“When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of the earth.” Leif Enger
After Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden, God cursed the ground saying,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
Ever since those words, the ground has been fighting man. It refuses to yield its proper fruit. It advances the line whenever man doesn’t advance against it. In short, left to itself it becomes the mangled, morning hair of a child. Yet Jesus enters the ground and, unlike any before him, he rises up and stays alive. The ground would not recycle the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the firstfruit.
I was reading Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River (which is excellent) when his words made me realize the significance of this. As you read above, he says, “When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of the earth.” Resurrection is a miracle. Plain and simple.
When we die, the earth consumes our bodies returning it to dust. It seemingly advances against God. It dares him to speak those same words Jesus spoke to Lazarus, “Come forth.” And to say them finally.
It eats the flesh, the bones, and the ligaments. It consumes the geniuses of the earth. It consumes the lowly beggars. It consumes the Helens (whose beauty allegedly launched a thousand ships). It consumes the disfigured face of the unknown man. Death is no respecter of persons. It fights against the new creation by rotting our flesh.
But God. He loves a good ending. He loves a eucatastrophe. He already grabbed death by the neck on that resurrection Sunday and spun him around a thousand times. Now death staggers like a drunk. It hasn’t fallen completely but it will. It doesn’t know those decomposed bodies are seeds for the new earth (1 Cor. 15:35-41). Death is fertilizing the earth with our bodies until the time is ripe for God’s final resurrection. Its efforts are self-defeating.
Death may be unwilling to cough us back up, but our God will have nothing else in the end. He will speak, “Come forth.” And the earth will give forth its dead. God will have his resurrection fruit.