Index To All Six Sections
Part I ... "Heaven" v. The Promised Kingdom of God
Part II ... The Location and Nature of Heaven... The Promises and The Prophecies
Part III ... Jesus' Second Coming and The Resurrection of The Body
You Are Here Part IV ... What The Bible Says About The Resurrected Body
Part V ... A New Heaven and A New Earth
Part VI ... No More Sea?
Part VI ... The Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ, and Rewards in Heaven
It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 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 NASB)
To a greater or lesser extent the years we have on this planet can -and often are - plagued by an almost uncountable number of mishaps and tragedies. We have been rendered more susceptible to disease and an untimely death by improper nourishment, pollution and the presence of chemicals in our food and water supplies. Even if we eat right and stay relatively healthy, there are a myriad of factors well beyond our control. At one end of the spectrum are plagues, pandemics and wars that have killed millions, at the other end the single drunken driver that jumps the median on the freeway.
And should we be lucky enough to escape the more serious misfortunes and reverses that befall too many of our fellow humans, most of us (past the age of 50 anyway) are reminded of our advancing years on a daily basis... gray hair, baldness, wrinkles, hair in the ears, "age" spots, joint pain and stiffness, forgetfulness etc. We wish we had fewer aches and pains, more energy, more flexibility, fewer wrinkles, and did not have to resort to glasses and hearing aids. The list is endless. There is no question that our lives on earth would be far more fulfilling if our bodies stayed youthful, healthy, and energetic.
Sadly, not only does old age often lead to a diminished sense of identity and personal worth but, as we both physically and mentally decline, a sense of inevitability, of helplessness, if not hopelessness, grips us all when we confront death, be it our own or that of a loved one.. [ See The Answer to Death... The Message of The Bible]
In light of all of which the promise of a new body that will stay healthy and last forever should be something to turn cartwheels about.
So what does the Bible tell us?
The Bodies of Believers
It is true that the Bible does not go into all that much detail about the resurrection body which makes it impossible to describe with absolute certainty. However, based on what the Scriptures do say, we can make some reasonable assumptions.
Many believe that we will be raised with a different body than the one that was once buried. The 'natural' body was sown or buried in the grave, but we will fond ourselves with a spiritual body when we are resurrected. This belief is based on Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 in which he highlights four contrasts between our present body and future bodies: perishable v. imperishable (See Footnote I), dishonored v. glorious, weak v. powerful, and natural v. spiritual.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 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 (Gr. psuchikos) body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (NASB)
Natural v. Spiritual
When the apostle wrote "it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body" he could not have meant that we would be raised as a spirit because spirits do not have 'bodies' at all.
Psuchikos, the Greek word translated "natural" was used very sparingly in the New Testament but those occurrences can help us grasp how the authors used the word. (Note the KJV translates psuchikos into 'sensual 'in James and Jude)
But a natural (Gr. psuchikos) man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB)
These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded (Gr. psuchikos), devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 1:19 NASB)
This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural (Gr. psuchikos), demonic. (James 3:15 NASB)
The wisdom James spoke about is natural and earthly. In other words, it has its origin in our sensual (pleasing to the senses) rather than our intellectual and moral nature. This makes perfect sense in view of 1 Corinthians 2:14 that tells us that the things of God are not accepted by those who are earthly or worldly-minded. The natural body we are buried with is to one extent or another steered by worldly influences. In contrast a spiritual body is no longer governed by the things of this world.
Taken in tandem two of Isaiah's prophecies tells us that in the world to come we will have eyes, ears, the power of speech, mental faculties, legs etc. However, there will be one major difference - we will have no physical problems...
The mind of the hasty will discern the truth, And the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak clearly... Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. (Isaiah 32:4, 35:5-6 NASB) (Note arâbăh has been translated both "desert" and "plains" in the Old Testament)
Additionally Philippians 3:21 tells that the Lord Jesus Christ,
... will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (NASB)
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (KJV)
The words 'transform' in one version and 'change' in another do not square with the theory that we will rise with a different body than the one that was once buried. The verse also says our bodies will be conformed to Christ's post-resurrection body which, of course, leads to the question of what we know about Christ's body after he was resurrected.
Conformity to Christ's Resurrected Body
His resurrection body was flesh and bone, people could see and hear Jesus, He handled and ate food, He said He was not a ghost (spirit), and people were invited to handle and touch Him.
Acts 13:33-37 tells us that Jesus was not allowed to undergo decay, which means that His body had to be resurrected from the grave. This was confirmed by Luke who wrote that the tomb was empty (24:1-6). Moreover, we can be certain Jesus' resurrected body was the same one He had before He died because it bore the wounds from the terrible ordeal He had been through - wounds that could actually be touched. Additionally Jesus ate with the disciples which a spirit body would not have been able to do.
Nevertheless, many believe that Jesus was resurrected as a spirit body rather than a physical one based on the Gospel of John telling us that He miraculously appeared in a locked room where the disciples were hiding "for fear of the Jews". (John 20:19). It is often assumed that as a spirit Jesus simply walked right through the door or a wall. This has apparently struck quite a chord with some believers who think that sometime in the future they will be able to do the same.
