The Body Is Being Sown In Corruption

Problematic for the IBV and other advocates who claim that the body is being sown in corruption from birth is their reading of  First Corinthians 15:42. The text states, ‘It is being sown in corruption’. In order to fit their paradigm, they must alter Paul’s language to say, it was or it has been sown in corruption. Yet, that is not how the text reads in the English or the Greek.

In the English it is present passive tense. It is being sown in corruption. In the Greek it is present passive. It (speiretai, 3rd person, singular indicative passive) is being sown. The rendering expresses action in progress at the time of writing. It is being sown in corruption.  This rendering stands over against egeiretai, it is being raised in incorruption. This too is 3rd person, singular present indicative middle. It is being raised in incorruption.

Is the Body Sown In Corruption Twice At Two Distinct Times?

This literal rendering presents another problem for the IBV position and future physical body advocates alike. According to the IBV claim, the body was sown into corruption at birth. Yet, Paul teaches that an existing (already born) body was being sown in corruption.

In order to determine the meaning of sowing, we need to understand what determines the sowing. What causes the body of First Corinthians to die or to be sown? It is Christ. In the parable of the wheat and tares, the Scripture says of those in the kingdom, “he who sowed the good seed is the Son of man,” (Matthew 13:37). Note, the good seed are the “sons of the kingdom” (v. 38). Once again, we engage the subject of baptism.

There are no sons of the kingdom who have not been “born again” (John 3:3-8). The power to become a son of the kingdom is the word of God, also called the “word of the kingdom, (Matt. 13:19) and the “incorruptible seed” (1 Pet. 1:23) which is sown into the heart, Lk. 8:11f. The word of God is the “life germ” that when placed into the heart of man through obedience will produce a new life of righteousness upon one’s burial in baptism.

Note, once the wheat was growing and identified, the sowing had already occurred. The wheat was the result of the sowing. The crop was in the growing stage awaiting the time of the harvest at the end of the age. The harvest is the end of the age, (v. 39). Note also the contrast during this growing phase where the wheat appears hidden among the tares. The problem was of such nature that only the harvest would separate the one from the other. At the harvest, the wheat would then shine in the kingdom of their Father. It is the perfect analogy and picture of what occurred in 70AD regarding the resurrection.

The Tares Are Sown By The Devil

Ed Stevens’ Niagara Conference 2017 paper, Resurrection in 1 Cor 15:1-49, states that the sowing begins in birth. He says we are sown in corruption from birth. If that is true, then how does one distinguish between the children of God and the children of the devil? Would not the children sown by the devil also be sown in corruption from birth? Does that not mean that the children of the devil are doomed from birth, since their fate was to be gathered and burned at the time of the harvest?

How does one get corruption out of both sources of sowing, i.e. the Son of Man and the “Son of Satan” without getting resurrection for both?

If to be sown in corruption means the “body” is under the power of sin, then only Christ has the power to put to death a body of sin. This corruption does not end with physical death, but carries through even into Hades. Why? Because one’s physical death does not atone for sin and corruption. Thus, apart from the power of Christ, the body of sin remains even in death. Proof is seen in Heb. 9:15, which speaks of the redemption of the transgressions under the first testament. The fact that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the O.T. saints had to be raised into the kingdom of God demonstrates they were yet in the “body of sin” and confined to Hades.

Sowing The Body Occurs In Baptism

In Romans 6:3-6, the Scriptures teach that believers were buried into Christ’s death through baptism so they would be in the likeness of his resurrection and that the body of sin might be destroyed.

Thus, Ed Stevens has two sowings of the body physical body, one at birth and on one which was underway in 1 Corinthians 15:42.

If he argues that the sowing in 1 Cor. 15:42 is the time of one’s birth, then how can he avoid making the raising also at the time of one’s birth for the actions are concurrent in the text. It is being sown, and it is being raised, all at the same time. This is a huge problem for the IBV position.

Sowing And Rising Are Concurrent Actions

This point must be understood. If the body is being sown in corruption and sowing the body begins at birth, then the body also begins rising at birth. For it is the body being sown in corruption which is being raised in incorruption. There is no gap or interval between the action of sowing and that of rising.

This means the putting off of the old body is concurrent with the putting on of the new heavenly body. Paul told the Corinthians to be clothed upon, 2 Cor. 5:2. He used the word, ependusasthai, which means to pull down the outer garment over the existing garment. In other words, if the body is physical, the new body must be put on over the top of it. If the body is spiritual, a new garment has to be pulled on over it.

The above concept creates insurmountable difficulties for the IBV position of the individual body. They argue for resurrection only after death into the new body. Paul argued for resurrection through death of the body of sin in baptism. That is also when the new body began in transition through the Holy Spirit.