9: Greater than Adam
9: Greater than Adam
This is an “overflow” chapter. A chapter that is meant to further unpack the last one, rather than returning to our walk through John’s gospel. The question I want to linger on is “Do we want to return to the garden?” Or, “Is there something for us beyond being an image bearer?” Or, “Why Jesus is better than Adam?”
If I nearly lost you with the first two questions, please stick with the last one until you have heard where I am going with this. Let’s make this primarily about Jesus’ total and absolute pre-eminence in the heart of God and His plans for us and His creation.
Here are ten reasons why Jesus is better than Adam, the first of which is simply a restating of what was covered in the last chapter.
1. Adam was flesh created in the image of God. Jesus is God became flesh.
2. Adam had to be breathed into before He became a living being. In Jesus there was always life and through Him everything lives.
3. Adam could enjoy fellowship with God in His creation. Jesus was the Logos through whom it was created who has never ending, eternal, enjoyment of fellowship with God, as God.
4. Adam could enjoy the fruits of God’s creation (Eve for instance) and worship Him for it. Jesus is the second person of the Godhead who agreed to “let us make man in our image” and therefore, as God, receives Adam’s worship.
5. Adam received God’s mandate to fill the earth with the glory of God by multiplying after his own kind, but only succeeded in filling the earth with his own image. (As we later find out in John’s gospel, Adam actually filled the earth with the image of the one whose spiritual DNA he had chosen to embrace; he adopted the devil as his father and the rest of us naturally grow up as his children with his spiritual DNA). Jesus has received the same mandate but will fulfill His Father’s desire, because He is filling the earth not only with His image (people who look like Him) but with His children (those who actually have the same spiritual genetic code).
6. Adam was able to appreciate, thank, worship, fellowship with and receive from God. But, when it came to the crunch, he couldn’t bend his will to submit to God’s will. Jesus (as we discover later in John) only ever did and does what His Father tells Him to do. It turned out to be too difficult for Adam to submit to God’s will (though he had a choice). Jesus totally submitted to His Father’s will (though He also had the same choice).
7. It was too difficult for Adam to submit to God’s will because, even though he was an image bearer, his fleshly desires were too strong for him to obey the Word of God. It was and is entirely possible for Jesus to submit to God’s will because He is the Word made flesh. The Word of God ruled over His fleshly desires. He is beyond the image of God, He is God. He is God’s One and Only, in whom exist all the attributes of the Father.
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” (Colossians 1:19)”
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” (Colossians 2:9)
8. So in Adam we were created image bearers of God, but were marred and broken beyond recognition by our sin and rebellion against Him. In Christ we become children of God, not just bearing his image but having His spiritual DNA, the power to live like His children. The One and Only of the Father now lives in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ in us the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). We are, therefore, a new creation. A new race of beings.
9. Adam is the firstborn of a creation that is subject to rot and decay and inevitable death and judgement because of his, and our, sin. Jesus, as God become man, is the firstborn of a new creation that grows from glory to glory and will live forever, even though our physical bodies may one day die, because of His eternal perfection.
10. Therefore we don’t want to be restored back to what we were in the garden. We don’t want to go back to Adam as the pinnacle of what we were created to be. A greater than Adam is here. He not only looks like God but He is God. He not only acts like God, He thinks like God, He feels like God. All His motivations are like God. All His words and His ways are exactly like God’s. Because He is God. He is “monogenes” of the Father who is pleased to have all His fulness dwell in His One and Only Son. And in Christ we are partakers of that Divine Nature, rather than just image bearers of it and it is better than anything we would have had in Adam.
If we understand this, then we understand that God is not “restoring” us to His original purpose, His great divine plan that Adam and Eve messed up in the garden and He has been trying to get back on track ever since, first with the patriarchs, then the judges and prophets and kings all of whom couldn’t get it back on track in a sustainable way and so as a last card He finally throws His Son into the mix to sort it all out. No!
We are not participants in a Divine Experiment.
We are partakers of His Divine Nature.
This was always God’s purpose. Not just to fill the earth with His image, but to fill it with the full reality of who He is, His glory. Millions of those who, in the One and Only of the Father, have not only His likeness but, as His eternally adopted children, His DNA.
God’s adoption is not a worldly adoption, where we are brought into a family but we can never have that family’s physical DNA. In a worldly adoption, we will have the same name and maybe even the same love and acceptance, but we cannot look the same or have the same genetically given personality traits etc.
God’s adoption is different. He doesn’t just give us the right to be His child so that we are legally His and bear His name. He gives us the power to be His child by eternally transforming our spiritual genetic code in Christ.
God, in Christ has become man, so that God, in Christ might be fully formed in us.
That is the power of 2Corinthians 5:21:
“For our sake he made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
The word “become” that the Holy Spirit uses through Paul is “ginomai”, the exact same word John uses in our text in John 1:14.
Just as God, in Christ, became flesh, so we, in Christ, become His righteousness.
This is better than Eden.
We are not going backwards to Adam we are going further in Christ than we have ever been before.
As part of His family we cannot claim that we are now God. But the Holy Spirit, through John’s writings in this gospel, is going to offer us a Oneness with God, in Christ through the Holy Spirit that is absolutely incredible.
Neither does this mean that we have achieved God’s perfection, although we have been justified, brought up to the mark, and declared positionally perfect in Christ before the throne of grace. No our old sinful flesh is still very much alive and while we live in it we will war with it’s imperfections. But we have been born again, we are a new creation. There is a seed of righteousness, God’s DNA, that has been planted in us by the Holy Spirit and if we continue to do what that same Holy Spirit tells us, that seed will grow and (like all the seeds of the kingdom) overpower our old sinful nature until we are transformed beyond recognition. Children of God.
Romans 8:13-17 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”Posted on: May 21, 2018Peter Todd