a transmigration of souls into other bodies; but as every seed has its own body, so will every soul have its own body, though greatly different as to its qualities, and much improved for the better, as in seed sown: and this is the sense of the ancient Jews (q),
"says R. Chijah, , "that that selfsame body that was shall rise", is clear from what is written, thy dead men shall live, Isaiah 26:19 and it is not written, shall be created; from whence it is evident that they shall not be created, but shall be quickened:''
and again (r),
"in the time to come, the holy blessed God will quicken the dead, and raise them "out of their own dust", that they may not be a building of dust, as they were at first, when they were created out of dust itself, a thing which is not stable, according to Genesis 2:7 and at that time they shall be raised out of the dust, out of that building, and shall stand in a stable building, that they may have stability, or duration.''
So on those words, "I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal", Deuteronomy 32:39 they observe (s), that
"as wounding and healing are "in one", (and the same body,) so death and life are "in one and" the same.''
(q) Zohar in Exod. fol. 12. 3.((r) Midrash Hannealam in Zohar in Gen. fol. 81. 1.((s) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 91. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38. as it hath pleased him—at creation, when He gave to each of the (kinds of) seeds (so the Greek is for "to every seed") a body of its own (Ge 1:11, "after its kind," suited to its species). So God can and will give to the blessed at the resurrection their own appropriate body, such as it pleases Him, and such as is suitable to their glorified state: a body peculiar to the individual, substantially the same as the body sown.
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