Two men had the most profound impact on mankind: Adam and Jesus Christ. Adam was the original man. Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten son and man’s redeemer, is called the “last Adam.”
I Corinthians 15:45:
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
The first Adam was made a living soul. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, a quickening or life-making spirit.
I Corinthians 15: 46 and 47:
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
Adam came first and was earthy. Jesus Christ came second and is the lord from heaven.
I Corinthians 15:48 and 49:
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Every man born is associated or identified with Adam, therefore, earthy. Being born into the world, we bear the image of Adam. Those of us who have confessed Jesus as our lord and believed God raised him from the dead are also born from above and identified with Christ. Being born again, we bear the image of Christ. Verse 49 refers only to Christians. As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall bear the image of the heavenly. The context of these verses specifically refers to when Christ returns. Then we shall bear the image of the heavenly, and no longer the image of the earthy. Until his return, in us we have both: the likeness of the earthy and the likeness of the heavenly.
The next verses show clearly the influence both these men have on mankind.
I Corinthians 15:21 and 22:
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
By man, Adam, came death; by man, Jesus Christ, came also the resurrection of the dead. Their impact is indeed profound and completely contrary to one another. In Adam all die, and in Christ all shall be made alive.
The Image of Adam
To begin to understand the two Adams, our study must start in Genesis with the beginning of the first Adam.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The Lord God formed man’s body from the dust of the ground and made man’s soul or breath-life. Once man had body and soul, God created spirit in him. The spirit was the crowning accomplishment of all of God’s creation in Genesis.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The word “image” means likeness or resemblance. According to John 4:24, the image of God is spirit. The original man, Adam, was a threefold being of body, soul, and spirit because man was created in God’s image, spirit, an intimate, loving relationship between God and man could ensue.
God’s man, Adam, walked and talked with God and lived in paradise. Adam was given complete dominion over the earth with only one stipulation.
Genesis 2:16 and 17:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
When God said, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” He literally meant it. God means what He says and says what He means. Genesis 3:1-6 records the serpent’s temptation and the willful disobedience of Eve and Adam. They listened to the Devil above God and man fell. When Adam and Eve lost spirit, their behavior immediately changed.
Genesis 3:7 and 8:
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Their behavior went from a loving, intimate fellowship with God to hiding. Why the change? God had said, “in the day … thou shalt surely die.” That which died “the” day was their spirit. When they sinned, the image of God, spirit, left them. The absence of spirit in the Scriptures is referred to as death, spiritual death.
The moment man lost spirit, he became body and soul only, and he took upon himself the sin nature. Spirit nature was gone; sin nature was present. His realm changed from God’s realm of the spiritual to man’s restricted realm of the natural.
This was the origin of the sin nature, the “old man” nature which is evil, completely contrary to God and which cannot be changed. According to Ephesians 4:22, it is “corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” In the next chapter we will consider its inherent characteristics in more depth.
We should consider another important truth in Genesis before we move ahead in our study. This truth concerns how God designed reproduction so that everything is after its own kind.
Genesis 1:11 and 12:
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his[its] kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his [its] kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his [its] kind: and God saw that it was good.
The English word “genus” is a derivative of the Latin word meaning “kind.” This verse teaches everything is after its own genus or kind. Everything in the plant kingdom is after its kind. When one plants a tomato seed, one reaps tomatoes. There is never any exception to this law. You have never seen a tomato plant with a cucumber hanging off it! Everything is after its own kind. The seed for reproduction is contained within each plant.
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
In the animal kingdom everything is after its kind. Dogs have puppies; cats have kittens. You cannot cross kinds and get a puppy-kitten. The seed for offspring in animals is contained within them.
This law is also true with mankind. As with the plant and animal kingdoms in which everything is after its kind, so it is with man. The seed for offspring in humans is also within them.
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.
Since the spirit was now gone, Adam no longer had the spirit to pass on, but he did have the sin nature. Adam’s children were not created in God’s image but rather born after Adam’s image or kind. Every person born is in Adam’s likeness, after his genus. Thus the human race is referred to as mankind. We are all after the kind of Adam.
Acts 17:26 tells us all men are of one blood, the blood of Adam. This makes Adam the head of the human race, the head of all mankind. Every man is after the same kind as Adam with one exception, Jesus Christ.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood ….
The soul life of mankind is in the blood. The aspect of the blood which has that soul life is contributed in reproduction by the male seed. Thus the soul life God made in Adam was passed to all mankind in the blood. We are all of Adam, except Jesus Christ because God created the seed for Jesus Christ in Mary.3 So the blood and hence the soul life in Jesus Christ was from God, not Adam. Everyone else has the same soul life as Adam, and is therefore born with sin nature.
This is why everyone is born dead (without spirit) in trespasses and sins.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
By nature, just being born, we bear Adam’s likeness, inherit sin nature, and are children of wrath. We are born in sin, separated from God.
Therefore, I Corinthians 15:21 and 22 say “by Adam came death” and “in Adam all die.” In Adam the spirit died, and the sin nature came alive. Tomatoes inherit that which a tomato seed provides. Puppies inherit that which dog seed provides. Mankind inherits that which Adam’s seed provides — sin!
Romans 1-3 show the pathetic, hopeless, helpless state of man as being identified with Adam. Chapter 3:9-19 summarizes mankind, the finished product which is Adam’s progeny.
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
This is not a very cheerful, positive summary of man’s kind. Man needed help! Man’s dilemma in being associated with Adam was the reason the second Adam, Jesus Christ, came. He was God’s plan for mankind’s redemption. God’s plan of redemption had to be in alignment with His Word, on legal grounds, and carried out in a just manner. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, was the just way to redeem man.
