1 Corinthians 15:39
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
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(39) All flesh is not the same flesh.—Better, There is no flesh the same flesh. All organisms have the same basis; there is a “structural unit” in all animal life; but God gives this a vast variety of form in man, in beast, in fish. The same divine prescience which gives to all flesh here the form suited to its condition and surroundings can give hereafter another form to it suitable to the new conditions and surroundings in which it will then be placed. If we had only seen flesh in the form of an animal, and were told that “flesh” could live in the sea, we might have equally argued, “How, with what body?” but seeing as we do that there is a variety of bodies, we feel no such difficulty.

1 Corinthians 15:39-41. All flesh, &c. — As if he had said, There is an immense variety in the works of God, even in those which fall under the inspection of our senses, feeble and limited as they are, while we dwell in flesh and blood. For we see even earthy bodies differ from earthy, and heavenly bodies from heavenly. What wonder then if heavenly bodies differ from earthy? or the bodies which rise from those that lie in the grave? “As in the preceding verse,” says the author last quoted, “the apostle directs us to consider the greatness of the power of God, displayed in the production of that endless variety of vegetable substances for food to man and beast, with which we are surrounded; so in this verse he directs our attention to the same power of God displayed in that wonderful diversity of animal substances, which it hath formed into different sorts of organized bodies, each with members properly adapted to the instincts of its inhabitant, and to the manner of life for which it is designed;” men, beasts, fishes, fowls. There are also celestial bodies, &c. — As if he had said, The greatness of his power God hath likewise showed, in the formation of other bodies which are inanimate, both celestial, as the sun, moon, and stars, and terrestrial, such as fossils and minerals. But the glory of the celestial is one, &c. — Different indeed is the glory of the one from that of the other, and the brightest lustre which the terrestrial can have, falls very short of that of the celestial. There is one glory of the sun, &c. — Yea, and the heavenly bodies themselves differ from each other. From the whole of these principles, the apostle draws this conclusion; — that since God’s power has been so “gloriously manifested in the greatness and variety of the material substances which he has already formed, and in the diversity of their configuration, that person must be a fool indeed, (1 Corinthians 15:36,) who takes upon him to affirm that God cannot raise up bodies for his saints at the last day, in form and use similar to their present bodies, and perfectly adapted to the faculties of their minds, and to the new world in which they are to live.” This last observation is peculiarly worthy the reader’s attention. Our new bodies, what qualities soever they may possess, will doubtless be perfectly adapted to the faculties of our minds, and to the new world in which we shall be placed: as our present bodies are adapted to the faculties we now possess, and to the world in which we now live; and as we see the bodies of all creatures are suited to the instincts God hath given them, and to the element or place in which they have their abode, whether fish in the water, fowls in the air, or cattle and creeping things on or within the dry land. Accordingly, when any living creature is destined to change the place of its abode, it receives a new body, adapted to its new situation: as, for example, the silk-worm, when it is no longer to be confined to the leaves of the mulberry-tree, but to have the freedom and pleasure of roaming at large in the spacious regions of the air, is furnished with a new and winged body, adapted to its new state and element. And here arises a question: Is it not probable that at least one important reason why we are to receive new bodies, and are not always to remain disimbodied spirits, (as we shall be in the intermediate state between death and judgment,) is, because we are destined to remove into a new world, far more perfect and glorious than this fallen and disordered one in which we now are? — a world in which there will be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him, and shall see his face. In this new world, God, who never sinks, but always rises to higher and higher perfection in his works, will certainly make a far more glorious display of his wisdom, power, and goodness, and other attributes, than he has done in this present world; and it is therefore necessary that we should have bodies furnished with senses and other members adapted to that world, and enabling us to hold connection and intercourse with it, and to apprehend, enjoy, and be instructed in the further knowledge of our glorious Creator, by the excellences of it, so superior to any we had witnessed in this present earth, the abode of our infancy and childhood. But suffice it at present to have given a hint of this.

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.All flesh is not the same flesh - This verse and the following are designed to answer the question 1 Corinthians 15:35, "with what bodies do they come?" And the argument here is, that there are many kinds of bodies; that all are not alike; that while they are bodies, yet they partake of different qualities, forms, and properties; and that, therefore, it is not absurd to suppose that God may transform the human body into a different form, and cause it to be raised up with somewhat different properties in the future world. Why, the argument is, why should it be regarded as impossible? Why is it to be held that the human body may not undergo a transformation, or that it will be absurd to suppose that it may be different in some respects from what it is now? Is it not a matter of fact that there is a great variety of bodies even on the earth? The word flesh here is used to denote body, as it often Isaiah 1 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 1:22, Philippians 1:24; Colossians 2:5; 1 Peter 4:6.

