The Two Adams

by David Clayton

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: (Eph 1:1)

The phrase , in Christ , appears several times in the book of Ephesians. For much of my Christian life, I never paid much attention to this phrase, but as I began to understand righteousness by faith, it took on deep significance.

When people ask me about the life in Christ sometimes I will say, “read the books of Ephesians and Colossians very carefully, and when you read, ask yourself, ‘do I believe what I read here?'” In several instances, people who have done that, have had their lives changed. This happened simply by reading these books and asking themselves, “is this really the truth?”

Ephesians 1:3 for example says,

(Eph 1:3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

God has already blessed us with all spiritual blessings. Do we believe that? But there is a qualification. Where are these blessings? They are in Christ. There is only one way to obtain these blessings, we have to be where they are. Eph. 2:6 says,

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Eph 2:6)

Notice how strong Paul's statement is. He says we are actually sitting in heavenly places. We look at ourselves and say “it is not true, I'm sitting here on earth, reading this paper.” What does Paul mean? He is emphasizing the fact that the Christian's life is united with the life of Christ. The same life which is in my toes is also in my finger so wherever my toes go, the life in my fingers also goes there. That is what Paul is trying to say. He is saying, “if Christ is your life, wherever Christ is that is where you are.”

In 1 Corinthians 15:45 we have an interesting statement:

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (1 Cor 15:45)

In order to correctly understand what it means to be in Christ, we first need to understand what it means to be in Adam. Notice, the verse speaks of two Adams, there is a first Adam and there is a last Adam. The last Adam of course, refers to Jesus Christ, but the question is, why is Jesus called the last Adam? Now we know Adam was the first man, he was placed in a garden, he was given a beautiful wife. But none of these things applied to Jesus, yet he is called “the last Adam.” God is trying to say something to us. When we look at Adam we can learn something about him that helps us to understand something about Christ. In Romans 5:14, Paul says:

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 of him that was to come . (Rom 5:14)

Here it says Adam was a, “figure of Christ,” There is some way in which Adam and Christ are similar. Romans 5:19 gives us the key to understanding why Jesus is referred to as the last Adam. It says,

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Rom 5:19)

Look at the verse again, it says, “By one man's disobedience many were made sinners, but a little word was left out when the translators of the KJV translated this verse. In actual fact, the verse should read, “By one man's disobedience the many were made sinners.” This is the way it is translated in several translations.The verse is not just saying that some became sinners, it is comparing two sets of people, on one side there is the one , and on the other side there are, the many . Who is the one ? The one is, Adam! And who are the many ? The many are all the rest of humanity.

When one man disobeyed, what happened to the many? They became sinners . According to the verse, was it what they did that made them become sinners? No! It was by one man's disobedience that the many became sinners. Now that doesn't seem to be fair or just, but it is not about what is fair and just, it is the reality of the law of consequence working in the universe, causing one man's choice to affect all his descendants. It does not seem fair, but it is reality, and God is doing everything that He can to deal with that unfair reality. But he cannot reverse the consequences of what mankind chose, through our foreparent Adam.

When you and I were born it was not our fault that we were sinners but we had the disease and we had to deal with it. If a child is born with AIDS it cannot be his fault. It has to be his parents' fault somewhere. It is not a question of who is to blame but it is still the reality which that child has to live with.

God created one man and when he created this one man all human life was in that person. God created all men, but not directly. All of them were created when Adam was created. God created only one human life and that same life has been multiplied and passed on over the centuries. We are all partakers of Adam's life, and in this sense we are all in Adam. In other words, if we consider that Adam's existence is wherever his life exists, then since we are all partakers of that life, then we are all a part of Adam's existence.

But if we are all a part of Adam's life what kind of life do we expect to have? If something is born from a goat would we expect it to be a cat? Adam could only beget in his own image. Although he was originally made in the image of God, he perverted that image and this perverted image is the only thing he could pass on to his children. It is interesting to consider that after Adam sold the world to Satan and perverted humanity, he himself repented, but having sold the world to Satan he could not repent on behalf of the world and bring the world back to God. He could only make the decision for himself.

