C. S. Lewis, author of the book "The Problem
(page 106) Chapter Eight entitled "Hell", says this:
I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully, "All will be
(page 76) Chapter Five entitled "The Fall of
Man" says this:
...and we have said nothing about the Pauline statement that
"as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Jack (C. S. Lewis) did have the answer but did not see it.
WILL ALL WHO DIE IN ADAM BE MADE ALIVE IN CHRIST?
Man was made for life, but death swallows up
the race. Is death always to be the abject, heartbreaking
end of life, or will death some day be vanquished and
its vic- tims freed? The right answer to this question reveals a triumphant Saviour, strengthens faith in God,
gives true comfort, and inspires worship, thanksgiving
and joy. The right answer is God's answer. It is
direct and clear. Note it carefully.
AS in Adam ALLdie SO ALSO in Christ shall ALLbe made alive. BUT each in his own order:
1. Christ the Firstfruit;
2. Then they that are Christ's, at His coming;
3. Then cometh the end [order], WHEN He shall
deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; WHEN He
shall have abolished ALLrule and ALLauthority and power. For He must reign. TILL He hath put all His
enemies under His feet. THE LAST ENEMY THAT SHALL BE ABOLISHED IS DEATH. (1 Cor. 15:22-26, R.V.).
This is an unexplored portion of God's Word to
many. Its challenging statements should strengthen our deter- mination to understand and believe the truth God has revealed in it. Let us consider some of its
As in Adam all die. Death is the heritage of all who are related to Adam, none escape it. Even those
who believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour, succumb
to the sleep of death and are referred to as "the
dead in Christ" (1 Thess. -18); and as "the dead" that "shall be raised incorruptible" (1 Cor. ,
52). The fact that "those who are Christ's"
need to be "made alive at His coming" shows that they too are
included in the ALL
who die in Adam.
Satan's success in blinding men to the nature
and extent of death is the cause of much error. That
this would be a master stroke of deception is
evidenced by the fact that Satan's first lie was "You
shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). This deception is still
believed by many in spite of the fact that all die. Truth is
sometimes rejected because it is unpleasant. The apparent
finality of death appalls man. His aversion to death
causes him to welcome any philosophy that explains it
away. To reject the truth concerning death is to lose
the com- fort contained in God's way of dealing with it.
Death is indeed a grim and relentless enemy but there
is One Who is "the Resurrection and the Life"
(John ). He has "the keys of death and of Hades"
(Rev. 1:17, 18). He it is who will conquer death and set its
victims free. Hear the thrilling words:
So also in Christ shall all be made alive. Think of it ALL who die in Adam will be made
alive in Christ! Made alive beyond the reach of death. Made alive
unto immortality as was Christ "the Firstfruit" when He was raised from the dead (1 Tim. ). Made alive as "those who are Christ's" will be
made alive at His coming — the dead raised
"incorruptible" and the living "changed" from mortal to immortal (1 Cor. 15:51-55). Marvel of marvels, "incorruptible"
and "immortal" — incapable of being corrupted and incapable of
dying. This is the "victory" that will
"swallow up" all death in due time. What rejoicing there will be then!
What glory to God and to His Son!
But each in his own order. Not a "but" of exception, rather a "but" of order. ALL
are to be made alive but at different times. "Each in his own order."
Three orders are enumerated and located in relation to other
1. Christ the Firstfruit
— Three days alter His death.
2. Then those who are Christ's — At His
3. Then the end [order] — WHEN He shall
deliver up the kingdom.
It is the third or "end" order that
many overlook. A thoughtful reading of this passage will enable
most be- lievers to see clearly that the words "then cometh the end" refer to this end order to be made
alive. The sub- ject the apostle is elucidating is: The order in which all who die in Adam will be made alive in Christ
(vs. 22- 24). Christ the firstfruit
(order one) and those who are Christ's at His coming (order two) comprise
only a small part of the all who die in Adam. A third
order is necessary to make all alive. To refer the
"end" to anything else is to ignore the context and to
introduce something foreign to the subject. It cannot
possibly refer to an end of the kingdom, for though the
kingdom will be "delivered up" to the Father (1
it will never end (Luke ).
Four statements in this passage indicate that
the words "then cometh the end" refer to
the making alive of an end order.
1. "As in Adam all die, so also in Christ
shall all be made alive. But each in his own order" (vs. 22.
2. "The last enemy that shall be
abolished is death" (vs. 26). It is the making alive of ALL
that will abolish death. As long as any remain dead, death has not been abolished.
3. "When all things have been subjected
unto the Son" (vs. 27, 28). The dead must ALL
be made alive if all are to be sub- jected unto the Son. The only exception in this subjection is God the Father.
4. "That God may be All in all" (vs.
28). This requires that all be made alive. As long as any remain dead God
cannot be ALL in ALL, for He is not the God of the dead (Luke , 38).
But the question arises, May not the making
alive of this end order refer to "the resurrection
unto judg- ment" at the time of the "Great White
Throne" (John ; Rev. 20:11-15)9 This cannot be the case for three reasons :
1. In the resurrection unto judgment the dead
are not made alive unto immortality as is the case in the end
order. Were they raised "incorruptible" and
"immortal" to be judged, they could not afterward die the second death. God's
Word makes it clear that "if any are not found written
in the book of life" they will suffer the second death (Rev.
2. The making alive of the end order will
abolish death. The resurrection unto judgment does not do this for
it is followed by the second death. As long as the second death
exists, death has not been abolished.
3. The making alive of this end order takes
place long after the resurrection unto judgment at the Great White
Throne— more than a whole age later. The end
order is made alive, "WHEN He shall deliver up the kingdom to God
even the Father." When does He do this? "WHEN He
shall have abolished ALL
RULE and ALL AUTHORITY and POWER. For He must reign TILL He hath put all
His enemies under His feet. THE LAST ENEMY THAT SHALL BE ABOLISHED IS DEATH" (1 Cor. -26, R.V.).
The Son does not deliver up the kingdom to God
the Father until He has abolished all rule,
authority, power, and death. Since death is the last enemy to be
abolished, as long as rule, authority, and power remain, the
end order has not been made alive. With these facts
in mind let us glance at the outstanding events of the
future which bear on this subject.
AN OUTLINE OF FUTURE EVENTS When Christ returns He will set up a kingdom upon earth (Rev. 11:15; Dan. ). Together with His saints He will then reign for 1,000 years (Rev.
19:11- 20:6). When the 1,000 years are finished there
will be a Satan-led revolt which ends in disaster for the
re- volters (Rev. 20:7-10). This will be followed by the resurrection unto judgment (Rev. 20:5, 6 and
11-15). The present heavens and earth will then be
dissolved (2 Pet. 3:7-13). Then will come
the New Heavens and the New Earth upon which the New Jerusalem
descends (Rev. 21:1-22:5).
Will rule, authority, and power still be
present on the New Earth? If so, death has not yet been
abolished. Let us see: "The throne of God and of the
Lamb shall be therein" (Rev. 22:3). "And his
servants shall serve him" and "they shall reign for
the ages of the
ages" (Rev. 22:3-5). "The Kings of the
earth bring their glory into the New Jerusalem" (Rev. 21:23,
24). Yes, rule, authority, and power are still present on
the New Earth. The Lord Jesus is still reigning, the
saints are still reigning, and there are still kings on the
earth. The end order has not yet been made alive. Since
there will be no death on the New Earth (Rev. 21:1-4), the
only dead ones to be made alive in the end order are
those who have suffered the second death. When these
have been made alive, then indeed and in truth, death
will have been abolished.
The question arises, When will these who are
made alive in the end order come to believe in Jesus
Christ as their Saviour? Another question answers this
one. How can unbelievers experience the
resurrecting power of Jesus Christ in saving them out of the first
death, be brought into His presence at the Great White
Throne, and not believe? The Judge is none other than the Saviour (Rom. ). "All judgment has been given unto the Son that all may honor the Son
even as they honor the Father" (John , 23).
But the objection arises, if they come to know
Jesus Christ as their Saviour then, why should they
suffer the second death? Again we would answer by asking
another question. Why do those wile believe during this
life suffer the first death? We should not forget that
the first death is the condemnation of God against
sin (Rom. -19). Deliverance out of it for anyone is on the basis of the saving work of Jesus Christ (John ). Unbelievers will be saved out of the first
death in the "resurrection unto judgment" (John , 29). They will then be judged and dealt with according to
their deeds (Rom. 2:5, 6; Rev. 20:11-15) after which they will suffer the second death. The second death is
because of the sins of the individual, and deliverance
out of it will be on the basis of the saving work of Jesus
Christ (1 John 2:2; Rom. 5:18, 19; 1 Cor.
The teaching of endless punishment slanders
the character of God and dishonors His Son. Failure
to distinguish between the elective salvation of the
ages (2 Tim. ),
and the general salvation beyond (1 Tim. 4 :9-11;2:3-6), has caused many to malign the God they seek to glorify. This distinction is clearly
revealed in the types of the Old Testament. There was a redemption for some prior to Jubilee, and a
deliverance for all at Jubilee (Lev. 25:1-55). There is to be a grand
Jubilee of Salvation. All are to receive
"justification of life" and "be made righteous" (Rom. , 19). Jesus Christ is indeed a triumphant Saviour! "The
pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand, He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied"
(Isa. 53:10, 11). —Rev. JOSEPH E. KIRK