Christ the New Adam

This is the 25th blog in this series which began with Adam & Sin, Paradise and Fasting.  The previous blog is Adam, Being Human and Biblical Scholarship (C).

“The first Adam is not the key to the New Testament.  The second Adam, however, is the key to the Old Testament.”  (John Romanides, THE ANCESTRAL SIN, p 124)

Orthodox Christians have read the Bible through a Christocentric lens.  This is based in the faith that Jesus is the Christ and the Incarnate God.  We have accepted Jesus’ own words from John 5:39-40:   “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” We have accepted Jesus’ own method of interpreting the Scriptures as described in Luke 24:25-27:   “And he said to them, ‘O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’  And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” It is Christ who gives us the means to understand the scriptural lessons of Adam and Eve found in Genesis 2-3.  Adam is a type of the true human, Jesus Christ; we come to understand the first Adam not by reading Genesis 1-3, but by understanding Christ and then studying the Genesis account of the first humans.

“The Fathers saw salvation embedded in the creation narratives…  But some of them take the ‘type’ or ‘prefiguration’ still further.  Leaving behind chronological time, they say, we may conceive of the first Adam as being created because of, and according to the model of, and in the image of Christ, the New Adam.  ‘It was not the old Adam who was the model for the new, but the new Adam for the old’, wrote St Nicolas Cabasilas; ‘The first Adam is the imitation of the second.’” (Peter Bouteneff in THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY, p 95)

Christ is the true human (the incarnate Son of God!) and in Him we understand what the first Adam lost through sin.

Commenting on Romans 5:  “Paul is denying a direct and balancing contrast between the gift and the single act of sin…  Christ did not begin where Adam began.  He had to begin where Adam ended, that is, by taking on to himself not merely a clean slate, not merely even the single sin of Adam, but the whole entail of that sin, working its way out in the ‘many sins’ of Adam’s descendants, and arriving at the judgment spoken of in 1:32; 2:1-6; 3:19-20.  … He had not merely to replace Adamic humanity with true humanity.  He had to deal with the ‘many trespasses,’ and the consequent judgment, which had resulted from the sin of Adam.”    (N.T. Wright, THE CLIMAX OF THE COVENANT, p 37)

Paul “presents Christ as one who reverses Adam’s sin, and who sums up all that man ought to be: if Adam is disobedient, then Christ is obedient (Rom.5); if man fails to give glory to God (Rom.1), Christ is the one who does not fall short of God’s glory (Rom.3:23); if men and women are faithless, we may expect Christ to be faithful.  …  we may expect the Second Adam to be obedient, to give glory to God, and to be faithful.  Moreover, what the Christian becomes depends on what Christ is; if the Christian is a son of God, it is only because Christ is Son of God (Rom. 8; Gal. 4); if righteous, this is dependent on Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor.5:21); our holiness is also dependent on his (1 Cor 1:30); spiritual gifts—including the gift of faith—depend on life in Christ (Gal 5:22).  If Paul appeals to his converts to be obedient on the basis of Christ’s obedience (Phil. 2:8,12), is it not likely that their faith also will be dependent on his?”   (Morna Hooker, FROM ADAM TO CHRIST, p 168)

Next:   John Romanides THE ANCESTRAL SIN (A)

3 thoughts on “Christ the New Adam

  1. Pingback: Adam, Being Human and Biblical Scholarship (C) | Fr. Ted's Blog

  2. Pingback: John Romanides THE ANCESTRAL SIN (A) | Fr. Ted's Blog

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