A Time of Grace viewer called recently and questioned my comments in a broadcast message that people who died as children would be resurrected as adults. She wanted to know where that is found in Scripture.
It’s a great question and a worthy topic. For people who believe Scripture’s promises of the resurrection of the body, it seems somewhat logical that a revivified corpse would come back to life with an appearance very similar to the way in which he or she had passed away. A child who died in infancy would come back to life (as an infant). By that logic, a frail, elderly person who lived really long would come back looking frail and elderly. But that’s not the picture that emerges from Scripture’s various comments about what our bodies will look like.
“We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
“Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
“It [i.e., the body of a believer] is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:43,51,52).
“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy” (Isaiah 35:5,6).
When a human body is in the ground long enough, it disintegrates and completely returns to the earth of which it was made. The last thing to go is the teeth, but even that ferociously tough enamel loses its battle eventually and becomes random bits of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. Revelation chapter 20 says that the sea will give up its dead, even though human bodies that drowned in the ocean soon dissolve in the water and become food for marine creatures of all sizes (and thus part of their bodies).
Every person, even infants, even the unborn, have DNA, God’s miraculous set of genetic plans that holds within its design the ideal person. And that ideal, I believe, is what will come forth from the earth and seas to be lifted up to the Savior’s side. Just as the resurrected Christ walked the earth with a real body, healed of all his grievous injuries, restored to a full blood supply, and hungry enough to eat a fish breakfast with his disciples (John 21), chewing the fish with real teeth and swallowing it down, so we will have restored bodies, with all debilities and weaknesses gone, gone also, I believe, the limitations of old age and infancy. Just as there will be no one deaf or blind in heaven; there won’t be helpless infants nor frail elderly saints.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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