“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 15:49
Over the past year we have taken up the subject of Jesus as the Second or Last Adam on several occasions during various sermons (1 Cor. 15:45-49). In August I wrote a blog post on this great doctrine and this past Sunday we devoted a whole sermon to it. As is often the case, I wanted to write a follow-up blog to the sermon. This post should also further undergird the previous post.
One significant Scripture that hasn’t yet been mentioned is 1 Corinthians 15:27. The preceding verses were addressed in the sermon, so I will not do it again here. What is significant is that Paul quotes Psalm 8 (8:6 specifically) in his argument. This Psalm echoes the creation mandate (Gen. 1:26-28). Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner wrote the following about Paul’s use of Psalm 8: “[He] interprets this psalm as applying to the Messiah as the one who brings to fulfillment God’s intentions for humanity.” Later they wrote: “His point is that Christ, as the last Adam, retrieved the situation that the first Adam lost.” (pgs.745-6) Commenting on the same passage, Robert Peterson wrote:
Although this dominion was greatly marred when Adam’s sin brought sin and death to humankind, the second Adam restores that dominion by rising from the dead, giving life to his people, and giving the kingdom to God the Father on the last day. When the second Adam returns for his risen people, even “those who belong to Christ” (1 Cor. 15:23), Psalm 8:6 will ring true forever: “For ‘God has put all things in subjection under his feet’” (1 Cor. 15:27). (pg. 481)
Just as Adam was head of creation and failed, so Christ is head of the new creation and has succeeded (1 Cor. 15:20). As Michael Reeves has said; “We were born of Adam. There is no hope for us in trying harder or getting some divine leniency. Our only hope is to be taken out of Adam’s old humanity, to be born again into a new humanity, to be a new creation.” (pg.30) As Jesus said, we must be born again! (Jn. 3:3-8) The message of Christmas is that we can be because the Last Adam has come. Thanks be to God, although: “In a garden Adam fell down into death; in a garden-tomb, Christ rose up from it.” (Reeves, pg. 32)
Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth. –Charles Wesley