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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX


Part IX: The Unique Relationship Between the First Adam and the Last Adam

Chapter 1

The Body of the First Adam and of the Last Adam

     ALTHOUGH the record of Genesis is brief indeed in its treatment of the origin and subsequent history of Adam, it nevertheless gives us a great deal of information by inference. The trouble with this kind of information is that there is always difficulty in agreeing upon the meaning of such inferential statements. For example, as we shall see, there is an inference that Adam's body had a form which rendered it a male-female organism, which by a kind of divine surgery was divided into two independent creatures who nevertheless formed a single whole when "joined" by God. This is an inference. In spite of the fact that, to me, the text is completely clear, there are many wholly sincere Christian scholars who believe the language to be symbolic, and that such a bisexual creature would be difficult to conceive, physiologically speaking. Actually, it is possible to construct in theory a human body capable of containing within it one vessel to originate the sperm and one the ovum, which being released at the same moment could unite and produce a fetus. However, one must allow that the possible bisexuality of Adam as created is inferential only.
     Another circumstance which seems to me perfectly clear is that, again physiologically considered, Adam and Eve were not by nature subject to mortality until they sinned, and might have recovered physical immortality had they been allowed to reach the Tree of Life subsequently. This again must be considered an inference because, here too, there is a great deal of disagreement among those who have equal respect for the Word of God.
     Some of these inferences may or may not be important, but those which are, are resolvable to my mind without the least possible shadow of doubt by reference to what we know of the Lord Jesus

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Christ from the New Testament. It thus comes about that the clearest picture of Adam is not to be found in Genesis at all but in the New Testament. This picture gives us some basic information about the nature of man by showing us what a perfect Adam is really like. Moreover, this applies not merely to the character or personality potential of such a one, but to what his body might have been as well. The events which took place on Calvary shed a light on this aspect of the problem, which, it seems to me, make it quite impossible to account for the first Adam by some kind of evolved primate with a God-given soul. Let us look very carefully at what really happened when the Lord laid down His life on the Cross.
     Although the thought may appear at first sight to be a novel one, it can be shown logically that vicarious sacrifice sheds light upon the physical constitution of Adam as created, which cannot be obtained by any other means. To understand the nature of this light, it is necessary to establish very clearly, not merely what vicarious sacrifice is (which most of us believe we know rather well), but what it is not. This is a subject which demands the strictest adherence to the laws of logic, but also requires a certain spiritual perception.
     I remember several years ago driving along Dupont Street in Toronto with a very godly Christian man whose formal education had probably not even proceeded as far as Junior Matriculation, but who had a very keen perception of spiritual truth. We were talking about the Lord's death, and I mentioned to him one or two of the key points which are presented in this chapter. He turned to me suddenly with great joy in his face and said, "How beautiful! Somehow I've always understood this but never been able to put it into words." I think that what stimulated the remark at this point in the conversation was the observation that the Lord died on the cross, but not because of it, a statement which is considered subsequently. I believe that the Holy Spirit alone can lead us into this kind of truth. Nevertheless, once having arrived at the truth, we shall find that it is possible to reconstruct the rationale of it all, and it turns out in the end to be quite defensible by an appeal to logic. Even so the logic of it is often more apparent to oneself than to someone else, a fact which demonstrates that this kind of understanding is spiritually acquired in the final analysis. And there is a sense in which to arrive at the truth one must know the truth already. It may therefore prove very disappointing if one attempts to convey this understanding to others unless, in some measure, they already have it.
     There has now been a tendency for many years to place more and more emphasis on the cultivation of devotional life and on the

