The Birth of the Second Adam
There are always those who deny the existence of the first Adam. But according to Genesis 1 and 2 this real person Adam was created by God and placed in the Garden of Eden. There, also, the first Adam and his wife Eve fell into sin. In this way mankind was utterly corrupted and we are all conceived and born in sin. These are biblical facts.
End of story? Not at all! It is important to note that on Christmas we celebrate the birth of the second Adam. Actually it is rather important that the Bible lays such a close connection between the first and the second Adam. This means that our Lord Jesus Christ is not the result of a long process of evolution, but is a direct descendent of the first Adam. It also means that He did what the first Adam did not do: fulfil the law of God and defeat the devil. Christmas is about monumental events.
The Origin of the Name “Second Adam”
I did not myself invent the name “second Adam.” We find in 1 Corinthians 15:40, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam a life-giving spirit.” We read that “the first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.” We read here about the first Adam and the last Adam, the first Adam and the second Adam. Surely the two are closely connected.
The origin of the name “the second Adam” is biblical. The Apostle Paul speaks in the same terms in Romans 5, where he again contrasts and connects the first and the second Adam. Sin entered the world through one man, the first Adam. With sin came death, even to all mankind because all have sinned. But God’s gift and grace came through one man, Jesus Christ, who is the second Adam. Paul does not mention Eve here because Adam is to be the head of his wife. When he takes and eats, the fall is a fait accompli.
The first Adam lost life and destroyed it. The second Adam gives life and restores it. The effects of the fall of the first Adam are taken away by the obedience of the second Adam. On Christmas Day we remember that the second Adam came into this world to undo the sin and remove the curse of the first Adam.
The Genealogy of the Second Adam
It is important to note that the Bible shows us a clear line from the first Adam to the second Adam. Without knowing the first Adam, you cannot understand and embrace the second Adam. We must see the clear line from Adam to Christ, otherwise we do not really understand Christmas. Therefore the Bible gives us a genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We find this genealogy of the Lord Jesus in Luke 3:23-38. It says there that Jesus was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph. Perhaps it is better to translate according to the law. Jesus was the lawful son of Joseph. The genealogy then takes us through the generations of Israel. Towards the end of this genealogy, we read “...the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the Son of Adam, the son of God.”
Some explainers make a hey-day out of the fact that Adam is called the son of God. But the expression here does not mean to say that Adam was divine. It means simply that Adam was created directly by God and in that sense is uniquely a son of God. There is no one else before Adam, except God. There are no “pre-Adamites,” as is sometimes suggested. The first Adam finds his origin in God. The second Adam was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The first Adam is a “living being,” suited for fellowship with God. The second Adam is a “life-giving spirit,” who renews and restores us. Christ is greater than Adam.
But the line that starts with Jesus, the true Son of God, ends with Adam, uniquely a son of God. The genealogy of Adam leads straight to Jesus Christ. The history of the first Adam leads us directly to the ministry of the second Adam. This means that mankind is restored through Jesus Christ. Our sin is atoned for and our curse is removed.
The New Testament also makes clear that to share in the blessing of the second Adam, we require faith. But that is not the point of my editorial. The point is that we can never understand Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John without Moses and Genesis. Take the first Adam away and you lose the second Adam. There is no gospel without Genesis 1 and 2. On Christmas Day we need to know that the theory of evolution cuts out the very heart of our celebration.
On Christmas Day
On Christmas Day I’ll probably rise early in the morning. I need some time to take inventory. My inventory is simple. It goes like this:
In the first Adam, I was plunged into ruin. In the second Adam I am delivered from sin and death.
The first Adam rebelled against God and became a slave of Satan. In the second Adam Satan was defeated and cast out. Jesus even withstood the agony of Golgotha; I am free at last.
The first Adam brought death into this world. In the second Adam I have life eternal. On a clear winter’s day I can see forever.
The first Adam placed me on a dead-end road. The second Adam set me on a highway to Jerusalem. On Christmas Day we ought to look at the big picture which comes so close to our homes. On Christmas Day I will sing of my Redeemer.