Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
(1 Corinthians 15:51).
There were two mysteries Paul addressed in his first epistle to the Corinthians in the above verse: the translation of living saints at the catching away, and the resurrection of the bodies of saints who had already passed away. In both cases, the redemption of the mortal body takes place. Paul treated the mystery of the redeemed mortal body again in his epistle to the Romans; adding precious details to explain it further, but today readers would likely never know it if they read either the New American Standard Bible (NASB) or the English Standard Version (ESV).
This is truly a shame. How are we to be “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1Cor 4:1), and at the same time blindfold ourselves to them? If this assertion sounds fantastic, check either of the two texts; the NASB or ESV, and match your results with the ones that follow. Ardent followers of each should like to prove this assertion wrong and retain what they may think to be their supremacy of source scriptura.
Jesus described our resurrected bodies as like the angles in heaven (Mat 22:30). Paul told the Corinthians the redeemed mortal body would be a part of our constitution in heaven: “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49). But how is it, or rather was it, made possible? Specifically, how did God arrange for the transaction, for we know he did it in advance?
The passage in Romans chapter eight from verse 13 to verse 23 addressed the redemption of the body. Here it is emphasized, and with notes provided in brackets to glean particulars as it is faithfully produced in the King James Bible. The work has been done for you; you only need to read, and compare.
The bolded phrases in the beginning and at the end of this passage denote the subject and the title. The subject is in the first verse (v.11), and the title in the last verse (v.23); let’s go:
King James Version
(11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies [The Subject: make alive again, give new life to] by his Spirit [the power and authority] that dwelleth in you.
(12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
(13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
(15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
(16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
(17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified [new redeemed bodies]together.
(18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us [in our redeemed bodies; from the spirit, and outwards to the redeemed body].
(19) For the earnest expectation of the creature [our spirit coupled with, and incased in, the mortal body] “waiteth” for the manifestation of the sons of God [our glorification].
(20) For the creature was made [created]subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason [the wisdom]of him [God] who hath subjected the same in hope [placed in a state that could be translated when redeemed.]
(21) Because the creature itself [the mortal body] also shall be delivered [translated]from the bondage of corruption [the mortal body on which the curse also fell]into the glorious liberty [glorified body] of the children of God [manifestation of the sons of God].
(22) For we know [this should not remain an unexplained mystery; consider the parallel to what we already know] that the whole creation groaneth [since the fall] and travaileth in pain together until now [is still in the fallen state waiting for 1) the partial restoration at the millennium, 2) the New Heaven and New Earth afterwards. Verse 22 touching on all of creation is a minor point used by Paul to expound upon that which was already clearly understood to assist the Romans in understanding this mystery of the actual body of a saint being redeemed at the completed adoption.]
(23) And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we [with spirits reborn] ourselves groan within ourselves, [the taste of eternal life in our renewed spirit having made the contrast with the death in the bondage of our corruption] waiting for the adoption [the completed transaction], to wit, the redemption of our body [TheTitle].
Gleanings from the Passage
When verse 18 is correctly rendered “glory revealed in us,” we are able to see that verse 20 is the one of the most remarkable verses in scripture. In it we learn that even before the fall, our mortal bodies were first created in a subordinated state so that they could be called up at redemption and elevated to a state of perfection.
There are further implications to this verse by which we may see though the glass, albeit darkly.
There is an aspect of permanency in the creation of living creatures about which we are given small insights in the scriptures. We get an idea of that here in this verse where God reveals a subordinate state of man at the beginning-at creation-in accordance with the special wisdom of the creator.
Along these lines, we can note that the condition of Adam and Eve prior to the fall was probably superior to their condition afterwards as fallen sinners. We may also recall that they were driven out of the garden of Eden where the tree of life was located, and a guard of Cherubims with flaming swords was stationed east of the garden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life after they fell (Gen 3:22-24).
