An interesting topic came up in casual conversation recently. It was regeneration. I immediately thought about the possibilities and differences between regeneration and resurrection.
Regeneration, as I understand it, is the re-forming of something into what it was. In other words, what has deteriorated is made new like it was in the past. Some process occurs that makes the old new. When applied to the human body, a deteriorated body is restored to its previous state.
The question would be, is the person still dead or made alive? It would be assumed that to be fully regenerated a person would need to be made alive, again. I suppose this would mean that the Frankenstein monster was regenerated. The tissues are somehow restored and the brain and the heart are made to function again through electricity. Of course, the moral of the story is that doing this kind of thing leads only to evil.
So what is the difference between regeneration and resurrection? The best explanation I have read comes from St. Paul. Paul writes to the Corinthians. The logical Greeks are asking what kind of body is raised in the resurrection. Paul explains that we have two bodies, a physical one and spiritual one.
Our physical bodies are perishable. Our spiritual bodies are imperishable. Our mortal nature puts on immortality. He doesn’t say it explicitly, but Paul implies that we cannot have mortality without immortality. Otherwise, we wouldn’t know what mortality means.
We have a God given spirit within us. It tugs at us. We yearn for the “other” that is beyond our understanding that we “feel” inside us. Physically we can live out our lives without God and many people do that. But they do so ignoring their indwelling spirit who yearns for connection with the Holy Spirit. Some believe that human beings are complete and we do not need others to complete our lives whether it is other people or God. This philosophy of individualism is a bankrupt philosophy. If we pay attention to what goes on inside us, we know individualism leaves us less than we can be.
Jesus broke the bonds of sin and death, restoring us to full communion with God. Our response is made possible by the spirit inside us, planted by God. It is this spirit that joins God after our death.