September 25 Epistle Reading

I Cor. 15:39-45

39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

St. John Chrysostom in his Homily XLI on I Cor. XV said:

“Why, from the resurrection of the body did he throw himself into the discourse of the stars and the sun? …He intimates… that the difference of glory will be great, though there is but one resurrection. And for the present he divides the whole into two: into ‘bodies celestial’ and ‘bodies terrestrial.’ For that the  bodies are raised again, he signified by the corn, but that they are not all in the same glory, he signifies by this. For as the disbelief in the resurrection makes men supine, so again it makes them indolent to think that all are vouchsafed the same reward. So he corrects both…”

“Having made two ranks, of the righteous and of sinners, these same two he subdivides again into many parts, signifying that neither righteous nor sinners will obtain the same …Now he makes, you see, first one separation between righteous and sinners, where he says, ‘bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial’… Then father he introduces a difference of sinners from sinners, saying, ‘All flesh is not the same flesh’ …And having said this, he ascends again to the heaven, saying, ‘There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon.’ For as in the earthly bodies, there is a difference, so also in the heavenly… reaching even to the uttermost: there being not only a difference between sun and moon, and stars, but also between stars and stars. What of the idea that they are all in the heaven? Nevertheless, some have a larger, others a lesser share of glory.”

“What do we learn from this? That although they are all in God’s kingdom, all will not enjoy the same reward; and though all sinners be in hell, all will not endure the same punishment …By sowing here, he means not our generation in the womb, but the burial in the earth of our dead bodies, their dissolution, their ashes… ‘It is sown in dishonor.’ For what is more unsightly than a corpse in dissolution? ‘It is raised in glory.’ ‘It is sown in weakness.’ For before thirty days the whole is gone, and the flesh cannot keep itself together …’It is raised in power.’ For nothing shall prevail against it for all the future …Now oftentimes the abundant grace of the Holy Spirit flies away on men’s committing great sins, or, the Spirit continuing present, the life of the flesh depends on the soul, the result in such cases is a void, without the Spirit. But in that day not so: rather he abides continually in the flesh of the righteous, and the victory will be His, the natural soul also being present. (He alludes here to the threefold being of the perfect man, in spirit, and soul, and body – I Th.5:23). Either it was some such thing which he intimated by saying ‘a spiritual body,’ or that it will be lighter and more subtle and such as even to be wafted on air, or rather he meant both these.”


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