What kind of bodies will they have?
(Islay Burns, 1888)
"But someone may ask: How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?"
Many other questions, of deepest interest to the thoughtful mind, we might ask — but cannot answer.
What precisely shall be the new conditions, capacities, abilities of our immortal body?
In what respect shall it be the same — and in what respect unlike, our present earthly state?
What new avenues of knowledge shall we possess?
What new organs of perception?
What new spheres of activity?
What new springs of enjoyment?
Shall there be music, poetry, art, science, deepening research, and advancing knowledge of the works and ways of God in Heaven — even as here on earth?
Where shall the final dwelling-place of the redeemed be? Shall they be confined, as now, to one exclusive spot — to one single orb in the immensity of God's universe? Or shall they rather roam at large through all its wide domains — and tread freely and unrestrained, through all the streets of the fathomless city of God?
Shall we still, then as now — only scan from afar, the course of the distant planetary orbs? Or shall we be permitted to visit them, and know all about them, and be at home in them — as in so many chambers of the Father's one majestic house?
In what form or stage of their development shall the bodies of the blessed arise — as in youth, or in manhood, or in ripe old age?
Shall the child of this world — be still a child in Heaven; or shall the child expand all at once in that wondrous transfiguration moment, into the fullness of its stature and perfection of its powers? Shall the old man be still an old man forever; or shall he be brought back to the freshness and strength of his manly prime? Shall we, in short, appear then — just as we were when death took us — and not rather as we were or might have been, at our best?
Shall the great Architect of Heaven, create the true and perfect ideal of the life of His saints — or the restoration only, though in a glorified state, of their actual form here below?
We cannot tell the answer to any of these inquiries. "Now we are children of God; and what we will be, has not yet been made known!" 1 John 3:2.
It is enough, that God knows — and that He plans and does all things well.
It is enough, that however high our conceptions of the unseen world, and however sublime our aspirations in regard to it — it will still be something far higher and grander than we could ever dream!
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard, and
no mind has imagined —
what God has prepared for those who love Him!"
1 Corinthians 2:9
It is enough, that there shall be a new Heaven, and a new earth, and that we shall be made perfectly fit to possess and to enjoy it!
And above all, it is enough that Christ Himself shall be there, and that we shall be with Him, and "that we will be like Him — for we will see Him as He really is!"
"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!"
1 Corinthians 15:42-44
Here, then, we must pause. With this glimpse of the glory to be revealed — grand, but incomplete — we must rest satisfied!