In his new monograph, The Resurrection of Jesus, Michael Licona summarizes as follows how he sees Paul conceiving of believers’ possible ends:
Paul sees two options before believers. Some believers will die prior to the parousia and will become disembodied until the general resurrection, while believers alive at the parousia will have their earthly bodies clothed with their new resurrection body made by God. Paul certainly prefers to avoid the former. But his faith gives him confidence that, if he dies prior to the parousia, he will be with the Lord, although in a disembodied state, which he prefers over present life in the earthly body. And being with Christ is what matters most to Paul (435–36).
Yet, those who do die before the parousia remain conscious in their disembodied state, but they also await the fresh clothing of their disembodiment by a “resurrection body” (420–22, 425–36).
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