From the classified section of The Jerusalem Herald, Nisan 1, A.D. 27:


Redeemer for Mankind

Job description: Man needed to pay price for sins of mankind. Must live totally sinless life. Demanding schedule, constantly on the go. No guaranteed home or income. Must be willing to train forgetful staff who tend to quit under pressure. Must totally fulfill law of Old Testament. Must be absolutely obedient to the will of management. Will ultimately be beaten and humiliated and experience indescribable suffering and anguish. Will become sin offering and die on job.

To qualify: Must be male, minimum age 30. Father must be God, mother must be of house and lineage of David, must have been virgin when he was born. Adopted father must also be of house of David. Must have sinless blood and spotless record. Must have been born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. Must be self-motivated, with aggressive personality and burning desire to help people. Must have tremendous knowledge of Old Testament and firm reliance on biblical principles. Must incorporate the foresight of Noah, the faith of Abraham, the patience of Job, the faithfulness of Joseph, the meekness of Moses, the courage of Joshua, the heart of David, the wisdom of Solomon, the boldness of Elijah, the power of Elisha, the eloquence of Isaiah, the commitment of Jeremiah, the vision of Ezekiel and the love of God.

Wages: Holy spirit (without measure) to start. Additional payoff in intimacy with God and receiving revelation as necessary to complete job. Constant on-job training, supervision and guidance by top-level management.

Benefits: Position will lead to highly exalted position in future if job carried out successfully.

Workman’s compensation: Injuries sustained on job, including death, well compensated by promotion including new body. Management will highly promote name upon successful completion of job, and entire publicity department will be devoted to getting name before multitudes. Will assume presidency of expanding international venture (The Ministry of Reconciliation), as Head of Body of well-equipped members ready to move dynamic new product on world market. All in all, tremendous eternal potential for growth and rewards in return on initial investment of giving life.

If qualified, management will contact you. No need to apply.

Why did God need to fill this position of Redeemer? Because He had to “fire” the original general manager of His creation for gross impropriety and malfeasance. When God delegated the oversight of Creation to a man with free will, He anticipated the possibility of that man’s failure, and formulated a plan to solve the problem. The plan was for another man to rectify the catastrophic situation. Why another man, when He had such poor success with the first one? Why did He not just march down here and take care of things Himself???? Many Christians believe that is exactly what God did—that He became a man in order to redeem mankind. But since man was in such a sorry state that he could not redeem himself, was the only alternative for God Himself to do the job? We think there are a number of problems with this theory.

First of all, one of the most defining attributes of God is His absolute holiness. [1] This means that He transcends His creation the way Henry Ford transcended the automobile that he built. Though God can be intimately involved with His creation, He, by definition as “the Creator,” stands distinct and apart from it. He cannot make Himself into a rock or a tree or a frog or a man, because these are all created things. Neither is He “one” with them, as pantheism suggests—that God is “in” the rocks and trees and frogs and men. This is a very basic biblical truth.

Because He is so holy, God knew that He Himself could not legally redeem mankind by becoming one of us. Neither can He just make up the rules as He goes along. His righteousness and integrity are absolute, and He cannot break the rules that He has established. One of those rules is that He keeps His Word. That is important, because God never promised to send Himself ?to ultimately redeem mankind. Rather, He promised that the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15-KJV) would come, and that this man would do the necessary work.

Furthermore, there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that God can become a true man, because He is God. One of the boundaries of God’s nature is given in Numbers 23:19: “God is not a man…” And from the beginning, one of Man’s defining boundaries was that the consequence for disobeying God’s command was deathPotential mortality, then, was always a defining part of man’s existence. God, therefore, cannot actually be a man, because He cannot die. [2] He is immortal, by definition. [3] The great pattern of the Bible is that God equips others to serve Him and act as His agents. Moses, Gideon, David and Jesus were each sent by God to perform a necessary job. In Jesus’ case, the job was the ultimate redemption of mankind and creation. But how could a man do such a job? He could do it by following the pattern established by all the men God sent to perform a task—being equipped by God and then precisely obeying His plan. This is exactly how Jesus Christ accomplished his task as Redeemer. Not only could a man do the job, but the job required that a man do it, since God Himself could not legally do so. To understand why this is so, we will now turn our attention to the source of the problem that necessitated the sending of another Adam to be Man’s Redeemer.

The First Adam

Exploring the biblical background of the need for a Redeemer is crucial to understanding both the integrity of the Bible and the identity of Jesus. Before we subject this remarkable man from Galilee to a needless onslaught of theological speculation, we must carefully analyze the biblical relationship between the “First Adam” and the “Last Adam.” Even modern biblical scholars are recognizing that this parallel between the two “Adams” was a key element of apostolic Christianity, and is probably the earliest and richest biblical insight concerning the identity of this unique man named Jesus Christ. [4] We, too, have come to the conclusion that this relationship is the key to understanding and appreciating Jesus’ identity, and that it establishes the first boundary marker in our survey of this subject.

