Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Christ: the New Adam

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Romans 5:18-19

In 1487 Leonardo Da Vinci drew The Vitruvian Man (pictured above) based on the ideas of  the famous ancient Roman architect  Vitruvius Pollio who believed that the human body was  "the principle source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture."* This sketch is so famous now that I would be surprised if any of you hadn't seen it before. It was even included in Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code.  In pop culture it has often been used as either a representation of the ‘ideal’ man or as representative of mankind as a whole. In this way The Vitruvian Man is much like Adam. Was Adam simply the first man (i.e. a general representation of what humanity is) or was he supposed to be the ideal man? Your answer to this question is important because it affects what you think it means for Christ to be the new Adam.

The Biblical answer to this question is that Adam was supposed to be the ideal man, but he failed. Instead of  choosing obedience to God, he chose sin. It is in light of this failure that we most clearly see how Christ was the ‘ideal’  human that Adam failed to be. Moreover, it is through Adam's failure that we see our need for Christ. It is because of his sin, passed on to us, that we need the life that Christ offers.

Romans 5:12 says, “…Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…” Can you imagine a world without death? The Bible says that death entered the world through Adam. It wasn’t a part of the world before that. Death is the result of sin (also see Romans 6:23). This means that when we walk in worldly ways and rebel against God, we follow the pattern of our father Adam and we take a deep drink from the well of death.

But now we have a new pattern to follow, a new ideal man in Christ. Christ has ushered into existence a new form of humanity. We used to look to Adam to see what it meant to be human, but now  we must look to Christ in His resurrected form. Christ has literally ushered in a new way of living life, a new way to be human. (The Christian band Switchfoot actually had a song by this title.) You see, you and I are not what we were always intended to be. Physically and spiritually we bear the mark of  sin and death that were passed down to us from Adam. But in Christ we have the opportunity to be freed from the power of sin and to become what God always intended us to be.

This is part of the Christian hope. Those of us who are Christians are being conformed to the image of Christ. We are being made into what Christ is. That process has started now but it will not be completed until Christ returns. Then we will be fully conformed into his image, fully made new as a part of His new creation. This is one reason why Bible study is so important. It tells us who we are. We are reading our heritage, our story as the people of God. It tells us who we are and who we ought to be. And it causes us to groan with anticipation for the day when we will be united as a people, fully human, in the new creation.

So if you are tired of the results you have been getting living life your way, try living life a new way. Look to Christ. Repent and leave sin behind. Turn to God and ask for forgiveness. Look to Christ for new life. He will wash you in the blood of the Lamb. You will be made white as snow, spotless and new. You will be forgiven, and you will have a new life stretching out in front you with nothing but time...time to be conformed into the image of the ideal man. 

For further reading this week, check out these passages...
   - Romans 5:12-21: Read the full passage.
   - I Corinthians 15: The hope of resurrection.
   - Philippians 2:1-11: This is a direct contrast between Christ and Adam.
   - Romans 8: The Christian's hope.

* see Wikipedia's entry on "Vitruvian Man"

1 comment:

Julie said...

Hi Lance,

Just wanted to stop in and say thank you for the mid-week reminders and encouragements (and exhortations). :)