The idea here is, that although all the bodies of animals may be composed essentially of the same elements, yet God has produced a wonderful variety in their organization, strength, beauty, color, and places of abode, as the air, earth, and water. It is not necessary, therefore, to suppose that the body that shall be raised shall be precisely like that which we have here. It is certainly possible that there may be as great a difference between that and our present body, as between the most perfect form of the human frame here and the lowest repthe. It would still be a body, and there would be no absurdity in the transformation. The body of the worm; the chrysalis, and the butterfly is the same. It is the same animal still. Yet how different the gaudy and frivilous butterfly from the creeping and offensive caterpillar! So there may be a similar change in the body of the believer, and yet be still the same. Of a sceptic on this subject we would ask, whether, if there had been a revelation of the changes which a caterpillar might undergo before it became a butterfly - a new species of existence adapted to a new element, requiring new food, and associated with new and other beings - if he had never seen such a transformation, would it not be attended with all the difficulty which now encompasses the doctrine of the resurrection? The sceptic would no more have believed it on the authority of revelation than he will believe the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. And no infidel can prove that the one is attended with any more difficulty or absurdity than the other.

39-41. Illustrations of the suitability of bodies, however various, to their species: the flesh of the several species of animals; bodies celestial and terrestrial; the various kinds of light in the sun, moon, and stars, respectively.

flesh—animal organism [De Wette]. He implies by the word that our resurrection bodies shall be in some sense really flesh, not mere phantoms of air [Estius]. So some of the oldest creeds expressed it, "I believe in the resurrection of the flesh." Compare as to Jesus' own resurrection body, Lu 24:39; Joh 20:27; to which ours shall be made like, and therefore shall be flesh, but not of animal organism (Php 3:21) and liable to corruption. But 1Co 15:50 below implies, it is not "flesh and blood" in the animal sense we now understand them; for these "shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

not the same—not flesh of the same nature and excellency. As the kinds of flesh, however widely differing from one another, do not cease to be flesh, so the kinds of bodies, however differing from one another, are still bodies. All this is to illustrate the difference of the new celestial body from its terrestrial seed, while retaining a substantial identity.


another of fishes … another of birds—Most of the oldest manuscripts read thus, "another FLESH of birds … another of fishes": the order of nature.

Flesh is a kind of body, but it is of various degrees of dignity and excellency, in respect of the qualities of it: the flesh of men is of a differing excellency from the flesh of beasts; and there is a difference in natural qualities between the corporeal substances of beasts, and of fishes, and birds; yet they are all bodies, they are all flesh; our distinction between flesh and fish, is but according to our idiom or propriety of speaking; we read of the flesh of fish, Leviticus 11:10,11.

All flesh is not the same flesh,.... Or "equal", as the Syriac version renders it; though all flesh is flesh, as to the nature and substance of it; agrees in its original, being by generation; and is supported by food, and is alike frail and mortal; all flesh is grass, rises out of it, or is maintained by it, or withers like that, yet not of equal worth, value, and excellency: "but" there is "one" kind "of flesh of men"; which is superior to, and more excellent than any other; being animated by a rational soul, and is set in the first place; so we read of , "the flesh of man", for mankind, Job 12:10 see Exodus 30:32.

Another flesh of beasts; as sheep and oxen, and other beasts of the field;

another of fishes: which may be observed against the Papists, who distinguish between flesh and fish, as if there was no flesh of fishes; and on their fast days prohibit flesh, but allow the eating of fish; thus flesh is attributed to fishes, as here, in Leviticus 11:11 upon which text Aben Ezra observes, lo, fish is called flesh; but as our doctors say, according to the custom of those times; and so it is by the Jews, who say (t),

"all flesh is forbidden to boil in milk, , "except the flesh of fishes", and locusts; and it is forbidden to set it on a table along with cheese, except "the flesh of fishes", and locusts:''

and another of birds; the fowls of the air. This is another similitude, illustrating the resurrection of the dead; and is not designed to point out the difference between the raised bodies of the righteous, and the wicked; as if the former were signified by the flesh of men, and the other by the flesh of beasts, fishes, and birds; nor among the wicked themselves, with whom there will be degrees of punishment; nor among the saints, as if the flesh of one should differ from that of another. The intent of this simile is only to show, that the resurrection of the dead will be in real flesh, in their own flesh, in the selfsame flesh, as to substance, with which they were clothed when on earth; but that it will, as to its qualities, be different from it, as one sort of flesh is now from another; and that if God can, as he does, make different sorts of flesh, and yet all for kind are flesh, there is no difficulty in conceiving, that God is able to raise the dead in their own flesh, and yet different from what it now is; being free from all weakness, frailty, corruption, and mortality.

(t) Misn. Cholin, c. 8. sect. 1.