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need for practicing Christian virtue in all human relationships, somewhat to the exclusion of achieving a real understanding of why we believe what we do. Devotion and practice have tended to eclipse understanding, so that the structure of our faith is often neglected and its terminology used very loosely.
     It thus comes about that terms which were once applied with quite exact meanings by earlier theologians are now used so loosely as to be almost meaningless. "Doctrine" is apt to be considered as cold, divisive, and rather impractical. We speak of the Lord's sacrifice, and in our fantastic indifference to the truth, actually dare to suggest parallels with those who lay down their lives for their country. Some who categorically deny that they ever make such a mistake add by way of explanation that they realize only too well how much greater His sacrifice was. The difference becomes one of degree -- a misrepresentation of the truth, which is only slightly less unfortunate. The fact is that no possible comparison can be made with the death of any other human being from Abel to the present time. Yet this does not mean that there is no hope of understanding, in so far as we are enabled so to do by the Holy Spirit, something of the real nature of the Lord's sacrifice. But we shall understand it rather by contrast than by analogy.
     Let us consider a few situations in which men have given their lives, have made the supreme sacrifice, voluntarily (or otherwise), and on behalf of someone else. And having done this let us see in what sense these must be contrasted rather than compared with the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time, it should be underscored that we are dealing with these sacrifices entirely from the point of view of physical death. The other side of the question is not in view here at all.
     In Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities the hero of the story, Sydney Carton, a not too successful lawyer living at the time of the French Revolution, determines to redeem his rather useless life with one final noble gesture. Without entering into the details of the well-known story, it is sufficient to say that learning of the imprisonment in Paris and subsequent condemnation of an old friend of his, he succeeds in visiting him a little more than an hour before he is to be guillotined. Taking his friend by surprise, he chloroforms him in the cell, substitutes their clothing, and then has him quickly removed in disguise, as though himself, and restored to his wife in England. One hour later he answers the call in his friend's name and is put to death in his place, without his identity being discovered.
     In the prime of his life, not personally under condemnation but

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standing in his friend's place, he sacrifices himself entirely without compulsion. And his friend goes free. There are several points in this story, all of which have been drawn together that superficially appear to be an illustration of the Lord's death on behalf of any one of us: cut off in the prime of life without guilt, assuming our place, and setting us free. Yet, in spite of these parallels, the analogy is completely false in one fundamental regard.
     Consider another illustration. During the Napoleonic wars, in the earlier stages of his military campaigns, Napoleon allowed men who were called up to purchase for themselves a substitute soldier. It required only that the man had sufficient money to pay his substitute, and that the substitute agree to serve not for himself, but in the stead of his retainer. It seems that in one case there was a barber, who had a particularly lucrative business, who hired a young man to go in his place. This young man was killed at the front, and notice of his death was accordingly sent back to the barber, who was careful not to lose it. Some years later when the military campaigns were not going too well, Napoleon called up more men from an age group which included the barber. The barber begged to be excused, explaining that actually he had already served at the front and was dead. The conscripting officers thought he was joking, but the barber was able to show his own death certificate and to the logically minded French military authorities he clearly proved his point. He was never again called to military service.
     This story illustrates another aspect of sacrificial death. If a man can prove that a legally constituted substitute has died in his place, he can under certain circumstances claim to be himself beyond the power of the law. The law has no further jurisdiction over him than it has over a corpse. This form of substitutionary sacrifice surely comes close to being a parallel. Yet, while it successfully illustrates one aspect of the Lord's death on my behalf -- for I am counted as dead and beyond the power of the Law in God's sight -- there is still one aspect of the substitute soldier's death which is so completely different from the Lord's that there is no parallel whatever. In what sense this sweeping statement is true will be left till a little later.
     Consider another kind of substitutionary death. Among some primitive people,
(1) the Tlingit for example -- a Northwest Coastal tribe in Canada -- each man is given a "value." His value is

