In my opinion, this is the most mystical passage of St. Paul’s writings. Not that there is any particular merit in being mystical. But I do sense a deep message in this passage, embedded and encoded by a Higher Self. And I do not want to miss such communication.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
The first image, that of “first fruits “, implies that the dead are not dead at all, rather, only sleeping. And so, if you consider this the truth, you would not say “goodbye” to those who die, rather “good night. ” As we comfort little children who are afraid of going to sleep, because of some genetically transmitted Victorian fairy tale of infant mortality, reassuring them that morning will come, that sleep is not death, that turning out the light is not extinguishing the flame, that closing the door is not the same as rolling the stone over the tomb, so we could comfort ourselves that death is but rest for the soul. Rest in peace. We will see one another at the dawn.
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
I don’t exactly know why Paul, or any Christian, needs to buy into the Hebrew notion that Adam cause Man to fall. This can remain an allegory in my book. The only prerequisite that Paul requires is that “Man” – humans – have caused their own misery, through their constant rutting in material, thus transient, “pleasure”, and the seemingly uncontrollable urge to kill one another. For this, we don’t need some guy named Adam, and his girlfriend, nor their murderous child. I think we all know it. But we may not know how this behavior causes death. I believe that the constant sorrow we cause ourselves makes us live in death every day, and that without this incessant self-loathing practice, we would indeed have life without death, without the fear of death. Thus, “since death came through a man” – since we create the conditions for death – “the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man” – only we can bring ourselves, our souls, our collective souls, back to a true life, a real life, a life without fear and death.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits;then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power
Indeed, the spiritual plan, from the dawn of creation, was to bury all, and raise all. A definitive plan. But there is more to it.
The plan is to make out of the chaos, a Kingdom. No doubt this suffers from Paul’s editorial chauvinism and deep seated desire for some kind of earthly power. Jesus himself was not in the habit of using the “king” allegory. His words were “in my father’s house there are many rooms. ” Regardless the Paul’s confusion, the image presented is that of God giving humanity a creation – a wild and beautiful creation, driven by free will and protected, but not curtailed, by Divine will. As we know such a creation can bristle with beauteous creativity, swirl with the rush of the beauty of it all, and also , erupt with violence hatred lust, boil over like a cesspool,or overflow like a fountain. There is creation that comes from the destruction – the final piece would be shallow without including the pain of birth and life. But in the end, what is given back to the Creator, should be finished, perfected, and this would require removing the cancer that comes from the abuse of will – dominion, authority, and power. Because these are delusions. There is no human who has power, nor dominion, nor authority. Humans are creatures, not creators. Once perfected, this “kingdom” will be a living entity, comprised of only the living – those who chose to live, by giving of themselves to the creation as a whole.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
A little confused – death is not a thing to be conquered. Paul has already said we are only sleeping, and without worry, since Jesus will awaken us. If anything, it is the belief in death as an end that is the enemy. It is the fear of this thing we think of as death, that kills us. This is the enemy to be destroyed.