“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” - 1 Cor. xv. 22.
AT the close of his letter, published in our last number, brother Culp, of Tennessee, requested our views on the above written text.
In establishing the doctrine of the resurrection, the apostle comes in this text to speak of the two distinct headships to which the people of God stand connected, viz: Adam and CHRIST: the former is the figure of the latter; the first was natural, the second is spiritual; the one was made a living soul, the other a Quickening Spirit; the first was of the earth earthy, the second Adam is the Lord from heaven. As natural beings we were created in the natural Adam, and were in him when he transgressed the law of his Creator, so that the sentence of death that fell on Adam as a consequence of his transgression, involved his posterity: “Death has passed on all men because all have sinned.” Adam being the legitimate head and representative of all the human family, all the human family die in him. As transgression, guilt and death attach to us in our relation to the first Adam, from Adam and from all his posterity, we are cut off from all hope of life or happiness, all we possess of the Adamic nature is death: and in the absence of the provisions of grace treasured up for the heirs of salvation in Jesus Christ, we are excluded from the last ray of life or mercy. The transgression and death of Adam did not effect the angels of glory, for they were not in him, nor could they be represented by him, but in Adam all die; that is, all that had an existence in him, of course all that should ever proceed from him by generation.
Even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Christ is not an earthly or natural head; his headship therefore does not relate to the human family as such; but he is a spiritual head, and represents a spiritual people, a people whose spiritual life was given them in him before the world began. In this Christ is evidently the antitype of the natural Adam: all the spiritual race were created in him, chosen in him, loved in him, secured and complete in him, before they had an earthly existence in the natural Adam. Therefore it is just as certain that all the spiritual seed of Christ shall be quickened and brought into the inheritance of the Son of God as it is that all the decendants of Adam are subjects of death. In Christ all shall be made alive - first, in the work of regeneration they shall be made alive from their natural state of death in trespasses and sins; and secondly, in the resurrection of their bodies: on which subject the inspired apostle is treating in the chapter from which the text is taken.
As we are all subject to death and ruin by virtue of our relationship to Adam as our natural head, even so we, the redeemed of the Lord, are the heirs of life and immortality by virtue of our relationship to Christ our spiritual Head. As by relation to Adam his transgression fixed guilt and death on us, so by virtue of pre-existing relationship and union to Christ his perfect work and righteousness is imputed to us, and he having in that relationship come under the law to redeem his people from under the law, having canceled the demands of the law, and brought in everlasting righteousness for his people, they shall all be made alive in him; but no where else. In him they have life; their life is hid with him in God, and because he lives they shall live also.
We do not believe, with some, that the ungodly are finally raised from the dead by virtue of Christ’s resurrection; for they are not to be raised with the saints, nor to life and immortal glory; but they shall finally be raised when death and hell shall be challenged to deliver up their dead; they shall arise then to a resurrection of damnation - a resurrection of shame and everlasting contempt. The resurrection of the bodies of all that are Christ’s shall take place at the sound of the trumpet of God, and at the voice of the archangel; they shall meet their Lord in the air and so shall be forever with him. After the resurrection of the dead in Christ, the dead that are not in Christ shall be raised in the manner before stated.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
August 16, 1841.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
pages 707 – 709