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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 15 - Verse 38

Verse 38. But God giveth it a body, etc. God gives to the seed sown its own proper body, formation, and growth. The word body here, as applied to grain, seems to mean the whole system, or arrangement of roots, stalks, leaves, flowers, and kernels that start out of the seed that is sown. The meaning is, that such a form is produced from the seed sown as God pleases. Paul here traces the result to God, to show that there is no chance, and that it did not depend on the nature of things, but was dependent on the wise arrangement of God. There was nothing in the decaying kernel itself that would produce this result; but God chose that it should be so. There is nothing in the decaying body of the dead which in itself should lead to the resurrection; but God chose it should be so.

As it hath pleased him. As he chose. It is by his arrangement and agency. Though it is by regular laws, yet it is as God pleases. He acts according to his own pleasure, in the formation of each root, and stalk, and kernel of grain. It is, probably, here intimated that God would give to each one of the dead at the resurrection such a body as he should choose, though it will be, doubtless, in accordance with general laws.

And to every seed his own body. That which appropriately belongs to it; which it is fitted to produce; which is of the same kind. He does not cause a stalk of rye to grow from a kernel of wheat; nor of maize from barley; nor of hemp from lentiles. He has fixed proper laws, and he takes care that they shall be observed. So it will be in the resurrection. Every one shall have his own, i.e. his proper body—a body which shall belong to him, and be fitted to him. The wicked shall not rise with the body of the just, or with a body adapted to heaven; nor shall the saint rise with a body adapted to perdition. There shall be a fitness or appropriateness in the new body to the character of him who is raised. The argument here is designed to meet the inquiry HOW should the body be raised; and it is, that there is nothing more remarkable and impossible in the doctrine of the resurrection than in the fact constantly before us, that grain that seems to rot sends up a shoot or stalk, and is reproduced in a wonderful and beautiful manner. In a manner similar to this, the body will be raised; and the illustration of Paul meets all the difficulties about the fact of the resurrection. It cannot be shown that one is more difficult than the other; and as the facts of vegetation are constantly passing before our eyes, we ought not to deem it strange if similar facts shall take place hereafter in regard to the resurrection of the dead.

{b} "giveth it" Ge 1:11,12

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