Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).
Steve asked the question that is the title of this blog. It is a great question.
1 John 3:2 tells us that we shall be like Him. John is speaking in terms of moral transformation. Just three verses later he writes, “in Him there is no sin.” We will be like Him in that regard. Sin will be a thing of the past for us once we are raptured or die.
But that’s not all! We will also be like Him positively. We will be righteous and holy people in all we say and do.
We will not be like Him in every way, of course. There are certain attributes of God that humans cannot have. They are called the incommunicable attributes of God. They include His omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.
What about our bodies? We know that everyone, including unbelievers, will be raised from the dead (John 5:28-29; Rev 20:11-15). Will our bodies be like His glorified body?
We know from Rev 21:4 that there will be no pain or suffering after the Millennium. None of us will experience any pain.
In his famous resurrection chapter, the apostle Paul said, “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:52-53). We will no longer be subject to death or disease or degradation of our health.
Some have been confused by Paul’s statement, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:44). By spiritual body Paul does not mean that it lacks actual flesh and bones.
Gordon Fee sees a connection between the spiritual body in 1 Cor 15:44 and he who is spiritual in 1 Cor 2:15, saying, “The transformed body, therefore, is not composed of “spirit”; it is a body adapted to the eschatological existence that is under the ultimate domination of the Spirit. Thus for Paul, to be truly pneumatikos is to bear the likeness of Christ (v. 49) in a transformed body, fitted for the new age” (First Corinthians, p. 786).
Most likely no one but the Lord Jesus will have any scars or any handicaps. Blindness and deafness will be no more. Lost limbs will be restored. Scars will vanish. I suspect that skin will be free of tattoos. Bad backs and sore joints will be a thing of the past life.
It is possible, of course, that the Lord might allow those who obtained scars due to suffering for Him to keep them as badges of honor. But I think that is unlikely. I think it could detract from the uniqueness of the Lord’s scars on His hands and feet and on His side.
We know we will drink and eat in the life to come because at the last supper the Lord told the eleven, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matt 26:29). In addition, after He rose from the dead, the Lord ate with the disciples: “So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence” (Luke 24:42-43).
There are plenty of indications in Scripture that those who die have intermediate bodies and that they still look uniquely like they did in this life. We have the examples of Abraham and Lazarus in Luke 16:23-24 and of Moses in Matt 17:3. In terms of glorified bodies, we do not know if we will look like we did when were in the prime of life or like we did when we died, minus all the corruption. Imagine a person with grey hair and the appearance of age, yet with the strength and vitality of a twenty-year-old. I would guess we look like we should have looked in our prime if our body was just as God intended. But we aren’t told whether we will look like what we did when young or old. But we do know we will maintain our individual looks. (Of course, any excess weight [or anorexia] would be gone as well since that is part of the corruption of mortality.)
If Adam and Eve had not sinned, then at some point God would have made them unable to sin and they would have been immortal. Mankind would have filled the earth and likely gone out and started inhabiting nearby planets.
We were not created to live in the third heaven. That will merely be a way station for us if we die before the rapture. Our destiny is the Millennial earth (Revelation 20) and the new earth (Revelation 21-22). We will need to have physical bodies to serve our Lord in His glorious kingdom. These will be perfect bodies. Immortal. Incorruptible.
In the meantime, we groan, Paul says, awaiting our glorified bodies (2 Cor 5:2, 4).