Dr. James T. Naismith of Scarborough, Ontario, a physician and Bible teacher, continues his series on Genesis.
Copyright by Everyday Publications Inc.; used by permission.
The book of Genesis abounds in many interesting and instructive types of the Lord Jesus Christ and His work for us:
[2. Pictures of Christ in Genesis] cont.
A. Typical Persons
The selection of Adam as the first type of Christ may seem surprising since the record of his life is one of failure with no definite evidence of faith. His name is, significantly, absent from the gallery of faith in Hebrews 11. Yet he is the only Old Testament person who is specifically described as a “figure” or type of Christ. In Both Romans 5:12-21, and 1 Corinthians 15:22-50, it is seen that he stands in the same relationship to humanity as does Christ to redeemed humanity — as head. Adam was head of the natural; Christ is Head of the spiritual.
This type differs in many ways from other Old Testament types, which usually present similarities and comparisons with the antitype. In the case of Adam, however, we are impressed with the striking dissimilarities — the contrasts with the Antitype. These contrasts are so exact, that we might call them “parallel antitheses.” Note the following points of contrast:
1. ORIGIN. 1 Cor. 15:47, The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. Genesis 2:7 confirms the first part of this statement — The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground; the Lord Himself frequently reiterated, during His earthly sojourn, the second part: I came down from earth, John 6:38, etc. We are by nature from the first man earthy, 1 Cor. 15:48, and bear the image of the earthy, v. 48. By grace, we are associated with the Second Man, and one glorious day will bear His image — the image of the heavenly.
2. NATURE. 1 Cor. 15:45. The nature of the first man is expressed in the words, was made a living soul, “living,” that is, by life imparted to him. This is the contrast to the last Adam, who is a life-giving (quickening) spirit — that is, imparting life. “Adam was made a living soul — marking him as “natural” (the adjective form of the word “soul” — used in verse 44, and also in 1 Cor. 2:14); in contrast to Christ who is “a life-giving spirit” — as God is spirit. Note, too, that He is not the second Adam, but “the last Adam” — there is none to follow.
3. CHARACTER AND DEEDS. Rom. 5:12-19. This passage emphasizes particularly the contrast between Adam and Christ in character and actions, and the results accruing from these. This can be readily seen by setting side by side the words used of each:
Sin, offence, transgression
· Adam was a sin-bringer; Christ, the sin-bearer.
· Adam’s disobedience was an act of self-assertion; Christ’s obedience was an act of self-sacrifice.
· Adam was disobedient unto death — forfeiting life for himself and the race of whom he was head. Christ was obedient unto death, Phil. 2:8, giving His life for the race of the redeemed, over whom He is Head.
· Adam, the man, desired to be “as God,” Gen. 3:5, Christ, “being in the form of God,” deigned to be “made in the likeness of men,” Phil. 2:6, 7.
· “The offence of one” was committed in the garden of Eden. “The righteousness of One” — the crowning act of a life of righteousness — was accomplished in the garden of Calvary, John 19:41.
4. RESULTS. Rom. 5:12-19. As a result of Adam’s disobedience and sin, death (vv. 12, 15, 17), condemnation (vv. 16, 18) and judgment (v. 16) were brought upon mankind. Christ’s obedience and righteousness have brought life (v. 17), justification (vs. 16, 18) and grace (vv. 15, 17) to those in Him. In Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, 1 Cor. 15:22.
Adam and Eve
Before leaving the study of Adam, we should note that, in Ephesians 5:30-32, the Holy Spirit uses the divinely provided relationship of Adam and Eve, his bride (cf. Gen. 2:18, 21-24) as an illustration of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. God’s purpose for Adam was that he should not be alone, but have a “help meet for him.” So He has designed that Christ should be complete in eternal union with His bride, the Church, “the fulness (complement) of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:23). The “deep sleep” that God caused to fall upon Adam prefigured the deep sleep of death through which our Lord passed to obtain His bride, for Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, Eph. 5:25.