When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man ((1 Corinthians 15:37-49).
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).
We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
The transformation from the old to the new humanity has already begun now. When we receive the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, then the old former life has passed away and we now have become a new creation in Jesus Christ, even though outwardly we still look the same as other humans in the flesh. Our new life is hidden with Christ in God, (i.e. it is veiled within mortal human flesh), but the transformation is indeed in progress.
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God (Romans 8:19-21).
Those who may still believe in the completely unscientific, untenable theory of evolution of different species, are forced to acknowledge that although a caterpillar and a butterfly appear to be two completely different species, one crawling and the other flying, the caterpillar did not evolve into a butterfly through a lengthy evolutionary process. On the contrary, it metamorphosed through an extremely complex, but very short transformation process. If caterpillars and butterflies, (or tadpoles and frogs), could communicate and enquire as to their origins in the manner that humans do, they would not be surprised at the vast differences between the pre-metamorphosis and post-metamorphosis appearances and characteristics. This metamorphosis is observable in God’s creation. However, the metamorphosis of the human species remains veiled and hidden from a scientifically observable evaluation also because it is still very much in progress.
In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time —God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen (1 Timothy 6:13-16).
We, the human species, unlike any other created species, have been created in God’s image. However, from out of the old humanity in the flesh, God is recreating man, so that through faith in Jesus, we become a new creation and a new humanity.
The first man, Adam, (who is also referred to as the “son of God”), was perfectly created in God’s image, but his disobedience brought sin and death. However, even death was a part of God’s original purpose in Jesus Christ, through which he would create the new humanity. Adam and Eve were warned that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would certainly die. However, it was revealed to the apostle John, that Jesus is the Lamb of God who was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).
Adam and Eve indeed became like God, knowing good and evil, when they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God, in his providence knew would happen. In becoming like God, knowing good and evil, they would also become like him by sharing in his death as God’s way of dealing with evil. They were destined to also experience death just like the One who was slain from the foundation of the world.
We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life (Romans 6:2-4).
Through our faithfulness and baptism into Jesus, we too participate in his death. (Figuratively like the caterpillar ceases to be a worm when it spins its cocoon.) If we persevere in faithfulness, we will emerge from this life into the full glory and image of God. God’s glory was veiled in Jesus Christ by the outward appearance of his flesh, but he has been unveiled to those who believe in him. If we do not submit to God’s purpose through which he is creating the one new humanity – and if we are not baptised into Christ’s death and filled with the Holy Spirit, then we would die in our sins, having forfeited the glorious eternal life in the Spirit. Figuratively, this would be like a caterpillar that dies prematurely as a caterpillar before being transformed into a butterfly.
Jesus said: “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:23-24).
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:10-11).
If we have been created in God’s image, how did that image become veiled, obscured or perhaps even distorted? If we were created in God’s image – and God is immortal and lives in unapproachable light whom no one has or can see – why is there such confusion and uncertainty as to the origins our being?
The Mystery of God is Great
Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great [a more literal translation says, “The Mystery of God is Great”.]: He (i.e. God) appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory (1 Timothy 3:14-16).
Humanity is generally afraid of death and of the great unknown that awaits their spirits (or souls). Some would prefer to console themselves by believing that when they die, they simply cease to exist. Millions of others believe that they will be reincarnated.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Jesus assured us that we have no need to fear death if we trust in him and neither do we, therefore, need to fear the one who may kill our bodies. Death is not the end of human life – it is the process through which, (if we trust in Christ), we finally shed the old former life which weighs us down, so as to enjoy the new life in the spiritual, immortal body which will be free from all pain and suffering. However, pain and suffering in this present life are the essential, God ordained, creative influences through which the old humanity is already in the transformation process. We ought to, therefore, even contrary to our fears, embrace suffering as our participation with our Creator who, in his appearance among us as a fellow-human being in the flesh, suffered like one of us and was faithfully obedient to God even to the point of death.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
At present we participate in the transformation process, not by sight and observation with our present eyes, but in faith by responding to the life-imparting Word of God.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:1-10).
Eventually we shall see Jesus as he really is in his heavenly glory – and the transformation process will draw to a close and be completed when we shall finally be like him in his glory and immortality. But we are called to participate, through faith, in the transformation process now, by losing, or leaving behind, our former lives in the world, so as to have Jesus Christ, the true author of life, formed within us. Although the transformation is evident to the world in many respects, (through which they should see evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives), the ultimate glory of the new humanity is still quite hidden, or veiled from the world. The treasure of eternal life is in vulnerable jars of clay and apparent mortality.
By outward appearance, the world sees us as still being quite like the old humanity of which we were once a part, but God is at work within us as he creates the one new humanity according to his eternal purpose in Jesus Christ.
The usual, well-known theory of evolution is really an unscientific theory which is opposed to the knowledge of God. However, there is an evolution of humanity which is presently taking place. The first man, Adam, was created in God’s image and subsequent humans bare the image and likeness of Adam, who, ironically, through disobedience, became like God, knowing good and evil which resulted in death.
