1 Corinthians 15:12-14 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
Paul builds on the core kerygma he laid out in vv. 3-5a and discusses a scenario that may hint at the misunderstanding of the Corinthians. Evidently, some of them were saying that there is no resurrection of the body. It is possible that there was an early form of Gnosticism beginning in the church. Gnosticism was influenced particularly by Platonism that taught that the body is part of this evil world. It does not matter what happens to the body because it is not important. The spirit is what matters. To say that the body is raised goes against the Platonic wave that was washing through the Mediterranean region of the time. It may have been difficult for many in the church to accept because of their cultural background.
Paul uses logic to show the Corinthians that belief in the resurrection of the body is crucial to our faith. First, he establishes the importance of Christ’s own resurrection by connecting this to the Corinthians’ faith. Without this core belief, then everything that Paul preached and the Corinthians believed was useless. It was a waste of time and effort. However, they had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit and experienced transformation in many ways. They knew that the gospel was real and powerful. Paul has already shown the power of the gospel in 1:18-2:16. If the Corinthians believe that there is no resurrection of the body, then they were denying Christ’s own resurrection and this invalidated their faith.
The doctrine of the resurrection of the body is still difficult for people to accept today. It is one of the greatest demands of faith. It may actually be easier to believe in an afterlife than to believe that we will be raised from the dead. A lot of people have been heavily influenced by Greek thought. This chapter poses significant challenges to logic and common beliefs. Belief in resurrection places great confidence in what Jesus did for us by overcoming sin and death.
For older posts, click here.