Friday Morning Manna July 26, 2019
The Human Natures of the First and Second Adams: The First and Second deaths
Here we will deal more specifically with the two Adams in the context of their corresponding human natures that the plan of redemption of the whole gospel deals with as the divine antidote for and answer to temptation, fallen sinful human nature, sin and its twin consequence of the first and second deaths.
All these and infinitely more had to be comprehended, played out, and fully resolved “before men and angels,” within the pre-determined time frame, on fallen earth, “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8: 2) that the Creator partook of and forever retains throughout the ages of eternity. These are astonishing aspects of that incomprehensible yet completely non-controversial “great mystery of godliness, that God was manifest in the flesh.” 1 Tim. 3: 16.
The First Adam
The first created human being was a man, not a woman, hence, called the first Adam. He was the Creator’s culminating act of creation, His masterpiece, the first and only creature to be ever “made in the image and likeness of God,” personally formed by the hands of the Creator from the dust of the ground. No other creature in heaven or earth or throughout the universe of God was, or ever will be created in this way. He was not “born of woman in the fulness of time born under the law;” for he was not the result of the union between a man and a woman; was not conceived in the womb of a woman and born nine months later, according to natural law, which is also God’s law. Thus, the first Adam had no human father or mother. He had a father but not a human one and not in the sense and limitations of mortals for He was, and is God the Father. Never does the Bible say or even suggest the existence of a “God Mother” in heaven!
This first Adam, created sinless with a rational mind, a conscience, and as a free moral agent, was subjected to a divinely-controlled form of temptation and environment (garden of Eden, not in a desolate “wilderness of temptation”) as the Creator’s chosen agency for conducting His first test of loyalty, and if he did not fail, would progress towards perfecting him in his sinless nature to fully become the Creator’s vicegerent on earth and among the unfallen universe of God. Adam was supposed to be the king of the whole earth and all its inhabitants and all that is therein, animate and inanimate. But the terrible experiment with sin interrupted God’s plan. His master plan, the gospel, contemplates its full restoration in its appointed time.
The first Adam, in his yet sinless human nature, yielded to the simple temptation that he was amply warned of—by his conscious choice, not by predestination—and thus fell. Again, temptation is no temptation unless there is the possibility of yielding, and temptation in itself, is not sin; yielding is. Adam’s original sinless human nature then became fallen, sinful nature. In like manner, sinful nature with its sinful propensities, is not sin in itself; it is using the sinful nature with its propensities, as an excuse or justification, or worse, a license for sinning, that is sin. Sinful nature is the spiritual description and quality of human nature resulting from the experiment with disobedience, “the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3: 3, K.J.V.
Following cause-and-effect principle, magnified by “sow-the-wind-reap the whirlwind” expansion (Hos. 8: 7), human nature now becameunconditionally mortal—automatically and irreversibly subject to death, both the first and second. Mortality has been described as, “one begins to die the moment he is born.” So, technically birthday celebrations are also countdowns of time, an introspective moment to make a spiritual postmortem to evaluate whether one has made real spiritual advancement in his life journey that can easily be marked by the yearly junctions of his past birthdays and the present one. Our mortality urges this on us.
The first Adam enjoyed conditional “immortality” as long as he had access to and partook of the fruit of the Tree of Life which God invested with properties to sustain and propagate life emanating from Him the Life giver. But immediately after Adam (and Eve) sinned, he was immediately banished from his Eden home. Cherubim wielding fiery swords “that turned everywhere” were stationed at its entrance to prevent anyone from accessing the tree of life. This our assurance that there is no “eternal sinners” who will “continue sinning eternally,” which exposes as false the widely-accepted doctrine that there is an “eternally-burning hell” somewhere in the nether regions of the earth where God is using Satan to torture sinners for eternity! How sickening and blasphemous an attribution of Satan’s demonic and murderous character to loving and merciful God, who, in fact, “so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life”— not everlasting burning without death! The Bible says “the wages of sin is death! This one verse alone immediately exposes and condemns such popular teaching as false and vile.
The first Adam was also called “the son of God” but not the Son of God.” God promises all true believers yet in their sinful human nature that He will call them sons and daughters of God, when they first fulfill specific conditions. See 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 7: 1. However, receiving this distinction is the beginning, not the end. They must now consciously live up to that royal name or else they deceive themselves and others as well. Profession is nothing. It is the life that authenticates that God’s Word is truly hidden in their hearts.” Ps. 119: 11. As Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them”— not by their profuse leaves of profession as in lip-service.
The Second and Last Adam
Christ, “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person”(Heb. 1: 3) is the same One who, in the incarnation, “was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Heb. 2: 9. Again, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared (partook, KJV) in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” verse 14.
The second and “last Adam” was prefigured in the first Adam and is an attribution of and expressive of Christ, a “quickening spirit,” “spiritual and heavenly.” Rom. 5: 14, 15; 1 Cor. 15: 45-48. Like the second, the first Adam was also “made a little lower than the angels” (Ps. 8: 4, 5). But it was not “for the suffering of death” neither that “he might taste death for everyone” nor that “through death he might destroy the devil who had the power of death.” He was created for none of these but for him to become the human vicegerent of the Creator, that the divine to be fully reflected in the human, “created in the image and likeness of God.” Notice:
“Satan’s dominion [that he deceptively claimed in his third and last temptation of Christ in the wilderness, Matt. 4: 8, 9] was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not and independent rule. The earth is God’s, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan’s hands [by disobedience and yielding to temptation], Christ still remained the rightful King. Thus, the Lord had said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘The Most High ruleth the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.’ Dan. 4: 17. Satan can exercise his usurped authority only as God permits.”- E. G. White, Desire of Ages, pp. 129, 130.
Moreover, as a created human being, the first Adam had no inherent power, even in his unfallen state, to destroy through death, Satan, who had the power of death, and who was created not as a human being but as a spirit, before man was created. That tells you we have no power to destroy the devil but we are given the power to overpower him only through Christ!
Only the Great I AM has life “original, unborrowed and underived.” In the incarnation He became the second and last Adam to take place of the first Adam who failed, and redeem Him and all mankind by gaining the victory over the same grounds where the former failed and fell. Thus His humanity was subject to temptation and subject to death, the first death as the first consequence of the first Adam’s sin (Rom. 5: 12-21; Gen. 3: 17-19), and also subject to but not condemned to suffer the second death, for, the latter is the death of the wicked and the second Adam was righteous, without spot or blameless, sinless “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” There are no “third” or “fourth” Adams. The second Adam is the first and last of uncreated flesh-and-blood Man, for He is “Emmanuel, God with us” (Matt. 1: 24)per plan of redemption.
Human Choice and Will. After the fall of the first Adam, mankind thereafter no longer had a choice over the first death; he became mortal. This death defines and unmistakably manifests the ultimate limits of mortality. It is, indeed a death sentence because of God’s perfect hatred for sin, not the sinner, for sin or iniquity is the great separator between God and man. Isa. 59: 2. The first death is but is a partial fulfillment of the Creator’s warning to first Adam: “Do not eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree for if you do, you will surely die.”
It is one of the greatest promises and blessings of the gospel that fallen man not only continues to retain the power of choice as a free moral agent but is continually empowered by God’s grace to have full power, in his yet mortal state, while possessing a rational mind, over the second death! In deeply solemn words, God made this truth abundantly clear to Israel:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep all His commandments, His statutes, His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as a witness today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” Deut. 30: 15-19. (see v. 10). See also Joshua 24: 15.
Type meets antitype. A great earthquake punctuated the second Adams’ death on Calvary’s
tree, 3 PM Friday afternoon, year 31 A.D. His death took place at the exact time the typical Passover lamb was offered for centuries under the Mosaic system and extended up to the very moment the antitypical Lamb of God expired, saying, “into Thine hands I commend My spirit. And having said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23: 46. Shadow had met substance, signified by the startling rending from top to bottom of that heavy veil separating the holy place from the most holy at the temple in Jerusalem when the priest was about to slay the lamb. That last lamb was spared its life and ran away free, saved by Christ’s death as well! How poignant and solemn that moment in time must have been to the beings dwelling in the invisible realms! But to the hardhearted “chosen people,” it was “good riddance,” rather, not only bad but the worst form of riddance!
That one Roman soldier who remains unidentified in the Bible, was not aware but his heinous act of piercing the side of Christ’ side (between the ribs so that not one bone of His body was broken), to make sure He was dead, was part of the master plan. That one last act of Rome’s spear on the second Adam’s dead body is proof positive that He died, not perished, providing for time and eternity the visible, clinical evidence of that redemptive fact both for “Jews and Gentile,” “good and evil angels.” That one and only life-giving, gleaming, crimson-tinted blood and uncorrupted water that flowed forth freely from His dead human body was for the sins of the world. “For without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” Heb. 9: 22, NKJV.
Was Christ’s Human Nature Subject to the Second Death?
The second death (Rev. 20: 14) is also called “everlasting punishment;” the death of condemnation or damnation;” “the reward of the wicked;” “destruction of the wicked by God at His coming;” “perish.” Was Jesus wicked? Did He ever commit sin in His human nature? Did His Father in heaven ever condemn Him, even as His own chosen people damned and condemned Him, calling Him “Beelzebub the prince of devils?” No! Never!
Christ’s human nature was subject to all and every kind of temptation, as well as the unqualified possibility of yielding to any and all of them, by choice, not by predestination. The Bible says He never yielded to any of Satan’s temptations, “resisting unto death” which brought untold divine-human suffering upon His soul, mind, and body—that quality of suffering that no other man will ever experience simply because God, in His wisdom and mercy never expects and imposes an impossibility upon those He died to save!
But since the Creator, without ceasing to be God, took on human nature in “the likeness of sinful flesh” so that He “could condemn sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8: 3), four thousand years after the fall, that was subject to natural law of heredity, He was, by such law, and according to the plan of salvation under obligation “to be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8; ). His human nature had to be subject to death, the death of all mortals-–although His human nature was not altogether mortal like ours—for He never tasted sin, not even in thought. Only created beings, humans specifically, starting from the first Adam, have become mortal, i.e., the mortality of all who “have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3: 23). But the Messiah, the uncreated Man, the second and last Adam is the only One in human flesh and blood that never sinned and come short of the glory of God!
(Continued next week)