In the past, I’ve tried to explain the continuity between our present bodily selves and our bodily selves in the new creation with a computer analogy from N. T. Wright. The analogy was as follows: when we die, God uploads our software to God’s hardware until such a time as God will give us new hardware on which to run our software. Seeing puzzled looks, I tried to elaborate and used the example of a time when I got a new iPhone. Adam Hamilton has a new book out in which he has done the same thing. Here’s his version:
How is it that our essential self continues when the brain, which seems to serve as our hard drive and central processing unit, no longer lives? And how does such a transfer from our physical body to whatever spiritual body God has prepared for us actually occur? I use an iPhone. My phone was several years (and three models) old and starting to run a bit slower, the charge wasn’t lasting as long, the memory was full, and the phone seemed to need to restart from time to time. So I purchased a new one. The new phone came with upgraded features. It was faster and had more memory and new capabilities. I opened the box, powered it up, and logged in using my e-mail and password from my old phone, and voilà: my pictures, songs, videos, e-mail, texts, apps, and files— all of my memories— on my previous phone showed up on my new phone, having been stored in “the cloud.” As I watched my new phone come alive, with all my old data on it, it struck me that this process was analogous to what Christians believe happens in our death and resurrection: everything that makes us us— our thoughts, memories, personality— will continue to exist, albeit in an imperishable (upgraded!) body, a spiritual body, with God.
For those of you who are Android fans, I’m sure there’s an Android equivalent, I just don’t know what it is.
Adam Hamilton, Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times (New York: Convergent, 2018), Kindle, 212.