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by Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC 8am service, 2005-10-09

Text: Genesis 2:7, 15-17; 3:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:22

A week ago we all heard the very shocking news of the second Bali bomb blasts. But this time, amid all the usual expressions of condemnation and outrage against this by the world, it was also reported that the people in Bali had already become rather resigned to the fact of terrorism because of 'bomb fatigue.' And so the response of the Balinese people was simply, 'It happens.'

This response reveals a very stark truth to us - that such tragic occurrences where innocent lives are lost and harmless people are hurt are now an expected part of life. Just a few days before the Bali bomb blasts, the Indonesian president had already announced that the country should brace itself for what the world has come to describe as 'Indonesia's bombing season.' For the past 3 years, the months of October to December have been notorious for bombing events, and so more of such awful occurrences are expected at the same time year after year. 

And the situation is not much different in the rest of the world - in recent months there have been horrendous suicide bomb attacks in London, Egypt and Iraq. And it is now accepted by all that the world will probably see more of such attacks in the months and years to come. And if this keeps going on for some time, perhaps many more people may soon be giving that same resigned response that was heard in Bali a week ago 'It happens.'

Now besides these, there is another category of destruction that happens and will continue to happen - those that are caused by diseases and by natural disasters. The devastating hurricanes that hit the US gulf coast a few weeks ago and claimed over a thousand lives were not the first they ever had. They were only the latest in a long history of hurricanes that have hit that region, and they will certainly not be the last because, 'It happens.' The same thing can be said of the typhoons that hit Japan, China and Vietnam in recent months and of the earthquakes that hit Pakistan and Kashmir yesterday, taking over 1,000 lives 'It happens.'

Here in Singapore, the 2-month old dengue outbreak that has taken 13 lives still continues to rage despite news that it should be tailing off now. But history shows that such dengue outbreaks have happened before in Singapore, because dengue is already endemic to this region. And it is likely that there will be more of such dengue outbreaks to come, as well as other kinds of outbreaks because, 'It happens.'

I can go on and on to describe many more bad things that happen, and that can be expected to happen again and again - whether of natural problems caused by earthquakes, tsunamis, haze; or of man-made problems like murders, broken marriages and broken homes, child abuse, fraud, drunk driving, and a long list of other sad and tragic events in life.

There are some questions that may arise from all this: 'Why do all these bad things happen all over the world? Why are they a universally expected part of our existence? Is there a common cause or origin for all of them?' The answer that is found in God's revealed Word is that all these things can ultimately be traced to just one significant event that started it all: The Sin of Adam. 

I. The Fall of the First Adam

This historical event is the ultimate source of all the woes, all the wickedness and all the manifold problems that have beset man's existence in this world from the beginning. The full details of this event is recorded in Genesis 2 and 3 - How God gave Adam the command not to eat the forbidden fruit, how Eve was tempted by the serpent, and how Adam fell into sin when Eve offered him the forbidden fruit. And subsequent to that, the Scriptures describe in sober detail how that single act of disobedience brought pain, suffering, death and destruction not only upon Adam, but also upon all his descendants, and upon the whole created world! 

Dearly beloved, what is your response to this sad account of Adam's fall? Does it mean anything at all to you? Can you see that what you are today has a lot to do with what your great ancestor Adam did? Some people love to trace their ancestry as far back as they can, and will take great pains to learn as much as possible about the lives of their forebears. Way back in the mid 70s there was a popular craze to trace family trees, fuelled largely by the publication of a bestselling novel called Roots by Alex Haley. 

At that time, I too began to search for my own roots, and from whatever records I could find, I was able to trace my family ancestry back about 9 generations. Perhaps some of you have traced your genealogy much further than that. Perhaps in the process you may have found out some interesting details about certain ancestors of yours that made you feel proud of your good lineage. How nice it would be to learn that you are a descendant of someone who has accomplished some great, notable or even heroic feat, or who belonged to a noble or even royal family. 

But how would you feel now if you discovered that your esteemed forefather was actually an infamous rogue or criminal? When my family and I visited an elderly friend in New Zealand last year she showed me some records that her forefather was convicted in England of the crime of stealing a piece of meat from a butcher shop, and was sentenced to live in a penal colony in Australia.

Dear friends, how would you feel if you discovered that your ancestor had committed a worse crime than that, or that he was a drunkard, or even a murderer? When you discover such news, you may feel a little ashamed to have his blood flowing in your veins, and to have his genes preserved inside every cell of your body! Perhaps you may even wish that you had someone else as your ancestor. 

Now comes the point that all this is leading us to: How do you feel now about having Adam as your great and very first ancestor, knowing that it was he who rebelled against God by disobeying His clear commandment, and brought the entire human race into the terrible state of sin and misery that the world is in today? Let us squarely face this fact - that this same Adam is your ancestor and mine. We are all directly linked to him. Every person, of whatever race, nationality, or tribe is Adam's descendant. His blood flows in everyone's veins. And in whosoever's veins it has flowed, it has produced the same sinful traits and effects. As the sons of Adam we are all therefore members of a corrupted race! 