Once upon a time—“in the beginning”—God was all by Himself. His heart’s desire was, in essence, a family to love and be loved by. First, He created angels and other spirit beings. He then made two people—a man and a woman—and gave them dominion over the earth, their home. God’s instructions were simple—He told them to multiply and to fill up the earth with more people after their kind, i.e., mankind. He gave them only one prohibition—not to eat of a particular tree in the garden. They chose to disobey their Creator, and thus wreaked havoc not only upon His originally perfect creation, but also upon their own offspring.

The First Adam was part of a creation that God declared to be “very good.” His “seed,” therefore, was perfectly designed to reproduce “fruit after its kind,” even as the plants and animals were. Therefore we can assert that Adam was genetically flawless, but he was not a robot. He had the quality that goes a long way in defining what a human being is, as distinct from animals: freedom of will. Where animals are governed by instinct, man was made with a brain that made him able to be self-aware and govern himself. He was therefore well equipped to understand that he was a being that owed his existence to his Creator. He could learn from his environment and choose his behaviors. It was up to him to make decisions in response to God’s commandments, whereas animals receive their “commandments” as a part of their genetic packaging. Raccoons do not choose whether or not to raid a garbage can.

This privilege to choose was not granted only to Adam. The same held true for his “wife,” Eve (they never had a formal ceremony—Adam just awoke from a nap and found out he was married!). It is not our purpose here to examine the mechanics of Adam and Eve’s original sin, but suffice it to say they did the one and only thing they were not supposed to do—they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Though they both partook of it, God held Adam responsible. His disobedience revealed that in the depth of his heart, Adam came to doubt God’s true love for him. Thus, he did not believe that God would provide for him what he really needed, and he chose to take matters into his own hands and provide for himself. Of course, the consequences were far reaching—for him, his wife and all their descendants.

In fact, Adam’s disobedience set the general pattern of all men’s subsequent disobedience to God (Rom. 1:18-21). He also set the pattern for the coming Messiah in other ways as well, in particular as the following Scripture indicates:

Romans 5:14 (NRSV)
Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.

There are many people in the Old Testament who could be called “types of Christ.” But this is the only place in the New Testament that directly points back to a particular person who would set the pattern for who the Messiah would be like. Adam was a “…pattern of the one to come,” in that both Adam and Jesus Christ were men who by one act had a universal effect on mankind.

The record of Adam’s transgression makes it clear that the verb “to sin” means to disobey the Word of God. By his action of sinning, he introduced “sin” into God’s perfect creation. Thus, a state of corruption was imposed upon God’s perfect Creation, which was now indelibly tainted and would require a process of redemption. For the catastrophic consequences of sin to be completely rectified, a new heaven and earth were necessary.

The entrance of sin caused an even greater problem for God to solve—death. The following verse clearly illustrates this:

Romans 5:12
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

Thus, the twofold problem that God had to solve was sin and death. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, which was an individual act of “sin.” But by this one unrighteous act, they catalyzed a transformation of Creation from a state of perfection and righteousness to a state of “sin.” When they did, they and all their descendants became subject to death, the direct result of sin. After that, the only kind of children they could produce were children “…separated from the life of God…” (Eph. 4:18), and hence, from the moment of their birth, destined to die.

God’s Solution: Another Adam

What was God’s solution to the problem of sin and death? The only solution legally available: another Adam! In fact, if we had to sum up the whole Bible in five seconds, we could say: “It is the story of two men and their effect on mankind. The first man wrecked everything; the second man is fixing it.”

Like the First Adam, the Last Adam would have to be, first of all, genetically flawless and without a sin nature. [5] It was God’s responsibility to create him that way, which He did via the virgin birth. But more than that, the Last Adam had to be behaviorallyflawless. God could not be responsible for that. He could only hope that, in contrast to the First Adam, the Last Adam would be obedient throughout his life and thus accomplish the redemption of mankind. In essence, God took a risk and trusted that the Last Adam would trust Him. This is love in action: taking a risk, giving second chances, demonstrating commitment to a promise. As the Bible says in 1 John 4:8, God is love, and He has therefore modeled it perfectly. In our view, His plan, as revealed in His Word, exemplifies a far greater love than if He had somehow become a man Himself.

Before looking at God’s initial reference in Genesis 3:15 to the special promised offspring of Adam and Eve, we want to get a running start in the broader context of the passage.

Genesis 3:21 (NRSV)
And the LORD God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.

Were Adam and Eve’s outfits the first clothing ever mentioned in the Bible? No, they had earlier become the first tailors in the Bible, as the following verse indicates:

Genesis 3:7
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Here we have, in essence, the birth of “religion.” After having failed to keep God’s commandments and thereby stand righteously before Him, the first humans tried to cover their own sin, to “justify” themselves. This marked the beginning of a sinful human pattern: man attempting to cover his guilt with the works of his own hands in a self-righteous effort to earn favor with God. The futility of such religious efforts to remove the guilt inherent in all mankind is revealed by the fear that gripped them in the presence of God, as the next verse shows.

