(1 Cor. 15:44) Will we have physical bodies or spiritual?

CLAIM: Some skeptics of a physical resurrection claim that 1 Corinthians 15 refers to our resurrected bodies (and Christ’s resurrected body) as “spiritual” –that is to say, immaterial and non-physical.

RESPONSE: The Greek phrase soma pneumatikon refers to a person’s orientation, rather than their physical makeup. Consider the way that Paul uses the word pneumatikon (or “spiritual”) earlier in 1 Corinthians. He writes, “Those who are spiritual (pneumatikon) can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others” (1 Cor. 2:15). Later, he writes, “All of them drank the same spiritual (pneumatikon) water. For they drank from the spiritual (pneumatikon) rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15; 10:4). When Paul writes that the people, the water, and the rock were spiritual, he clearly does not mean ethereal or ghostly. He means that they were physical, but they were centered on God.

We use the word “spiritual” in this sense today. We might say that the Bible is a spiritual book, or a Bible teacher is a spiritual person. By this, we do not mean that they are ghostly; we mean that they are godly.

Moreover, in the rest of his letters, Paul also affirms a physical resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3:21; Rom. 8:10-11; 8:23).