Read 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. (NLT)
When it comes to the human body we can entertain one of three views. One view, famously put by a Christian in earlier times, is that it is like “a sack of dung and fit for worms”. And more moderately, the older pagan philosophers saw it as something like a sad prison cell which kept the beautiful soul in captivity.
Another view is that the body is something to be worshipped. Physical appearance is everything. And so the quest for beauty which can turn so ugly as many come to vainly fight the ageing process and vainly try to measure up to what they see as some idealised body shape.
A third view is summarised by Saint Francis, who described the human body as ‘Brother Ass’. No one hates a donkey; donkeys are remarkably useful. Then again, no one reveres a donkey; donkeys can be infuriatingly stubborn and lazy. Our bodies are not to be despised or idolised.
Paul reminds us that our earthly bodies are passing and not fit for heaven. But he also reminds us that we will have new bodies in heaven. Bodies don’t just disappear: they get transformed. Bodies matter, but they don’t matter most.