Genesis 3:8 (NRSV)
They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

We can see that religion is a very poor substitute for a personal relationship with the Creator based on trust in Him, and it failed to produce any confidence or faith in God’s loving care. In fact, the first humans tried to hide from Him, which is precisely the naked effect of sin—it drives a wedge between God and man!

It is very significant, then, that the first thing God did for mankind, after they sinned but before He ejected them from Paradise, was to get rid of their fig leaf underwear and make them some new clothing. In effect, He said to them, “You can’t go out looking like that—and you are going out!” The clothing they had made for themselves was not a sufficient covering as far as God was concerned. Most significant is the material from which the new clothes were made—animal skins. Did God get the skins from animals who donated their extras? No, animals like to be clothed too. What we have here is the first shedding of blood in the Bible. In His grace and mercy, God instituted a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of Adam and Eve, one that clothed them in a temporary righteousness and allowed them to live until the seeds of death planted in them came to fruition some 900 years later. The blood of animals was shed to provide a covering for mankind that was “suit-able” in God’s sight.

Remember that from Genesis 3:15 on, Scripture is pointing toward the coming Redeemer. The shedding of the animals’ blood was a foreshadowing of the shedding of the blood of “the Lamb of God,” a sacrifice necessary for God to be able to clothe with His righteousness those who would believe on this Redeemer. With the sacrifice of animals, and the subsequent clothing of Adam and Eve in their skins, God made temporary atonement for the sin they had just committed. In light of this pattern, we can appreciate that the shed blood of Christ, the “Lamb of God,” made permanent atonement for mankind, and also made it possible for people to be “…clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). No longer is anyone who believes in Jesus Christ spiritually “naked.”

Jesus Christ had to be the Last Adam, a “lamb from out of the flock,” but “without spot or blemish” so that he could die as an acceptable sacrifice. [6] By being both genetically and behaviorally flawless, the Last Adam’s life would be a sufficient sacrifice for thesin nature inherent in all men, as well as for all their sinful behavior in the future. We will see in the book of Hebrews that the reason the Last Adam had to be a true man was so that he could die to pay the price for the sins of all men. We will also see that via his death, he “took the Devil’s best punch,” and that in his resurrection, he got up “off the canvas.”

In Genesis 3:9-13, God questioned both Adam and Eve about their disobedience, and then prophesied concerning the consequences of their sin. But God’s harshest judgment was reserved for His nemesis, the “Serpent,” Satan. He turned to Satan and pronounced the death sentence upon His archenemy, the one who had masterminded the downfall of the first man. How fitting that the first announcement of the coming Redeemer was made “in your face” to the one responsible for the introduction of sin, evil and death into God’s creation.

Genesis 3:15 (NRSV)
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring [seed] and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Let us now unpack this verse, which is one of the most loaded-with-truth verses in the entire Bible. Theologians refer to this verse as the “proto-evangelium” because it basically capsulizes all the rest of Scripture by foretelling both the sufferings and glory of the Messiah. It also foretells the “head-to-head” conflict between the Promised Seed and the Serpent, until the destruction of Satan is accomplished in one of the final acts of redemption before Paradise can be restored. [7] To us, this verse stands as a marvel of God’s poetic and literary genius. It is no wonder that the Bible has been called “the literature of eternity.” In two simple sentences this verse sets forth the promise, the conflict and the destinies of both Christ and Satan, who were to be the two principal antagonists in the great struggle to complete the process of redemption. Today we can view this verse with 20/20 biblical hindsight and see in it truths that those of Old Testament times did not clearly understand.

It is very significant that Satan is presented as a serpent crushed under the foot of the woman’s offspring. First of all, we should note how appropriate this image is, because a poisonous snake is best killed by crushing its head so it cannot rear back and strike. But before being crushed, the Serpent would bite “the heel” of the Promised Seed, causing a time of suffering. [8] This was the first prophecy of his suffering and death required for the redemption of mankind.

It is obvious to us today that there is a temporal sequence of events being set forth. This coming seed would recover from being struck in the heel and then strike the head of his adversary after that. [9] From our vantage point in the Church Age, we can see that the Serpent’s head will be crushed by the exalted one who was raised from the dead with a new, glorious body and made Head, first of the Church and later of the whole earth in his Millennial Kingdom. As we will see in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, Christ must reign until all God’s enemies are subdued, and Satan is “Public Enemy #1.”

The next truth in this verse is that the coming one, the solution to the problem of sin and death, would be a man. We know this by the reference to him as a “seed.” Adam and Eve were the only two people ever to start tall and without navels, that is, they did not begin as seeds in the wombs of their mothers. Of course, Adam and Eve could not be born because there was no one to father and mother them, so God created them. Then He made it plain that they were to “be fruitful and multiply and fill up the earth.” God wanted them to do this while they were in their original state, so that their descendants would live forever in the original Paradise. However, as we know, they disobeyed God and thus could produce nothing but a race of mortals—people doomed to die.

Because the Last Adam had to be a man, he had to start as a seed and be born of a woman. But in order to have the potential to become the Redeemer of mankind, he had to start with a sinless nature like the First Adam did. Genesis 3:15 predicts how God would accomplish this seemingly impossible feat, and that is the next great truth revealed in this verse. Note that God referred to the seed as “her” seed. In retrospect, we see in these words a foreshadowing of the virgin birth. [10] In a normal birth, it is the man who puts the seed into the woman, where it combines with an egg and grows for nine months. When it came to Jesus Christ, however, it was God who put a perfect human seed (the Greek word for “seed” is sperma) into the womb of a virgin named Mary. [11] The child resulting from this union, therefore, had the same genetic flawlessness as the First Adam. The following verses make it plain that God was the direct cause of Jesus’ conception:

Luke 1:30-35 (NRSV)
(30) The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
(31) And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
(32) He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David,
(33) He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
(34) Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
(35) The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God.

Mary asked the angel Gabriel a very logical question: How would a baby be conceived in her womb without a man being involved? Gabriel’s reply contains a great truth that many Christians throughout history have overlooked because of their theological assumptions. In verse 35, the Greek conjunction translated “so” (NIV) and “therefore” (KJV) indicates the cause responsible for the eventual birth of “the holy one,” the Son of God. From the Greek word for “born” (genao), we get the word “Genesis,” and it denotes the beginning of Jesus in the womb of Mary. [12] This makes it very plain that Jesus Christ began in the womb of Mary, just as every human being begins in the womb of his or her mother. If Jesus Christ is truly a man, the Last Adam, he could not possibly have existed prior to his birth. How can one exist before he exists? [13]

The third great truth in Genesis 3:15 is that the Man, man’s Redeemer, would suffer. His “heel” would be “struck.” This was a prophecy of his suffering and death that was required for the redemption of mankind. The fourth truth in this verse goes hand-in-hand with the third. It is obvious to us today that this coming seed would recover from being struck in the heel and strike the head of his adversary. What we see foreshadowed here is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his future destruction of the Devil. Revelation 20:10 tells us that the old Serpent will one day be cast into the lake of fire where he will burn for “ages unto ages,” and Ezekiel 28:18 tells us that he will eventually be brought “to ashes.” [14]

The last truth that we see in Genesis 3:15 is perhaps the piéce de resistance! It also relates to the other reason why Jesus Christ is called a “seed” in this, the first mention of him in Scripture. What is the purpose of a seed? To produce fruit after its kind. This is clearly communicated in the first chapter of the Bible, where we see God establish the fruit—seed—fruit cycle. Every plant produces a “fruit” wherein is “seed,” which when germinated will reproduce the same “kind” of plant.

Genesis 1:11-13 (NRSV)
(11) Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so.
(12) The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.
(13) And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

God also made the animals to reproduce their own “kind.” That is, the “seed” of the male would combine with the egg of the female and reproduce the same “kind” of animal. Is not this same principle also being communicated in connection with the Last Adam in the following verse?

John 5:26 (NRSV)
For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself;

The chief property of a seed is that it has “life in itself.” That is what enables it to reproduce after its kind. One day, as we will see in Chapter 12, Jesus Christ will produce a new race for a new age. He will do this by reproducing himself “after his kind.” This truth is clearly communicated in the following verses:

Philippians 3:20 and 21 (NRSV)
(20) But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
(21) He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.

Adam: The Pattern of the Coming Redeemer—Two Men, Two Acts, Two Universal Results

The plan of redemption summed up in Genesis 3:15 is from then on unfolded throughout the rest of Scripture. Another “Adam,” who could exist only by means of birth, had to come and live a life of perfect obedience to God, all the way to a torturous death on the Cross. As we have pointed out earlier, some say that the redemption of mankind could have been accomplished only by God becoming a man and laying down His life, and this is known by the non-biblical term, “the Incarnation.” [15] The answer to this very common teaching is so important that we must repeat it here. Such a “man” could not be a true man, as Adam was. As we are seeing, Scripture makes it plain that the Redeemer had to be a man so that he could die for the sins of all mankind (Heb. 2:9 and 14; Rom. 5:17). Is it really plausible that God, who is the Author and very essence of life, could die? Justice required that a representative of the race of those who sinned be the one to die to atone for that sin. This is the irrefutable logic of Romans 5:12-17, to which we will refer many times in discussing who Jesus is. [16]

Jesus Christ’s original genetic purity, coupled with his subsequent behavioral purity, made him the perfect sacrifice for both the sin nature all men inherited from the First Adam and the corresponding sinful behavior of all men who would ever live. [17] Because of His Son’s sinless life and substitutionary sacrifice, God then had the legal right to extend grace to mankind. Jesus Christ became the perfect sacrifice and died in place of all men. Thus, those who appropriate unto themselves the benefits of this sacrifice by faith in Christ’s atoning death exchange their inherent guilt for his righteousness. Hallelujah!