Adam: The Figure of Christ
Romans 5:6-10 again shows that man’s redemption had to be accomplished for him because he was without strength, ungodly, a sinner, and an enemy of God. Obviously, in this ungodly, pathetic, hopeless state, man was and is helpless to help himself. Therefore, God provided help — the ministry of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, the last Adam.
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement [reconciliation].
Jesus Christ accomplished what sinful men could not — our redemption. In Jesus Christ we received atonement, reconciliation. In Adam we received sin nature, also called the flesh, which is corrupt and corruptible.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
By Adam sin entered into the world. “Death” here means spiritual death, the absence of spirit, and because of spiritual death, eventually physical death, too. All men are born in sin, spiritually dead.
For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible which contain the Law, among other things. Moses lived thousands of years after Adam. Sin began with Adam, so it was in the world long before the Mosaic Law. However, sin was not imputed or recognized as sin until the Law was written. The Law gave man a knowledge of sin. But all the years of ignorance of sin did not eliminate sin and its effects: death. And though the Mosaic Law could reveal the sin nature, it could not rectify it.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude[likeness] of Adam’s transgression …
When a child is born he is born with sin, not because he sinned the same way Adam did, but because the child is associated with Adam. The issue is not sinning as Adam did; rather being identified with Adam, every child inherits the sin nature. Its basic characteristics are common to all men.
…who is the figure of him that was to come.
Adam is the “figure,” meaning type or pattern, of Jesus Christ. In what way was Adam a pattern for Christ? Certainly not in the way he disobeyed or sinned or brought death. One way he was a pattern is that he originally had pure blood and no sin and so did Jesus Christ. There are other ways he was a type for Christ, but in this context, he is primarily a pattern in the way mankind is identified with him.
The preceding verses show Adam as the head of the human race and his influences on all mankind. All inherit sin and death by being descendants of Adam. Man’s association with Adam as the head of the human race gives a clear pattern for the believer’s association with Christ as the head of the “spiritual race.” Man’s identification with Adam parallels the born-again one’s identification with Christ. The nature inherited from Adam is unmerited. The nature inherited from Christ is also unmerited. The reality of the sin nature in every man’s life has nothing to do with his actions; it is automatically inherited at birth. Likewise, the reality of the new nature, with all its spiritual benefits, has nothing to do with the believer’s actions; it is automatically inherited at the new birth.
ADAM: THE FIGURE OF CHRIST:
The rest of Romans 5 shows the influence both Adams have on mankind. Remember the influences of both are inherited with each birth.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one [Adam] many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one [Adam] that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one [Adam] to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s [Adam] offence death reigned by one [Adam]; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness [righteous acts] of one [Jesus Christ] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience [Adam] many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Jesus Christ]shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much moreabound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Image of Jesus Christ
Through the one man, Jesus Christ, the new nature was made available. This new nature made the Christian free from the old nature.
For the law of the Spirit of life [the new nature] in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death [the old nature].
Adam’s wrongdoing ill-effected mankind to a great degree. In comparison, Christ’s right doings effected mankind to a “much more” degree. Reread Romans 5:15,17,20, and note the words “much more.” Everything Adam lost, Jesus Christ gained back …and much more. Adam’s effect on mankind will come to an end. For the born-again, the effect ends spiritually at the point of the new birth and will be manifested fully when Christ returns. Therefore, Adam’s effect is temporal, but Christ’s effect is eternal. That is much more, would you not agree? In Christ salvation is available, righteousness, justification, sanctification, seated in the heavenlies, sonship, Christ within, and all of these realities are eternal, never to be lost. That is much more, don’t you think? The seven Church Epistles explain the “much more” gained in Christ that was lost in Adam.
The profound impact on mankind of two men, the two Adams, truly explains so much about life. Jesus Christ was indeed the counterpart of Adam. As one of a pair of gloves is to its mate, corresponding, but in reverse, so was Jesus Christ to Adam.
In doing rightly all that Adam did wrongly, Jesus Christ paid the price for man’s redemption.
Jesus Christ’s accomplishments were in the midst of extreme adversity, while Adam’s wrongdoings were in the ideal circumstances. Adam lived in paradise. Jesus Christ was born into an evil world. In paradise there was no sin; in the world in which Jesus Christ lived, sin abounded. Adam had spirit. Our lord was born without spirit and did not receive it until he began his ministry. Adam had only one other person to influence him, Eve. Jesus Christ had to contend with a world filled with unbelieving people.
Jesus Christ – Man’s Subsitution
The just recompense for mankind with its sin nature is condemnation and death. To redeem man, a just price had to be paid. The price paid was in the sacrifice of the perfect man, Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23 tell us we were bought with a price — the just for the unjust, the righteous for the condemned, the perfect man for sinful man, the spiritually alive for the spiritually dead. Jesus Christ was man’s substitution for sin.
I Peter 2:24:
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
When Jesus Christ was crucified, we were crucified with him (Romans 6:6). When he died, we died with him (Romans 6:2). When he was buried, our old man was buried with him (Romans 6:4). When God raised him from the dead, we were raised with him (Romans 6:4). He was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25). When he was raised, we were raised with him. We received the new nature making us redeemed, justified, righteous, and sanctified. In Christ our old man died, and our new man was made alive. When he ascended, we ascended with him. When he was seated at the right hand of God in the heavenlies, we as well were seated with him (Ephesians 2:5 and 6). When he comes back, we will be gathered together with him in glory (I Thessalonians 4:15-17).