John R Gavazzoni
Thousand Oaks, CA
At the heart of Paul's understanding of "the resurrection of the dead" is his explanation found in 1Cor.15: 42 thru 50. Many preachers have interpreted verse 44b out of context. There is indeed a natural body and a spiritual body, but in the context Paul makes it clear that the spiritual body is the true inner constitution of the natural body.
- Beginning with verse 42, he writes of just one "it," not two.
- In explaining the nature of the resurrection of the dead, he repeats his point several times:
- "IT is sown a perishable body,
- IT (same body) is raised an imperishable body:
- IT is sown in dishonor,
- IT is raised in glory;
- IT is sown in weakness,
- IT is raised in power;
- IT is sown a natural body,
- IT is raised a spiritual body.
- If there is a natural body,
- there is also a spiritual body."
Nothing has been set aside to be replaced by something of a different nature. The former is transformed, not abandoned. God neither wastes nor loses anything. This is attention-grabbing enough were it not for the greater underlying truth that he is building to in this discourse, for he bridges to the seminal issue in verse 45, in effect saying that the principle he has just made clear is personified by the relationship between the first man, Adam, and the last Adam.
Get his flow of thought. Moving on, he writes, "So ALSO it is written (that is, what Paul is about to reveal, is to be understood as consistent with what he has just explained), 'The first man Adam became a living soul.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." The point he is making is that the first Adam who was sown in death, natural, perishable, dishonored, and weak, HE was raised, as the Last Adam, to be a life-giving spirit.
In the first Adam's sin and death, we have the beginning of Christ becoming sin for us all, and dying for us all---the beginning of the process that was consummated on the cross, that we, raised from the dead with Him, might become the righteousness of God in Him. He is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last---the son of God as Adam, and the Son of God as Jesus.
But be sure that the eternal, incorruptible Seed of the Son of God as the first man, Adam, was never intrinsically corrupted by having to endure becoming what He was not in the aeons. It was of Himself that Jesus said, "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone...." The two deaths of the two individuals are really one death, humanity's death. That singular death was summed up, gathered up, came to its end in the death of Jesus Christ. But His intrinsic sonship, and ours in Him, remains incorruptible even while suffering mortality. In fact, incorruptibility proves itself and shines forth in its full brilliance through being subjected to mortality.
The incorruptible Seed can, and finally does transform the corruptible, but the corruptible cannot infect the incorruptible. All imperishability, all glory, all power, the truly spiritual is to be found within the perishable, the dishonored, the weak, the natural. The former invades the latter, but the reverse is not possible. The handy illustration used in my series titled, "Emmanuel, God with Us" comes to mind. I'm referring to the illustration of the row of spikes that are used in some parking lots that allow a car to enter the lot at one point where the spikes give way to the car going in that direction, but the car cannot exit at the same exit, for going in that direction, the spikes will not yield to it.
God has placed "spikes" between corruptibility and incorruptibility. The incorruptibility of our sonship can transformingly invade the realm of corruption, but corruption faces an impenetrable barrier when it tries to infect incorruption. Now to be specific re: the relationship of Adam and Jesus.
I am saying that the eternal Son of God became Adam by the Father taking of the Son's substance (including ours), and from that substance creating the universe [creation ex nihilo (out of nothing) is theological nonsense]. Then, the Son of God yielded to His Father's will by becoming a creature---by being formed of the dust of the earth, which earth is really constituted by the glory of God (The whole earth is full of His glory).
His sonship, which is the sonship of the One who is the radiance of God's glory, is the inner constitution of all earthenness. Earthenness is glory incognito, awaiting deliverance from its bondage to decay by the revealing of the sons of God---by the sons of God coming into the liberty of their glory. The reason that all creation awaits the revealing of the sons of God, is because creation is made of the spirit-substance of the sons; so, as go the sons, so goes all creation.
The Son of God then became Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, our Lord, through being born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit. The eternally begotten Son of God became Adam in the aeons through the creative act of forming Adam of the dust of the ground. Adam was created, not birthed, and all that is birthed out of Adam is an extension of his creaturehood.
But Jesus birth was by impregnation of the eternal Seed of the Father. Mary's womb was caused to participate in the conception-capacity of God, and the eternal Son of God came into the world through the birth canal of a woman. This was THE birth "from above," as the all-inclusive birth of all who are "born from above." The eternal Seed lies dormant within every man's creaturehood until released by the grace of God.
It is a matter of great wonder that Mary's humanness originated from the Son of God as Adam, while, as Jesus, the Son of God, in the aeon, received his Humanness through Mary who owed her humanness to His.
Ponder that. Wonder of wonders! Most Christians miss the point that Jesus was making in His constant reference to Himself as the Son of Man.
Theologically, He was insisting that He, the Son of God, be recognized as the Son of Adam. In the midst of a religious culture that dehumanized people, He confronted that culture by affirming His absolute ontological solidarity with humanity. The scribes and Pharisees, in effect, depreciated humanness, but Jesus was God's testimony to humanity's glory. He only sparingly referred to Himself as the Son of God, but He took to Himself the title, Son of Adam, as a badge of honor.
This was a frontal attack against Jewish elitism. While others took pride in being the children of Abraham, He claimed ancestry from Adam.
This truth lies at the heart of Christian universal restorationism--- the truth of the Son of God's solidarity with Adam. I used to think that God sent us, as it were, though the valley of the shadow of death to meet us in Christ 4000 years later when Christ came to earth. But this is not so. He took us with Himself through that dark valley---we all participating in His suffering, death, burial and resurrection into the glory of the Father.
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John R Gavazzoni
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