All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
1 Corinthians 15:39-41. In order to make it conceivable that the same body need not come forth again, further reference is now made to the manifold diversity of organic forms in nature; so also faith in the resurrection cannot be bound up with the assumption of the sameness of the present and the future bodily organism. Very diverse are, namely: (1) the kinds of animal flesh (1 Corinthians 15:39); (2) the heavenly and earthly bodies (1 Corinthians 15:40); and (3) the lustre of the sun, of the moon, and of the stars (1 Corinthians 15:41).

σὰρξ κτηνῶν] flesh of cattle, i.e. not quadrupedum generally (so de Wette and Osiander, following older interpreters), but also not simply jumentorum (van Hengel), but pecorum (Vulgate), which are kept for household use and for burden-bearing; Plato, Crit. p. 109 B; Herod. ii. 41; Xen. Anab. iii. 1. 19, 1 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 4:17; Luke 10:34; Acts 23:24.

σώματα ἐπουράνια] heavenly bodies, i.e. bodies to be found in heaven. Comp. on John 3:12; Php 2:10. The bodies of the angels are meant by this (Matthew 22:30; Luke 20:36; Phil. l.c.). So, too, de Wette.[73] Were we to understand by these words, as is usually done (so, among others, Hofmann; Hahn, Theol. d. N. Test. I. p. 265; Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 66; Philippi, Glaubensl. II. p. 292 f.), the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and stars), we should be attributing to the apostle either our modern use of language, or the non-biblical mode of regarding the stars as living beings (see Galen, de usu part. 17 in Wetstein[74]), which is not to be proved even from Job 38:7. The same holds in opposition to Billroth, who understands the words as meaning heavenly organisms generally and indefinitely, from which sun, moon, and stars are then named by way of example. Sun, moon, and stars are not comprehended at all under σώματα ἐπουρ., and are first adduced in 1 Corinthians 15:41 as a third analogue, and that simply in reference to their manifold δόξα. The whole connection requires that ΣΏΜΑΤΑ should be bodies as actual organs of life, not inorganic things and materials; as, for instance, stones (Lucian, vitt. auct. 25), water (Stob. fl. app. ii. 3), and material things generally (Plato, Polit. p. 288 D) are designated in Greek writers—not, however, in the New Testament—by σῶμα. Had Paul meant heavenly bodies in the modern sense, he would in that case, by describing them as bodies, have committed a μετάβασις εἰς ἄλλο γένος; whereas, on the contrary, the bodies of the angels, especially when we consider the similarity of those who are raised up to the angels, which was taught by Jesus Himself, were essentially included as relevant to the subject in the list of the diversities of bodily organization here enumerated (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection). He then, 1 Corinthians 15:41, brings forward in addition the heavenly bodies only in respect of the diversity—not of their bodies, but—of the lustre of their light.

σώματα ἐπίγεια] bodies to be found on earth, that is, the bodies of men and beasts.

Both kinds of bodies, the heavenly and earthly, are of different sorts of peculiar glory,—the former encompassed with a heavenly radiancy (Matthew 28:3; Acts 12:7, al.), the latter manifesting strength, grace, beauty, skilful construction, and the like in their outward appearance. Notice that in 1 Corinthians 15:40 ἑτέρα is used, because the subjects are of specifically different kinds and qualities. It is otherwise in 1 Corinthians 15:41, comp. 1 Corinthians 15:39.—1 Corinthians 15:41. Sun-lustre is one thing, and moon-lustre another, and lustre of stars another (i.e. another than solar and lunar lustre). Paul uses, however, ἀστέρων, not ἈΣΤΈΡΟς, because the stars too among themselves have not one and the same lustre; hence he adds by way of explanation: for star differs from star in lustre. Διαφέρει is thus simply differt (Vulgate), not excellit (Matthew 6:26; Matthew 10:31; Matthew 12:12), which the context does not suggest. Regarding ἐν with ΔΙΑΦΈΡΕΙ, comp. Plato, Pol. viii. p. 568 A; Dem. 291, 17; Bremi, ad Isocr. I. p. 169. The accusative or dative of more precise definition is more usual (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 394). The design of 1 Corinthians 15:4 is not to allude to the different degrees of glory of the bodies of the saints (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theodoret, Calovius, Estius, al.), which is neither indicated in what precedes nor adverted to in the application 1 Corinthians 15:42 ff., and hence has no foundation in the context; but Calvin rightly remarks: “Non disputat, qualis futura sit conditionis differentia inter sanctos post resurrectionem, sed quid nunc different corpora nostra ab iis, quae olim recipiemus … ac si diceret: nihil in resurrectione futurum doceo, quod non subjectum sit jam omnium oculis.” Comp. also Krauss.

Generally, let us beware of forcing upon the individual points in 1 Corinthians 15:39-41 different individual references also,[75] contrary to the application which the apostle himself makes in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.

[73] Comp. also Kurtz, Bibel u. Astron. p. 157; Holsten, z. Ev. d. Paul. u. Petr. p.72f.

[74] Chrysostom and Theophylact (comp. also Theodoret) go entirely astray, supposing that σώμ. ἐπουρ. denotes the pious, and σώμ. ἐπίγεια the godless, in spite of the δόξα which is attributed to both.

[75] Tertullian, de resurr. 52, may serve as a warning; he says on ver. 39: “Alia caro hominis, i.e. servi Dei; alia jumenti, i.e. ethnici; alia volucrum, i.e. martyrum; alia piscium, i.e. quibus aqua baptismatis sufficit.” On ver. 41, again: “alia solis gloria, i.e. Christi; alia lunae, i.e. ecclesiae; et alia stellarum, i.e. seminis Abrahae.”

1 Corinthians 15:39. The rest of the § goes to sustain 1 Corinthians 15:38 b, showing the inexhaustible variety of organic forms in the Divine economy of nature and the fitness of each for the life it clothes. This is manifest, to begin with, in the varied types of animal life: οὐ πᾶσα σὰρξ ἡ αὐτὴ σάρξ, “All flesh is not the same flesh”—in the zoological realm there is no uniformity, but endless differentiation. (Ed[2493] makes πᾶσα σὰρξ predicate—“the same flesh is not all flesh,” i.e., physical assimilation means differentiation—getting out of the sentence a physiological idea obscure in itself and not very relevant to the context). Instead of men, cattle, birds, fishes, with their heterogeneous natures, being lodged in the same kind of corporeity, their frame and organs vary with their inner constitution and needs. If God can find a body for beast and fish, in the lower range, no less than for man, why not, in the higher range, for man immortal no less than for man mortal?—κτῆνος (from κτάομαι), denoting cattle as beasts of purchase in the first instance, is applied to four-footed beasts at large: cf. Genesis 1:25 ff; Genesis 2:20.

[2493] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

39. All flesh is not the same flesh] The same principle is now applied to animate which has been applied to inanimate nature. There are different varieties and forms of bodily life (σάρξ). The Apostle in this and the two following verses lays down the doctrine (see note on 1 Corinthians 15:42) that the life hereafter will depend in every way upon the life here; that the body raised will correspond to the body sown; that the character impressed upon it during this life will remain with it throughout eternity. And this not merely in the broad general distinction between good and bad (see Galatians 6:7-8) but in the minuter shades of individual character. Recent editors, following the best MSS. and versions, place fishes in their proper place, last in the text, as in zoological order.

1 Corinthians 15:39. Οὐ πᾶσα, all not) This is a universal negative. Every kind of flesh is different from the others. Paul shows, that terrestrial bodies differ from terrestrial, and celestial from celestial, 1 Corinthians 15:41 : but in such a way as to make each of these refer to the further illustration of the difference of the body from its seed, and of celestial bodies from those that are terrestrial; for in the apodosis he lays down nothing respecting the degrees of glory, but leaves it as it were in an enigma to be considered by wise men, while he accounts it sufficient to have openly asserted the glory of the resurrection bodies.—ἄλλη ἀνθρώπων, one kind of flesh of men) He elegantly omits the word flesh, when he places the flesh of brutes in opposition to that of man. κτήνη here is applied to all quadrupeds; for fishes and birds are opposed to them.—ἰχθύων, of fishes) Therefore those, who eat fishes, eat flesh, and that too the more sumptuously, as it is a delicate variety.

Verse 39. - All flesh is not the same flesh. In other words, animal organisms differ from each other, just as do the vegetable. Another... of beasts. "The germinal power of the plant transmutes the fixed air and the elementary base of water into grass or leaves, and on these the organic principle in the ox or the elephant exercises an alchemy still more stupendous. As the unseen agency weaves its magic eddies, the foliage becomes indifferently the bone and its marrow, the pulpy brain and the solid ivory. That which you see is blood, is flesh, is itself the work, or shall I say the translucence of the invisible energy which soon surrenders or abandons them to inferior powers (for there is no pause nor chasm in the activities of nature) which repeat a similar metamorphosis according to their kind: these are not fancies, conjectures, or even hypotheses, but facts" (Coleridge, 'Aids to Reflection '). 1 Corinthians 15:39All flesh is not the same flesh

Still arguing that it is conceivable that the resurrection-body should be organized differently from the earthly body, and in a way which cannot be inferred from the shape of the earthly body. There is a great variety of organization among bodies which we know: it may fairly be inferred that there may be a new and different organization in those which we do not know. Flesh is the body of the earthly, living being, including the bodily form. See on Romans 7:5, sec. 3.

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