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157. Will We Get Superpowers After the Resurrection?

On the New Earth, resurrected saints will be perfectly human. But do we get to fly? Or “apparate” from place to place? Or dive underwater for hours?
Fantastical Truth on Apr 11, 2023 · Series: · 2 comments

Last weekend we remembered not only Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice, but his resurrection—the same resurrection he has promised for all who receive him. On this podcast we’ve explored Epic Resurrection before, but not with questions like: Do we get to fly? Could we “apparate” from place to place? Dive underwater for hours? Will we get superpowers after the Resurrection?

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Concession stand

  • We’re building off five previous episodes in our Epic Resurrection series.
  • This means we assume the New Heavens and New Earth will be physical.
  • This means our selfsame universe/planet, judged and made new.
  • Any “normal” elements are a mere starting point for biblical speculation.
  • If we speak of New Earth coffee and you want time travel, why not both?
  • We believe it’s helpful to keep speculations grounded, at least at first.
  • Scripture does this with ordinary ideas: farming, animals, commerce.
  • We can’t cite Scriptures for all points; if we miss a reference, just ask!
  • Finally, these promises apply only to people who repent/believe in Jesus.
  • Scripture solemnly warns all will be resurrected, but some enter Hell.

1. What do we mean when we say “resurrection”?

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 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. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (ESV)

(1 Corinthians 15:35–50, ESV)

  • We’re talking about bodies; this is the apostle Paul’s operative word.
  • We’ll see differences between our current bodies and future bodies.
  • Yet we also know what a body is; that’s why Paul uses natural language.
  • The phrase “spiritual body” has led to some readers’ confusion.
  • Randy Alcorn warns of “Christoplatonism” that puts us off resurrection.
  • Scripture never endorses ghosts, spiritoids, or some unearthly existence.

Alcorn has often explored misconceptions about 1 Corinthians 15:

When Paul uses the term “spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44), he is not talking about a body made of spirit, or an incorporeal body—there is no such thing. Body means corporeal: flesh and bones. The word spiritual here is an adjective describing body, not negating its meaning. A spiritual body is first and foremost a real body or it would not qualify to be called a body. Paul could have simply said, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spirit,” if that were the case. . . .

When Paul says that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” he’s referring to our flesh and blood as they are now: cursed and under sin. Our present bodies are fallen and destructible, but our future bodies—though still bodies in the fullest sense—will be untouched by sin and indestructible. They will be like Christ’s resurrection body—both physical and indestructible.

  • Challenge 1: Doesn’t the Bible promise “this world is not our home”?
  • Challenge 2: What about Christians already died; aren’t they bodiless?
  • Challenge 3: Doesn’t the Bible warn “no eye has seen, no ear has heard”?

2. How will resurrection bodies be perfectly human?

  • Stephen uses the words “perfectly human” literally: human yet perfected.
  • Today we can live for any time at all. Tomorrow we will live forever.
  • Today we enjoy food and drink with risks. Tomorrow we can enjoy more.
  • Today we’re subject to “futility” (Rom. 8). Tomorrow we’ll have purpose.
  • Today we’re vulnerable to disease, injury. Tomorrow we’ll be invincible.
  • Today we’re subject to temptation and sin. Tomorrow we’ll be perfect.

Alcorn again:

Judging from Christ’s resurrection body, a spiritual body appears most of the time to look and act like a regular physical body, with the exception that it may have (and in Christ’s case it does have) some powers of a metaphysical nature; that is, beyond normal physical abilities.

  • Challenge 1: What if you dive underwater and try to breath in the ocean?
  • Challenge 2: What if you jump off a cliff and don’t have a parachute?
  • Challenge 3: What if you open a spaceship airlock into the vacuum?

3. How may resurrection bodies act supernaturally?

  • Jesus seems to say humans are “like the angels” in one (annoying?) way.
  • That reference is Matthew 22:30, about which much ink has been spilled.
  • At least one Scripture indicates resurrected saints will be like Jesus:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

(1 John 3:1–3, ESV, emphasis added)

  • Challenge 1: Whether normal or super, why would we “need” these gifts?
  • Challenge 2: What if we stay perfectly normal, yet can enjoy miracles?
  • Challenge 3: What if we make technologies that give us “superpowers”?

Quotes and notes

Mission update

Fantastical Truth
Fantastical Truth

Lorehaven explores fantastical stories for God's glory: fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond.

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    In the Fantastical Truth podcast from Lorehaven, hosts E. Stephen Burnett and Zackary Russell explore fantastical stories for God's glory and apply their wonders to the real world Jesus calls us to serve.
    1. I like to think about the first century Jewish scholars before I dive into any eschatological discussion. A year before Jesus began his earthly ministry, the Jewish scholars of their day could have given you a detailed story of what Messiah’s coming was going to look like. Of course, it would have been wrong on so many things.

      If they got their expectations of the first coming was so wrong, I think we can have a reasonable expectation that we, too, will not have gotten all our expectations of the second coming/millennial kingdom/new heavens/new earth correct either.

    2. If you would like to investigate the millennium kingdom “set to the music of fiction,” I would recommend “Kingdom Come” by Jerry Jenkins.

    What say you?