“And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:37

Paul uses this farming analogy as a part of his answer to the question about the type of body that will be raised from the dead. His point is that the difference between our earthly body and our heavenly body is like the difference between a seed and a tree. In fact, he is saying that one day, when our earthly bodies are “sown” like a seed (that is put in the ground after we die), we will be raised as something so much more than the bodies that we know. Our new bodies will be to our old bodies something like what a tree is to a seed. I love that analogy because here on this earth, we think that what we can see and touch is the most real thing, but in heaven, this will be like a small taste of the reality to come.

I think that C.S. Lewis may have had this passage on his mind when he was writing a really fun book of his called, The Great Divorce. This book is about a fictional bus ride from hell to heaven and although it is only fiction, and although there is a lot of speculation, it is one of the best representations of heaven that I have ever read.

In it, Lewis plays with an old philosophic idea that evil is only a privation (or distortion) of what is good. In other words, sickness is not a thing, but a distortion of health. Death is just the absence or lack of life. If we think about the world this way, it would imply that the more good something is, the more real it actually is. This would also imply that the more evil something is, the less real it is. Because of this, Lewis suggests that hell (being the most evil place in existence) is extraordinarily small compared to heaven and that even our present world seems large compared to it. Lewis has to stop short of explaining heaven too much because it would be beyond what we can comprehend. Instead, he says it this way: “Heaven is reality itself.”

Speaking of heaven, he says, “All hell is smaller than one pebble of your earthly world: but it is smaller than one atom of this world [heaven], the Real World.”

This is what Paul is getting at when he says that our earthly bodies that will one day die are “but a bare kernel.” We are only partially real today, but one day, we will take on our true form which will be the most real we have ever been. Oh, what a day that will be!!

Josh Rose
Discipleship Pastor

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