Not only did the Last Adam have to be able to die; he had to be able to sin as well. Many Christians have been taught that it was impossible for Jesus to sin, but, logically, the Last Adam, of necessity, had to have had the same freedom of will that the First Adam had. To say anything less is to devalue Jesus’ walk of righteousness. His behavioral perfection was ultimately dependent upon him alone. He had the choice of whether or not to obey God, and hence he was temptable. Scripture makes it clear that God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). If Jesus had not been able to sin like the First Adam, his temptations would have been inauthentic, and his “accomplishment” of perfect obedience would have been a foregone conclusion rather than truly praiseworthy. We will examine this subject further in the next chapter.

Remember that the whole Bible is essentially the story of two men and their effect upon mankind—the First Adam and the Last Adam. It points up the contrast between the First Adam’s disobedience, death and production of a race of mortals (people destined to die), and the Last Adam’s obedience, life and his production of a race of people who will live forever. This truth is clearly highlighted in the book of Romans, which is the foundational doctrinal treatise of the Church Epistles. The key passage we need to examine is found in Romans 5:12-19, where we see summarized the stark contrast between the First Adam and the Last Adam. Verse 12 delineates the twofold problem of sin and death that all mankind faces due to the sin of the First Adam.

Romans 5:12-14 (NRSV)
(12) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all, because all have sinned—
(13) Sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law.
(14) Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.

There are many people in the Old Testament who could be called “types of Christ.” But this is the only place in the New Testament that directly points back to a particular person who would be the pattern for who the Messiah would be like. Adam was a “type (pattern) of the one to come,” in that both Adam and Jesus Christ had a universal effect on mankind by one act, as the next verses in the context elucidate:

Romans 5:15-19 (NRSV)
(15) But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many.
(16) And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.
(17) If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
(18) Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
(19) For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

It is easy to see the contrast between the two men in the above verses. This truth about the two Adams is also featured in another Church Epistle closely related to Romans—1 Corinthians. It addresses the practical failure of the Corinthians to adhere to the doctrine set forth in Romans. [18] It is therefore logical that the theme of the Last Adam should be revisited, and it is:

1 Corinthians 15:21 and 22 (NRSV)
(21) For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being.
(22) For as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.

These verses sum up what we already saw in Romans 5:12-19. The question is, how did the Last Adam’s “one act of righteousness,” his dying on the Cross, make available everlasting life to all who believe in him? First, we will sum up the answer, and then we will look at a magnificent section of Scripture that expands upon it in more detail. The answer in a nutshell is this: only another “Adam,” that is, a man, could rectify the tragic situation caused by the sin of the First Adam and accomplish the complete redemption of mankind. This is how we know that the Last Adam was a total human being.

As stated earlier, the problem God faced was twofold: sin and death, not just for the First Adam, but for all his descendants. The way in which the Last Adam would solve the problem would be in direct contrast to how the First Adam caused it. The First Adamdisobeyed; the Last Adam was obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. The First Adam’s disobedience brought death; the Last Adam’s obedience unto death brought life, via his resurrection. The First Adam produced a race of people born dead in sin; the Last Adam made it available to be , and he is now in the process of producing an everlasting race of perfect people. [19]

God’s original plan was to have many sons and daughters living together in Paradise forever. The First Adam was supposed to have been the father of that perfect race; the Last Adam will be the “father” of such a race. Since the ultimate problem that mankind faced was death, the Last Adam had to defeat this daunting and terrifying enemy. The only way he could do so was by dying, so that God could then raise him from the dead, thus conquering death and giving him everlasting life. This truth is clearly conveyed by the following verses:

Romans 6:9 and 10
(9) For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
(10) The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives [by resurrection], he lives to God.

Hebrews 2:9 and 14 (NRSV)
(9) but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels [being made a man of flesh and blood who could die], now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
(14) Since, therefore, the children [of Adam] share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.

What was God’s goal? The restoration of ?His original dream of ?humans living forever on a perfect earth. The entire Bible points to the one who would be God’s agent for bringing this about—Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ saw in the Old Testament Scriptures that if he would be obedient unto death, God would raise him from the dead and give him the power to produce a new race for a new age, an age in which he would rule on earth with God. Jesus Christ defeated our ultimate enemy, death, and he has guaranteed the same victory to all who believe on him.

