By Ward Fenley

I think it is very important to understand why the fool asked this question:

1 Corinthians 15:35  But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
We read:
1 Corinthians 15:16  For if the dead are not rising, then is not Christ raised:
Notice the tenses. The "raised" referring to Christ is in the perfect tense. This tense represents a once and for all complete action. Yet
Paul does not use the future tense for the first clause. Rather, Paul uses the present tense: For if the dead are not rising, then Christ has not been raised once and for all. Paul could easily have used the future tense. This brings us to the question of the one questioning the resurrection:
1 Corinthians 15:35  But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
First, the objector is not arguing here against the resurrection. Though the objector may very well have denial of the resurrection as his
foundation, at this point he is not arguing against the resurrection. If the objector was still assuming Paul was affirming a physical resurrection, it would make no sense whatsoever for the objector to ask how the dead are being raised and with what body they are coming. There is absolutely nothing in the preceding verses that would cause the objector to ask how the dead are raised and with what body are they coming except Paul's use of the present tense. The objector is questioning the nature of the resurrection. But why? Paul had just gotten through telling him that the dead are being raised. Obviously this would bring incredible difficulties to the one who had affirmed that not only was the resurrection a physical event but who also thought that at once a bunch of dead bodies would fly out of the grave. Now suddenly Paul tells him the dead are being raised. So then, this is precisely why the objector asks, "how are the dead being raised and with what body are they coming?" This last verb is also in the present tense. Paul had just destroyed the objector's concept of resurrection by affirming that is was in the process of taking place. So the objector is basically asking, "If this is the case that the dead are rising now, then how are they being raised and what kind of body is this that is being raised?" Paul is not dealing with some uniformed Gentile. He is dealing with a Jewish skeptic, and therefore Paul proceeds to describe the comparison between heavenly (New Covenant things) and earthly (Old Covenant things).

Some people try to use the plural use of 'dead' as a problem for those of us who affirm the biblical view of resurrection. Actually Paul makes an amazing statement concerning the dead to prove that the firstfruits were in the most real sense being raised from the dead:

Romans 6:13  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
They were apart of the body that was being made alive:
1 Timothy 6:13  I give thee charge in the sight of God, who is giving life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
2 Corinthians 1:9  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who is raising the dead:
Paul answers the fools question "How are the dead being raised?"

Paul's answer:

1 Corinthians 15:44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
Yes, the plural dead ones were being raised into a spiritual singular body. Regardless of whether there is plurality after the resurrection of the Singular body, the force of the text and the theology is clear: The people were to ultimately be gathered together into one body:
Ephesians 2:16  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
Colossians 1:20  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Romans 12:4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

Ephesians 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye (plural) are all one (singular) in Christ Jesus.

The firstfruits were already being gathered and would experience the complete change with the OT believers in AD 70:
Hebrews 11:35-40 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36  And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  37  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  38  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  39  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise (better resurrection): 40  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (better resurrection).  13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises (better resurrection), but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Hebrews 11:16  But now they desire a better country (better resurrection), that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
Hebrews 6:12  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience are inheriting the promises (better resurrection).

1 Corinthians 12:13  For by one Spirit are we (plural) all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Now, consider this next passage:
Ephesians 4:4  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

Colossians 3:11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Colossians 3:15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye (plural) are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Many struggle with this verse:
Romans 8:11  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 by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Again, it is obvious that there are plural bodies here. This is no different than the plural bodies here:
Hebrews 10:22  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Through the washing their plural bodies (the individual old men under the law) were united in one in Christ's image or body through the
2 Corinthians 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Romans 11:15  For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
Paul was not addressing physically dead people here but the living remnant which had not yet believed on Christ. Their fullness would soon come. And that fullness would be, life from the dead (plural). What is this fullness and life from the dead?
Romans 11:25-27  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. {26} And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: {27} For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
It is all about the New Covenant, not an imaginary blessing brought about by physical death. And what is the fullness? "When I shall take
away their sins."
1 Corinthians 15:15-16  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead are not rising (present tense). 16  For if the dead are not rising (present tense), then is not Christ raised (perfect tense or past tense):
Here is an exceedinly powerful testimony for this risingz from the dead:
Ephesians 5:14  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Certainly Paul is not commanding physically dead people to arise from the dead (nekrown).

Paul is commanding unbelievers to trust Christ and arise from the dead ones.

Likewise the plural nekrown is used here:

Colossians 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
It is clear that Paul was commanding the unbeliever to believe and partake in this rising from the dead to be united to the body which was being raised from the dead.

I hope this helps concerning the question of the fool in 1 Corinthians 15.

Ward Fenley