No matter how vehemently you may say 'No!' or try to distance or dissociate yourself from membership in this corrupted race, or deny that you are Adam's descendant, you cannot. That fact cannot be changed, and you simply have to accept it. Now, there are some who do attempt to deny this fact. How? By denying the existence of Adam altogether, or of the truthfulness of the account of his Fall. Not wanting to face up to the painful truth as given in the Bible, they choose to believe that they are the descendants of apes that had gradually evolved into man. To them, what is given in Genesis 2 and 3 belongs only to the realm of fiction, folktales, myths and legends. They would claim that since snakes can never talk (such things are found only in Aesop's Fables), and that a man's rib can never be turned into a full-grown woman, this account of Adam's creation and fall should not be taken literally or seriously. 

Dear friends, if this is the way that you regard what the Bible says in these two chapters, then you must now understand two important reasons why the historicity of Adam and of his Fall cannot be doubted or denied. 

Firstly, Adam and Eve are not only mentioned here in Genesis 2 and 3. They are also mentioned by name in Genesis chapter 4 as being the parents of Cain, Abel, and Seth (Genesis 4:1,2,25). Adam is further mentioned in the genealogy list of Genesis 5, where we are told that he was 130 years old when his 3rd son was born and that he died at the age of 930 years. Adam is also mentioned in the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1 (v.1) and Luke 3 (v.38). Eve is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:3 as the one who was beguiled by the serpent, and in 1 Timothy 2:13 as the one who was created after Adam, and who was deceived in the Fall. All these passages speak of Adam and Eve as real historical people, and of their sin as an established event that took plae in man's history. Together they constitute a very strong reason why these things should never be doubted or denied.

The second reason for this is that any denial of the historicity of Adam and the Fall, would also be an outright denial of Jesus Christ and His salvation! If you are not Adam's descendant, then there is absolutely no way that you can ever become a child of God through Jesus Christ. Why? The reason for this is quite simple: Your salvation through Jesus Christ actually depends on your having the same kind of link with Jesus, that you have with Adam. The verse of Scripture where this can be seen most clearly is 1 Corinthians 15:22 'For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' 

You will observe here that a comparison is made between being in Adam and being in Christ (the preposition 'in' here is meant to be understood as being linked to someone). Being in Adam results in death. Correspondingly being in Christ results in life. If Adam was merely a myth or legend, then obviously we can never be in Adam, for it is impossible to be in someone who does not even exist. If we can never be in Adam, how then can we be in Christ and have life? Therefore the life that is in Jesus Christ can only become ours in exactly the same way that the death that was in Adam became ours. 

And so dear friends, unless you fully and willingly accept the fact that you belong to Adam's corrupted race, you can never have the life that is in Jesus Christ. Jesus is our new Adam, given to us by God. And it is only as a descendant of the old Adam that you can avail yourself of the wonderful salvation and blessings that the new Adam brings.

Dearly beloved, if there is anyone here this morning who has still not availed yourself of this salvation, please let me urge you to do so right now, and do not delay doing this any longer. As long as you are still in the old Adam, you will certainly die in your sins, together with all who belong to his corrupted race. Please come now to Jesus Christ and accept Him as your new Adam, and you will be saved. You must transfer your membership, as it were, from Adam's corrupted race, to Christ's regenerated race. 

And this is the only way of salvation that God has given to all mankind because Jesus is the one and only new Adam that God has given to mankind. One verse from the Bible that shows this is 1 Corinthians 15:45 'And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.' This verse makes it clear that Jesus is the last Adam. There can never be another one like Him, who corresponds to the First Adam in so many ways, and who also supercedes him in so many different ways. And this is what we will now focus our thoughts on for the rest of this message:

II. The Faithfulness of the Last Adam

Let us begin by looking at 3 similarities that our Lord Jesus Christ has with Adam. Firstly, both Adam and Christ share the same title, 'the Son of God.' This can be seen of Adam in Luke 3:38 'Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.' According to this, Adam, like Jesus is called 'the son of God.' Although Adam is certainly not the only begotten Son of God as Jesus alone is, it is significant that Adam is called 'the son of God.' Unlike all of us, Adam did not come into being by an ordinary act of man's procreation, but by God's supernatural act of Creation. Hence Adam stands uniquely as the beginning of humanity. 

While Adam is called the 'Son of God' in Luke 3:38, Jesus Christ stands even more as the eternal only-begotten Son of God (John 1:34,49), and as the beginning of a new humanity. Jesus left His heavenly glory above to take upon Himself the full attributes of Adam's humanity (Philippians 2:7-8). He was born into this world also by a supernatural act, but that of the Holy Spirit on the virgin Mary. Now we proceed on to the second similarity:

Adam had the image of God in him (Genesis 1:27). This feature made him unique and different from the rest of God's creatures. And the image of God was originally perfect in Adam, until he corrupted it through the Fall. Like Adam, Jesus Christ has the perfect image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 1:3). That image remains uncorrupted because He is God Himself, being the second person in the Godhead. 

