Thou fool - Αφρον . If this be addressed, as it probably is, to the false apostle, there is a peculiar propriety in it; as this man seems to have magnified his own wisdom, and set it up against both God and man; and none but a fool could act so. At the same time, it is folly in any to assert the impossibility of a thing because he cannot comprehend it.
That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die - I have shown the propriety of this simile of the apostle in the note on John 12:24; (note), to which I must refer the reader. A grain of wheat, etc., is composed of the body or lobes, and the germ. The latter forms an inconsiderable part of the mass of the grain; the body, lobes, or farinaceous part, forms nearly the whole. This body dies - becomes decomposed, and forms a fine earth, from which the germ derives its first nourishment; by the nourishment thus derived the germ is quickened, receives its first vegetable life, and through this means is rendered capable of deriving the rest of its nourishment and support from the grosser earth in which the grain was deposited. Whether the apostle would intimate here that there is a certain germ in the present body, which shall become the seed of the resurrection body, this is not the place to inquire; and on this point I can with pleasure refer to Mr. Drew's work on the "Resurrection of the Human Body;" where this subject, as well as every other subject connected with this momentous question, is considered in a very luminous and cogently argumentative point of view.
Thou fool - Foolish, inconsiderate man! The meaning is, that it was foolish to make this objection, when the same difficulty existed in an undeniable fact which fell under daily observation. A man was a fool to urge that as an objection to religion which must exist in the undeniable and everyday facts which they witnessed. The idea is, “The same difficulty may be started about the growth of grain. Suppose a man who had never seen it, were to be told that it was to be put into the earth; that it was to die; to be decomposed; and that from the decayed kernel there should be seen to start up first a slender, green, and tender spire of grass, and that this was to send up a strong stalk, and was to produce hundreds of similar kernels at some distant period. These facts would be as improbable to him as the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. When he saw the kernel laid in the ground; when he saw it decay; when apparently it was returning to dust, he would ask, How can these be connected with the production of similar grain? Are not all the indications that it will be totally corrupted and destroyed?”
Yet, says Paul, this is connected with the hope of the harvest, and this fact should remove all the objection which is derived from the fact that the body returns to its native dust. The idea is, that there is an analogy, and that the main objection in the one case would lie equally well against the acknowledged and indisputable fact in the other. It is evident, however, that this argument is of a popular character, and is not to be pressed to the quick; nor are we to suppose that the resemblance will be in all respects the same. It is to be used as Paul used it. The objection was, that the body died, and returned to dust, and could not, therefore, rise again. The reply of Paul is, “You may make the same objection to grain that is sown. That dies also. The main body of the kernel decays. In itself there is no prospect that it will spring up. Should it stop here, and had you never seen a grain of wheat grow; had you only seen it in the earth, as you have seen the body in the grave, there would be the same difficulty as to how it would produce other grains, which there is about the resurrection of the body.”
Is not quickened - Does not become alive; does not grow.
Except it die - See the note on John 12:24. The main body of the grain decays that it may become food and nourishment to the tender germ. Perhaps it is implied here also that there was a fitness that people should die in order to obtain the glorious body of the resurrection, in the same way as it is fit that the kernel should die, in order that there may be a new and beautiful harvest.
More than this: as we impart the blessings of this life, gratitude in the recipient prepares the heart to receive spiritual truth, and a harvest is produced unto life everlasting. Ed 110.1
By the casting of grain into the earth, the Saviour represents His sacrifice for us. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die,” He says, “it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24. Only through the sacrifice of Christ, the Seed, could fruit be brought forth for the kingdom of God. In accordance with the law of the vegetable kingdom, life is the result of His death. Ed 110.2
So with all who bring forth fruit as workers together with Christ: self-love, self-interest, must perish; the life must be cast into the furrow of the world's need. But the law of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation. The husbandman preserves his grain by casting it away. So the life that will be preserved is the life that is freely given in service to God and man. Ed 110.3Read in context »
The two Adams will meet in Paradise and embrace each other, while the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, and all who have refused the opportunities and privileges given to them at such infinite cost, and have not returned to their loyalty, will be shut out of Paradise (Manuscript 33, 1897). 6BC 1093.1
42-52 (ch. 13:12). Personality Preserved in a New Body—Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him. 6BC 1093.2
Paul illustrates this subject by the kernel of grain sown in the field. The planted kernel decays, but there comes forth a new kernel. The natural substance in the grain that decays is never raised as before, but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him. A much finer material will compose the human body, for it is a new creation, a new birth. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body (Manuscript 76, 1900). 6BC 1093.3Read in context »