“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45)
The Apostle Paul compares Adam and Jesus, calling Jesus the last Adam. The two have more in common than you might think.
The Bible tells us that God made the first man, Adam, in His image and likeness. While Adam was made in the image of God, Christ is the image of the invisible God. The first Adam was a man who sought to become like God. The Last Adam was God who became a man.
The first Adam was made of dust but became a living soul with the breath of life. He had no father or mother. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. These are the only two men that came directly from God.
The first Adam yielded to temptation in a garden. The Last Adam beat temptation in a garden. The first Adam was naked and received clothes. The Last Adam became naked so that we would be clothed in righteousness.
Adam was created a perfect man; he knew no sin and had a God-consciousness, which enabled him to have fellowship with God. He was initially innocent, sinless, and holy; having the perfect relationship with God.
The last Adam, Jesus, was also a perfect man: one with God, innocent, sinless, and holy. The first Adam rejected good and chose evil; the last Adam refused evil and chose good.
Heads of Humanity
Paul makes several comparisons between Adam and Jesus in Romans 5. He shows that both are literal heads of humanity who bring certain consequences for mankind. All that are in Adam have death, guilt, and condemnation, while all that are in Christ have life, righteousness, and justification.
Adam was the first head of the human race. Jesus Christ is the head of redeemed humanity. Jesus died once for all time, there will never be the need for any further ‘Adam.’ He is the last man to be without a sin nature. Hence He is the last Adam.
The contrast here is between the first and the last, not the first and the second. There is no other savior; there will never be anyone sinless again. Jesus was the last Adam, not the second Adam.
The last Adam was the second man. Cain was the second person born but not the second man. Adam begat Cain “in his own likeness, after his image” (Genesis 5:3). The day that God created man, he was in the likeness of God. This likeness, was marred by the Fall. Adam was fruitful and multiplied not the likeness of God but the likeness of himself. He reproduced his fallen self both morally and physically. This image was the only one being produced until Christ, hence He is the second man.
Adam gave life to all his descendants; we all came from Adam. Jesus, who is life, gives eternal life to all those that believe on His name. While the life of the first Adam brought death, the death of the last Adam brought life.
Both Have Brides
God put Adam in a deep sleep, and by opening up his side and removing a rib, he made Adam’s bride: Eve. The wound from his side brought forth bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. The first Adam produced the flesh, the second Adam produced the Spirit.
While on the cross Jesus had his side pierced by a spear. The Bible calls the church the bride of Christ. Thus, a wound in Jesus’ side also produced a bride: the Church! The first Adam gained a wife when God opened man’s side, but the Last Adam gained a wife when man opened God’s side.
The word of God says that Adam was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14): while he was pure he chose to sacrifice himself for his bride, although he knew he shouldn’t have. Jesus also sacrificed Himself knowingly for His bride. The first Adam did so in disobedience, the last Adam did so in obedience. After the fall the first Adam blamed his bride, while the Last Adam took the blame for His bride.
In Adam or Christ?
All who are in Adam are reckoned guilty of his sin. A corrupted moral and spiritual nature is also partaken, causing people today to hide from God just as Adam did. Those who are in Adam have been completely corrupted: their bodies decay and eventually die. “In Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:45).
In order to change who’s dominion you are under, you must believe, repent, and receive Christ. In Christ, we receive forgiveness of sin and righteousness. We also receive a new heart inclined to Him so that we may fulfill our purpose on Earth. Christ also promises a renewed physical nature. At the resurrection our bodies will be raised. We will receive bodies that will never decay, be sick or in pain.
Under which head are you? With whose consequences are you sharing? Sin unto death or obedience unto righteousness?
Jesus restores what was lost with the fall and guarantees that we will never lose it again. We live in Christ, empowered by His spirit and perfect righteousness that is now conforming us into His image. We humans bear the image of Adam only for a while. Soon, we will bear the image of Jesus in the coming age.
After Adam sinned, God told him the ground was cursed and that it would produce thorns and thistles. The first Adam earned thorns. The Last Adam wore thorns. By the sweat of his brow the first Adam would eat, the second Adam sweated blood for us.
Jesus fulfilled the law and much more. He has promised a better portion for man. We no longer have to abide by the broken world system; we are now a part of the kingdom of God. The first Adam brought a curse. The Last Adam became a curse. We no longer have to live by the cursed system. We can live in complete freedom by all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus.
Adam, representing mankind, was given dominion over all that God created, except for fellow men. However, Adam was never given dominion over death. The first Adam tasted death from a tree. The Last Adam tasted death on a tree. Death conquered the first Adam; the last Adam conquered death.
After being raised from the dead, Jesus sat at God’s right hand and was given dominion over all things. The first Adam was lord over a limited domain; the last Adam is Lord of all.