Jesus Christ: The New Adam


Adamic Typology in the New Testament


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Conclusion



Adamic typology applied to Christ is rich and deep in the New Testament. It can be found in multiple literary forms in the canon: Gospel, Epistle, and Apocalypse. It can be found in various authors: Mark, Luke, John, and Paul. It is not, however, an invention of the New Testament authors, but instead builds upon the typology and imagery found in their Jewish sources such as the Old Testament and extra-canonical apocalyptic literature. In the Synoptic Gospel tradition, Jesus is presented as the new Adam who must face the same temptations which Adam faced. Instead of failing like the original Adam, Christ succeeds in overcoming the temptations of the devil and is thus worthy to begin the public ministry that will lead to his salvific death. In John's Gospel, so rich in Old Testament imagery, Christ's pre-existence is contrasted to the creation of Adam in time, and it is Christ's death which gives birth to the Church from his side, as Eve was drawn from the side of Adam in the Garden. John also uses imagery in his Apocalypse from the Garden to present his vision of the final victory of Christ over the ancient serpent. At the end of time, Christ will overcome the enemy of Adam and the human race, and access to the Tree of Life will be restored.

But it is in Paul that the fullest and most explicit Adamic typology is found. In Adam, Paul sees the representative of fallen humanity; in Christ, the representative - and "first-fruits" - of a redeemed humanity. Through the actions of the first Adam, all of humanity is under the weight of sin and is subject to death, but through the actions of the "last Adam," Christ, humanity receives an overpowering grace which leads to eternal life. Paul also uses Adamic typology when expressing his Christological belief in the pre-existence of Christ, as well as to express the deep intimacy between Christ and his Church.

In God's plan of salvation history, there are many "rhythms;" how God worked in one age is consistent with how He will work in another era. Furthermore, the actions of one era will be built upon His actions in an earlier era. The primary mission of His Son was to undo the damage of His first human "son," and in doing so, he recapitulated the effects of Adam's Fall, thus allowing for the restoration - and even glorification - of all of humanity.


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