But, even having become like God in this manner, i.e. by gaining the knowledge of good and evil, Adam also became like God in the fact that he was then destined to die. It says that Jesus was like a lamb sacrificed before the creation of the world. God knows good and evil – and purposed from the very beginning, (i.e. not as an afterthought plan B), to set creation free from evil through death.
We become like God – in that we too, are now required to participate in the suffering and death of Jesus – as the transformation process, so that we may also become like him in his resurrection.
If we were merely spared from suffering and death, by trying to preserve our lives in this flesh – and by an alternative purpose of God through which his mercy spared us from any suffering or death, we would not really be fully transformed to become like God possessing eternal life. We would surely die in our sins in any case due to the knowledge of good and evil and our undiscerning naivety and curiosity.
Only through Genuine Faith and Spiritual Wisdom, May We Glory in Our Suffering and Remain Faithful even to the Point of Death
Jesus said: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:28-33).
And Jesus said: “These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death” (Revelation 2:8-11).
Our fear of physical death is only to encourage us to seek God and put our very lives into Jesus’ hands – so that even through death, we may be raised to new life by the power of the Holy Spirit. However, the present (first) death of this physical body, also serves as a very stern warning of the second death, which is the eternal condemnation that awaits those who reject the knowledge of God as revealed in Jesus the Messiah.
The creation has been deliberately subjected to frustration which includes trials and sufferings, so that people may seek God while he may still be found. We believe that the quest of humanity is to continually progress and develop in science and technological advancement to eventually overcome these frustrations and finally and hopefully create the perfect world.
However, for the present humanity, such an ideal will never be attained. For it is not in bringing about a perfect world that humanity will ever be perfected, no matter how noble and ingenious the quest may be. The answer is not in a new world order, but in God’s new creation of the new humanity out of the old. The evolution from the old humanity, which bore the image of Adam, to the new humanity which will be like Jesus, the spiritual man from heaven, in his full heavenly glory and majesty, involves suffering and death – but who delights in suffering and death? Only those who see, (perceive by faith), the life, suffering and death of Jesus Christ who first died for us, not so that we may not need to die physically, but to remove our fear of death.
We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:1-5).
Suffering seems meaningless, unnecessary and to be avoided at all costs to the old humanity – but it is the challenge of the New Humanity Project. Trials and sufferings are intended to teach and form character in such a way that the chosen, children of God, the one new humanity, may learn to glory in suffering as a participation of faith in Jesus our King and Saviour.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified (Romans 8:28-30).
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:10-11).
Although death and suffering are indeed part of the evolutionary process for the transformation of the old, mortal humanity towards the immortal, new humanity, we participate in suffering and death through faith in Jesus – which is, or ought to be more real than actual physical life or death in the body of flesh.
The very real world in our minds formed by genuine faith, (or otherwise polluted and confused by the lies of the deceiver), is not a virtual, phantom reality, it is the very essence through which we really become a part of the new humanity. Those who do not believe in Jesus and who try to find life in this mortal body of flesh, will instead, forfeit eternal life. Those who genuinely embrace this new humanity project of God, will find eternal life now so that they will not essentially have to physically die before it becomes a reality.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
Jesus turned water wine, thereby “fast-tracking” the usual, more natural evolutionary process through which the seed of the grape falls to the ground, then grows into a vine by absorbing sunlight and water and nutrients from the ground, to then producing the fruit of the vine, which is then crushed and subjected to a process of fermentation.
Those of us who have embraced the true faith of this new humanity – and who are still living in the tent of this mortal body of flesh and blood when Jesus appears from heaven, will experience the final goal of the transformation process in a fast-tracking manner in the twinkling of an eye.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:49-54).
The new humanity project does not happen one day in-the by-and-by when humans eventually die, it begins when we obediently and faithfully respond to the gospel and receive the Holy Spirit who creates in us the new life.
The new humanity project is not our project and our purpose, it is the work of God with a demonstration of his mighty creating power. We cannot contribute to this work other than submitting to him and by being led by his Spirit. But as Paul taught, (see quotation below), we are called to become co-workers in God’s service by sowing the words of Christ which impart eternal life.
We either become co-workers with God, or by default, we work for the deceiver who has taken humanity captive through his lies and deception. If we are not discerning, we can hinder this great work of creation by loving this present world and this present life of the flesh, figuratively, like the life of a worm, more than that of the more glorious, eternal life yet to be unveiled in the faithful disciples of Christ, which is the new humanity.
It is not in finding our lives and purpose in the flesh that we will attain eternal life. On the contrary, it is through losing our lives for the sake of Christ, that we will find eternal life which is hidden with Christ in God. Many people search in vain to find the meaning and purpose of life in this mortal flesh which is subject to death.
Jesus said, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39).
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light (1 Corinthians 3:5-13)..
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:3-6).
Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being. The Word is God and was with God from the very beginning, having his being in the unapproachable and glorious light, but the Word became flesh when he left that glory and appeared among his own creation in the very same form and appearance as a man as they are. Jesus became the son of man when he became flesh.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:8-11).