We may surmise that God designed a grand scheme that He not only wanted to unfold, but has to be played out in a particular way to call out a people. This is not to say God is bound by any law, but that as the author of laws has ordained all things to be done in their proper order. We get graphic illustration of this as Christ Jesus the Lord takes possession of the title deed to the earth in the book of Revelation; an event that Satan contests (Rev 5:1-8:1) For Adam and Eve, eating of the tree of life in their fallen state would not have had a curative effect on fallen mortals, but would have affixed a permanence to them; to live forever in that sub-subordinated state.
Inversely, we may deduce that Adam and Eve, though no doubt superior creatures compared with those that followed, were originally made-created-subject to vanity, in a state of inutility and transientness; else, there would be no perfect state to redeem them to had they taken the mar of sin in glorified bodies. The stay of spirits within living souls temporarily residing in mortal bodies is a metaphysical means to translate the redeemed body after the spirit is changed though faith that saves. (For a treatment on the complex and marvelous transaction of planning for and affecting the redemption of the mortal body the reader may wish to peruse the chapters “Calling Out a People” and “Redemption of Satan” from Atlantis.)
Now, let’s see how the other versions compare for perspicuity. Here are the problems that produce high opacity in the NASB translation:
New American Standard Bible
(11) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [acceptable]through His Spirit who dwells in you.
(12) So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–
(13) for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
(14) For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
(15) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
(16) The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
(17) and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
(18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us [incorrect; should read: “in”. For glory to be revealed “to” us implies we are mere spectators, when in fact we are the principals in the transaction.]
(19) For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. [Suggests minerals are in a conscious state, and conscious of the passage of time. It does not comport with the sense of this passage for “creation”; including, mountains, rivers, and even the stars to be classed as sentient beings looking for and expecting our transformation into glorified sons of God.]
(20) For the creation [incorrect; should read: “creature”] was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope.
(21) that the creation [incorrect; should read: “creature”] itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
(22) For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now [this is the only reference to all of creation in this passage].
(23) And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body [correct].
The ESV fairs no better on this deep and most awesome passage. Its errors are identical:
English Standard Version
(11) If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [acceptable] through his Spirit who dwells in you.
(12) So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
(13) For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
(14) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
(15) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
(16) The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
(17) and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified [correct]with him.
(18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us [incorrect; should read: “in”. For glory to be revealed “to” us implies we are mere spectators, when in fact we are the principals in the transaction.]
(19) For the creation [incorrect; should read: “creature”] waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.[Suggests minerals are in a conscious state, and conscious of the passage of time. It does not comport with the sense of this passage for “creation”; including mountains, rivers, and even the stars to be classed as sentient beings looking for and expecting our transformation into glorified sons of God.]
(20) For the creation [incorrect; should read: “creature”] was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
(21) that the creation [incorrect; should read: “creature”]itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
(22) For we know that the whole creation [correct. This is the only reference to all of creation in this passage ] has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
(23) And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies [acceptable]
Basically, the whole emphasis in both the competing translations is reversed, and mineral and lower life forms outweigh the intended importance of human glorification by four times to one (verses 19, 20, 21, 22; 23). The NASB and the ESV make possible a serious detraction from the discourse on the redemption of the body. They also obscure the fact that the redeemed are the principals in the transaction, and they fail to point to the intricacies involved in our salvation, and to give us another glimpse of the wisdom of God. In short, they blind side an awesome detail of God’s marvelous and mysterious plan of accounting for the fall of man, and circumvent an opportunity for deep exposition.
Additionally, these translations with their erroneous emphasis on “creation” may have the unintended consequences (?) of elevating lower life forms to equality with mankind. Certainly, we can see the effects of evolutionary theory on those churches falling away; falling into worshiping the creature more than the Creator (Rom 1:22-23).
In translating verse 18 correctly, we also get another encouragement to put the “sufferings of this present time” in its proper perspective (Rom 8:18). While this chapter in Romans contains other more powerful reasons we may endure the sufferings of this life, such as the intercession of the Spirit, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, the redemption and glorification of the body is a great mystery to contemplate for comfort, and is very touching encouragement. Its frailties magnified as the point of contact with so many sufferings we experience in this world, the magnificent plan of God sees to it that even it will escape this world eventually; unscathed, and high and lifted up!