Adam and Christ – Romans 5:12-18


There are several people in the Old Testament who are types or pictures of Christ. Joseph for example, has to be one of the most perfect and lovely, depicting our Lord in several ways. But there are two other men, both mentioned in the New Testament, who are particularly important theologically. They aren’t just types of Christ, they are much more than that. They link up to our thoughts from last Sunday night – they emphasize Christ’s Mediatorial Lordship. The man I’d like to consider this afternoon is Adam.

It isn’t some smart theologian who decided that Adam’s life and Christ’s are related. Unless you want to say that Paul was that smart theologian. Romans 5 ties together Adam and the Lord Jesus. “Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come.” “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)” “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

In I Corinthians 15 Paul calls Christ the second man” and the last Adam.” “So it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” The phrase “last Adam” indicates there will not be another. The phrase “second Adam” reminds us there has not been any between Adam and the New Testament. Only two people have stood, or will ever stand, in the position which we are considering this afternoon.

Briefly, let’s remember some of the parallels between these two men – the first Adam and the last Adam.

One of the foundational doctrines of our faith is that God directly created Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life. While the incarnation of the Son of God in human form was very different… nevertheless, as the angel told Mary… “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Christ had a human body, a human soul, and a human will, in perfect union with His eternal deity.

As we are told in Genesis, Adam was made in the likeness of God. Oh, but Christ Jesus was even more “the brightness of (God’s) glory, and the express image of his person.” Of course, Christ far exceeded Adam, but I hope you can see the parallel.

And both were made a little lower than the angels – even Christ in His humanity. Hebrews 2:6-9 – “One in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

Both the first Adam and the second were tempted by Satan. Remember that Lucifer waged war against Jehovah over the question of dominion – Satan wanted it. In not receiving it, he rebelled and eventually attacked both of the men to whom God gave that dominion. I hope that you are familiar with the temptation of Adam through Eve – we won’t dwell on it. And I’m not doing to consider our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness. But there was another – Satan assaulted Christ upon the cross. And in fact there are some parallels between Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness and what took place on the cross. For example, there was the business of angels. Not only did the Lord not abuse His authority over the angels out there in the desert, but He refused to do so while on the cross. Yes, He could have “called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set Him free….” But He had a work to do as the second Adam, correcting the failings of the first.

So He endured the cross. And in Hebrews 5:8 we read that Christ “learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” And remember, in the work of our redemption, He had to yield His human will to that of the Father. It was not that Jesus was ever unwilling to obey God the Father. But the horrors which were necessary to redeem His people – the horrors of Calvary – induced Him to ask if there was any other way to accomplish the work.

Christ was not a “superman” upon the cross – feeling no pain, no depression, no loneliness. It was a real man who yielded to the Father’s will that day. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right of the throne of God.” And going back to last week’s lesson why did the Son of God humble Himself? Despite how important you think your salvation is. Ultimately, it was to be “crowned with glory and honour.”

Both Adam and our Redeemer became fathers of their own race – their own people.

Both Adam and Christ were set in a position of headship. They are the fountain heads of two distinct kinds of people. The Bible describes the people of the earth as either “in Adam” or “in Christ.” And “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”I Corinthians 15:22. Adam, the first man, was the federal, spiritual and physical head of the entire human race. The last Adam, the second man, became the federal, spiritual and physical head of a NEW people. Christ’s people are those who were chosen by the Father (Ephesians 1:4) and given to the Son (John 6:37). And this clarifies an important statement which we read in Romans 5:18 – “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all (of Adam’s) men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all (of Christ’s) men unto justification of life.”

Now we begin to come to the point, linking it to last week’s lesson. Although Christ and Adam were made lower than angels, they were nevertheless, placed in positions of dominion “Lordship” so to speak. To Adam was given the Lord’s original creation. “Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Despite Adam’s dominion, notice its limitations – the earthly creation. But of Christ we are told, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and thing in earth, and things under the earth.”

Turn to Psalm 8 and listen to the great Spirit-inspired-words of David. “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”

David was obviously thinking about Adam and his dominion over creation. Oh, is that really so? What argument did Christ use before the Jews when He defended His triumphal entry into Jerusalem? He took this Psalm and applied it to Himself. “And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” I know He didn’t quote the entire Psalm, applying it to Himself, but He didn’t need to. “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”

Going back to Adam in Genesis, notice a couple other less than powerful points. Adam named the animals. He apparently saw the usefulness of each species and gave them appropriate descriptive names. Perhaps that isn’t as obvious in English, but I am told that it is in Hebrew. In the course of the first Adam’s survey of the animal world, he didn’t find a true companion. And almost immediately we read of the creation of Eve and the first marriage. Is it silly to point out that Christ too, has His own bride, taken from among those under His dominion, and in a sense taken from His own side or heart?

And Adam named all the major divisions of the animal kingdom over which he was given dominion. Similarly, Christ has given a name and names to those under His dominion. Paul said in Ephesians, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in haven and earth is named.” More specifically, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” – Revelation 2:17.


God told the first Adam to take dominion, but Adam sinned and became unfit to properly lead. This gave Satan great encouragement to continue his assault against Jehovah. But more than that, Adam condemned his children – every single one of his children – to physical and eternal death. That is the declaration Paul makes in our opening scripture.

But the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in all points as was Adam, but He failed not. Christ succeeded gloriously, living a life of perfect holiness and obedience to the Father. He stood firm under the most intense temptations and “became obedient unto death, even the death of cross.” In this perfect headship He blessed His own people in every way. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”

Furthermore, in His obedience to the covenant between them, Christ honored the Father, and the Father honored Him, keeping His promise to Him of universal dominion. Psalm 110:1 – “The LORD said unto my Lord, sit Thou at My right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Paul looked at all this and said to the Philippians.– “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

I Corinthians 15:27 – “For He hath put all things under His feet.”

It is a glorious and blessed thing to be under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ.