What would life be like if you had never been born? This was the premise of the 1946 classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” George Baily, struggling with the emptiness of life, is contemplating taking his life, when an angel shows him how valuable his life really is. What if only one thing in history had happened differently, how would the world change? Imagine a world in which Adolph Hitler had been assassinated in 1938. What if the Confederate army had won the battle of Gettysburg? Such are the subjects of science fiction and can be interesting to think about. But what if the most important event in human history had never happened? What if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead? In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul takes up this thought considering what life would be like if there were no resurrection. First in verses 12-28 Paul appeals to logic showing 1) that a denial of the resurrection of the dead is theologically false and would result in the futility of the Christian faith (v. 12-19); and 2) the consequences since the resurrection of the dead is true, namely that God is sovereign and omnipotent, so death must be conquered by a resurrection (v. 20-28). Then in verses 29-34 Paul makes an ad hominem appeal that, like his first argument, exposes the logical result and therefore illogical nature, of their thinking. If there is no final resurrection, then both he and they are fools for following what in the end has no value.
The irony is that many professing Christians who would never deny the resurrection, nevertheless live lives as if there were no resurrection.