1. Oberg, Kalervo, "Crime and Punishment in Tlingit Society", American Anthropologist, 1934, pp.145-146.

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established by the community and is dependent upon the community's estimate of his worth as an individual to his own society. He may be a very valuable person because of innate skill, of acquired wealth, or the prestige of noble birth. So careful is this accounting system that a man's tombstone may bear a statement which in effect reads something like this: "Here lies John Tlingit; worth $12,562." This has nothing to do necessarily with his economic wealth, but has everything to do with the individual's status before the law, and particularly his value to his own family. If a $6,000 murderer should cause the death of a $12,000 man, it would not be sufficient for the murderer to be put to death. Justice could not be served so simply. The murderer and his brother, however, might be worth $12,000, and if this were the case, the unfortunate brother would be executed at the same time. It sounds like a fantastic system, but evidently it worked remarkably well, for the "have nots" in the society, who might have the greatest cause for violent action were deeply conscious of the fact that they would probably involve their whole family in the death penalty if they attacked an expensive member of the community.
     The complications of the administration of justice are quite interesting to study. They applied not merely to cases of murder, but to any offense requiring punishment. It was not a question of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, but a gold tooth for a gold tooth -- or three silver ones for one gold one. To pay for some damage suits, it might be necessary to punish a whole family as though the debt were made up in small change. Conversely, an expensive enough individual could, by his death, volunteer to pay war damages inflicted upon a whole tribe by his own people.
     Once more we have a parallel of a kind. A "small" man can cover the debts of a "small" man; a large man, the debts of many. It is no longer merely a case of one for one, but one for many. It all depends upon the value of the victim. Superficially, we might think that we had here an even closer parallel to the Lord's sacrifice, and so we do, in part. But that element of the Lord's sacrifice which finds no representation here whatever makes all the difference in the world, so that once again the two cases cease to be parallel in any but the most superficial sense.
     Let us consider one final illustration of substitutionary sacrifice that is not unlike the one immediately above, but contains one element which belongs to the Lord's sacrifice that none of the previous examples have had. Among nomadic Arab tribes there is a particular form of "blood revenge" which is not to be found in other

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societies. This is what may be called the delayed-time factor. If I should have a son of, say, nineteen years of age, and in some local feud he should be killed by a member of a neighbouring tribe, I may demand blood revenge. Rather than simply going to war and disrupting the pattern of life of the two tribes involved, it is understood by custom that a son of approximately nineteen years of age belonging to a man in the neighbouring tribe who has equal status socially with myself, may be singled out as the victim whose death will square accounts and bring an end to the feud between us. We shall, on our part, seek every opportunity to waylay the lad while they take special precautions to protect him. If we succeed in bringing about his death, that will be the end of the matter. It will not lead to further warfare. This is the accepted custom, and by and large all parties subscribe to it.
     But what happens if the only son he has is six years old, all the rest of his family being daughters? It's really very simple. It is only a matter of time. The six-year-old is perfectly safe for twelve or thirteen years. Relations between the two tribes carry on as though nothing sinister is planned at all. Trade, entertaining, and intermarriage may proceed smoothly until the boy reaches the age at which my son was killed. Then the situation changes and every precaution is taken on their part to protect themselves from surprise attack, since there will be no declaration of war on our part; while we begin to lay careful plans to effect blood revenge.
     It seems strange to us at first sight that such a system should be made to operate. However, one must remember that the Arab lives from day to day. What is to happen will happen. It is all ordained. So why brood or even attempt to evade the future?
     Our law also recognizes that a criminal brought to justice many, many years after the crime was committed is still to be held responsible, even though intervening circumstances may modify his sentence. What is a little different in this case of the Arabs is that in a sense the young lad grows up in complete innocence, but in due time may be called upon to sacrifice his life to end a feud, simply because he is the only substitute who can fulfill all the conditions of the law in point of age, sex, and social standing. In "due time" he is sacrificed for the sake of peace.
     In each one of these situations some facet of the total meaning of the Lord's sacrifice of Himself on Calvary is to be observed. His sacrifice was substitutionary, voluntary, in innocence, as legal tender, of sufficient value, and in due time. Every one of these things is true. Common to them all is the fact that each involved the termination

