Eternal Perspectives

Because we each have a physical body, we already have the single best reference point for envisioning a new body. It’s like the new upgrade of my word processing software. When I heard there was an upgrade available, I didn’t say, “I have no idea what it will be like.” I knew that for the most part it would be like the old program, only better. Sure, it has some new features that I didn’t expect, and I’m glad for them. But I certainly recognize it as the same program I’ve used for a decade.

Likewise, when we receive our resurrected bodies, we’ll no doubt have some welcome surprises—maybe even some new features (though no glitches or programming errors)—but we’ll certainly recognize our new bodies as being ours. God has given us working models to guide our imagination about what our new bodies will be like on the New Earth.

~ Randy Alcon, [Heaven]

Eternal Perspectives

Possessing glorified bodies will be surpassingly wonderful when it happens, but it has not happened yet; and until it happens our departed Christian loved ones do not possess their promised resurrection-bodies of deathless beauty.

. . . There are those who teach that Christian believers are clad in their resurrection bodies immediately after death. . . . We must not confuse the present intermediate state of our departed Christian loved ones with their yet-future ultimate state after the second coming of Christ: (1) They have not yet gone to the city of pearly gates; (2) they have not yet received their final reward for service; and (3) they are not yet clothed with their resurrection bodies.

~ J. Sidlow Baxter, [The Other Side of Death]

Eternal Perspectives

I said of this poor body, “You have not yet been newly created. The venom of the old serpent still taints you. But you shall yet be delivered. You shall rise again if you die and are buried, or you shall be changed if the Lord should suddenly come today. You, poor body, which drags me down to the dust in pain and sorrow, even you shall rise and be remade in the redemption of the body. For the new creation has begun in me, with God’s down payment of his Spirit.”

Oh beloved, can’t you rejoice in this? I encourage you to do so. Rejoice in what God is doing in this new creation! Let your whole spirit be glad! Leap down, you waterfalls of joy! Overflow with gladness! Let loose the torrents of praise!

~ Charles Spurgeon, “God Rejoicing in the New Creation,” [Sermon 2211]

Eternal Perspectives

Pleasure has become almost a dirty word amongst some Christians today, probably because pleasure is so often self-indulgent and sensual in our society. In heaven there is fullness of joy and (physical) pleasures forever more. These pleasures must include the physical and material, for two of the greatest rewards in heaven will be a new and glorious physical body, and immortality. Why would God give us physical bodies forever if there were not material rewards to enjoy forever with all of our physical senses?

~ Larry Dick, [A Taste of Heaven]

Eternal Perspectives

[Paul] speaks of two sorts of body, the present one and the future one. He uses two key adjectives to describe these two bodies. Unfortunately, many translations get him radically wrong at this point, leading to the widespread supposition that for Paul the new body would be a spiritual body in the sense of a nonmaterial body, a body that in Jesus’s case wouldn’t have left an empty tomb behind it. It can be demonstrated in great detail, philologically and exegetically, that this is precisely not what Paul meant. The contrast he is making is not between what we would mean by a present physical body and what we would mean by a future spiritual one, but between a present body animated by the normal human soul and a future body animated by God’s spirit.

And the point about the future body is that it will be incorruptible. The present flesh and blood is corruptible, doomed to decay and die. That’s why Paul says, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” The new body will be incorruptible. The entire chapter [1 Corinthians 15], one of Paul’s longest sustained discussions and the vital climax of the whole letter, is about new creation, about the creator God remaking the creation, not abandoning it as Platonists of all sorts, including Gnostics, would have wanted.

~ N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope

Eternal Perspectives

The wife of old John Ryland asked: “Do you think,” she said, “you will know me in heaven?” “Why,” said he, “I know you here; and do you think I shall be a bigger fool in heaven than I am on earth?” The question is beyond dispute. We shall live in heaven with bodies and that decides the matter. We shall know each other in heaven: you may take that for a positive fact, and not mere fancy.

But now a word of warning. . . . If your bodies are to dwell in heaven, I beseech you take care of them. I do not mean to take care of what you eat and drink, and wherewithal you shall be clothed; but I mean, take care that you do not let your bodies be polluted by sin. If this throat is to warble forever with songs of glory, let not words of lust defile it; if these eyes are to see the King in his beauty, ever let this be your prayer:

Turn off my eyes from beholding vanities;” if these hands are to hold a palm-branch, O, let them never take a bribe, let them never seek after evil; if these feet are to walk the golden streets, let them not be swift after mischief; if this tongue is forever to talk of all he said and did, ah! let it not utter light and frothy things; and if this heart is to pulsate forever with bliss, I beseech you give it not unto strangers, neither let it wander after evil. If this body is to live forever, what care we ought to take of it; for our bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost, and they are members of the Lord Jesus.

Charles Spurgeon, “The Resurrection of the Dead,” [Sermons 66–67]

Eternal Perspectives

Why does God go to all the trouble to dirty his hands, as it were, with our decaying, sin-stained flesh, in order to reestablish it as a resurrection body and clothe it with immortality? . . . Because his Son paid the price of death so that the Father’s purpose for the material universe would be fulfilled, namely, that he would be glorified in it, including in our bodies forever and ever.
~ John Piper, [“What Happens When You Die?”]

Resurrected bodies are not intended just to float in space, or to flit from cloud to cloud. They call for a new earth on which to live and to work, glorifying God. The doctrine of the resurrection of the body, in fact, makes no sense whatever apart from the doctrine of the new earth.
~ Anthony Hoekema, [“Heaven: Not Just an Eternal Day Off”]