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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Adam

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ADAM.1. In Luke 3:38 the ancestry of Jesus is traced up to Adam. From what source the Evangelist drew his genealogy it is impossible to say. But when compared with that in the First Gospel, it clearly shows the purpose with which St. Luke wrote. As a Gentile, writing for a Gentile, he took every opportunity of insisting upon the universal power of the gospel. The effects of the life and Person of Jesus are not confined to the Jews; for 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. See art. Genealogy of Jesus Christ. But further, St. Luke closes his genealogy with the significant words ‘the son of Adam, the son of God’ (τοῦ Ἀδάμ, τοῦ Θεοῦ). Adam, and therefore all mankind, had a Divine origin. The same Evangelist who relates the fact of the virgin birth, and records that Christ was, in His own proper Person, υἱὸς Θεοῦ (Luke 1:35), claims that the first man, and hence every human being, is υἱὸς Θεοῦ. Thus the genealogy, which might at first sight appear to be a useless addition to the Gospel narrative, possesses a lasting spiritual value.

The truth placed by St. Luke in the forefront of his Gospel is treated in its redemptive aspect by his master St. Paul, who in four passages brings Adam and Christ into juxtaposition:

(a) 1 Corinthians 15:22. The solidarity of mankind in their physical union with Adam involves universal death as a consequence of Adam’s sin. Similarly the solidarity of mankind in their spiritual union with Christ involves universal life as a consequence of Christ’s perfect work.

(b) In Romans 5:12-21. this solidarity and its results are treated in fuller detail. (i.) Romans 5:12-14. There is a parallelism between Adam and Christ. Adam ‘is a type of him who was to come’ (Romans 5:14), in the sense that his act affected all men. Adam committed a ταράττωμα, a lapse, a false step—commonly termed the Fall. By this lapse, sin was as ‘a malignant force let loose among mankind’; and through sin came physical death. (St. Paul sees no occasion for proof of the connexion between sin and physical death; he unhesitatingly bases his position on the narrative in Genesis; see Romans 2:17, Romans 3:3; Romans 3:19; Romans 3:21). Were this all, the passage would implicitly annul human responsibility. But St. Paul, 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 (διῆλθεν) to every individual man, because all sinned (ἐφʼ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον)’. Controversy has raged hotly round this phrase, Augustine and many other writers having understood the relative ω as masculine, and as referring to Adam; so Vulgate in quo. But there can be no doubt that ἐφʼ must be taken in its usual meaning ‘because.’ Adam’s fall involved all men in sin, and therefore in death; but this was because all men (in full exercise of their free will) sinned. It would be out of place here to discuss the attempts that have been made to combine these two factors in the moral history of man (see Literature): strictly speaking, they cannot fully and logically he combined; but many of the most fundamental truths of the Christian religion can be arrived at only by the balancing of complementary statements. In Romans 3:13-14 a qualification is entered, which causes St. Paul to ruin his construction, and omit the apodosis of which Romans 3:12 forms the protasis. He feels obliged to explain that, sin being an offence against law, those who lived between Adam and Moses had no law, and thus did not transgress an explicit command as Adam had done. But the fact that death reigned throughout that period only shows that—not the guilt of individuals, but—the transmitted effects of Adam’s sin were at work. And it is this that makes him a type of the Messiah. (ii.) Romans 3:15-17. The contrast is far greater than the similarity. The contrast between Adam and Christ is great:—In quality (Romans 3:15). The one representative man, Adam, committed a παράττωμα; but over-against that must be placed the undeserved kindness (χαρις) of God, and the gift of righteousness arising from the kindness of the other representative Man, Jesus Christ. In quantity (Romans 3:16). ‘One act tainting the whole race with sin, and a multitude of sins collected together in one only to be forgiven.’ In character and consequences (Romans 3:17). Adam’s fall ushered in a reign of death; Christ’s work ensures that all who have received His kindness and His gift of righteousness shall themselves reign in life. (iii.) Romans 3:18-21. Summary of the argument, in which it is further shown that Law ‘came in as an afterthought’ (παρεισῆλθεν), multiplying sin, but thereby only increasing the abundance of God’s kindness.

(c) 1 Corinthians 15:44-47. The two foregoing passages from St. Paul’s writings deal with the practical moral results of union with Adam and Christ respectively. These verses (i.) go back behind that, and show that there is a complete and radical difference between the nature of each; (ii.) look forward, and show that this difference has a vital bearing on the truth of man’s resurrection.

(i.) St. Paul maintains (1 Corinthians 15:36-44 a), by a series of illustrations from the natural world, the reasonableness of a resurrection from death. In Nature ‘every seed has its own particular body’—‘all flesh is not the same flesh’—the terrestrial differs from the celestial—there is a different glory of the sun, the moon, and the stars. So also it may be rightly held that it is possible for man to exist in two different states, one far higher than the other. Not only so, but (1 Corinthians 15:44 b, 45) there actually exists such an analogous distinction between man and man, as Scripture shows. The thought in 1 Corinthians 15:45 is arrived at by an adaptation of Genesis 2:7 : Θ καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ ἄνθρωτος εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν. These words relate only that after being lifeless clay, man was by God’s breath transformed into a living being. But St. Paul reads into the statement 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. St. Paul’s trichotomy of man may he represented thus:

 

ⲡⲛⲉⲩⲙⲁ

 

ⲯⲩⲭⲏ =

ⲛⲟⲩⲥ

ⲥⲱⲙⲁ

= ⲥⲁⲣⲝ

Everything in man that is not τνεῦμα may he called ‘psychical’ is so far as it is considered as ‘intellect,’ and ‘carnal’ in so far as it is thought of as the seat of the animal passions; both the adjectives ψυχικός and σαρκικός thus mean ‘non-spiritual.’ The second half of St. Paul’s statement—‘the last Adam became a life-giving spirit’—finds no exact parallel in the OT, but seems 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.