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of life. Nevertheless, for all this, the Lord's sacrifice was completely different from any one of these and from all of them put together. What is this fundamental difference?  It can be stated rather simply: Each of these men was a mortal creature and bound to die sooner or later; the Lord Jesus was immortal and need never have died at all. This distinction lies at the root of the issue, so much so that His death is in a different category altogether, having a unique significance in the Plan of Redemption, and shedding a light upon the circumstances surrounding the creation of Adam that has been almost entirely disregarded by those who have attempted to account for his origin by evolution.
     Let me see if I can crystallize the essential difference between the death of Jesus Christ and the death of all other men. First of all, because we are born as the children of Adam in such a state that death is inevitable, any sacrifice of life we make is merely a sacrifice of a part of life, of that which remains. It is not, in truth, a sacrifice of life in itself, but merely a shortening of it. Jesus Christ, because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and virgin born, was not in this respect as we are. He was made not after a carnal commandment, that is to say, the law governing all other flesh, but after the power of an endless life (Hebrews 7:16). When He died, He did not surrender part of life; He did not merely shorten it. That which is endless cannot be shortened. What He did was to sacrifice life itself.
     Because we are mortals and therefore bound to die in the end, we are not in any position to choose whether we will die or not. It sometimes looks like it, and we commonly speak as though it were so, but all that we can actually do is to choose the occasion of our dying, by dying before the "appointed" time. A man who is in debt, although the contract may not call for the debt to be paid for several years, can pay off the debt ahead of time if he so desires. He is not bound to do this, but it is something he can volunteer to do of his own free will. It is, in fact, the only thing he has any free choice about in the matter. In the final payment of the debt itself he has no choice, but he can choose to pay the debt before it is due. The important point is that it is only in the timing of the payment that he has any freedom, not in making the actual payment of the debt itself. This is what I mean when I say that a man may choose the time of his dying in certain circumstances, but he is not in a position to choose whether he will die or not die.
     But man is in debt to death. We have all sinned and the penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And because sin entered into human experience, death also entered into human experience as a consequence;

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so the sentence of death passed upon all men, and in due time all men must die. We are not therefore in any position of being able to choose whether to die or not. The choice is not within our power. But we can, of course, pay this debt before it is due. The suicide does so, or the hero who sacrifices his life for a comrade. So does the martyr, in a manner of speaking. What is common to all these deaths is simply that they are premature; a debt that must be paid is paid before it falls due. Insofar as men in such circumstances can be said to have had a choice in the matter, they have not really had any choice in the matter of dying per se, but only in the time of dying. They have accelerated the process, they have shortened life. They have sacrificed, not life itself, but what remained of their allotment.
     On the other hand, the position of one who is not subject to death, who for some reason has the potential of an endless life -- and we have already seen in this volume that this is a perfectly feasible possibility -- the position of such a one is quite otherwise. He may indeed die at the hands of others, but he need not die -- ever. He is not merely in the position of being able to choose the time of dying, but he is able to choose whether he will die at all. If he chooses to die, he is making a choice which is quite beyond our power to make.
     This was precisely the position of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was virgin born so that He might escape the stream of mortality which we all inherit through the male seed, and therefore He enjoyed the potential of endless life that Adam had at first. We are talking of endless physical life, not endless spiritual life, which is quite another matter. Adam could die, and did die, but he need not have died had he not sinned. The Lord Jesus Christ, as the Second Adam, could die, and did die, but He need not have died had He not been made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). When He chose to die, this is precisely what He did, not merely choosing the time of dying, but choosing to embrace death, where He might have lived forever.
     As we have noted in a previous Paper, I think it is a pity that very few translations have recognized the real significance of Hebrews 12:2, which according to most renderings seems to be telling us that "because of the joy that was set before him endured the cross." The Greek is really very clear in saying rather that it was "instead of the joy that was set before him, he endured the Cross." What does this mean? -- I believe that on the Mount of Transfiguration the Lord Jesus could have passed into glory without ever tasting death, having fulfilled the role of man as God had originally planned it should be, turning innocence into virtue, and becoming, by the

