Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Adam Smasher

Behold Michelangelo's "The Fall" from the Sistine Chapel ceiling. To the left are the voluptuous figures of Adam and Eve in Eden's paradise as Eve grasps at the fruit offered by "the serpent more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made." Adam is depicted as no innocent bystander as he reaches toward the serpent which has taken over the one tree in the garden forbidden to Adam and Eve. "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then their eyes were opened." Gen.3:6. Instead of paradise and perfection for all men, because of Adam our representative head, now man can expect sin, toil, and death. At the right the guilty couple is banished east from Eden now guarded by the cherubim with the flaming sword.

In Florence at the San Marco Museum is Fra Angelico's The Resurrection. The women gaze despairingly into the empty tomb just a moment before the angel assures them, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He has risen as He said." Mt.27:5,6.

And the connection? Paul makes it for us in 1 Cor. 15:21,22: "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive!" Through the sin of the first Adam all men experience mortality and through the resurrection of the Second Adam those who trust in Him for salvation will experience immortality living forever with Him in the heavenly garden of paradise.

The first Adam was given dominion over the garden and all of its inhabitants. Christ, the Second Adam, the Creator of man and the garden has dominion over all things. The first Adam sought the greatness of God for himself, that his eyes would be opened and he would be like God. The Second Adam did not consider equality something to be grasped (Phil. 2:6) and humbled himself to come in the likeness of the first Adam. The sin of the first Adam is every man's curse and death whereas blessing and life are abundant through the Second Adam. "He was temped in every way, as was Adam, yet was without sin." Hebrews 4:15. The Lord God called to Adam in the garden and he hid. The Lord, the Second Adam, calls his own by name and they hear His voice. John 10:3. The Lord God breathed life into the body of Adam, but the Second Adam, Jesus, brings new life and makes all things new.2 Cor. 5:17. The first Adam rebelled in order to do his own will but the Second Adam came not to do His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him. John 6:38. All man is born in the likeness of the first Adam who was made of dust. Those who die in Christ will one day bear the image of the Second Adam. 1 Cor.15:49.

Adam and Eve saw, took and ate bringing sin and death to those who follow. And yet those words take and eat are not solely words of condemnation. They are the life-giving words of our Savior, the Second Adam who on the night He was betrayed took bread, gave thanks and broke it, giving to his disciples saying, "Take and eat."

The body of the first Adam sown in corruption is now raised incorruptible. The body sown in dishonor is raised in glory. The body sown in weakness is raised in power. The body that is sown as a natural body is sown as a spiritual body. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible! Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory." O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

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