As we see in the following verses, when Jesus Christ has completely accomplished the restoration of Paradise and produced a new race for a new age, he will report to God, his Father, and say, in essence, “Last Adam reporting; mission accomplished; Paradise regained.” Then he will take his place as the Head and Firstborn of a great company of redeemed brothers and sisters in an everlasting family reunion in Paradise with his Father and his spiritual siblings. This awesome truth is communicated clearly in a section of Scripture that we will be visiting often in our journey to understanding the relationship between God and His Son Jesus Christ. It is particularly relevant here in connection with the completion of the Last Adam’s work:

1 Corinthians 15:24-28
(24) Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
(25) For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
(26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
(27) For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.
(28) When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to Him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

This magnificent passage attributes the glory for the entire plan of redemption to its original Architect, God.

We have now squared off one aspect of the cornerstone for the Christian faith: in order for him to redeem mankind, Jesus had to be whatever Adam was before his fall. Jesus Christ is the Last Adam, a man like Adam who could undo what Adam did. The Last Adam, by dying on the Cross, sacrificed himself as an offering for the sin that the First Adam introduced into the world. This Adamic parallelism establishes one of the most foundational biblical truths regarding Christ, one that allows us to see the entire span of the Bible: two men, two gardens, two commands, two decisions, two deaths, two universal results, two races of people and two Paradises.

With such a simple but profound basis for biblical understanding, why engage in theological speculation about Christ’s identity that can only complicate and compromise the beautiful literary symmetry and integrity of Scripture? We will now continue to compare and contrast the two Adams by looking at how both first and last are related to the important phrase, “the image of God.”


1. See Lev. 19:2; 20:7,26; 21:8; Josh. 24:19, et al. Back to top

2. However, He can (and occasionally did) “appear” as a man. Regarding the rare examples of God coming into concretion in the form of a man, see Appendix A (Gen. 18:1 and 2). In these cases, however, God did not actually transform Himself into a man, but took on the appearance of a man so that He could have fellowship with certain people at crucial times in redemption history. Back to top

3. 1 Timothy 1:17 clearly identifies God as being immortal, meaning that He cannot die. In fact, He is the very Author of Life itself. An enormous burden of proof is laid upon those who would argue that God Himself could die for our sins. If He were able to die, who would raise Him from the dead? See Appendix A (1 Tim. 6:14-16). Back to top

4. In theological terms, this is called “Adam Christology,” and many scholars acknowledge that this was the “Apostles’ doctrine” concerning the identity of Jesus. James D.G. Dunn, Christology in the Making (Grand Rapids MI, W. B. Eerdmans, 1989) notes on pp. 114 and 115: “We have…seen how widespread [his emphasis] was this Adam Christology in the period before Paul wrote his letters—a fact not usually appreciated by those who offer alternative exegeses of the [Phil. 2:6-13] hymn.” Dunn also quotes Young: “It is eschatology, not incarnation, which makes Christ final in the New Testament…Christ is final for Paul, not as God incarnate, but as the Last Adam.” The Apostle Paul compares and contrasts Jesus and Adam in three key places in Scripture: Romans 5:12ff, 1 Corinthians 15:22 and 45, and Philippians 2:6-13 (and also Hebrew 2:7 and 8 if Pauline authorship is accepted). We will visit and revisit these passages throughout the book. Back to top

5. Because the First Adam was genetically flawless, we can safely conclude that the Last Adam was also. Scientific evidence corroborates this truth. In his book, The Seed of the Woman (Brockville, Ontario, Doorway Publications, 1980), Arthur Custance does an admirable job on the subject of the genetic perfection of Jesus Christ. Although the entire thesis of the work is important to our point, pp. 282-286 are especially relevant. Back to top

6. We use “lamb from out of the flock” to bring together two concepts—first, that Jesus was the true Passover lamb, a lamb taken from the flock of sheep; and second, that there are many Scriptures that say that Jesus was one of us. He was one of the “brothers” (Deut. 18:18; Heb. 2:11), he was a man, the Last Adam, and thus he was like the Passover Lamb in that he was “of the flock,” not an outsider, but truly one of us. Back to top

7. See Appendix F on the Satan/Christ parallelism, which will also be addressed in Chapter 3. Back to top

8. It is significant that only two body parts are mentioned in this verse: the head and the heel. The heel represents the time when the Messiah had a body vulnerable to the Serpent’s bite, which caused death. The “head” foretells a time in the future when the Redeemer would be in a place of authority, and able to crush the Serpent’s head. God has given the Promised Seed all the authority he needs to complete the job he has been given. Back to top

9. The NIV and some other versions make a differentiation in the verbs usually translated “bruise,” “strike” or “crush.” The Hebrew text uses the same word for both verbs used in this sentence. The Hebrew word is shup and it means “to bruise” or “to crush.” Although it could be shown from the entire scope of the Word that the Serpent would only “bruise” Jesus’ heel, and that Jesus will “crush” his head, that truth is not clearly brought out here. It is more accurate to translate the verb shup the same way, either “bruise” or “crush.” The Serpent did crush Jesus’ heel, but having a crushed heel only put him down for a short time—three days and three nights. When Jesus crushes the Serpent’s head, it will put him “down for the count.” Back to top

