Jesus - The Last Adam
June 14, 2009 Length: 55:59
Fr. Tom contrasts the original Adam with Christ who is called The Last or New Adam.
Reflecting on the names and titles of Jesus, we already reflected on Jesus as the Son of Man, which is a very peculiar messianic title, and we also meditated a bit about Jesus as the man, or a man, a real, true, human being. Now we want to reflect a bit on a very particular New Testamental teaching, scriptural teaching, which runs through the entire tradition of the Orthodox Church, and that would be Jesus being the real Adam, or as it is written in I Corinthians, the final Adam, the last Adam, because there is the New Testament Scripture, a comparison and contrast, primarily, a contrast, or a comparison in order to contrast, the Adam of the original Genesis story, the Adam and Eve stories in the Bible in the Pentateuch, the book of Genesis and Jesus Christ as the final Adam and the real Adam: the first Adam being from the earth and the second Adam, the last Adam, being from heaven.
Now, if you are interested in examining this particular issue, there are two texts, perhaps even four that you really should read and study very carefully. The first is the fifth chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans where Adam and Christ are compared and contrasted, and then the 15th chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where you have exactly the same thing being done, a comparison and contrast between the Adam, the first Adam of the Genesis stories and then Jesus Christ himself, the final Adam. And then perhaps you might read the fourth chapter of the letter to the Ephesians, and the third chapter of the letter to Colossians where you have the comparison and contrast between the old human being and the new human being. The old man and the new man. The paleos anthropos and the keinos anthropos.
Now, first of all, let’s look at the old Adam, the original Adam. We know that we have in the Scripture, in the book of Genesis, the narration there about Adam and Eve and the creation of human beings. Now, what we can say about that original story in the Bible is that you have God creating the heavens and the earth and all things, and the plants and the animals, and the waters bring forth every manner of living thing, the swarms of living things. The earth brings forth all the earth creatures and the fish of the sea and the birds of the air. And we know—this would be certainly a dogma of Christianity, classical Christianity, that all this creation is very good. That however you explain it scientifically, its ultimate origin is God and that God is bringing forth everything that can possibly be brought forth and that it is all very good.
Nine times it speaks about the goodness of all the various kinds of creatures, but now we want to see the very particular creation of the human being, and here in Genesis, there are actually two stories. There are actually two different versions. We won’t go into them now, but what we want to see now for our purposes today is that you have man, anthropos, being fashioned from the dust, and being given the Adam, or Adama which actually means earth. It means earth or it means dust or clay or mud. And so, the original man, the original human is an earth creature. In fact, that’s probably how it could be translated. God fashioned the earth creature from the dust of the earth and then it says that God breathed his own spirit, his own life into this earth creature, and that the earth creature became what was called a living soul. And actually, that’s a kind of, for Hebrew language, that’s a kind of a, how do you say, double affirmation of the same reality, because in the Hebrew, the nephesh, which becomes in the Greek Bible in the New Testament, psuche, or soul, actually means life or living creature. A living soul. And in later Christian theology, the point will be made that the life of this earth creature, the human being that his life is, or his soul is, is rational. It is self-conscious, it is free, it is intelligent, it can make moral choices, unlike the souls of animals and plants. And in the Scripture, it would be the teaching that plants have vegetative souls and animals have animal souls, in fact the word anima in Latin is the word soul. It simply means soul. An animal is a living being. But the human animal, the human earth creature, is made with a living soul that is intelligent, conscious, free, capable of thinking, capable of speech, and it is said about this particular creature, the human being, that that creature unlike the others, is made ho tikona theo, in the image of God, according to the similitude of God, and we spoke about that when we meditated on Christ as the icon of God, or the image of God.
Now, what we have to see today, however, is that in the Bible, in the Genesis stories, you have the earth creature being made, and then you have very particularly creation of Eve, of the woman, the ish is the man, and the isha is the woman in Hebrew, and in the stories without getting into very specific detail, just generally speaking, it is shown how in the Scripture, the woman is fashioned out of the rib of man. She is shown to be the same substance of man. She’s taken from man’s substance, and God fashions her very particularly. And then the Adam, the earth creature, looks upon her and he says of her, she is now flesh of my flesh, and bones of my bones, and then it says in the Scripture that the two become one flesh. They become one reality, the male and the female. And it’s said in Genesis a couple of times, in the fifth chapter, it’s repeated again, in the fifth chapter of Genesis, it is said again, as its said in the beginning of the story, how God made man in the likeness of God, male and female he created them, and he blessed them, and he named them Adam. He named them earth creature when they were created. And then it goes on to say, when Adam had lived 130 years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his own image and named him Seth.
But what we see from the beginning is that you have Adam and Eve, the male and the female, called Adam, called humanity, called anthropos, made in the image and likeness of God. We see also in that particular narrative that the first humans were in Eden, in a garden that is called paradise in the Greek Scripture, and that paradise meant that they were in that reality where life was created to be a joyful life, a beautiful life, that they were to name the creatures and have power and authority them all. They were to govern the earth. They were to spread the paradise, and to do so by following the commandments of God, by glorifying God, or as St. Paul will say in the first letter to the Romans, excuse me, in the first chapter of the letter to the Romans, that humanity was made from the dust to offer God doxa, glory, and efcharistia, gratitude or thanksgiving, and if man would just glorify God and thank God, then man would then see the dunamis, the power of God, and the theotis the divinity of God in all that exists and everything would be perfect. Everything would be in harmony. Everything would be glorious, and that man would not only cultivate the earth and spread the paradise, but Adam and Eve would reproduce. They would increase and multiply. They would have children, and the children would carry on this divine and godly life that they have that’s given to them by obeying God, proving that they love God by obeying God and keeping his commandments and offering him praise and honor and glory and thanksgiving, and everything would be beautiful.
Now, we do know, however, and this is certainly the Christian teaching, that that was the intention, but it really never happened. There is no record of some paradisiac, primordial human life on the planet Earth. All kinds of mythologies and fantasies and imaginations of humans have imagined some kind of innocent, first condition of human beings of human beings living in harmony with each other with God, with nature, with animals, with plants, and so on, but the Genesis story does not give us that vision at all. What the Bible gives us in the books of Moses in Genesis is that God creates the man and the woman, the ish and the isha, the Adam and the Eve, and he puts them in this paradisiac garden, and he gives them these commandments. He allows them to commune of the Tree of Life which is symbolical of living forever in communion with God, but in the story, there is another tree. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which means, usually, without getting into specific types of interpretations, generally means that there is the possibility of evil. There’s the possibility of sin. That the human beings can actually taste of sin and come to know by experience good and evil. They could come to know evil by transgressing the good, and that is symbolized in the story by the participation in this Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
And then of course, in the story, you have the serpent which sometimes in Sunday School class simply stands for the devil. I think if there would be a more accurate interpretation, the serpent would stand for worldly wisdom, or human wisdom, what the letter of James in New Testament would call a wisdom of this world, not the wisdom from above, not the wisdom of God, and that James calls it epigios sigihi di moniodis, which means earthly and psychic or emotional or psychic, sometimes they translate that natural, which is not very fortunate. It doesn’t mean natural, it’s actually unnatural. What it means is not spiritual. Unspiritual, it’s purely emotional. It’s purely animal. In fact, St. Ignatius Branchininov, in his book, “The Arena,” he speaks about the animal existence of humans as opposed to the spiritual. And Father Lazarus even more translated that word as animal. It’s a spirit that is earthly and that is psychic or ungodly or unspiritual or merely animal and then even demonic, even devilish, destructive.
So, as the narrative goes, and we believe this is the word of God. It’s a theological story to give us an understanding of humanity, and what the dogmatic point of the story is in a nutshell, in a few words is: is that humanity sins from the beginning. Right from the get-go, right from the beginning, there is no record in the Bible of any happy, holy life in paradise. It just simply says Adam and Eve were created, they were one flesh. They were made for communion with God by keeping the commandments and loving God. They were told to commune of the Tree of Life and to cultivate the garden and to increase and multiply, but they sinned from the beginning. Eve listens to the serpent, and she’s tempted to sin, whatever that sin would be. Probably it simply means sin in general. Any old kind of sin, but breaking God’s rule, God’s commandment, and that’s symbolized of the eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And by the way, knowledge in the Bible isn’t abstract. It isn’t theoretical. When you know something, you know it by experience. In fact, the verb to know is the verb for sexual intercourse in the Bible. You know, when it says Abraham knew Sarah, he wasn’t talking about some good abstract definition of Sarah. It means that he had a fleshly communion with her in intercourse.
Well, this knowledge of the tree of good and evil, it means intercourse with evil, with wickedness, with apostasy, turning against God, lack of faith, lack of trust, lack of love, and so the teaching is right from the beginning: man sins. Humanity sins. And I would even say, theologically, wherever you have human life on the planet Earth, you have apostasy, you have sin. You do not have Adam and Eve humanity growing up and knowing God and cultivating a communion with God and caring properly for the planet and for the universe and spreading a paradisiac life in increasing and multiplying. You don’t have that. You have disaster: apostasy, which is disaster. And as it says in the Scripture, on the day when you sin, that is when you touch that Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and eat it, you will surely die. You will definitely die. Of course, some people point out after Adam and Eve did sin, they did not die immediately, so that wasn’t true. But it didn’t mean the minute you do it, you die. What it meant was, if you do it, you become mortal. You bring death into the world.
As St. Paul will say, the wages of sin is death. If you sin, you die. If you break communion with God, you die. If you do not keep the commandments of God, you die. You bring death upon yourself, and that’s what we have in the Bible. That right from the beginning, humanity dies. It sins, and it becomes mortal and then ultimately life becomes a struggle, and the work is by the sweat of the brow, and there is toil and there is enmity and hostility between the man and the woman, between the ish and the isha. You don’t have a nice communion of love anymore between man and woman. You have even some type of male chauvinistic domination over the woman. The woman is subject to the husband and so on. And then, the end is simply death, and that’s how we see the original story.
Now, the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, in the fifth chapter of his letter to the Romans, and he says the same thing in I Corinthians, and we’re going to think about it right now. In the letter to the Romans, the fifth chapter, St. Paul makes this contrast between the original Adam and Christ, the original Adam and Christ. And we’ll begin reading the fifth chapter of the letter to the Romans at the twelfth verse because that’s a very important verse because the mistranslation of this verse has caused a lot of trouble in Christian and human history. What it says is this. I’m reading from the Revised Standard Version. Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death spread to all men, all human beings, because all have sinned. And then it says, sin indeed was in the world before the law, that is before the Law of Moses was given, but sin wasn’t counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam.
And then here you have the sentence that we want so much today. Their sins were not like the transgression of Adam, it says, who was a typos, a type, or as it says in the King James Version, a figure of the one who was coming: the one who was to come. So what this—and we’ll read more in a minute, but what we want to see now is that what the claim of the Apostle Paul here is in the New Testament, is that sin came into the world through this one man, and death came through sin. And then it says, death spread to everybody because everybody sinned. Now, whether or not this one man was literally a one and only man and we all, all human beings, biologically came from one human being or even from one cell or something as some scientists teach however we evolved, the theological point here is that you have a man and he sins. And when he sins, his progeny inherits that brokenness and they sin also, and then death spreads to all of humanity because all human beings ultimately have sinned. Not just the first one, but everybody: the first one first, and then everybody. All sin.
Now, this verse, as I mention, caused trouble in Christian history because in Latin, there was a misunderstanding of the Greek, and it was not translated “death spread to all men because all men sinned.” It was translated in Latin, sin came into the world through one man and death through sin. Then it was translated in Latin, and so death spread to all men, in whom all men sinned. And in Latin, in quo omnes peccaverunt and that in quo, either meant in death or in Adam. In death all people sinned or in Adam all people sinned, but that in quo in Latin was a mistranslation of eph’ hō in Greek. eph’ hō in Greek simply is an idiom that means “because,” and it is properly translated in the Revised Standard Version: because all men sinned. Death spread to all men because men sinned. Now, St. Augustine in the West interpreted that Latin verse in quo omnes peccaverunt not as “because all men sinned” but in whom all men sinned, meaning in Adam. So then he thought all of human beings had somehow sinned in Adam that we all had somehow preexisted, almost like platonic ideas in that original Adam, that original human person, that one symbolical man, and in that one man, as a kind of a platonic idea of “man” we all sinned.
So therefore, we’re born guilty. We’re born sinners. We’re already born under the wrath of God as guilty people. And when that text was conflated with Psalm 51 where it says it was brought forth in iniquities and sins did my mother conceive me, that Psalm only wanted to say that we are born and conceived already in a sinful condition, in a mortal world, in a demon-riddled, death-bound world, as I like to say, a world filled already with corruption and perishing and sickness and disease. But it doesn’t mean that we’re born sinners. However, Jerusalem Bible and the New Revised Standard actually translate Psalm 51 as saying I was born a sinner, a sinner from my mother’s womb. Well, Eastern Christianity would never believe that. They would say you can’t be born in this world as a sinner, personally. You can’t be born into the world guilty. No baby is born into this world guilty, or no baby is born into this world as a sinner. However, every baby that’s born, however that baby is born, whether it’s the normal way or sperm bank or petri dish in a lab or whatever, any human that is born or brought to life in this world is brought into a world where sin already reigns, where death already reigns, where perishability and mortality exists. And that’s through no fault of the baby that’s born. It’s because of the inheritance.
Now, we can say that humanity as a whole is guilty before God. We can say that humanity as a whole has sinned, and therefore we can say as members of humanity we are kind of guilty human beings, but we want to be very careful. We become guilty personally or culpable only by what we ourselves do. And of course, a lot of human beings, certainly little children, can do a lot of stuff that’s really very sinful, but it’s not very culpable. They’re not very guilty for it because they’ve just inherited their humanity from their parents, and they imitate them, and they have their DNA in them, and they have their brain chemistry in them, and they have all their bodies from them. We even have our nephesh, our life and souls from our parents. We’re in their image and likeness as it says in Genesis 5 that I quoted. Seth was now in the image and likeness of Adam who was already outside paradise, already mortal. And so what it means that we’re all born into this death-bound mortal situation. That is what the text wants to say.
Now, here in Romans, what the Apostle Paul is definitely saying is, you have this original Adam, who with Eve, together in Adam and Eve together, he called humanity Adam, they sinned even before the law of Moses was given, and mortality and death reigned from the beginning even to Moses and all the way through. But then the apostle says, but we should understand, and here’s the point for today, we should understand that that original Adam was a typos of the one who was coming, and that’s Christ. That he wasn’t the complete, perfect man. He was a potentiality. He had a task. He did not complete it. He, with his woman, failed. Together, they failed. He and Eve failed, therefore there has to be a real Adam, a new Adam, in which life is given. Put another way, there has to be a man who doesn’t sin. There has to be a man who doesn’t die or who is incapable of dying. Not incapable of dying. All humans are capable of dying, or who would not die because he has not sinned. In other words, there’s got to be a new man, there’s got to be a new human being, a human being according to Adam was St. Paul in his other letters will call the old human being, the paleos anthropos, that old human being from Adam is cursed, and sinful, and dead, diseased, under the power of demons, bound for the cemetery, bound for a tomb, bound for the earth, and that’s just how it is. So, there has to be another one. There has to be a second one who can bring life, who can bring a godly life, who can bring paradise, who can restore paradise. And that’s exactly what St. Paul was saying in this fifth chapter in the letter to the Romans, and he will say it again in the fifteenth of his letter, the first letter to the Corinthians.
So let’s continue to read. He said, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgressions of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come, and having already said that because that one man sinned and died, sin and death spread to all human beings because all have sinned. Then he continues in the fifteenth verse, but the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more has the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man, Jesus Christ, that one anthropos, Jesus Christ, abounded for many. The free gift now abounds for many. And then he continues, the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin for the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification or being made righteous. So he says, there’s a huge difference here. The trespass of Adam brought destruction and judgment upon everybody in condemnation, but the free gift of God in Jesus Christ, the other man, the other anthropos, following many trespasses already committed, brings justification or brings dikiosin which could also be translated, brings righteousness, makes human beings righteous.
Then the apostle continues: if because of one man’s trespass death reigned through that one man, much more, how much more, will those who receive the abundance and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. So he says, if the sin of the original Adam, Adam and Eve, the first humans, the first humanity brought death to reign over all, how much more will the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through that one man Jesus Christ. And then he continues, then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all human beings. For as by the one human being, the one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the one man’s disobedience, many will be made righteous. So what he’s saying is, by the disobedience of the original Adam, everyone was made sinners. But by the obedience of the one man, Jesus Christ, many will be made righteous. And then he says, for when law came in to increase the trespass—and that’s one of St. Paul’s ideas, when you have laws and commandments, you sin even more because you know what’s right and wrong and you go against it and you’re more culpable, so he says, where there’s law, there’s more and more sin. He says but where sin has abounded, grace has abounded all the more, has supra-abounded, so that as sin reigned in death through Adam, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now in those verses, from twelve to the end of the chapter, twenty-one, you have the word “one” being used about ten times. One man, one man’s transgression, one man’s righteousness. So you have this comparison and contrast between the original Adam and Jesus Christ. And the original Adam is called very specifically a typos of the one who was to come. That he was a type of the one who was to come. He was not the finished product. He was not the ultimate reality. He was a prefiguration. He was a typos, and the real Adam is Jesus Christ. And that’s what we want to stress today. And that’s what the Holy Scripture teaches: the real Adam, the Adam who was made to be son of God. It says in Luke that Adam was made to be God’s son. He actually came forth from God, it says in the genealogy of Luke. Adam, however, he did not complete his calling. He sinned and brought death, and put us under the power of evil, the devil’s. Jesus Christ, the new and last Adam, as he’ll be called in Corinthians, does just the opposite. He does just the opposite. He obeys. He glorifies his father. He gives thanks to his father. He obeys and is obedient to God his Father. He never sins. He does not know the knowledge that comes from the eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He never tasted transgression. Therefore he can never taste corruption. He can’t be corrupted.
Now, we believe that Jesus Christ can certainly die and he did, but he dies voluntarily. He takes on the curse and the sin and the death of Adam, in order, as we sing in church for example, around Christmastime and Easter time, on Pascha, and on the Nativity, he’s come to restore the image. He’s come to restore Adam. He comes to open again the gates of paradise. He comes in order so that we can again commune of the Tree of Life. And in the Church liturgical life, the Tree of Life will be his cross that we’ll participate of, we’ll eat from the Tree of Life which is his body and blood, broken body and shed blood from the cross, and that he himself will be the new and the final Adam who will finally establish paradise in God’s kingdom throughout all the world for those who believe in him and who receive God’s grace through him. That means all sinners, all who have died in Adam, will be made alive in Christ. All who sinned following and imitating Adam and dealing with Adam’s fallen sinful humanity, his nature, they will again be allowed to live with God. So the real Adam is Jesus.
Now, before we go to I Corinthians 15, let’s just make another little meditation here. If Jesus is in fact the real Adam, you can say well who’s the real Eve then? Is there a new Eve? And here the Church Fathers beginning with people like St. Justin the Martyr in the second century, St. Iraneus in the third century, Gregory of Nyssa in the fourth century, they like to meditate on the Genesis story. St. John Chrysostom does it in the end of the fourth century. And they say, when we read the Genesis stories from the point of view of Christ and his crucifixion and his death and resurrection and glorification, we can understand what is really being taught there. So they would say things like this. Why does God Almighty put Adam into a deep sleep in the Genesis account and then fashion the woman, the new Eve, who is named life, or is named the mother of the living, from the very substance of Adam when he’s in a deep sleep? And the Holy Fathers answer: because when the new Adam, the real Adam, Jesus, is put into the deep sleep of death, when he dies on the cross, from his side where they pierced it with a spear, there comes forth blood and water, and they interpret the blood and water as meaning the Church. The water: the baptism, the blood: the life of God, the life of God given in the life of Christ, the very blood of Christ which is his life, that’s given to us. And God fashions his Church, they like to say, he fashions his Church from the side of the dead Jesus. And then, we become the bride of Christ.
We become, as the Church, the Church becomes the living, the mother even, of the living. St. Cyprian of Carthage will say you cannot have God as your father unless you have the Church as your mother. And then the Church is described in the New Testament as the bride of Christ, the one with whom Christ becomes one flesh. And of course, the Church means sinful people who are accursed and dead that Christ raises up and glorifies and forgives and becomes one flesh through in love, and then when we love Christ, and we become one flesh with him, we become the new Eve. So the Church in the world becomes the mother of the living. And then they like to point out that whereas in the Genesis story, the woman is taken out of the man, in the New Testament, the man is taken out of the woman, a virgin woman. St. Ephraim of Syria says in the old covenant, God fashions Eve from the flesh of Adam, but in the new covenant, the new Adam takes his flesh from the virgin flesh of Eve. The virgin soil he called Eve: the pure virgin who does not know sexual intercourse, who does not have any man as her husband. The Holy Spirit comes upon her and comes forth from her the new Adam. So as in the old story, the Eve came forth from Adam. In the new covenant, the Adam comes forth from Eve.
And then the Holy Fathers, like Justin and like Irenaeus and like Gregory of Nyssa, they like to identify Mary, Jesus’ mother Mary, as the new Eve. And they see her as the symbol of the very Church itself: that Mary is just the anti-type of Eve in the Genesis story. The original Eve is supposed to be the helpmate of Adam, but she isn’t. She leads him into sin. She listens to the serpent. She disobeys God. She brings sin into the world, and she brings Adam into sin as well. So then they point out that Mary, the Theotokos, as the new Eve, does exactly the opposite. She doesn’t listen to the serpent. She listens to the Holy Spirit. She listens to the angel Gabriel. Whereas the first Eve disobeyed, Mary obeys. She says, let it be to me according to your word. Whereas the original Eve breaks the commandment, Mary keeps the commandment. She says, my soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
And so, you have a whole reversal, a reversal of the story, where the real Adam is Jesus Christ and the real Eve is his bride that is fashioned from his flesh on the cross and the very symbol of that Church, the first disciple, the perfect Christian, is his own mother Mary. And she is even called the mother of the living, or the mother of life. In Church hymns, for example, Dormition, it says “You are translated to life O mother of life.” That means zoe in Greek, life. In Hebrew, it meant mother of life and that’s what Mary is and that’s what the Church is. So Mary and the Church are kind of conflated together as the new Eve, the bride of Jesus Christ himself, the very one from whom Christ comes, but also the very one who obeys God and is one with Christ, and obeys Christ, and does not lead man into sin, but leads man into paradise, leads man into righteousness, into holiness, into goodness, into communion with God through the keeping of the commandments. So the whole story is reversed.
Now, in the letter to the Corinthians, the first letter to the Corinthians, you have this again being taught very sharply in just in so many words, and if we read now from the first letter to the Corinthians, the fifteenth chapter. I’ll read from the RSV, this is what we read in St. Paul’s letter here. St. Paul is making the point that the dead are raised, and he says that he himself saw the risen Christ. And he quotes the first Christian creed there in the beginning of the fifteenth chapter that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, that he appeared to Peter, to the twelve, to the more than 500, that he appeared to James, he appeared to me as one untimely born, like an abortion, and he says that he should not have had this wonderful grace because he persecuted the Church of God. He’s unfit to be an apostle, but God’s grace made him one. And then he says that all the Christian preaching is about the resurrection from the dead. Christ being raised from the dead. God raised Christ from the dead. And then, he says if the dead are not raised then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins. Then, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished, and if for this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied, he says. Then he goes, and here’s our point for today, but in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has also come the resurrection from the dead. So here you have it again, you have it exactly again as it was in the letters to the Romans. For by a man, sin and death came into the world, so now also by a man comes righteousness and comes life.
And then he continues, for as by a man came death, by a man has come also resurrection of the dead, for as in Adam, all die, so also in Christ, shall all be made alive. And there you have it. In the first Adam, who was a type who was to come as it says in Romans, all died, just like he says in Romans, but in Jesus Christ, by God’s grace, all are made alive. And that’s absolutely important. In Greek, it sounds like this epidei gar di anthropou thanatos kai di anthropou anastasis nekron. For since through man— it doesn’t say a man, but it just simply says through man, death came. So also through man, resurrection of the dead, or of dead persons, those from among the dead, have come. Then it says, hosper gar en to Adam pantes apothneskousen, just as in Adam, en to Adam pantes, all, have died, houtos kai, so also, en to christo pantes zopoiethesontai , so also in Christ all will be made alive, each in his turn.
So let’s get that again. You see, it’s very important. Now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For sins through a man or through man, death came, so even also through man, resurrection of the dead people comes. Just as in Adam all have died, so also in Christ all will be made alive. And there you have the contrast again. There you have it. But the apostle still continues. He goes on to say that the last enemy to be destroyed is death itself. He says that God will put all things under the subjection of Christ’s feet. Everything will be subject to him, to quote again that line from the Old Testament that we love so much, the Lord said to my Lord sit at my right hand until I put all your enemies under your feet, and the last enemy to be put under your feet, under your subjection, is death. So now Jesus Christ is the Lord sitting on the throne with God, the heavenly Son of Man, and everything is subjected to him. And then the apostle says in I Corinthians, when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that is God his Father, that God may be everything to everyone or God may be all and in all.
