Friday, 10 April 2015
The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:47
Paul has been speaking of the body of believers in their current state as well as their bodies to come. He continues with that now. To compliment what he said in the previous verse, he enters this thought. Speaking of Adam, he says, “The first man was of the earth, made of dust.” Adam is wholly earthly; he came from the earth and his body is suited for life on the earth. The earth is perishable and thus Adam is also perishable.
In contrast to this is the Lord Jesus. He is “the second Man.” Paul is not saying that Adam existed before the Lord, but that in the order of redemptive history, and thus the order of the body of the believer, we follow this pattern. Even Jesus followed this pattern, coming in human flesh and participating in His creation. It is the pattern which Paul is focusing on. First came Adam; next comes Christ. First came the natural; next comes the spiritual. First came the earthly; next comes the heavenly.
The Greek gives extra hints concerning the nature of the heavenly body. Citing Meyer, Vincent’s Word Studies notes that, “‘no predicate in this second clause corresponds to the earthy of the first half of the verse, because the material of the glorified body of Christ transcends alike conception and expression.’ The phrase includes both the divine origin and the heavenly nature; and its reference, determined by the line of the whole argument, is to the glorified body of Christ – the Lord who shall descend from heaven in His glorified body.”
To Paul it is an axiom that Adam stands as the representative of the entire earthly human race. He was created and earthly and thus all who issue from him bear that same image. Likewise, the Lord is the Head and Representative of all of His spiritual children. Therefore, we (meaning believers in Christ) will participate in His heavenly nature, just as we have participated in Adam’s earthly nature. John gives an insight into this in his first epistle –
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2
Life application: As surely as we bear Adam’s image because we are of Adam, we shall bear Christ’s image because we are now in Christ. Don’t despair, but be prepared to be amazed.
Lord, Your word is orderly, it is precise, and it is intricate in the extreme. Every detail shows us that a set plan has been in the works and that we can have the absolute confidence that all will come out as it should. For those in Christ, the temporary pain and sadness we face will be swallowed up in an eternity of joy and blessing. I don’t need to read horoscopes or look to the stars for the answers which my soul desires… No, I have Your superior word and it is the guide to my feet and the light to my path as I walk on toward glory. Thank You for the Bible. Amen.