10. It is often taught, and until recently we also believed, that Genesis 3:15 was a specific prophecy of the virgin birth because of the phrase “her seed.” We assumed a literal meaning of the word “seed,” equivalent to “sperm,” and took that to be a figure of speech to emphasize that God was the author of such a seed, since a woman does not generate “seed” herself. While the Hebrew word zera, here translated “seed,” occurs more than 200 times in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and does mean “seed” (literally, like what is sown in the ground—See Gen. 1:11, etc.), or “semen” (Gen. 38:9; Lev. 15:16), it can also mean “offspring,” “descendants,” or “children” (Ps. 22:23; Isa. 1:4). It was quite understandable to the Hebrews, then, that in this sense a woman could have “seed,” i.e., children. That fact is very clear in the Old Testament. In Genesis 4:25, when Seth was born, Eve comforted herself over the death of her firstborn, Abel: “Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, ‘God has granted me another child [seed] in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.’ “ This verse makes it very clear that Eve had “seed.” In Genesis 16:10, an angel was talking to Hagar, Abraham’s Egyptian slave, about her children: “The angel added, ‘I will so increase your descendants [seed] that they will be too numerous to count.’ ” The angel was talking to Hagar, and spoke about her “seed,” yet she was not even in the genealogy leading to Christ. Later, when Abraham wanted a wife for his son, he sent his servant, who found Rebekah. As her family sent her away to Abraham, they blessed her and spoke to her of their hopes for her children: “And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, ‘Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring [seed] possess the gates of their enemies’“ (Gen. 24:60). Back to top

The book of Leviticus also speaks of a woman having seed: “But if a priest’s daughter becomes a widow or is divorced, yet has no children [seed], and she returns to live in her father’s house as in her youth, she may eat of her father’s food. No unauthorized person, however, may eat any of it” (Lev. 22:13). The book of Ruth contains a pertinent reference. The elders of Bethlehem spoke to Boaz, who had just stated that he would marry Ruth. The elders said, “Through the offspring [seed] the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah” (Ruth 4:12). In this verse, the offspring, the seed, was the gift of the LORD given to Boaz by Ruth. Obviously we are not talking about the sperm, but we are talking about the children, because it would be by Ruth that the LORD would give children (seed) to Boaz. This same truth is found in 1 Samuel 2:20: “Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, ‘May the LORD give you children [seed] by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD.’ Then they would go home.” Again, the husband is being given “seed” by the wife.

From Hebrew lexicons and from the text of Scripture itself, the word “seed” can mean “offspring” or “children.” Women did have “seed,” not in the sense of “sperm,” but in the sense of “children.” This fact explains why the Jews were not expecting Christ to be born of a virgin, and even Mary herself, a believer and descendant of David, asked the angel how she could give birth to Israel’s Messiah without having a husband (Luke 1:34). We now know that Christ was born of a virgin, and looking back we can see that the possibility is allowed for in Genesis 3:15. However, to say that Genesis 3:15 specifically prophesies a virgin birth is not correct. The verse was written by Israelites for Israelites, and presumably they knew their own language well, yet they read the verse for centuries and understood that it referred to the Messiah, without knowing or believing it foretold a virgin birth.

11. It could be argued that God did not create “seed” or “sperm” in Mary that then fertilized her egg, but rather that He created a zygote, a fertilized egg inside Mary that then grew into the child, Jesus. This latter view is the view of all Trinitarians who argue that Jesus, who pre-existed his birth as some form of spirit being, “incarnated” (literally, “came into flesh”) in the womb of Mary. Scripture is not explicit about this, which is not surprising because the conception of Mary occurred long before test tube babies, surrogate mothers and in vitro fertilization. Nevertheless, we believe the language of Scripture is still capable of revealing to us what happened. If God created a zygote in Mary’s womb, we believe the language of creation would appear somewhere in the records of the conception and birth of Christ. Instead, we find that Christ is called the “seed” (Greek = sperma) in the Bible. Also, the Word of God talks of Mary’s “conception,” which would not really be accurate if she had not in fact conceived. Furthermore, when the angel was explaining to Mary how she would become pregnant, the terminology he used of God’s interaction with Mary, i.e., “come over you” and “overshadow you,” seems to portray God’s role as a father and impregnator, not as a creator. Lastly, we would point out that Jesus is said to be from the line of David through his father and his mother. For us it is easier to understand him being called that if Mary were his mother in the ordinary sense of the word. We do not believe that Mary having a genetic contribution to Jesus would have placed his genetic perfection in jeopardy. This is no doubt at least a large part of what Philippians 2:6 (KJV) means when it says that Jesus was in “the form of God.” That is, his body was the result of the direct action of God, even as Adam’s was. The difference between the two Adams in this regard was that one awoke fully formed while the other was formed in a woman’s womb and went through the entire process of human development. Back to top

