But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain – perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. (1 Corinthians 15:35-38)
St Paul gives us some insight into the resurrection – the body that dies and is buried in the ground like a seed, is not the same body that will arise in the resurrection. We plant a seed and don’t hope for a bigger seed to grow and emerge. Rather, we want the seed to produce a plant which in turn will produce more seeds. The same is true of the resurrection of humans – what is sown in the ground, the seed, is the human corpse. We are not hoping for the corpse to re-emerge, but rather look for a new, vibrant and re-created body to emerge which is no longer subject to corruption, decay and death. The body which is buried is the mere seed or grain. What will emerge in the resurrection is not a seed but new life, a transfigured body, a new creation. The resurrected body (and so the resurrected life) is not merely an endless continuation of this life, but a new life, a spiritual one which will never end and is glorious, but unlike anything we’ve known up until now. “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:43-44).
Orthodox theologian Sergius Bulgakov comments:
Thus, the spirituality of the body signifies, first of all, the power of the spirit over its soul and its animated body, the transparence of the body for the spirit and its obedience to the latter. In general, it signifies the adequacy of man to his idea or proto-image. But this proto-image can be revealed not at the beginning but only in the fullness of times…The psychic body, by contrast, is a darkened and distorted image, and the psychic man is diminished to enslavement by the flesh and the loss of his human image. He can be freed from this slavery only by death and resurrection, by the power of Christ…
Resurrected bodies…are characterized, first of all, by transparence for and obedience to the spirit, where they overcome the fleshly weight of the psychic body and are liberated from its constraints and limits. The body is freed, first of all, from the purely fleshly needs of stomach and sex that keep the psychic man in bondage. Resurrection in incorruptibility and immortality bestows this freedom. Life in the body with its sensuousness is not abolished but becomes innocent and immaculate, a holy life together with nature, which becomes a source of joy and an object of admiration. (The Bride of the Lamb, pgs 448-449)