Then the apostle goes to speak about how the resurrection of the dead takes place. It’s worth reading. Really, read it. I Corinthians, one chapter, you will see. He explains how it happens and what he says is this: he says, so it is with the resurrection of the dead. It’s a sown perishable, raised imperishable, sown in dishonor, raised in glory, sown in weakness, raised in power, sown in physical body, raised the spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. So, obviously, it seems pretty obvious what is sown perishable, in dishonor, in weakness, in death, is the original apostasy of Adam, and then the raising in as imperishable, incorruptible, in glory, in strength, and in power is the resurrection of the spiritual body of Christ, Christ being risen from the dead. So our human bodies and even Jesus’ body is sown a physical body but is raised a spiritual body. Now, he continues, thus it is written, the first man, Adam, became a living being, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first, but the physical which is first, and then comes the spiritual.
Now, he says, thus it is written, the first Adam, protos anthropos, that is the Adam of Genesis. The protos anthropos is the man of Genesis and as it says in Genesis, he became a living being, a living soul, a vivified soul. In Greek, it is eis psuchen zosan, the first Adam is eis psuchen zosan, to be a living soul, but ho eschatos Adam, the last Adam, the final Adam, the ultimate Adam, the real Adam, the true Adam, is pneuma zopoieun, a life-creating spirit, a life-giving spirit. Then he even continues, and he says, the first man, protos anthropos, was from the earth a man of dust. The second man, deuteros anthropos, is from heaven, ek ourano, is from heaven. So the first Adam is an earth Adam. He’s a mud Adam, a clay Adam, a dust Adam, but the second Adam, the real Adam, Jesus Christ, is a heavenly Adam. He’s from heaven. He’s not from the dust. He comes down from heaven, as the creed will say, and becomes human. He becomes that man, the man. So you could say if you use the language of the letter of James, the first Adam is earthly, psychic, and demonic or devilish. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, the last Adam, the final Adam, the perfect Adam, is heavenly, spiritual, and godly or divine. Heavenly and not earthly, pneumatikos, not psuchikos, and godly and not dia moniodis, or demonic.
So how is it put in I Corinthians 15? The first man is from the earth, a man of dust. The second man is from heaven, and then he continues, as was the man of dust, so are those who are of dust, and is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. And he continues, just as we have carried or borne the image of the man of dust, that’s the original Adam, the typos of the one who was to come, so also we shall also bear the image of the man from heaven, Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of the typos, of the prefiguration. I’ve got to read it again for you. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of dust, as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven, just as we have borne the image, the eikona, the icon, of the man of dust, we shall also bear or let us also bear, the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this brethren, flesh and blood, earthliness, cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. And then he goes on and says, I’ll tell you a mystery, that the last time, at the end of the age, the trumpet, the dead will be raised, imperishable. We will all be changed for this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and the mortal man must put on immortality, and when the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on the immortal, the immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written in the prophets: death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? So thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So there we have it. Jesus is the real Adam. Jesus is the final Adam. Jesus is the heavenly Adam. Jesus is the Adam who comes from heaven and takes on the earth. He takes on our earthly form, he becomes what we are, and he brings a total new humanity. So as we lived according to the old Adam, so now we must live according to the new Adam. As we have born the image of the original Adam, the sinful apostate Adam who brings death into the world, so we must now bear the image of the man from heaven. And that’s even said at the Orthodox baptismal service. When the person to be baptized is being anointed with oil before being put down into the water, it says, let him be recreated according to the image of his Maker. Let him put on Christ. That’s what we say in baptism. Be clothed with Christ. Be clothed with the new man.
Now, the Apostle Paul, or his disciple from his school who wrote Ephesians and Colossians, we know that that’s originally from Paul. He says this very same thing in so many words. He just says it in so many words. He says in Galatians he says, as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Well, in Ephesians, this is what he says, in the 22nd verse he says, put off of you that which is according to your former conduct, the old man that was corrupted according to the lust of deceit. That’s my translation. I’m reading it from Greek. In the King James Version, it says that you put off concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts. In the RSV, it is put this way, in the Revised Standard Version, it is said this way. Put off your old nature, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts.
Now this is not very good, because the word nature is not there. It simply says, put off your old anthropos, put off the old human, the paleon anthropon, the old man, that is corrupted through deceitful lusts or the lusts of deceit, and then it says, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and then it says, put on (in the RSV it says the new nature) created after the likeness of God or the image of God in true righteousness and holiness. And that’s the line that is used in the baptismal service. In the King James Version it says, that ye put on the new man which after God, or according to God is created in righteousness and holiness, true holiness. Now, you have that verb again, put on. It’s the same thing as in Galatians. Put on Christ. So it says, put on, ton kainon anthropon, the new man, the new humanity, ton, that one which is, kata theon, according to God, kai tis enta, created according to God in righteousness and holiness in truth, the truth of holiness. So then it speaks on putting off the lie of the old and putting on, not sinning, according to the new.
