We’ve been looking at the names of God and how his names help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘The Last Adam’.
The Apostle Paul refers to God’s Son as ‘The Last Adam’ in his letter to the church in Corinth: ‘So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven’ (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).
Why is Jesus, the only man from heaven, referred to as the Last Adam?
To understand the Last Adam, we must understand the First Adam. The First Adam was the first human created by God after he made the heavens and the earth and filled them with every living thing. Sadly this Adam, sinned against God and brought death to himself and the whole human race.
But Jesus, as the Last Adam, obeyed God perfectly and never sinned. Therefore, like the first Adam, he has brought something to all his children. Not death, but life. As Paul says in Romans: ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23).
Thus, although the parallels between Adam and the Lord Jesus are many (e.g. they both were fully human, they both were tested by God, they both were tempted by Satan), it is this parallel between the gifts of life and death to their children that causes Paul to particularly call Christ the Last Adam. Paul also emphasises this parallel between death in the first Adam and life in the last Adam much attention in his letter to the Romans: ‘Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ’ (Romans 5:12-17).
Now, although everyone fell into a state of sin and misery with Adam, not everyone enters into holiness and life with Christ. You must repent of your sins and believe in Christ’s death for your sins if you wish to benefit from him.
Do you rejoice in the Last Adam because he has brought grace and life to you? Joel Radford