The apostle Paul is trying to convince the believers in Corinth of the necessity of holding onto the hope of resurrection. But he doesn’t just appeal to their intellect; he appeals to their imagination. As we saw in a previous post, Paul used the metaphor of the first fruits of the harvest to help them reimagine the resurrection of Jesus as signaling a future crop of new life that would include the believers in their midst who had already died.
Paul then piles on another metaphor — Christ is also the second Adam:
Since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came through one too. In the same way that everyone dies in Adam, so also everyone will be given life in Christ. (1 Cor 15:21-22, CEB; cf. also Rom 5:12-21)
Adam is the representative Human Being as created by God. We share in his humanity, and therefore in the consequence of his sin: death. But those who are in Christ — including those who have “fallen asleep” in Christ — share in his humanity, and therefore his resurrection life.
It’s more than just a metaphor, really. Paul envisions Adam standing at the head of fallen humanity; we were created for life, but through sin, inherited death instead. But God has done something new. Jesus as the second Adam stands at the head of a redeemed and resurrected humanity. It’s tantamount to a reboot of creation:
So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived! (2 Cor 5:17, CEB)
The hope of resurrection isn’t just about my individual destiny as a believer; it’s about having a place in Creation 2.0. And although the new creation is not yet fully operational, newness already abounds. Maybe we could call it Creation 1.1?
We don’t have to wait to see evidence of the upgrade. We just have to pay attention, with our imaginations properly prepared.