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The Blue Letter Bible
Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: What Everyone Needs to Know about Jesus

Don Stewart :: Why Is Jesus Called the Last Adam and the Second Man?

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Why Is Jesus Called the Last Adam and the Second Man?

What Everyone Needs to Know about Jesus – Question 28

The Bible calls Jesus both the “last Adam” and the “second Man.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians with this explanation of Jesus:

The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What came first was the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Every human being has an earthly body just like Adam’s, but our heavenly bodies will be just like Christ’s. (1 Corinthians 15:45-48 NLT)

What does this mean? In what sense was Jesus Christ called the “Last Adam” and the “Second Man?”

1. Adam Was the First Perfect Man

These two names of Jesus compare Him with Adam. Adam was the first man who was created by God. The Bible says that the God of the Bible made Adam out of the dust of the earth. We read in Genesis,

...the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7 NIV)

The Bible says that upon his creation Adam had one nature, that of a human. While it was a perfect human nature he was given choice. In other words, he had the possibility of being disobedient to God. Unfortunately, Adam did disobey God.

After the sin of Adam and Eve animal sacrifices were brought to God. Yet the blood of animals could not take away the sin of Adam and the rest of his fallen human race. God had to have perfect human nature sacrificed in place of sinful human nature. The physical descendants of Adam would qualify.

2. Jesus Was the Last Man Born without a Sin Nature

The Lord Jesus is the last Adam and the Second Man. He is the last man to be born without a sin nature, Adam was the first. Everyone who came after Adam and Eve were born with sinful nature. Scripture says,

When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. (Genesis 5:3 NIV)

The likeness of Adam was a sinful likeness.

Jesus, like Adam was born without a sinful nature but in contrast to Adam, the nature of Jesus Christ, God the Son, was both human and divine.

During His public ministry Jesus made it clear that He never committed any type of sin. Indeed, He asked the following question to the people of His day:

“Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?” (John 8:46 NKJV)

Nobody had seen Him sin. No one could convict Him of sin because Jesus never sinned.

3. Jesus Was the Man from Heaven

He was the “Second Man,” the man from heaven. In contrast, Adam the first man was created from the dust of the ground.

As the God-man, Jesus could be the suitable sacrifice for the sins of the world. The Bible says that Jesus offered Himself as the sacrifice for sin. Paul wrote the following to the Corinthians:

Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. God has done all this. He has restored our relationship with him through Christ, and has given us this ministry of restoring relationships. In other words, God was using Christ to restore his relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them, and he has given us this message of restored relationships to tell others. Therefore, we are Christ’s representatives, and through us God is calling you. We beg you on behalf of Christ to become reunited with God. God had Christ, who was sinless, take our sin so that we might receive God’s approval through him. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 God’s Word)

As the second man, the man from heaven, Jesus could be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. He accomplished what the rest of Adam’s race could not accomplish, like a life of sinless perfection. In doing so, He was able to be the sacrifice for sin.

Thus, Christ, like Adam was created perfect but unlike Adam never sinned. This allowed Him to be the perfect sacrifice for a fallen race of human beings.

Summary – Question 28
Why Is Jesus Called the Last Adam and the Second Man?

Two of the titles we find given to Jesus are the “Last Adam” as well as the “Second Man.” It is important that we understand why He was called these things. Adam, the first human, was created perfect. He did not have a sin nature. Jesus is the “last Adam” in the sense that He was the last man who did not have a sin nature. There will never be another person who is born without a sin nature. Jesus, however, in contrast to Adam, Jesus never sinned.

Although He was like Adam in that He did not have a sin nature He was different from Adam in that Jesus was from heaven. This is why He is called the “Second Man.” The first man was created from the dust of the earth while the Second Man has His origin in heaven. Consequently, as the only One who lived a perfect life while He was here upon the earth, Jesus was able to be the sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world.

What Was the Purpose of Jesus' Temptation? ← Prior Section
Is the Virgin Birth to Be Understood Literally? Next Section →
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