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experience of daily living, a perfect person whose character was wholly pleasing to the Father. There was no sin in Him, He never knew sin, neither did He ever do any sin, and therefore there was no penalty of death attached to His life and no necessity of dying.
     He was, in fact, there and then ready to pass on by a joyous experience of transformation into the life of heaven without seeing death at all. This was the joy that was before Him, the joy to which He had every right as perfect man. But "instead of the joy that was then in prospect," He returned and came down from the mount and at once set His face like a flint to go up to Jerusalem to endure the shame and the agony of death on the Cross. He had this choice. Death was not thrust upon Him. He was free to embrace it. And He did so for our sakes.
     It is curious how a passage of Scripture with profound implications can become so familiar to us that these implications escape us entirely until we are almost forced into looking at it afresh. Consider John 10:17 and 18. Here the Lord said explicitly, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down. . . "
     This most important statement we are apt to interpret as meaning that the Lord would submit to being crucified when He was ready, and not before. Reinforcing this view we recall the statement that no man dared to lay hands upon Him for His hour was not yet come. And when that hour did come, He announced it. "The hour is come. . . " (Mark 14:41,42), He said; and the Roman authorities performed their dreadful task. So without thinking too deeply about the matter, we may be misled into supposing that the Lord Jesus Christ really did nothing more profound in the matter of His death than choosing the time at which He would submit Himself into men's hands.
     Perhaps if we put two other passages together, we may see how mistaken a view this is. In Isaiah 53:7 we are told that He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter. This was man's work. But then in Hebrews 7:27, we are told that He offered Himself. He submitted to the "bringing," but when the time came it was the Lord Himself who initiated the offering, His own life. In the most literal possible sense of the term, no man took His life from Him; He laid it down entirely Himself.
     There are not a few passages of Scripture, of which Ecclesiastes 8:8 is a good example, which state that in the hour of death no mortal creature has any power to retain his life. Man is humbled in death.

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But in Philippians 2:8 the Lord Jesus humbled Himself. This is a unique circumstance, and it is reinforced in the same verse by describing the event in slightly different terms. For whereas man is obedient, the Lord Jesus became obedient. That is to say, Jesus Christ did not merely choose the time to die -- which we may do within certain limits -- He actually chose to die, which we can never do.
     On the Cross Jesus laid down His life, but not as is commonly supposed by submitting to man to put Him to death, although history records (Acts 2:23) that this is what appeared to happen. In actual fact, though He died on the Cross, it was most assuredly not because of it. By an act of will and in the time of His own choosing, He dismissed His life, as a master might dismiss a servant. He said, "Life, be gone," and a moment later the Son of man left His dead body on the Cross.
     The Greek words which are used in these closing scenes are most significant, for although the English tells us that He yielded up His Spirit as it also tells us that Ananias and Sapphira yielded up theirs, the original Greek in the two instances is completely different. For in the case of the Lord, the English fails entirely to convey what is implied in the original, namely, that this was not a surrender, but a dismissal. Significantly enough the same Greek word () appears in John 19:16 and 19:30. The first reads, "Then delivered he [Pilate] him [Jesus] therefore unto them to be crucified." And the second reads, "He bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified, but this was the extent of his power. Jesus had "power" (John 10:18) to lay down His life, power to dismiss His Spirit. This is a deep mystery, yet we can by careful and reverent reflection upon the matter fathom something of what such a "giving up" really means.
     When we die, the body overcomes the spirit and forces it to flee, refusing any longer to provide a house for it. But when Jesus died, His Spirit overcame His body. This is a complete reversal of ordinary processes. When a man yields up the ghost, it is a passive act, but when Jesus Christ dismissed His Spirit, the verb appears in active form; and it is for the same reason as when referring to Pilate's action in delivering Him to be crucified. Unlike our death, His death was the ultimate and supreme triumph of the spirit over the body. "This is the Lord's doing (not man's), it is marvelous in our eyes. . ."
     Even the Cross itself as a stage had a special significance. The Romans had several ways of dealing with a criminal. Among these, they might hang him, drown him, impale him, strangle him, poison him, thrust him through with a weapon, or crucify him. In any one of

