In writing “Scientists discover eyes from organ donors can be brought back to life in breakthrough that questions whether death is 'truly irreversible'”, the headline writers at the Daily Mail certainly attracted the interest of many. One subheading in the article stated, “If findings extend to the brain, we could bring back living beings from the dead”.
The cynic might wonder if such statements from the research group are made so that additional funding can be secured for future studies. However, it is obvious that people want a certain hope that death, the greatest enemy we face, can be reversed or defeated. This foe, which brings grief and sorrow, is an unwelcome but inevitable visitor into our lives.
Medical research has proven to be invaluable in many areas, but it will never provide a positive solution concerning the reversing of death. In contrast, the Bible does shed abundant light on this subject and can give us a sure and certain hope.
Firstly we need to consider, “Why is there death, anyway?” The basic answer to that profound question is, “because of sin”.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
Scripture points us back to the first man, Adam. God placed him in a garden paradise, with “every tree . . . pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9), but warned him that “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
When Adam disobeyed God, his sin meant that death, both physical and spiritual, entered this world, and this has afflicted all humankind. Although we may protest that we were not there when this sin occurred, the Bible teaches that Adam was the federal head or representative of all those who would be born in his line, so his actions have consequences for us all.
The first half of Romans 5:18 confirms the truth that, because of Adam’s offence, judgement has come upon all his descendants.
“Therefore, as through one man's offence judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation . . .” (Romans 5:18a).
But the second half of that verse contains a message of great hope, as it speaks about another man whose righteous act brings life to all in His line.
“. . . even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (Romans 5:18b).
This Man is Jesus Christ. He is described in Scripture as the “last Adam” and the “second Man” (1 Corinthians 15:45,47). The adjectives “last” and “second” are very important as they help us understand His work and role.
A reader of the book of Genesis would expect Cain to be called the “second man” as he was Adam’s eldest son; literally, he was the second male human being. So why was Christ designated by God as the “second Man”? It highlights that, after Adam, until Christ appeared there's a sense in which no man counted at all. The answer is that all born in Adam’s line were of the same nature and character. The “second Man” (Christ) was not “of the earth, made of dust”, as Adam was, and didn’t have Adam’s nature; He was “the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47). His was a new kind of humanity.
Christ, like Adam, was the federal head or representative of all who would be in His line, and the fact that He is described as the “last Adam” means there will be no more new orders of humanity after Him. As we have seen in Romans 5:18b, through His righteous act the free gift of eternal life comes to all in His line.
“And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45).
The perfect obedience of Christ, the last Adam, culminated in His being crucified, and enduring there the punishment due for the sin of humanity. Christ having borne sin’s penalty on the cross meant that God’s just wrath against sin was totally satisfied, evidenced by Christ’s resurrection. His completed work means that all in His line will never be punished for sin but “will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). From Adam’s disobedient act there flowed death and condemnation but from Christ’s obedient act flows life and justification.
So, Scripture does give the answer to how death can be reversed. It can be summarised thus:
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
Are you “in Adam” or “in Christ”? Every individual’s nature, status and position before God falls in one of these two categories. To be “in Adam” means eternal condemnation but to be “in Christ” means “no condemnation” (Romans 8:1).
We live in a world where people regularly update their social media status, but no status is as important as our status in God’s sight.
Every individual who has confessed Jesus Christ as Lord, and is trusting in Him alone as their Saviour, can know that, having once been “in Adam” they are now “in Christ”. It is a position and status that can never be changed, updated, or improved. The amazing truth is that all “in Christ” are as secure and loved as He is.