A tale of two men
The Bible is the story of two men. They have different origins, different lives and different deaths. Each of us has a future that is linked to one or the other.
Adam was the first man. He was made by God and given the God-like task of ruling over creation. He lived in a perfect environment free from suffering and death. But when Adam turned against his Maker he brought himself, humanity and the whole of creation crashing down with him.
Every human being is in Adam, and ‘in Adam all die’. Physical death was not meant to be an inevitable feature of human life. It is an abnormality that entered human experience as a consequence of an unnatural act – rebellion against the God who made us, provides for us and loves us.
The second man was Jesus – a second kind of man. He shared our natural human limitations and the suffering of a fallen world, but he was the first person since Adam’s fall who did no sin. Instead, through his suffering, he rescued us from the misery introduced by the first Adam.
His bodily resurrection from the dead demonstrated his victory over sin and death. It was the decisive moment when the cycle of sin, suffering and death was broken.
The Apostle Paul writes: ‘since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive’ (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
Paul draws a clear parallel between the problem that Adam introduced and the solution that Jesus brought. The Bible makes no sense without this connection. Jesus’ resurrection was a physical event. The tomb was empty because his body had returned to life.
This was the answer to the physical mortality which Adam’s sin imposed upon our race. But Jesus’ resurrection did not just repair the damage done by Adam. When Jesus rose from the dead he had a new kind of physical body – one that was no longer subject to decay and death.
The death and resurrection of Jesus is the great turning point in the Bible’s story. Jesus’ coming was not an accident of history but the planned answer to Adam’s fall. Jesus rescues guilty sinners by suffering the consequences of their sin. His resurrection anticipates the climax of the story in which the whole universe will be transformed. Jesus’ post-resurrection body is the first instalment of that new creation.
Do you have a future?
Each of us is included in this story. We are born ‘in Adam’, inheriting his sinful state and facing death as our great enemy. But those who trust in Jesus for salvation are ‘in Christ’, sharing his resurrection life and his victory over death.
How can Christ’s story become our story? When we turn from our sin and recognise Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we share in all that he has accomplished. We become part of his new humanity. When he returns, as he has promised, we will have resurrection bodies like his. We shall enjoy a new world that can never again be cursed with suffering and death.
What is your future? Will it be ‘in Adam’ or ‘in Christ’?