Monday, 30 March 2015
Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 1 Corinthians 15:36
Paul’s words here are in response to the questions posited in the previous verse concerning the “how” and “what” of the resurrection. His answer is directed to those who would submit such questions in an attempt to trip up another, not specifically to someone who was merely curious about the matter. In other words, a person who asked those questions in a dismissive manner, attempting to show the illogical nature of a literal resurrection, is who Paul is responding to.
His answer begins with a mild rebuke, “Foolish one.” It is equivalent to saying, “O unreasonable!” And the choice of words is supported by his continued comment – “What you sow is not made alive unless it dies.” The word “you” is emphatic. What this means is that anyone who has ever planted a seed (or even anyone who hasn’t, but still understands what occurs when a seed is planted) should be able to understand that it is a comparable analogy to the resurrection itself. It is seen daily and is understood clearly. As pretty much every person knows what happens to a seed in this situation, then the “you” is to be understood as all people, including the deniers of the resurrection.
A seed remains a seed until it is used for some other purpose. If it is eaten, it is no longer a seed, but it becomes a source of nutrition for the one who ate it. But if the seed is stored, even for thousands of years, it remains a seed. Seeds have been found in Israel, China, and elsewhere that go back eons. When planted, they do what seeds are intended to do. First they break down (Paul notes that it dies) and then they come back up in a completely different state.
The body of the seed as a whole “dies.” It decays in order to become a source of food for the germ. In this, new life occurs. Paul is using this analogy, not because it is an exact representation of what occurs in the believer, but because it demonstrates that even in nature there is a comparable occurrence to what is taught concerning the resurrection. Jesus uses the same terminology in John 12 –
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24
Life application: We can transfer all of the data on an old vinyl disc to a magnetic tape, to a CD, or even to a computer’s hard drive. The same music is retained even though it is in a different format. If we can do this with Tinker Toys, how much more can God ensure that all of what comprises us will be retained and restored as well! Have no fear that God has it all under control.
Lord, I have music which was once on vinyl records now stored on a computer’s hard drive. It is the same information and nothing was lost in the process. If we can do this with earthly elements in order to keep the music we enjoy alive, how much more certain is it that You can do it with all that comprises us. I have no problem in accepting that at the resurrection, I will still be me, but in an eternal body which will be able to make joyful music to You forever. I’m excited about what lies ahead. No fear here! Praise You, O God. Hallelujah and Amen.