Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cemetery of Lost Souls

These headstones -- long separated from the graves they once marked -- mark imaginary graves in the Cemetery of Lost Souls in the courtyard of the El Dorado County Historical Museum. They remind us of the frailties of life. And they remind us that men die and go to the grave.

Someone asked the apostle Paul, "How are the dead raised up?" (1 Corinthians 15:35a). Perhaps they were thinking of what can happen to the body before death. Some, after battling cancer for months, leave a body that's ravished by disease. Others are be burned with fire, dismembered in accidents or drowned and lost at sea. And they knew the body decayed in the grave.

These thoughts may have led them to ask, "And with what body do they come?" (1 Corinthians 15:35b). The Corinthians were questioning the reality of the resurrection of the dead. It seems they wandered how God would put a body back together after death had destroyed thier earthly bodies.

What kind of body will a man have in the resurrection? The answer is simple, according to Paul. He said, "But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body" (1 Corinthians 15:38).

Just as God gave each creature a body that's fitted for their habitation on earth, He is able to fit us with a body suited for a heavenly existence. The simplest answer to their question is this: we will have the same kind of body that Jesus had at His resurrection, as Paul said elsewhere:
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself" (Philipians 3:20-21).
He concludes our earthly body, which is sown in corruption (that is to say, the body is subject to decay), "cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50).

No matter the condition of our body upon our death, God will raise those who believe in the death, burial and resurrection of our savor, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-5). God does not need our earthly body to raise us as He is able to give us heavenly bodies the resurrection.

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