Putting aside the usual main idea of sacrifice, if we look at the cross simply as a means to overcome death, and firstly by one man only, then it becomes a science/fiction matter. Man dies, because his internal composition has a time clock that prevents a constant continuation of life.
Today we call it genetic, and point to “genetic breakdown”, that usually means those parts of the body that are responsible for regenerating the worn out cells within us, start to fail and so cause the body itself to fail. There is a built in limitation to the time duration that can continue to support life.
Things get old, decay and die. Primitive societies insist that sin causes sickness, and we have the origin story that claims that sin causes death. The story itself indicates that man had a design characteristic that allowed for eternal life, but that the design was altered by corruption at an early stage.
Were we to view this at a semi-scientific level, we should conclude that, in all probability, it was simply that man by nature, could never possibly have been designed to live forever, because the ultimate union with God is to Spirit matter, not “flesh and blood”, which means that flesh and blood were never intended to meld with God the creator.
But when we include the man Jesus, and view his overcoming of death, and his subsequent transformation from the physical to the spiritual; we are forced to conclude that there is indeed a correlation of the two existences, that the existence of flesh and blood is valid to the argument of the designed extension of the primitive physical, into the absolute spiritual.
Further to this, is the understanding that the spiritual is as much a “physical” state as that which we see as flesh and blood, which then may very well be capable of transformation into the absolute state of the spiritual. Consider the butterfly and its transformation from a grub, wrapped up in a cocoon and waiting for the passage of time to reveal its majesty.
Consider the tombs of Lazarus and Jesus, where the casting aside of the death wraps revealed the creatures of death resurrected as creatures of life, Lazarus back to flesh, and Jesus projected into permanent life.
If we consider Jesus, in his overcoming of those forces that intended to cause him to fail the “morality test”, as the second Adam, having another go, another chance at that which the first Adam failed; then the “sin causes death” is valid, because it was in NOT sinning that Jesus was enabled to gain eternal life.
Somehow then, our genetics were damaged by the existence of sin, and on a simple basis it seems that it may be the case that if sin continues “unto the fourth generation”, that if one WERE able to have five generations of non-sinners, then eternal life would be regained.
But Jesus cuts this process short, because HE was not in the normal chain of human failure. HE was not of the same genetic material as us, because his father was God the creator, he was “begotten” as a son, not “created” like the first Adam.
He was fully human through his mother Mary, but resembled the first Adam in all respects BEFORE the failure caused by Adam’s sin.* [see below] [see possible correction below]
Jesus said that even if a man looked on a woman lustfully, he had committed adultery, so it is apparent that even to alter the thought processes away from the divine design, is enough to corrupt the physicality of man to death. One damaged or misplaced neuron may be all it takes to introduce the seed of death into the fruit of life.
While then the original design may have been perfect, it was never going to advance beyond the first generation, because built into the design of the created, is the “freewill” of the creator, which works ok at that level, but which is never going to work by giving free choice to the creation.
Besides, we see in children this desire to explore their environment, sometimes to their own physical destruction. The law was in place to propel us towards the maturity of understanding necessary to make proper choices. Yet it still inevitably failed in the face of an autonomous existence.
It probably doesn’t even alter the case if Jesus DID inherit the type of corruption that leads to physical death, since he was traveling through time in growth from a babe to child to man to maturity, with the distinct probability of aging as we do. This he could have inherited through Mary.
But because he was the son of God, his inherent genetic profile at THAT level, meant that he was never morally handicapped.
This is all fairly “academic” because we see Jesus, made a little lower than the angels, made to “taste death for everyone”. If he tasted death only as a consequence of Adam’s sin, in that because of that sin he was “mortal”, then due process of physical death ensued, but which was at odds, was in contrast with, the perfect life he led without sin or fault. He therefore could be subject to true spiritual forces in accordance with the reality of God’s existence, which meant he could be transformed into, or revealed as, the son of God in true spiritual physicality. ( a new creation).
Now, this is all very well for him, but how does it include US? Well, there is the statement that, “He became a life giving Spirit”. If we use the example of Pentecost, we see the rejuvenation of flesh and blood, by this very life giving Spirit, who “is the Lord”, By the presence of this Spirit, new life is brought into “old bones” of flesh and blood.
When mankind trusts in the ability of God to separate the morally good from the morally corrupt, on the basis of this “moral goodness” being permeated into the believer by the Spirit of life, who is Jesus and all that he has done and represents; and allows the use of this prior corrupted immoral body to house and home the very nature of the operation of God through the Spirit, because of the understanding of the love of God that has done this thing for us, at such personal cost as to command our attention and obedience; then “on faith” transformation takes place in such a way as to place us in the same order as Christ, because his characteristics now live in us, and which are worthy of preservation by the same resurrection which he gained.
This does represent some degree of downgrading of the physical body, at first impression. But we are told that it is the physical body that will be resurrected; but we are also told that some will suffer loss, through lack of degree of commitment, fulfillment and overcoming. This means the resultant eternal body will vary in glory depending on what the “judgment seat of Christ” reveals. It is understood that the inherent nature of Christ will be recovered from the human form in this process, and that there may be some degree of that which we understand as “separation” of the inherent good from the “residual” “not so good”.
So in that “He tasted death for everyone”, in this context, it would mean that it was “only” the direct aspect of death that we are concerned with here, in that his overcoming was the means by which we overcome, through “our” FAITH in his overcoming FOR US, in that this was the reason he did it, even though from our point of view, it was necessary that he DID do it for “his own sake”, although there are indications that he could have “called it off” at any time, and be rescued by angels; his transformation then would accord with something like “the transfiguration”, where he could rightfully be transformed into the full spiritual form.
In this way then, there appears the full impact of our redemption having been achieved by virtue of the fact that HE overcame, and it being our faith that joins into his overcoming, on the basis of trust in the motivation behind the whole action, that motivation being of course, LOVE.
It is the desire to be a part of that love and that love process; to be at one with the “divine lover”. This means that capitulation to his plan and purpose through the action of love, brought by his Spirit, is the “mechanism” by which we are drawn INTO that love, and consequently saved.
In this explanation, he bore our sin by bearing our death, and in having provided a solution and an answer to death, and by resurrection providing the proof and the means of life, through the Spirit, he provides by our trust in his love, the antidote to death and the guarantee of life.
- * [I have had cause to further think this and now consider Jesus did have the same faulty nature as us, so it was not just his moral correctness (righteousness) that enabled him to “jump” to eternal righteousness, but it was his very moral correctness that enabled him to OVERPOWER “his” death state of his own body that was due to inherited corruption. He “healed” himself, becoming the “first fruits”.] [Of the tree of life?]