|Is there a parallel between the death of Christ and the death of
I AM REVEALED
Mar 18 2011
We have already looked at one aspect of this subject in our examination of Romans 5:18, and what we said there should
suffice. However, since my friends base their argument on more than that one text, we must also consider another
similar passage I Corinthians 15:22.
Here Paul make the explicit statement, 'For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.' 'Now what could
be clearer than that?' argues our friend. 'All humanity, without exception died in Adam. In the same way absolutely all
humanity, without exception, will be raised to life in Christ. That is what Scripture says!"
What the text does not say
That is not at all what the text literally or actually says.
1. Literally, the verse does not say that just as (absolutely) every one died in Adam so (absolutely) everyone will be
made alive in Christ. That is not what Paul says. He does not use the word which Christ used in speaking of the Flood
to exclude any exception.
2. Nor does the text speak of something which is merely hypothetical. That would be the case if he were attributing to
the power of Christ's resurrection the same number of people as to the death of Adam. But we know that such is not the
case. To assert that the resurrection of Christ will result finally in the giving of eternal life to every single descendant of
Adam is quite contrary to the gospel. We have already shown that such teaching is the heresy called absolute
universalism. It denies the eternal nature of punishment in hell, indeed goes so far as to abolish hell altogether and to
save the devil and all the fallen angels. Paul, speaking by the Spirit, could not and did not speak in support of such lies.
What the text actually says
What is the apostle saying in this passage? We have seen that in Romans 5:18 he draws a parallel between the federal
principle as it applies to Adam and as it applies to Christ. In this way he establishes the truth that just as Adam's
unrighteousness was imputed to his body, the human race, so the righteousness of the Son of God was imputed to his
mystical body. In the same way when he writes to the Corinthians, Paul, speaking of the resurrection, does not speak
only of the resurrection of the souls of Christ's sheep. He specifically mentions the resurrection of their bodies, since
Christ not only died, but physically rose again. (Paul's use of two different words in Romans 14:9 shows this to be so.)
The salvation procured by Christ, then, concerns the bodies of the redeemed as much as their souls. Paul has
particularly in mind the 'glorious resurrection' of the people of God as represented in their resurrected Head. This being
so he declares that all of these will be raised in Christ when he will resurrect them on the last day (John 6:39-40).
Paul in speaking of the resurrection is not discussing quantity but quality. His argument concerns not how many will be
raised but the nature of the resurrection. If we fail to imitate him and begin to speculate, we claim to be more intelligent
than the apostle. He commences by shutting the mouths of unbelievers by stating in connection with the resurrection
that Christ is 'risen from the dead'. He proceeds to console believers who now are one with Christ, are risen with him,
and seated with him in heavenly places where their life is hidden with Christ in God (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:3). To
encourage him further he tells them that, when the Son of God returns from heaven with the saints and accompanied by
holy angels, their bodies will also be raised. Then the trumpet call of God will sound and the voice of the archangel will
be heard (I Thessalonians 4:16).
This passage does not support universal atonement or absolute universalism any more than Romans 5:18 does. In fact
just the opposite is true for it specifically speaks of a 'resurrection' which the apostle does not hesitate to extol as a
glorious triumph (I Corinthians 15:41-57). This victory is most certainly not 'the life' which will be experienced by those
who will rise from the grave ' to shame and everlasting contempt' (Daniel 12:2).
THE CHURCH IS MINE, by César Malan, Copyright 2001, EVANGELICAL PRESS.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES