The passage is Paul continuing to answer all of the Corinthians seemingly obvious questions. It begs the question of how long this people group were actually Christians. But the fact that there was little available written word back then sheds light on their true situation. Remember, that Corinth was a very dark place on top of it all.
Today, I studied the end of the chapter, from verse 35-58. This is where Paul begins to describe the resurrection concept, from natural body to spiritual body. He says in the message,
“We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don’t look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.” 1 Corinthians 15:37-38
Let’s talk about seeds for a minute:
Say for a minute that you found a seed in the dirt somewhere. As you held this seed in your hand, you wondered what it might become. But because of your limited knowledge, you couldn’t fathom what it might be. You couldn’t see how this seed could amount to much at all really. You also realized that you had no idea the care it would need to start growing.
A little water, a lot of water. Some sun, some dirt. Did you know that some seeds need to be burnt before they can grow? Some need to be crushed, split, or dried. Some need special soil, some need rocks. Some need other plants near them so that they can feed them, the process called pollination. Some need a certain climate. All seeds have something called a “length of viability” which determines at which point they need to be planted or else they will die. There is even a type of coffee been that has such a thick shell that you could throw it at concrete and it won’t break. But because of the climate where it grows, the water inside melts and expands quickly with the weather changes and it bursts! Some seeds have to be eaten and excreted by creatures before they are viable for growth. Kinda gross, but awesome, right!?
So back to the seed analogy. There are millions of different factors that could cause this plant to flourish or die. Now, you haven’t yet realized the importance of this seed, so the next step would be to take it to someone who knows about seeds. Someone who has experience with plants and has seen others through their maturation process. This, for me, is my Papa. So I’d take it to him and put him in charge of it. He would know exactly what that seed needed to grow into the best plant it could be. He would feed it, water it, and do everything nesseccary for that little sprout to pop up and become the most glorious plant!
In the same way, Paul is using this example to explain the process of our ressurrection at the end of days. How you bury the seed and out pops a new creation. Better than even the prettiest and most hearty seeds!
Also, then, we must take our “seeds” to Someone with more experience. Someone who has seen others through their maturation process. And when our seed is broken or burned (or even pooped out!) only then can we become the new, eternal plant that God originally intended for us! The next time you see a plant, smell a flower, or even eat a sunflower seed, remember God’s promise to us that He will make us new! And remember, before you can become completely new, you must die. Die to self, die to flesh, and eventually, die to this world. And what a glorious day it will be!
“in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, . . . The dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. . . With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”
1 Corinthians 15:52,58 NIV/MSG