I Corinthians 15:45:
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

We saw from Romans 5 that Adam was “a type of the one who was to come,” that is Jesus. Through Adam, sin and death entered the world; through Jesus, grace and life. In the same way that Adam as the prototype man sinned and brought down his descendants after him, so “the one man, Jesus Christ” is the bringer of life to all who are “in him.”

When Paul teaches on the resurrection in I Corinthians 15, he develops this same analogy, using four clear comparisons of Adam and Christ. We encounter the First Adam and the Last Adam, a living soul and a life-giving spirit, the first man which is natural and earthy and the second man which is spiritual and the Lord from heaven.

I Corinthians 15:45-49:
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Not only did the Last Adam have to be able to die; he had to be able to sin as well. His behavioral perfection was ultimately dependent solely upon him. He had the choice of whether or not to obey God, and therefore he was temptable If Jesus had not been able to sin like the First Adam, his temptations would have been inauthentic.

I Corinthians 15:21,22:
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

God had to fix both problems, sin and death. He needed another Adam. The way in which the Last Adam would solve the problem would be opposite of how the First Adam caused it. The First Adam disobeyed; 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 by his resurrection.

Since the ultimate problem that mankind faced was death, the Last Adam had to defeat this enemy. The only way to do so was by dying. Then God could then raise him from the dead, conquering death and giving him everlasting life.

Romans 6:9 and 10
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Hebrews 2:9 and 14:
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels[being made a man of flesh and blood who could die] for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. . .
14 Forasmuch then as the children [of Adam] are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

The entire Bible from Genesis 3:15 to Revelation 22:21 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.

I Corinthians 15:24-28:
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

This magnificent passage attributes the glory for the entire plan of redemption to its original architect, God. 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. Now the same dominion and power that was once the first Adam’s has been reclaimed in Christ, the last Adam. Believers in Christ today also have this dominion as joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), for it is written, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4).

By Wayne Clapp