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these methods of capital punishment except the last, only a miracle could have kept the Lord alive. Think of this for a moment, and you will see that it is so. The fact is, however, that it was only by a miracle that when crucified He died when He did. The reason for saying this is not that crucifixion was not fatal but rather that it was a delayed form of capital punishment, and it is well known that a crucified man might survive as long as three days before dying. This was why Pilate was surprised that Jesus was dead so soon (Mark 15:44). It is true, then, that while Pilate delivered Him as a lamb to the slaughter, yet no man took His life; the offering of His life was entirely His own doing.
     One further point needs underscoring lest there should be the slightest shadow of doubt about the uniqueness of this event. We have twice spoken of this "power" which the Lord Jesus had and which enabled His spirit to triumph over His body -- not as is occasionally true with men, that life might be prolonged (for men have sometimes willed to live when all other life-saving agencies have failed) -- but rather that life might be dismissed. Again, one must pause to reflect upon this to see the meaning of it. It is not possible for ordinary men to command the spirit to render immediate obedience so that the body is lifeless within a moment of time. Men may lack the will to live and because they do, the body gradually fails and death ensues. But not only is this a lingering process, it is the result of weakness of will, the refusal to face life any longer, the desire to escape. We know from Gethsemane that there was not the slightest element of this in the Lord's action, for He asked, if it were possible, that it might be avoided, even while He knew it could not be (Luke 22:42). This is vicarious death, choosing to die deliberately, voluntarily, without any necessity whatever. It must not be confused with the kind of sacrifice a creature may make, who must die one day in any case and at best has only a choice of the time of his dying, and not even this as a rule.
     Here we have One who was true man, not subject to physical death, by an act of will -- which was an expression of His deity -- dismissing life where that life could have been sustained indefinitely. It was immortality rendering itself mortal by an act of will and without any other necessity than the fact that He chose so to do. This much is clear from Scripture. But how does it cast light upon the nature of Adam as created? What must we infer from these things?
     First of all, we must conclude that if the law requires an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, it must also require a man for a man. Unless the First Adam is faithfully represented in the Last Adam, the  

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sacrifice He made may be vicarious indeed, but it cannot be applied to Adam. We know from Scripture that the blood of goats and bulls (Hebrews 10:4) was not adequate. Life was given for life, but it was not the right kind of life. We must assume, therefore, that if the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is to be applied against fallen man in Adam, then the identification of Jesus as the Son of man is not as merely a poetic title but a very real fact. Insofar as His manhood was concerned, the Lord Jesus Christ was the Son of Adam, but not of any fallen Adam for this He escaped by the virgin birth. The seed of the woman was passed from generation to generation from Eve to Mary, and Eve was taken out of Adam -- and the seed with her -- while he was yet untouched by mortality. All other seeds in this line were rendered mortal when brought to life by human agency, for when joined by the seed of fallen man that which was potentially immortal became mortal. But in due time this remnant of immortal Adam was brought to life, not by man, but by the Holy Spirit, thereby escaping mortality and retaining the physiology of the First Adam. Thus He became a true Son of unfallen Adam. The taking of Eve out of unfallen Adam that she (and those who followed her) might become a vehicle for the conveyance of this primal seed in its original purity exactly fulfills the physiological requirement for that body which was accordingly "perfectly prepared" for Him (Hebrews 10:5).
     Now, the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus not merely revealed God to man, but man to himself. And this was done in two ways. We see man as he is in all his wickedness, brought terrifyingly to light when faced with perfect humanity. And this perfect humanity with which they were faced revealed what man should be. Part of that perfection was seen in the character of the Lord, but there was another part equally faithfully representing Adam, namely, the perfect body which housed His spirit uncorrupted by the seed of death and with the glorious potential of endless life. This, then, is man as God made him: this is Adam unfallen.
     And Genesis 2:16, 17 fully supports the latter inference.

