Unlike the popular idea that when a person dies they become some sort of spirit the Bible places the emphasis upon the resurrection,  the process of being raised bodily from death.  The Old Testament teaches that a bodily existence and fellowship with God is the essence of being alive and death is the opposite - dissolution of the person/soul and separation from God (Job 14:12ff; Psalm 16:10f; 17:14f; 49:14f; 73:24; Isaiah 25:7f; 26:19f; 53:10; Ezekiel 37:1-14Daniel 12:2; Hosea 6:1-3; 13:14). Rather than some ethereal heavenly existence the Biblical hope is of resurrection in a new bodily existence on a future Earth. This is emphasised in the New Testament (John 11:24 and Acts 23:6ff).

The resurrection of the body is at the core of the New Testament and the teaching of the apostles (Acts 4:2; Acts 17:18; Acts 17:32).

Death is not the end of existence for Christians but a passing through to the resurrection of the body and this is shown in the teaching of Jesus about his own resurrection from death (John 2:19 - 21). He confirmed a general resurrection of all the dead (John 5:28f).

The certainty of the resurrection is found in Jesus himself. His resurrection was the first of what is to follow in the future (1 Corinthians 15:20; Acts 26:23; Romans 6:9). The resurrection truth is fully revealed in the New Testament by Jesus' resurrection (1 Cor 15:12-20) and establishes the future resurrection of believers.

It is clear then that the Bible does not teach an existence after death as a spirit and neither does it teach that death is non-existence. Paul says that our existence is a unity and not as separate parts (1 Thessalonians 5:23). All that we are will be preserved at the resurrection when Jesus returns. What does this mean? Genesis teaches that when God created man he produced a physical entity from the dust of the earth (constituent chemical elements) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (animated and made alive) and man became a living soul. So we are souls (perhaps a better translation of the Hebrew word nephesh would be person.  Therefore an existence without a physical body would be completely incongruous to the Hebrew mind (Old or New Testament). It is the resurrection of the body which is the believer's hope (Romans 8:23; Philippians 3:21).

Who gets resurrected?

All are resurrected, either to life or judgement (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:12) except those alive when Christ returns for his Church. They will be transformed without experiencing death (1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

There is an order to resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23): First, Christ, then the believers when Christ returns and finally, the general resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23f).

Jesus was the first to be resurrected changed and immortal (Romans 6:9; Hebrews 7:16; 7:25; Revelation 1:18). Jesus is the 'firstfruits' of the resurrection. Because he lives the believer will also live at the time of his return (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13ff).

The resurrection will happen because it is central to the Gospel message and the fact of Jesus' resurrection gives believers certain hope that they too will be resurrected to eternal life. It is so certain that the New Testament treats it as already accomplished (Acts 15:18; Ephesians 2:6).

The process of resurrection and the resurrection body.

Jesus' resurrected body is the pattern for the believer's resurrection body. Adam is the pattern for our earthly existence but Jesus is the pattern for our resurrected existence (1 Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2). There will be no babies or elderly in the resurrection, all will be mature and complete. Those who died as infants and babies will be resurrected mature and the old will be rejuvenated.

The resurrection body will be just as real as our bodies now - only, so much better! It will be the same yet different (1 Corinthians 15:44). Jesus could travel and appear in various places at will, yet he could sit and eat with the disciples. Jesus himself stated that he was not an apparition but a real physical presence (Luke 24:36-43) and many years later John recalled this (1 John 1:1-2).

The resurrection body will be the same body that died and was buried/burned or whatever (1 Corinthians 15:38) and not a new creation. The resurrected Jesus scars remained and his voice was recognised by those who knew him (John 20:24-29; John 20:11-18). But just as our bodies continually change now and yet we are the same persons, so the resurrected body may not contain any particles of the body which died but it will be a continuation of it, albeit with different attributes (1 Corinthians 15:36-38).

It will be the same body but operating on a different mode (1 Corinthians 15:50), not a 'flesh and blood' body. Our bodies now are animated by the blood. Our soul or person operates because of the work of the blood (Leviticus 17:11) and in fact the blood is said to be the locus of the soul. 'For the blood is the soul' (Genesis 9:4; Deut 12:23). Our flesh and blood existence causes us to be weak and limited and subject to mortality. The resurrection body is deliberately described as 'flesh and bone' because blood will no longer be the animating factor in our lives. The resurrection body is a spiritual body rather than a 'natural' (soulish) body (1 Corinthians 15:39, 44). It does not rely upon blood but the Spirit of God energising it (Romans 8:11).

The resurrection body will be incorruptible - ageless and mature (1 Corinthians 15:42; 6:13). It will be glorious in appearance - no ugly people (1 Corinthians 15:43). And powerful in operation - no gym needed with this one. It is always fit and never gets tired and if you don't feel like walking or flying, no need for cars and planes it gets there in an instant (1 Corinthians 15:43).