There is no question that when Jesus appeared in the locked room, it frightened His disciples (Luke 24:36-37) who thought they were seeing a spirit, but the Savior Himself quickly reassured them
And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have * flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them. (Luke 24:38-43 NASB)
Then He *said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." (John 20:27 NASB)
Only a physical body can eat, and be touched, which provides a very convincing argument in favor of us living in physical bodies, in a physical universe, after the resurrection. And why not? There is no evidence that God ever intended for us to do otherwise.
* Incidentally, Jesus mentioning "flesh and bones" does not mean he did not have blood, as I have heard. Flesh and bones are the two most tangible, solid parts of the body, and the most 'unspirit like' as it gets. He was making a point.
God and The Laws of Nature
And why are we forgetting that the "laws of nature" were invented and set up by God, but He is not bound by them. God has always been able to give the human body abilities that it does not naturally possess. For example,
Not only did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stay alive in a burning furnace, but not one hair on their heads were singed, their clothes were undamaged and did not smell of smoke. (Daniel 3:19-27).
Peter once walked on water (Matthew 14:29)
On one occasion, Philip was moved from one place to another without the benefit of conventional transport.... Philip was no spirit, and neither did he walk to Azotus. He simply found himself there.
And of course, Jesus certainly did quite a few interesting things even before the resurrection, like walking on water.
But just because Jesus was able to do some things after His resurrection, does not necessarily mean these will be the norm for our resurrected bodies. The fact of the matter is that we simply do not know what we will be capable of doing. What we do know is that our bodies will be imperishable and, in some way, glorious.
In Summary, we shall live in a literal body just as real as the one we have now, for, says Paul: "We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body . . .” (Philippians 3:20, 21).
However Paul said one other thing in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 that bears touching on. While we all know what perishable v. imperishable means, using the Greek word doxa (glory)he said the body of believers is is sown in dishonor, it is raised in "glory"
Unfortunately, it is not that easy to understand what exactly he meant because doxa is used in the NT in quite a few ways and applied to God, Jesus, people etc. The English word glorious can mean splendid, beautiful, bright, brilliant, shining, gorgeous, dazzling, radiant etc. In line with this, Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says (Note: This is a very interesting and enlightening study - well worth reading)
... the most common use of the word is to describe the brilliance which is the characteristic of all persons who share in the heavenly glory. Moses, Elijah and Jesus Himself have this glory on the Mountain of Transfiguration (Luke 9:31)... Paul refers to this glory, when he speaks of the face of Moses as it appeared after God had spoken with him (2 Corinthians 3:7). 
Will We Remember This Life?
Isaiah 65:17 ("For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind) has caused many Christians to believe that they will not remember anything about this life. However, this cannot possibly be true since there are many indications that believers will recall details of their lives on earth before they were resurrected.
For example, from the two references to the bema as the judgment seat of Christ it seems to be clear that this judgment is reserved for believers and completely separate from the general White Throne judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15. The purpose of Christ's bema judgment is to reward believers based on how faithfully have used their lives for the Lord, or how well they have built on the foundations given them. If they have no awareness of what they have or have not done in this life, then the rewards will seem to be quite arbitrary. (See Chapter VII - the Bema Seat and Rewards in Heaven) ,
In his first epistle, John exhorts believers to "abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming" (1 John 2:28 NASB). No one can shrink away in shame unless they remember what it is they feel shame about.
Additionally, Revelation 21:12-14 says that the 12 gates in the walls of the holy city, Jerusalem will be inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Similarly, the twelve foundation stones of the city were inscribed with the names of Jesus' twelve apostles. This would be completely meaningless if no one remembers the tribes or the disciples.
So what did Isaiah mean when he said "the former things will not be remembered or come to mind"?
It is very likely (in fact more than likely) that although people will not forget everything that went before, the former things will not, as the second half of the verse states, "come to mind". In the joy and abundance of the new kingdom and in the absence of death, disease and many other kinds of hardship people will be able to get over or separate themselves from the painful memories of the past.
He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8 NASB)
and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4 NASB)
The Bodies Of Unbelievers
However Christians are not the only ones who will have their bodies raised. The Bible speaks of more than one resurrection..
Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2 NASB)
Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28-29 NASB)
having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. (Acts 24:15 NASB)
The difference is that Christians will have their bodies raised to everlasting glory; those who have not accepted God's offer of salvation, (forgiveness for sin and eternal life), will have their bodies raised to judgment and destruction.
And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).
And What and Where is Hell?
Footnote I - Perishable and Imperishable
In 1 Corinthians 15:50 the NASB uses the words perishable and imperishable while the KJV leans towards corruption and incorruption. To be noted is that corruption can mean perishable -they are used interchangeably in the Scriptures. An example of each
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable (Gk. phthartos) wreath, but we an imperishable (Gk. aphthartos). (1 Corinthians 9:25 NASB)
Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted (Gk. phtheiro) no one, we took advantage of no one. (2 Corinthians 7:2 NASB)
However, in our world corruption is more likely to be understood as moral perversion. i.e. the government official was corrupt. [PLACE IN TEXT]
Continue On To Part V... A New Heaven and A New Earth. There are a number of reasons including some often overlooked prophecies not to believe that the earth will be totally obliterated HERE