First to Best
Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. – 1 Corinthians 15:45 (NRSV)
Paul’s trying hard to explain what the spiritual has to do with the physical, what the perishable has to do with the imperishable, what one generation has to do with the next, what death has to do with life.
To try to make it clear, he draws a line from Adam, way back at the beginning, to Jesus, connecting the very first to the very best. The big difference between the two, he says, is that Adam received life from God, and Jesus gave God’s life.
Then he takes that millennia-long arc of evolution and development, and compresses it down to the length of one human existence. It took thousands of years and at least one incarnation for humanity to evolve from life-taker to life-giver, he says, but you can do it before you die.
If the evolution from mud-creature to life-giving spirit, from being driven solely by your own needs to giving life to those around you, seems like too much to accomplish in one lifetime, just remember that you’ve done it before. Watch a human embryo develop in utero, and you’ll see millions of years of evolution flash by in a few months.
If you could manage to turn from zygote to human, you can manage this, no problem. You’ll need help, of course, from those who have gone before you, from God. But back before your first birth, you managed to reabsorb your own tail, and it’s not like you did that without help, either.
God, you gave me life and now I’m trying to give it away. Help me evolve. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.