Will You Be Recognizable After the Resurrection?

This week we will be looking at issues surrounding the final state. What will life be like in the end, permanently, eternally? When discussing this topic there are two questions that must be answered:

1) What will be the final state of the body?
2) What will be the final place of existence?

Let’s first talk about the body. For those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit the Bible gives a wonderful promise that one day they will receive a new glorified body (Romans 8:18-25). Even if a person dies and undergoes decay for many years, to the point that all is left is a pile of dust, they will not be exempt from resurrection and glorification. Even if a body is totally destroyed it can be and will be resurrected. At this point the question usually becomes, what will those bodies be like and will we be recognizable?

The popular answer to this question is that we will have bodies much like we did in the prime of our life, between the ages of 25 and 30. Even yesterday at church someone said they heard a man on the radio, or the internet, I cannot remember which, provide this answer to his listeners/readers. I have heard this answer often given from the pulpit, penned in books, and yes, it is all over the internet and radio. My problem with this answer is that I was about 225 at 25. Now at 35 I am about 203 and feel much better. The problem is now I have some minor thickening of my heart. If I have a say in the matter I don’t want my body back, not now, not at 25, not at 20, and surely not when I was a teenager! Who wants eternal acne and that horrible voice break thing? If I could submit a request, I am for something much better than this body at any age. Fortunately, Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 that the resurrection will render us something much better than the current version of the body. Something much better is exactly what we are going to receive.

In 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 Paul calls body 2.0 a spiritual body and offers a list of comparisons between version 1.0 and 2.0. Version 2.0 sounds great, but the question remains. Will 2.0 people be able to recognize their old 1.0 friends? Notice vv. 37 and 38. Paul compares the resurrection to the sowing of a seed and the subsequent birth of a plant. I love what Wayne Grudem says about this (Systematic Theology, 834)[1]. There is a massive difference between a seed and the subsequent plant, but there is also continuity. There is nothing similar between an Oak and an acorn, but yet they are somehow strangely the same.

Though body 2.0 will be incredibly different than 1.0, it will still be “you.” Isaiah prophesied that at His crucifixion the condition of Jesus’ body would render Him unrecognizable (Isa. 53). Yet post resurrection those that knew Him recognized Him. On the isle of Patmos John saw Jesus again, the very glorified, very regal Jesus, and yet John knew exactly who Jesus was. At the transfiguration (Luke 9) the inner circle of apostles recognized Moses and Elijah, though they had never met. Just imagine, in eternity there will be no need for introductions and no chance of forgetting names! In Matthew 27:52 and 53 the Bible records an event that surrounded Jesus’ crucifixion. Many people who were buried were resurrected, went into Jerusalem and appeared to many. These were not partially decayed zombies but recognizable people.

Will you be recognizable after the resurrection? The answer is unequivocally, unquestionably, absolutely, “Yes!” Yet, if Jesus is not your Savior now, what does it matter? Those who have received eternal life in Jesus Christ and follow Him have incredible hope. Would you be saved today?

[1] Once again I must say, you need this book.


Unknown said…
I read this yesterday, have been thinking about it since then and I have a couple of questions. First of all, I don't want my 25-30 year old body either. I'm hoping for much better!!!
My first question - is it ok for Christians to choose to be cremated? And secondly, if one is cremated and ashes scattered, am I to understand, based on what you wrote, that that person's body will be resurrected into a new spiritual body?
Lastly, you mentioned that in my spirital body, I will be "me", but will my loved ones know me. For example, will my grandmother know me as her grand-daughter, will I know Chris as my husband, etc? Just something I've always wondered and have never gotten an answer.
I am loving the blogs! Thanks Brian!
Brian Branam said…
People have sent me a lot of great questions on this one. I will answer them on Thursday, Lord willing! Thanks Andi.
What Scriptural indication do we have that a baby--born or unborn, or a small child, goes to be with The LORD for eternity if it dies? If we are all descendants of Adam, then is not condemnation the "default" destiny for those who have not accepted Jesus as their Atonement? Corruption cannot enter Heaven.
--- Alden

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