Thirdly, Adam was given a divine responsibility - to multiply, to subdue the earth and to exercise dominion over it (Genesis 1:28). But because of sin neither he nor his descendants were able to fulfill this mandate completely, because there was always one thing that fallen man has never been able to subdue, and that is death. But we see our Lord Jesus fulfilling this divine mandate when He said, after conquering death, 'All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth' (Matthew 28:18; cf Hebrews 2:6-9) and told His disciples (who were His own spiritual offspring) in effect, to go forth and multiply and fill the world with His disciples (Matthew 28:19). In 1 Corinthians 15:28 we are told that 'all things will be subdued unto Him,' and according to Philippians 2:10 every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Hence Christ fulfills the divine mandate that was given to Adam.

Now there is one more similarity between Christ and Adam that some commentators have observed, but this one is a little debatable. And it has to do with the origin of Adam's wife, Eve - she was made by God out of the side of Adam while he was asleep (Genesis 2:21). What about Christ? It is said that His bride which is the Church was spiritually made by God with the blood that flowed out of the side of Jesus, while He was dead on the cross (John 19:34, cf. Acts 20:28). Perhaps this may be the reason why, in 2 Corinthians 11:2,3 Paul expressed his fear that the Corinthian church would be deceived just like Eve was deceived when the serpent tempted her.

From these three similarities I hope we can all understand now why Christ is so aptly called the Last Adam in 1 Corinthians 15:45. No one but Jesus Christ is so much like what Adam was, in his perfect unfallen state. And because of this, Christ stands for all time as the only one who qualifies to take the place of Adam for us. Now, if we look at this the other way around, it means that Adam can be considered to be a type of Christ. In fact, he is described as such in Romans 5:14 'Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure [type] of him that was to come.' 

Here, Adam is specifically called a 'figure' of Jesus Christ who was to come in the future. The Greek word used here is �tupos�. This is where the word 'type' comes from. There are many types of Christ in the Old Testament, and you will be learning of many more from this present series of messages in our 8 am service. All these types of Christ serve the purpose of foreshadowing Him, or giving a preview of Him to the OT saints. Types were one of the ways God used to teach His people all about the coming Messiah. Now, there is one characteristic shared by all these OT types of Christ: Since they are only foreshadows of Christ, they can never be equal to or superior to Him. Christ is obviously far better than all of them. Therefore Christ is also far better than Adam who was a foreshadow of Him.

And this is what we will see now, as we compare the differences between Adam and Christ summarised in a table: 

ADAM

CHRIST

A living soul (1 Cor 15:45)

A quickening (life-giving) spirit (1 Cor 15:45)

Natural and earthy (1 Cor 15:46-49)

Spiritual and heavenly (1 Cor 15:46-49)

He died (Gen 5:5)

He died and was resurrected (Rev 1:18)

All who are in him receive condemnation and death (Rom 5:18; 1 Cor 15:22)

All who are in Him receive justification and shall be made alive (Rom 5:18; 1 Cor 15:22)

He yielded to temptation (Gen 3)

He never yielded to temptation (Heb 4:15, Matt 4)

By his disobedience many were made sinners (Rom 5:19)

By His obedience many were made righteous (Rom 5:19)

He removed us from the Tree of Life (Gen 3:22,23)

He restores the Tree of Life to us (Rev 2:7)

I think that it is quite clear from all these comparisons that Christ is definitely far better than Adam. On every point that affects us, Christ excels Adam. He is Last and the best Adam that any human being can ever hope to have. One important implication of this is that Jesus Christ is the only universal Lord and Saviour for mankind, and there can be no other Saviour for anyone of whatever nation, tribe or race in this world except Christ. 

At the beginning of this message we had already seen how all the world's problems - whether terrorism or natural disasters or diseases - stem from one ultimate common origin. The problem with humanity is not so much our individual sinning and the various sins that we commit. The deeper problem is the connection that each and every person has with Adam and his sin. 

Behind all our personal depravity and all our own guilt and all our sinning, there is that deep mysterious connection we have with Adam, whose sin became our sin and whose judgment became our judgment. And the Lord Jesus now stands in Adam's place as the Last Adam to rescue us from this condition and damage. In just one great life and death of obedience, Jesus has undone what the first Adam did. And now we look forward with much excitement to that coming glorious era when the world will no longer see all the unpleasant things that are happening today - terrorism, hurricanes and typhoons, and diseases like dengue. What a glorious world that will be, and Jesus Christ will be the head and the architect of it!

This brings us to the most important implication of knowing all this: Jesus Christ is truly very great and worthy of our greatest admiration and trust and love and praise. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised and His greatness is unsearchable (Psalm 145:3)! For He and He alone has lived and died in such a way that it can remedy the deepest problem of sin for any human being anywhere who trusts in Him.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25