“But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?’ . . . If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body . . .” (1 Cor. 15:35-44.)
Paul was trying to explain that when we are resurrected from the dead, we won’t be floating around like disembodied spirits, but that we will have a new body for our spirits to inhabit.
What will our resurrected bodies be like? Philippians 3:21 says the Lord “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory . . .” So our resurrected bodies will be like Jesus’ resurrected body. And what is that like?
When Jesus was resurrected, He appeared in a physical-spiritual body. He told His disciples to touch and handle Him, to reassure them He was not a ghost. “… it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24:39).
But his resurrection body had different physical elements than our earthly bodies, because Jesus went right through doors without opening them, (Luke 24:31). He could appear out of nowhere (Luke 24:36). Yet He ate fish and bread (Luke 24:30, 43), so His new body had a digestive system, and the scars of His suffering were still on His hands and side.
Some wonder if we’ll be able to recognize each other in our new bodies. Did the disciples who encountered the resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Lake 24:15) immediately recognize Him?
As often as they’d seen Jesus before the resurrection, they didn’t recognize Him in His new body until they sat and broke bread with Him (Luke 24:30-31) and their eyes were opened.
How did Peter, James and John know who Moses and Elijah were when they appeared with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration? They just knew. Paul said when the perfect is come, then “ … (we) shall know fully just as (we) have been fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:12). Our eyes will be opened to know each other by the spirit.
Some are confused as to when we receive our new bodies — immediately upon death, or when the Lord returns again? The resurrection from the dead began at the time of Jesus’ death, and new bodies were given to many who came out of their tombs when the veil of the temple was torn in two. (Matt. 27:51-53). Paul also tells us that those who die in Christ can expect new bodies immediately upon their death. “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the (earthly) body we are absent from the Lord … (we) prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore, also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Cor. 5:6-9).