Now, you have exactly the same thing being said in Colossians where you have this contrast of the paleos anthropos and the kainos anthropos, the old man and the new man. The old humanity and the new humanity, and here’s how it sounds in Colossians. I’ll read the whole thing. If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. There you got it again, at the right hand of God, seated in power. Set your minds on the things that are above, heavenly, and not on the things that are on earth, earthly, for you have died in baptism, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. In these, you once walked when you lived in them, and we could add, according to the original Adam, the old Adam, the old humanity. But now, put them all away, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and false thought from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old, and the RSV says, the old nature again, like in Ephesians, but it simply says, old anthropos. The old humanity, the old man with its practices, and have put on the new man, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. And then he says here, there’s not Jew and Greek, slave or free, uncircumcised or barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, Christ is all in all.
So here you have in Colossians and Ephesians this contrast. The paleos anthropos and the kainos anthropos. The paleos Adam and the kainos Adam. In Corinthians, Jesus is not only called the last and final Adam, he is called the second man. The protos anthropos is the Genesis Adam and deuteros, the second man, the second human is Christ. Now this is what we have. Now, we Christians believe that Jesus is this Adam, and we believe that as the last Adam, he became human. He lived in this world. He was lifted up upon the cross. He died the death to put to death the old Adam in us, sin, cursed death, and he was raised from the dead, imperishable, incorruptible, glorious, marvelous, and divine and heavenly, to live forever so that we could live according to the new Adam, according to the new man. And there’s a wonderful little thing in Orthodox tradition on Russian crosses. There are some Russian Orthodox crosses that have inscriptions on them. Maybe some of you have seen them, where it will show the cross, and it’ll have on the top the initials for Jesus Christ the King of Glory, Jesus Christ the King of the Jews. Then it’ll have a little image for the spear, a little image for the sponge, and then down on the bottom, you will have a mountain and a skull. And the Russian images will say “Gu-gu” which means “Goragolgofskya,” or Golgotha, the place of the Skull, and then you have a skull. And by the skull, you have a G and an A which stands for “glava damava,” which means the head of Adam.
So the claim is that when Jesus is on the cross, the tree of the cross, the Tree of Life, his blood is going down from the place of the skull onto the very skull of Adam in order to raise him up, to forgive him, to make him divine again. And then on the Russian cross, you have a very mysterious inscription. Four letters. M,L,R, and V in Slavonic. And I didn’t know what that meant when I was a student and I asked Father John Meyendorff who knew everything like that, and he said that stands for the Slavonic words, “myesta lobnoya aryi buyst”—“The place of the skull has become paradise.” So this is the ultimate reversal. Adam was in paradise, and he made it into the pit of death. Christ is on Golgotha, the place of the skull, dead on the cross, and he transforms Golgotha, the pit of death, the mountain of death, Calvary, he transforms it into paradise. Because the new Adam brings paradise again, and he allows us again to eat of the Tree of Life which is his own body and blood on the cross which is the Tree of Life. Everything is reversed, and that’s how we understand Genesis.
The first Adam with his Eve is a type of the one to come. The last and final Adam, Jesus Christ, with his Eve, the Church, even symbolized by his mother, the first of the believers, is the fulfillment of that type. It’s, as St. Paul would say, the first was a shadow. The second was the reality. You have the shadow, and then you have Christ’s body, the reality. Well, the Genesis story is a shadow. It’s a prefiguration. It’s a type. And the ultimate reality is in Christ, and Christ is, indeed, Adam. When we think about Adam, we shouldn’t think anymore about that muddy earth creature who ruined everything from the beginning. We should think of the real Adam, the genuine Adam, the true Adam, the last Adam, the second Adam, the final Adam, the real Adam, the heavenly Adam, the man from heaven, and this is Jesus Christ our Lord. And that’s why among the names and titles of Jesus in Holy Scripture is the second man, deuteros anthropos, the second Adam, deuteros Adam, and the last and final Adam, eschatos Adam, the last Adam. That is our Lord Jesus Christ and that is how we understand how and who he is, especially relating to that original Adam whom we read about in Genesis.