The First Adam and the Last Adam

In my adult class on Sunday morning, we discussed the similarities and differences between Adam, who plunged the world into sin, and Jesus, the Last Adam who brought life into the world. It was enlightening and a joy to see the connections between these two federal heads. Our springboard for discussion was Paul writing to the Corinthian church:

45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).

  • Adam was made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), but Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).
  • In Adam all of humanity is born in death; through Christ all of the faithful are born unto life (Romans 5:12-15).
  • Adam is the federal head of the old creation; Christ is the federal head of the new creation.
  • Adam was told to have dominion over creation (Genesis 1:28); Christ is given authority over heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).
  • Adam failed to protect his bride, Eve, in the Garden (Genesis 3); Jesus, as Husband, protects His bride, the church, in a garden (John 18:1-11).
  • Adam gave into temptation from the Devil (Genesis 3); Christ overcame the temptations of the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11).
  • Adam failed to uphold the Word of God in the face of the Devil; Christ overcame the Devil by upholding the Word of God.
  • Adam’s bride was taken from his side while he was in a deep sleep (Genesis 2:21); Jesus suffers the sleep of death and His side is pierced open (John 19:31-37), then rising from the dead He claims His bride, the church.
  • Adam disobeyed God unto death (Genesis 2:21); Jesus obeyed unto death (Philippians 2:8).
  • Adam was called to be a gardener, but he is cursed to return to the very dust he was to cultivate (Genesis 3:19); Jesus rises from the dust and is mistaken as a gardener (John 20:11-18). Jesus is the Gardener, and He has reclaimed His life from the dust (thanks to Derek Thomas for pointing this one out).
  • Adam counted equality with God, grasped for it, and fell (Genesis 3); Christ has equality with God, became a servant unto death, and is highly exalted (Philippians 2:5-22).
  • Adam approached the tree in the Garden because of his wife (Genesis 3); Christ approached the tree (cross) on Golgotha because of His wife, the church.
  • Satan attacks the best gift God gave Adam, namely Eve; Satan continues to attack the best gift God gives His Son, namely the church.
  • God breathed life into Adam (Genesis 2:7); Jesus breathes on His disciples giving them the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).
  • Adam sent the world and its history on a downward spiral; the Last Adam reversed the course of history rising from the tomb making all things new.

This is, of course, not a complete list of the similarities and differences between Adam and Jesus, but there are many and they are striking. Feel free to add in comments any other biblical points to consider between Adam and Christ.

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