Jesus is the centre and foundation of our faith, and his great world-overturning resurrection is the source and focus of our hope (1 Corinthians 15:17). Resurrection is the reversal of death, and the significance of Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t just that it vindicated his teaching, but it opened the way to the resurrection of the cosmos. His resurrection was powerful enough to launch God’s great project - renewing all of creation.
You see, we were all born spiritually “dead” in our sins. Without Christ all of us are empty and looking to be filled with God’s eternal life, whether we know it or not. And all of creation yearns with us too, longing for its future renewal with us who believe (Romans 8:19-22).
There is no bad news in the resurrection of Christ, but it is built on bad news. Resurrection is a reversal of death, and because Jesus’ resurrection was a reversal of the cosmic death at work in the world we can find inspiring parallels between his death and resurrection, and ours.
God has a way of bringing things round full circle, but the new beginning God brings about is better than the old beginning. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God this was the end of our beginning and this rebellion set a knotted course for the whole human race. God’s response was recorded in Genesis 3:14-19.
As an act of mercy God barred humanity from having access to a tree that would allow them to live forever in their destructive rebellion. God told Adam that from the ground he would reap thorns and thistles. Through Jesus’ crucifixion he took the curse of our sin on himself. On his head soldiers placed a crown of thorns. Though they didn’t realise it, it was a sign of our curse being placed on his head.
Another curse was that the wife’s desires would be set against her husband, and her husband would rule over her (Genesis 3:16). Their broken relationship with God cascaded into broken relationships with the whole of creation and with one another. In Eve we have a picture of the church and as we look forward in the words of the book of Revelation, God brings everything round full circle. In Revelation 21:1-4 we see God’s people appearing like a city-bride, living in perfect beautiful relation with him, no longer under a curse. It isn’t going to be a curse for the husband of the Church to rule over us- our desire will be for Him, and every aspect of His Lordship over us will be a blessing.
As for Eve (and all mothers after her), there would be pain in childbirth. This is a universal principle – there is pain in bringing life. To be born the first time involves pain for our mothers, and to be born again involves pain on God’s behalf. God knew that the only way the human race could be born again is through Him dying for us in Jesus, a kind of spiritual childbirth (Genesis 3:15).
In the garden the serpent slyly asked Eve “did God really say…?” It caused speculation and doubts in their minds. In the gloom after Jesus’ crucifixion his disciples lived under those doubts. “Did Jesus really say…?” They felt the weight of the curse again. Peter and a few of the others briefly went back to their fishing, which was fruitless all night. They experienced the ‘thorns and thistles’ of the sea – a barren harvest until Jesus turned up (John 21:1-6).
In Genesis an angel barred the way to the garden. At Jesus’ empty tomb two angels showed the way (Matt 28:1-7). In Genesis a serpent deceived a woman, but in John 20:11-17 we see the opposite – God speaking to a woman. We see the opposite result too – where Adam and Eve hid from God and were thrown out under death, instead Mary holds on to God and is given a message of eternal life.
The blessing is very clear – from dust to dust, to resurrection.