Christ is the "image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation" ( Col 1:15 ). Like the first Adam, he is the "ruler of creation" ( Rev 3:14 ). He is its author and perfecter ( Heb 12:2 ). Anyone in Christ is a "new creation" ( 2 Co 5:17 ).
He existed in the form of God, yet did not consider equality with God something to be grasped ( Php 2:6 ). He did not desire to be more than man ( 2:7-8 ). He was "made like his brothers in every way" so that "by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death" and free those held in slavery by fear of death ( Hebrews 2:14 Hebrews 2:17 ).
Christ was crowned with glory and honor over the world to come ( Heb 2:5-7 ). The first Adam lost his crown and gained death. The second Adam was crowned because he tasted death for every man ( 2:8-9 ). Sin and death upon all men entered the world through one man. By the obedience of the second Adam life abounds to many ( Ro 5:12-19 ).
He was tempted in every way, as was Adam, yet was without sin ( Matt 4:1-11 ; Heb 4:15 ). Like the serpent he says, "Take and eat" ( Matt 26:26 ), but this food brings life to the world ( John 6:33 ). Christ and Adam are both sons of God ( Matt 1:1 ; Luke 3:37 ). Both have their sonship by his power ( Gen 2:7 ; Luke 1:35 ; Rom 1:4 ). God breathed into Adam the breath of life. Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" ( John 20:22 ).
"As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive" ( 1 Co 15:22 ). Adam was a pattern of the one to come ( Ro 5:14 ). One of the greatest things to be said for the first Adam was that he became "a living being." Christ, however, became "a life-giving spirit" ( 1 Co 15:45 ). This spiritual life force does not make us slaves again to fear but the spirit of the Son comes into our hearts crying "Abba, Father" ( Rom 8:15 ; Gal 4:6-7 ).
The first Adam came from the dust. The second Adam came from heaven ( 1 Co 15:47 ). He came down from heaven not to do his own will but the will of him who sent him ( John 6:38 ). God called the first man by name out of hiding ( Gen 3:9 ). The second Adam calls his own by name and they hear his voice ( John 10:3 ). One day the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. Those who hear will live ( John 5:25 ).
We have borne the likeness of the earthly man, the first Adam. In the resurrection we will bear the likeness of the man from heaven ( 1 Co 15:49 ). By the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, he will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like his glorious body. The last enemy placed under the feet of the second Adam is death ( Psalm 110:1 ; 1 Col 15:26 ). He will not reach out and try to grasp more but will turn everything over to God who will be all in all (15:28).
Bibliography. C. K. Barrett, From First Adam to Last; W. D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism; J. D. G. Dunn, Christology in the Making; H. Ridderbos, Paul; R. Scroggs, The Last Adam.
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
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Bibliography InformationElwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Adam, the Second'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology".