We follow this sequence in Scripture: The First Adam received life, the Last Adam is a life-giving Spirit.
Physical life comes first, then spiritual -
a firm base shaped from the earth, a final completion coming out of heaven.
The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly.
In the same way that we've worked from our earthy origins, let's embrace our heavenly ends.
I need to emphasize, friends, that our natural, earthy lives don't in themselves lead us by their very nature into the kingdom of God. Their very "nature" is to die, so how could they "naturally" end up in the Life kingdom?
But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand. We're not all going to die - but we are all going to be changed.
You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes - it's over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed.
In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal.
Then the saying will come true: Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)