So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
1 Corinthians 15:45-49
As I was reading this passage, it brought to mind that God cursed the ground; the earth for Adam’s sin back in Genesis. The curse is rather specific: Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it / All the days of your life. / Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; / And you will eat the plants of the field; / By the sweat of your face / You will eat bread, / Till you return to the ground, / Because from it you were taken; / For you are dust, / And to dust you shall return. And,while I am reasonably certain that what came to mind is not a doctrinal truth, I was reminded of the struggle between the flesh and the spirit.
From [earth men] were taken and in some measure, it feels as though we share in the curse on the ground. Sure, work is now laborious and difficult, but we were created to work. God placed Adam in the garden to tend it. What is more, men often find some of our best enjoyment in doing work and doing it well.
The image of the earthy that Paul mentions struck me as more than just being taken from the soil, but as a call back to the curse.The image of the earthy is to bring forth thorns and thistles, to cause us to toil and sweat and labor in order to get anything even remotely good out of it. So also is it with our flesh and anything virtuous. There are non-believers who labor and strive and by the sweat of their face and their heavy labor, they are able to bring forth something unobjectionable; palatable, even.
But the hope comes in when Paul notes that we will also bear the image of the heavenly. While I have to toil and strive to get anything good out of the flesh, I will have no such struggle when the image of the heavenly is fully formed in me. While the earthy produces thorns and thistles like anger and envy and strife, the heavenly produces the fruit of love an joy and peace.
While the connection is probably not doctrinal, the reminder that Christ is being formed in me and that my flesh is under a curse is an excellent reminder.