(ii.) But as the ψυχὴ ζῶσα came first and the τνεῦμα ζωοτοιοῦν last, so it is with the development of mankind; the spiritual must follow the psychical (1 Corinthians 15:46). As the first man was formed from the clay, and had a nature in conformity with his origin, while the second Man has His origin ‘from heaven’ (1 Corinthians 15:47), so among mankind there are those whose nature remains low and mean, tied to the clods of earth, and there are those whose nature has become heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:48). But this implies more (1 Corinthians 15:49). In his present state man is an exact counterpart, he visibly reproduces the lineaments and character, of the first man, because of his corporate union with him (ἐφορέσαμεν τὴν εἰκόνα τοῦ χοϊκοῦ). But the time is coming when we shall become the exact counterpart or image of the second Man (cf. Genesis 1:26 f.), because of our spiritual union with Him (φορέσομεν καὶ τἡν εἱκόνα τοῦ ἑπουρανίον). The above follows the text of B a c g 17 aeth. arm. [Syriac ܢܠܒܫܝ is indeterminate]; and Theodoret distinctly is says to τὸ γὰρ φορέσομεν προρρητικῶς οὐ παραινετικῶς εἳρκεν The mass of authorities read φορέσωμεν, ‘from a desire to turn what is really a physical assertion into an ethical exhortation’ (Alf.); so Chrys., τοῦτʼ ἐστιν, ἃριστα πράξωμενσυμβουλευτικω̈ς εἰσάγει τόν λὀγόν. But it is difficult to conceive how St. Paul, who has from 1 Corinthians 15:35 been leading up to the thought of the resurrection, could at the critical moment throw his argument to the winds, and content himself with saying, ‘according as we have been earthly in our thoughts, let us strive to be heavenly.’

It has been suggested that St. Paul adopted the designation of Christ as ‘the last Adam’ and ‘the second Adam’ from Rabbinic theology. But such a comparison between Adam and the Messiah was unknown to the earlier Jewish teachers. Passages adduced to support it belong to the Middle Ages, and are influenced by the Kabbala. See G. F. Moore, JBL [Note: BL Journal of Biblical Literature.] xvi. (1897), 158–161; Dalman, The Words of Jesus, English translation 248 f., 251 f.

(d) Philippians 2:6. St. Paul speaks of ‘Christ Jesus, who being [in His eternal and inhereat nature, ὑτάρχων] in the form of God, deemed it not a thing to be snatched at (ἁρταγμον) to be on an equality with God.’ There is here an implied contrast with 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).

2. In Matthew 19:4-6 || Mark 10:6-8 reference is made by Jesus to the account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:27 ‘male and female created he them’ (ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς). Pharisees came and asked Him whether divorce was allowable [‘for any cause,’ Mt.]. Our Lord’s answer 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 which Christians should adopt must be based on a nobler morality,—on a morality which takes its stand on the primeval nature of man and woman as God made them. ‘To suit (πρός) your hardness of heart he wrote for you this commandment. But from the beginning of the creation “he made them male and female.” ’ And with this quotation is coupled one from Genesis 2:24 (see also Ephesians 5:31), ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother [and shall cleave to his wife (Mt.)], and they twain shall become one flesh.’ The same result is reached in Mt., but with a transposition of the two parts of the argument. See Wright’s Synopsis, in loc. Thus Jesus bases the absolute indissolubility of the marriage tie on the union of man and woman from the first. In Matthew 19:9; Matthew 5:32 this pronouncement is practically annulled by the admission of the words ‘except for fornication’ (μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ, and παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας). See Wright, in loc., who contends that ‘the Church (of Alexandria?) introduced these two clauses into the Gospel in accordance with the permission to legislate which our Lord gave to all Churches (Matthew 18:18).’ See art. Marriage.

3. In John 8:44 ἀνθρωποκτόνος may refer to the introduction of death into the world by the fall of Adam. But see art. Abel.

4. The parallel drawn by St. Paul between Adam and Christ may have been the origin of the tradition that Adam was buried under Golgotha. Jer. (Com. in Mat. § iv. 27) rejects it, saying that it arose from the discovery of an ancient human skull at that spot. He also declines to see any reference to it in Ephesians 5:14. But in Ep. 46 he says, ‘The place where our Lord was crucified is called Calvary, because the skull of the primitive man was buried there. So it came to pass that the second Adam, that is the blood of Christ (a play on אדם and הדם), as it dropped from the Cross, washed away the sins of the buried protoplast,* [Note: Wisdom of Solomon 7:1.] the first Adam, and thus the words of the apostle were fulfilled,’—quoting Ephesians 5:14. Epiphanius (contra Haer. xlvi. 5) goes farther, stating that Christ’s blood dropped upon Adam’s skull, and restored him to life. The tradition is mentioned also by Basil, Ambrose, and others.

Literature.—Besides the works cited in the article, the following may be consulted on the relation between Adam and Christ: Sanday-Headlam, Com. on Epistle to Romans (pp. 130–153); Bethune-Baker, An Introduction to the Early History of Christian Doctrine, ch. xvii.; Tennant, The Sources of the Doctrine of the Fall and Original Sin; Sadler, The Second Adam and the New Birth; Thackeray, The Relation of St. Paul to Contemporary Jewish Thought, ch. ii.

A. H. M‘Neile.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Adam'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/a/adam.html. 1906-1918.

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