O King and Lord, having slept in the flesh as a mortal, You arose on the third day, raising up Adam from corruption, and abolishing death. O Pascha of incorruption, the salvation of the world.
~Exapostelarion, Pascha, Trans. by Fr. George Papadeas
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
I Corinthians 15: 20-26
Christ is Risen!
The name “Adam” means “humanity.” Thus, when God created “Adam,” He did more than create a single person. He created humanity. The name “Eve” means “motherhood.” So, humanity combined with motherhood and now had a way to perpetuate itself. The Fall of Adam was not merely the fall of one person but the fall of humanity away from God. We do not inherit “original sin.” Rather, we inherit the consequences of sin, we all have sinful tendencies, and as Saint Paul write, in Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death.”
Christ become incarnate and is called “The Second Adam.” He does what the first Adam could not do. He shows us how to live as a new “Adam,” a new “humanity.” He does this by living in constant obedience to God the Father. Christ dies as a mortal, and in death, He goes to the place where all who died as descendants of Adam went, to Hades. The “Exapostelarion” of the Orthros of Pascha (which is sung at Orthros throughout the Paschal season) tell us that Christ, our “King and Lord,” “slept in the flesh as a mortal.” And when He arose on the third day, He raised up Adam (humanity) from corruption, and abolished death. In this case, death does not refer to the end of life on earth, but rather “death” in this case refers to separation from God, which is the fate of those in Hades. Those in Hades are separated from God, for this is what hell is, to be separated from God.
The Resurrection does not abolish earthly death. We will all die as part of our earthly existence. Rather the Resurrection abolishes spiritual death. For because of the Resurrection, those who believe in Christ will never be separated from Him. How comforting it is when we read in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In the Scripture passage from I Corinthians 15: 20-26, St. Paul writes that Christ, through the Resurrection, becomes the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, the first-born of the dead. Just as Adam was the first man God created, through the Resurrection, Christ becomes the first to show us that it is possible to die physically but not to die spiritually. Because of the Fall, humanity (Adam) had to die. Christ died in the same way that all other people die—He stopped breathing. But in death, He remained faithful to God, and through the Resurrection came back to physical life. Because of the Fall of Adam, we are all destined to die physically. However, because of the Resurrection of Christ, we all have the potential to be made alive. For as we read in I Corinthians 15:26, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” It is also the greatest of enemies, for to truly “die” means to be separated from God. However, by enduring physical death, Jesus destroyed the power of death, and His Resurrection assures us that nothing, not even physical death, will separated us from Him.
At the first Passover, when the angel of death passed over the houses of the Hebrews, it spared their first born sons from death, that night. Eventually, they would die. The New Passover, the “Pascha of incorruption,” the Resurrection of Christ, spares us from physical death, and leads to the salvation of the world.
You descended, into the deepest parts of the earth, and You shattered the everlasting bars, which held fast, those fettered; and on the third day, like Jonah from the whale You arose from the Tomb. (Sixth Ode, Paschal Canon, Translated by Fr. George Papadeas)
We will all suffer the consequences of the Fall of the First Adam. However, we can all be redeemed from those consequences because of the Resurrection of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.