     And the Lord God commanded the man saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
     But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it for in the day that thou eatest
thereof thou shalt surely die.

     In the original Hebrew the last phrase reads more exactly "dying thou shalt die," which, from a study of other passages of Scripture where this arrangement of words is to be found, might quite properly be rendered rather, "thou shalt begin to die."
     What follows in the text is familiar enough to the Christian. The

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forbidden tree proves irresistible to the woman, who, having partaken of its fruit, appeals to Adam to join her in her disobedience. Eve had been deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), but Adam was not. He saw himself separated from this most beautiful of all possible companions, because she was now very different from himself and no longer able to share his life in the Garden. Having thought about it, he deliberately chose to become like her, and sought afterwards to justify the decision by pointing out to the Lord that He had, after all, given Eve to him to be a companion. In pronouncing the curse, the Lord finally warned Adam that he would return to the dust, for he had now lost his original condition of immortality. But in the Garden apparently, the Tree of Life, either because of its fruit or its leaves which both had been allowed to partake of freely as they desired and which had maintained their bodies in a state of perfectly balanced health, had suddenly become a source of grave danger. For were they to put forth their hands now and take of the Tree of Life, the effects of the fruit of the other tree which had already begun the process of dying in their bodies, would somehow have been neutralized and life might have been sustained indefinitely. But now they were fallen creatures. Not only had some physical damage been done, but what was far worse -- spiritual damage. And God saw at once, if one may speak anthropomorphically, that endless physical life for a fallen spiritual creature was too dreadful to permit. The record provides us, as though to underscore the urgency of the situation, with one of the few unfinished statements of Scripture (Genesis 3:22-24).

     And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now,
lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
     Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence
he was taken.
     So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.      

     It seems that the Word of God has gone out of its way to make it very clear that the divine concern in this situation was to prevent at all costs the recovery of immortality while in a state of sinfulness. The inference is clear enough: namely, that Adam and Eve were created in such a physical condition that endless life would have been normal for them. Death was no original part of their physical being. As Romans 5: 12 states, it "entered" as a result of their disobedience. All men by natural generation since that time have been mortals, as the animals are mortal creatures. But Adam was not so at the very

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beginning. It is not, therefore, true man that we now call "man," but a dying creature who is only a pale reflection of God's original creation.
     The First Adam and the Last Adam shared this unique quality. As Augustine put it, of them both could be said: non imposse mori sed posse non mori -- "not impossible to die, but possible not to die." Both the First and the Last Adam did die, but neither the First nor the Last need have died. This could never have been said of the First Adam if he had derived his physical life as a living organism by some entirely natural process of evolution even with the addition of a specially created soul or spirit subsequently implanted to set him off as man.
     Unless by the term true man as applied to Adam, we comprehend an immortal creature indwelt by a perfect spirit, then the Lord Jesus Christ did not offer a vicarious sacrifice of Himself that could be applied to Adam, for He was not then Himself true man at all, and His titles "Son of man" and "the Last Adam" are meaningless. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, true man for true man -- this is the Law. Because the Lord Jesus need never have died, He was in a position to sacrifice Himself vicariously. Because of the unique relationship between the Lord Jesus and the First Adam, His sacrifice was applicable to us in Adam, was in fact substitutionary. In the Last Adam we may discern what the First Adam was like as he came from the hand of God, and what the First Adam could have been if he had not sinned.
     For all this, the Last Adam was not only man: He was God also. Yet, being more than man did not make Him any less than man. All that true man is and can be is to be found here. God was made man not identical with man as he is now, but made rather in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3). He was made flesh -- a statement unqualified (John 1:14) -- but with reference to human flesh now, made in the "likeness" only. Yet with respect to human flesh as seen in Adam originally, by way of the virgin birth, He was truly human, the Second Adam. Such is the unique relationship between these two, both of whom were called "the Son of God."

     pg.14 of 14     

Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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