Question: Why does the LDS Church teach that man first existed as spirits in heaven when 1 Corinthians 15:46 says that the physical body comes before the spiritual?

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Question: Why does the LDS Church teach that man first existed as spirits in heaven when 1 Corinthians 15:46 says that the physical body comes before the spiritual?

When Latter-day Saints speak of God creating our "spirit bodies," we do not mean the glorified, physical "spiritual body" of the resurrected

When Latter-day Saints speak of God creating our "spirit bodies," we do not mean the glorified, physical "spiritual body" of the resurrected. We refer to God's role as our Heavenly Father before our mortal lives.

Biblical statements indicate that God is the father of our spirits and we were known to him before our birth (e.g., Jeremiah 1:5). This is a separate doctrine from the doctrine of a glorious resurrection, which is clearly Paul's topic.

It is unfortunate that critics find it necessary to distort and twist the clear meaning of scripture in an attempt to make the Latter-day Saints "offenders for a word."

In context, Paul is clearly talking about the physical resurrection from the dead

In context, Paul is clearly talking about the physical resurrection from the dead. For example, earlier in the chapter he has written:

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
...
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
...
35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die... (1 Corinthians 15:12-36, selections as indicated by verse numbers)

Paul clearly believes, then, that the physical body with which we die will be resurrected.

He then tells the Saints that:

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption...
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:40-43.)

The "spiritual body" to which Paul refers is the resurrected physical body which has been glorified

The "spiritual body" to which Paul refers is the resurrected physical body which has been glorified.

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:52-53.)

The "natural" body is the weak, corruptible mortal body that is "sown in weakness." The "spiritual body" is the glorified, resurrected body "raised in power." But, this does not mean that it is not also a physical, or corporeal body—Paul has just spent several verses insisting upon the reality of Christ's resurrection, and using Him as a model for the resurrection of the Saints. And, clearly Jesus' body was tangible and physical following the resurrection:

39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have''.
40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. (Luke 24:39-42, (emphasis added).)

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