If you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians...
- Jesus is "the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (20). The "firstfruits" are but the beginning of the season; just as Christ was raised, so the full resurrection harvest is yet to come. The death Adam brought into the world reaches out and touches all, and likewise the resurrection that came with Christ will come to all at His return (21-23). Easter was the beginning of the final resurrection of the dead.
- In the resurrection of the dead, we will "bear the image of the man of heaven," Jesus (49). This is "a resurrection like His," as Paul writes elsewhere (Rom 6:5; see also Phil 3:20-21). This is, finally, Paul's answer to the question "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" (1 Cor 15:35ff). If you want to know, look at the body of Jesus.
The early Christians proclaimed that God had broken the power of death by raising Jesus bodily from the grave; therefore, the New Testament writers and the early Christian creeds looked forward to the resurrection of the body as the consummation of God's redemptive action in the world.