And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:23-25 ESV)
Jesus often described the Father’s work in creation through the metaphor of planting seed, growing grain and fruit, and harvest. In John 12:24, Jesus uses the seed metaphor to describe His own death and resurrection and in it, reveals a process repeated throughout all of creation.
The seed is initially a living thing, something pure, undefiled and made in the image of the plant it came from, though obviously not yet revealed while still in seed form. The seed separates from its host and falls to the earth and dies, whereupon through a kind of resurrection from its dead-state, the seed grows up into the image of the plant from which it came. The process repeats again and again.
Our very lives are seed-like. Once we were alive in Adam and Eve, but through sin became separated from our host (God) and died (spiritually), only to be resurrected by God through His Son to become a “planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor” (Isaiah 61:3) and “sons of God in Christ” (Galatians 3:26).
Not only have we died and require resurrection, so did the very world God created. At present, this world is still in a dead state and subject to decay (Romans 8:19-21), but at the end of Revelation we see a “new heaven and new earth” and the Holy City that God has made descending from the Lord in heaven to the new earth below where God and man will at long last live together forever (Revelation 21:1-3).
Even the Ecclesia (church), once so alive and vibrant in Acts 2-4 is now a dead thing, a shell of its former self. The church has shut Jesus out which leaves Him “knocking on the door”(Revelation 3:20), as if it were the grave and only those awakened by the Spirit and given ears to hear (1 Corinthians 2:9-15) answer His knock, whereupon Jesus enters into him and they sup together. If indeed John 12:24 describes the Lord’s process with all creation, will the Lord not raise up the Ecclesia (church) again from its dead-state?
This pattern of ‘life, death and resurrection’ looks to be a kind of universal truth / way of God with creation, which makes me wonder about God’s plan in creating us. Could God have created a people who would love Him of their own free will? Or was it necessary to create us, allow us to separate ourselves from Him through sin and die, that He might demonstrate His overcoming love by resurrecting us and thereby give us cause to love Him in return of our own free will?