So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 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. 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 15:42-49 ESV
This is one of those Scripture passages that blows my mind. Take a close look at the words. OK. Now go back and look even closer. Adam is compared to Jesus! Normally (when it is discussed at all) we are told that Paul is contrasting the sin of Adam with the righteousness of Christ. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it attempts to make Adam a sort of anti-Christ. But that’s not what Paul says at all. He calls Jesus Adam. That raises Adam up to something more than merely God’s loathsome exgardener.
The question, then, is, how are Jesus and Adam alike? Dr Bill Greenhaw makes a great statement in an excellent article on this exact passage, “Paul recognized an interesting parallel, as well as contrast, between Adam and Jesus. Adam was created immortal and was to be God’s representative and steward on the earth…” (Answers in Genesis, December 24, 2007). He gives the traditional argument better than anyone else I’ve read in a very readable fashion.
If you read that article, you see that the crux of the traditional rendering of this is actually found in an erroneous interpretation of Romans 5:12, ” Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12 ESV). I just want to mention a couple of things about this passage. “Men” is “anthropi” and therefore refers to men and women. The other thing is that it says that “death (through sin) spread to all men (and women)….” Here’s the kicker, “because all sinned.” If you’ve read my last two posts you might see where I’m going with this. Adam’s transgression spread death to all people because they all sinned.”
OK. You might be scratching your head. My point is that we need to realize what Romans 5: 12 is assumed to say but precisely does not say. It does not say that death spread to all future generations because they would all sin. I’m NOT saying that we don’t and that it didn’t. I’m saying that that is not what the text says. It says that just as grace spread to all of humanity at the very moment of Christ’s death so did death spread to all humanity at the moment of Adam’s trespass. The comparison only works with the existence of other people on earth to sin and die. The thing is, when we follow this comparison of Jesus to Adam, we understand that Adam’s presence in the garden must also be compared to Jesus’ presence in heaven post resurrection. If Adam lived and then died just like Jesus died then lived, then Adam’s life must have protected humanity from God’s wrath just as Jesus’ does. See the comparison?
I’m purposely going to stop there so people can ruminate on that a bit and make some comments, pray for my soul, that kind of thing.
And do go back and read my last two posts as well to see the whole train of thought so far.
Read all the articles in this thought provoking, original series: