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The Two Adams
“The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” 1 Cor. 15:45
There is a similarity and yet a contrast between Adam and Christ. Both are first and therefore Head of a race, but the first man is the Head of an earthly race of beings, while the second man, Christ—”the Lord from Heaven” (ver. 47) is the Head of a heavenly race. Natural, and Spiritual, give the contrast between the two Heads; as of the Heads so of the descendants,—each Father imparting his own nature to his children: “As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly such are they also that are heavenly.” (Ver. 48.) One important element of our hope is a change from the first family to the second, from the lower to the higher, from the natural to the spiritual: “And as we have borne the image of the earthy we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (Ver. 49.) “Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son,” (Rom. 8:29) “Who is the image of the invisible God.” Col. 1:15.
“We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” 1 Cor. 15:51. “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” Phil. 3:21. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2.
The contrast between the two conditions is very great and clearly marked.
Of the first, the following terms are characteristic: “corruption,” “dishonor,” “weakness,” “natural body,” “living soul,” “earthy,” and “flesh and blood,” on account of all which the first Adam and his children “cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Cor. 15:50.
Of the second Adam and his family, the opposite terms are characteristic: “incorruption,” “glory,” “power,” “spiritual body,” “spirit,” “from heaven,” and “heavenly,” on account of all which they are the rightful heirs of the kingdom of God.
The change from the first to the second condition, or entrance into the higher life, is in the bible called a birth, as the entrance into the natural life is also called a birth. Hence the significance of the statements of Christ: “Ye must be born again,” and “Except a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:3-7. The first Adam is termed flesh—(human nature), and as the stream cannot rise higher than its source, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh;” and as the stream can rise as high as the source, “That which is born of the spirit is spirit.” (Ver. 6.) This entrance or birth into the spiritual life in the case of these who are in Hades—the state of the dead—is at the resurrection. Those however, who are prepared for it, who are “alive and remain,” (“left over,” Em. Diag.) shall have a corresponding change, for “we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed.” (Comp. 1 Thess. 4:13-18 and 1 Cor. 15:51-54.) A mere resurrection, or living again, is not the birth—as all who die will live again, “both the just and the unjust,” while only those who have Christ formed in them, or are possessed of the spirit of Christ, have any promise of a share in the higher life of the Second Adam. Those who have the divine nature will have the divine form or image; (as nature makes form) but while it is true that a mere resurrection is not the birth, God has arranged for Christ and the dead in Christ that the change shall take place at and by the resurrection.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead.” 1 Cor. 15:42. Notice! It reads “of the dead,” and not “from the dead,” though it is speaking of Christians, as the context shows, and yet that resurrection makes them immortal. Paul, or the Spirit by him, anticipates ancient and modern investigations: “But some will say, “How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?” (Ver. 35.) If, as some assume, “the dead” means the wicked, then Paul’s answer teaches Universalism. We would not regret this if the Holy Spirit in Paul teaches it; but if as again assumed, when “the dead” are raised they are dead still, then the Holy Spirit in Paul contradicts Himself, which is an absurdity, and therefore one or both of the assumptions referred to must be untrue. The bringing to life again of any one,
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good or bad, is called raising the dead, and the fact is called resurrection of the dead. “How are the dead raised up?” and “So is the resurrection of the dead” certainly refer to the saints, as Paul’s answer to the above question shows: “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die; and that which thou sowest thou sowest not that body which shall be.” Ver. 36-37. (Then follow the illustrations of the grain, birds, fishes and stars, and then a direct answer to the question.) “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption; [not raised corruptible and changed afterward,] it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” This is as strong language as could be used in proof of the position we take, that the entrance of the sleeping saints upon the higher life is at and by the resurrection. We talk just as Paul does. Paul in his defense said he taught that there would be “a resurrection of the dead both of the just and the unjust.” Acts 24:15. And again “Of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” 23:6. Paul preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead. “Why should it be thought incredible with you that God should raise the dead?” Acts 26:8. Paul witnessed that Christ should be “the first that should rise from the dead.” Ver. 23. And this is the assurance unto all men: Chap. 17:31. “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked.” Ver. 32.
“From the dead” and “of the dead” are used almost interchangeably. He raises the dead [ones] from the dead [state]. When Lazarus was brought back to life he was raised “from the dead.” Jno. 12:1. There is no reference here to immortality, but simply the fact that the dead Lazarus was restored to life.
The bible clearly teaches the resurrection of all from death, but whether the life gained is natural or spiritual, depends upon the relation of the individual to Christ. In the sacrificial “offering of the body of Jesus Christ” [Heb. 10:10] he was related to all, “tasted death for every man,” Heb. 2:9, “gave himself a ransom for all,” 1 Tim. 2:6, and therefore will deliver all from the death of which they were afraid while they lived. Heb. 2:15. But we should be careful not to confound Christ’s sacrificial, and redemptive work, with his work as the second Adam,—a “quickening spirit.” It is true that as Adam the first only gives natural life so the second Adam gives only spiritual life. Adam was a figure or type of Christ, but he was not the only type, but even if he were, Adam was lord of all creation as well as the first and lifegiver of the natural race. So Christ is more than Head of the spiritual race, he is “Lord of all,” of Heaven and Earth, angels and men, dead and living.
Christ is the antitype of a multitude of types besides Adam, and many point to his sacrificial and redemptive work while Adam does not. He, the Lord Jesus Christ, must fulfill them all, and if this be remembered there can be no difficulty in harmonizing the fact that Christ will destroy the devil, and deliver the captives from the prison of death, with the fact that he as the Second Adam only gives spiritual life.
Christ, at his resurrection, entered on the higher life and work of the second Adam, as the life-giving spirit. He is the “First Born from the dead.” Col. 1:18. When we enter the same condition, that is our new birth, but the basis for that change or entrance into the higher life must be laid in the present life, by the begetting of the spirit,—conversion.
There are seven spirits of God, but the “Spirit of God,” which is the “Spirit of Christ” [the anointed ones] must dwell in us, in order that our mortal bodies may be quickened. Rom. 8:11. “There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus; who walk not after the flesh [the old man] but after the spirit [the new man. [Ver. 1.] “To be spiritually minded is life and peace.” “They that are in the flesh can not please God.” But ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his.”
The terms “Spirit of God” and “Spirit of Christ” are thus used interchangeably, and the possession of it proves that the new work is begun in us;—begotten of the spirit.
Christ in us, the hope of glory, the body dead because of sin, and the spirit life because of righteousness [ver. 9-10] is certainly a high state of Christian life.
The divine nature possessed moves, controls and quickens the mortal body here, and the work begun will be carried on by the same power, until these vile bodies are changed to immortality. It seems as if no one who will carefully read the eighth of Romans would for a moment confound the indwelling spirit of Christ with the mere exercise of power in restoring natural life to be changed afterward; or ignore the fact that the subject of the apostle is the power, process, and final completion of the new creation, which is the work of Christ as the second Adam; and that in this passage there is not a hint of bringing back into mortality and changing afterward.
The two Adams are related to each other as natural and spiritual. The first was all natural, and imparts the same, the antitype is spiritual. First, the natural and afterward the spiritual shuts out the idea that the first had any element of the spiritual, or what could have developed into it. God’s plan of giving the spiritual is by the second Adam. I do not say that Adam did not have a spirit: “There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding.” But it was a human spirit,—the spirit of a natural man. To say that it was an immortal spirit, or that it could have developed into immortality without the second Adam, is to say what the bible does not say, and is therefore pure assumption.
All that God gave Adam was lost under the curse: “Dying thou shalt die.” This was not an instantaneous work, but a process as the words imply, and during that process he produced a race of men like himself—under the sentence of death.
In Rom. 5., Paul declares that the Atonement by Christ’s death, is what secures man’s recovery from that condemnation. “Reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” And in Heb. 2, declares that he took the nature of man, for that very purpose. So Christ’s work is assuredly double. By the sacrifice he redeems the natural, and as the second Adam, he gives what man never had before—spiritual and immortal life. Let me have an interest in the second Adam, by being partaker of his spirit, and “I shall behold thy face in righteousness, I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” Ps. 17:15.
J. H. P.
— October, 1879 —