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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Adam in the nt

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ADAM IN THE NT

A. In the Gospels . 1 . In Matthew 19:4-6 || Mark 10:6-8 Jesus refers to Genesis 1:27 . His answer to the Pharisees is intended to show that the provision made for divorce in the Mosaic law ( Deuteronomy 24:1 ) was only a concession to the hardness of men’s hearts. The truer and deeper view of marriage must be based on a morality which takes its stand upon the primeval nature of man and woman. And with His quotation He couples one from Genesis 2:24 (see also Ephesians 5:21 ). The same result is reached in Mt., but with a transposition of the two parts of the argument.

2 . In Luke 3:38 the ancestry of Jesus is traced up to Adam. As a Gentile writing for Gentiles, St. Luke took every opportunity of insisting upon the universal power of the gospel. Jesus is not, as in St. Matthew’s Gospel, a descendant of Abraham only, but of the man to whom all mankind trace their origin. But further, the same Evangelist who relates the fact of the Virgin-birth, and records that Christ was, in His own proper Person, ‘Son of God’ ( Luke 1:35 ), claims, by the closing words of the genealogy, that the first man, and hence every human being, is ‘son of God.’ As Jesus is both human and Divine, so the genealogy preserves the truth that all mankind partake of this twofold nature.

B . In the Epistles . The truth taught by St. Luke is treated in its redemptive aspect by his master St. Paul.

1 . 1 Corinthians 15:22 . The solidarity of mankind in their physical union with Adam, and in their spiritual union with Christ, involves respectively universal death and life as a consequence of Adam’s sin and of Christ’s work.

2 . In Romans 5:12-21 this is treated more fully. ( a ) Romans 5:12-14 . There is a parallelism between Adam and Christ . Both had a universal effect upon mankind in the case of Adam by a transmission of guilt, and therefore of death; the corresponding statement concerning Christ is postponed till Romans 5:19 , because St. Paul intervenes with a parenthesis dealing with those who lived before any specific commands were given in the Mosaic law, and yet who sinned, owing to the transmitted effects of Adam’s fall, and therefore died. The Apostle, without attempting fully to reconcile them, places side by side the two aspects of the truth the hereditary transmission of guilt, and moral responsibility; ‘and thus death made its way to all men, because all sinned .’ ( b ) Romans 5:15-17 . The contrast is far greater than the similarity ; in quality ( Romans 5:15 ), in quantity ( Romans 5:16 ), in character and consequences ( Romans 5:17 ). ( c ) Summary of the argument ( Romans 5:18-21 ).

3 . 1 Corinthians 15:44-47 . In the foregoing passages St. Paul deals with the practical moral results of union with Adam and Christ respectively. These verses ( a ) go behind that, and show that there is a radical difference between the nature of each; ( b ) look forward, and show that this difference has a vital bearing on the truth of man’s resurrection.

( a ) 1 Corinthians 15:36-44 . It is shown, by illustrations from nature, that it is reasonable to believe man to exist in two different states, one far higher than the other. In 1 Corinthians 15:44 b, 1 Corinthians 15:45 St. Paul adapts Genesis 2:7 (LXX [Note: Septuagint.] ), and reads into the words the doctrinal significance that the body of the first representative man became the vehicle of a ‘psychical’ nature, while the body of the Second is the organ of a ‘pneumatical’ nature. The second half of his statement ‘the last Adam became a life-giving spirit’ appears to be based on a reminiscence of Messianic passages which speak of the work of the Divine Spirit, e.g. Isaiah 11:1-2 , Joel 2:28-32 .

( b ) But as the living soul ( psyche ) preceded the life-giving spirit ( pneuma ), so it is with the development of mankind ( 1 Corinthians 15:46 ). As the first man had a nature in conformity with his origin from clay, while the Second has His origin ‘from heaven’ ( 1 Corinthians 15:47 ), so the nature of some men remains earthy, while that of some has become heavenly ( 1 Corinthians 15:48 ). But further, in his present state man is the exact counterpart of the first man, because of his corporate union with him; but the time is coming when he shall become the exact counterpart of the Second Man (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:25 f.), because of our spiritual union with Him ( 1 Corinthians 15:49 ).

4 . In Philippians 2:6 there is an implied contrast between ‘Christ Jesus, who … deemed it not a thing to be snatched at to be on an equality with God,’ and Adam, who took fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God said had made him ‘as one of us’ ( Genesis 3:22 ).

5 . On 1 Timothy 2:13 f. see Eve; and on Judges 1:14 see Enoch.

A. H. M‘Neile.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Adam in the nt'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/a/adam-in-the-nt.html. 1909.

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