12. Two similar Greek words, genesis and gennesis, can be translated “birth.” But genesis can also mean “creation,” “beginning” and “origination.” Since these words are very similar, a scribe could have easily changed the one to the other to eliminate the idea that the so-called “eternal” Son of God had a “beginning,” which was the position of the “heretical” Arians. Bart Ehrman proposes a reason why the text was corrupted in this way, with genesis changed to gennesis:

When one now asks why scribes might take umbrage at Matthew’s description of the “genesis” of Jesus Christ, the answer immediately suggests itself: the original text could well be taken to imply that this is the moment in which Jesus Christ comes into being. In point of fact, there is nothing in Matthew’s narrative [nor Mark’s or Luke’s, for that matter!], either here or elsewhere throughout the Gospel, to suggest that he knew or subscribed to the notion that Christ had existed prior to his birth. Anyone subscribing to this doctrine [of Christ’s “pre-existence” and “incarnation”] might well look askance at the implication that Matthew was here describing Jesus’ origination, and might understandably have sought to clarify the text by substituting a word that ‘meant’ the same thing, but that was less likely to be misconstrued. And so the term gennesis in Matthew 1:18 would represent an orthodox corruption.

Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (Oxford University Press, N.Y., 1993), pp. 75 and 76. See also Chapter 15 on “The Expansion of Piety.” Back to top

13. The concept of “the pre-existence” of Christ, and its companion concept, “the incarnation,” has caused many problems for theologians. We discuss the issue in detail in Chapter 17. Back to top

14. See our book by: Mark Graeser, John Lynn, and John Schoenheit, Is There Death After Life? (Spirit & Truth Fellowship International, Martinsville, IN, 2004), Ch. 4, pp. 45-49 Back to top

15. “The incarnation” is the phrase some theologians have coined to describe “when God became a man.” We assert that the Bible does not teach that God became a man, but rather that He had a Son. Allow us to point out that the word “incarnation” never appears in Scripture. See Chapter 17. Back to top

16. It is common for Trinitarians to argue that Christ must be God because “a man could not atone for the sins of mankind.” Theologians through the ages have varied greatly in their opinions of exactly how Christ could accomplish redemption for fallen man, and these theological musings can be found in any good theological dictionary under the heading of “Atonement.” However, a standard argument goes something like this: “Mankind has sinned against an infinite God, and therefore the sin is infinitely great. It takes an infinite being to atone for infinite sin, and the only infinite being is God. Therefore, since Christ atoned for sin, Christ must be God.” This argument, which seems reasonable to some people, is man-made, and nothing like it can be found in Scripture. What can be found in Scripture is simple and straightforward: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). There is not a single verse anywhere in Scripture that hints in any way that “God” was a sacrifice for sin.

“The Church Fathers” tried to explain in great detail how Christ could atone for the sins of mankind, and offered many different theories as to how atonement could be accomplished. Origen, Augustine and others believed that Christ was a payment made by God to Satan. Others taught that Christ was not a substitute for man, but rather a representative of man, and somehow the effect of his sufferings and resurrection extend to all mankind. In the Middle Ages, Anselm taught that mankind’s sin offended God, and that Christ’s redemption was an act of “satisfaction,” to appease God. Abelard explained Christ’s atonement in terms of love and the response of love elicited from the sinner due to Christ’s example. The list of man’s theories about exactly how our atonement was accomplished is long, and entire books have been written on the subject.

The reason for the varying theories is that the New Testament does not set forth a “theory of atonement,” it just states the facts of the case, i.e., that Christ’s death paid for sin. Scripture makes many and varied references to the atoning work of Christ. Christ is called a “sacrifice” (Eph. 5:2; Heb. 9:26), a “sin offering” (Isa. 53:10; 2 Cor. 5:21 [NIV alternate reading]), a “ransom” (Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 9:15) and an “atoning sacrifice” (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). We do not see the need or reason to build a “theory of atonement” when none is offered in the Word of God. The words of the Word are sufficient. As far as the subject of this book is concerned, the most important conclusion that can be drawn from what is revealed in the Word of God is that it is unbiblical to assert that Christ had to be God to pay for the sins of mankind when the Bible explicitly says that payment for sin came “by man.” See also Chapters 16 and 17. Back to top

17. There can be a distinct difference in the usage of the terms “sin” and “sins” in the Word of God. Often, “sins” refers to the “fruit” of the old nature, while “sin” refers to the “root,” or the old nature itself. See E. W. Bullinger, The Church Epistles (1991 reprint Johnson Graphics, Decatur, MI, 1905) pp. 27 and 28. Back to top

18. The truth about the position and structure of the Church Epistles is vital for each Christian to understand. See Appendix J. Back to top

19. See Chapter 14 Back to top

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