Now, as Ellen White says, “We are the lawful prey of Satan.” We have no right to be born with the life of God anymore, so we are all born without God's spirit. This is the heritage that we have received from Adam and it is important for us to understand this. The reason why humanity in its natural state does evil, is not because men don't try to do good. It is just simply that men are living the reality of what Adam's life. The life in us is a corrupted life and it is not possible for us to live any other life than the one which we have. It is in this sense that the Bible says we are made sinners by what Adam did. It does not mean that we are made guilty by another man's sins. What it means is that we are made sinful and helpless, unable to do anything good. We became a kind of being called, “sinner.”

Many years ago I attended a graduation service. The speaker kept saying, “you are becoming what you are.” As I listened, I thought, “what is this guy talking about? How can you become what you already are?” At the time, it did not make sense to me, but now as I have come to understand the truth of the two Adam's, I realize that there is truth is what this speaker was saying. If we all inherited Adam's corrupt, incapable life, then the fact becomes inescapable: As long as all we have is the life of Adam, as long as we are “in Adam,” then the longer we live, the more effort we make, all we can do is manifest more fully, the life which we already possess. We can only become, what we are. Nothing that man can do or has ever done has ever been able to change human nature. It has never produced new life.

Men have tried. They have gone into the laboratories and tried to make life in a test tube. It has never worked. Only one human life was ever created. Even Eve herself came from that life by way of Adam's rib in which life already existed.

Acts 17:26 says,

And (God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; (Acts 17:26)

We can see how perfectly true it is. It is not only spiritually, but also physically that we are brothers and sisters. If we could go back far enough in time we would find that all of us have the same grandparents, but in spite of this family kinship, we often fight against each other, because that is the nature of Adam's life. There is no peace in that life, no harmony. Like a cancer in the body, Adam's life fights against itself.

I once saw a video of a dog chewing a bone whose behaviour seemed to be crazy. As this dog was eating the bone, his hind leg started to move towards his mouth as though it had a mind of its own. The dog began to growl at his own foot, but as the foot moved closer to the bone he turned around and started to bite his own foot. It happened over and over. I looked at this dog and I thought, “that is just like the behaviour of the human race.” The thing is, we can tell that the behaviour of this dog is crazy, but often, mankind does not realize that this is exactly how those who possess the life of Adam, behave, fighting against their own life. This is the natural behaviour of the fallen life of Adam.

The main point is this: Why are we the way we are? Is it because we try to be this way? The answer is, no! It is not because of our efforts, or even because of our choice. It is because we were born this way. One man did it to all of us!” Condemnation rests upon the entire human race because of one man. What do we have to do to be condemned? We only have to be born!

When I say “condemnation,” I don't mean that God condemns us, I don't mean that we are guilty of what Adam did. In order for a person to be guilty he has to make a choice to break a known law. God does not condemn us for what somebody else did, but our condition condemns us. The child born with AIDS is condemned to die, the disease in the child condemns the child. In the same way our condition condemns us. This is what the Bible means when it says,

“…by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation …” (Rom. 5:18).

In this state, it is impossible for us to live a righteous life, and sooner or later, unless something happens to give us a new life, we will die in this lost condition. It is the life which we possess which condemns us.

If God's grace, in Christ, had not intervened the very moment that Adam picked the fruit, he would have dropped dead. When the life of God was removed spiritually, physical life would have ended immediately, the entire human race would have died in Adam. But Jesus stepped in between mankind and eternal death, He took the curse upon Himself and he obtained a period of probation for all of us. By His sacrifice, He said, “though they are spiritually dead, preserve their physical life for a time, give them a chance to find their way back to spiritual life.” That is why we all have seventy or eighty years to live, a chance to find our way back to life, through Christ, because we were all born dead. Somebody else killed us and we could do nothing about it!

God never promised to repair Adam's life, for the life of Adam is one that has been sentenced. It has to die. The Christian life is not a remodeled life. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation! Old things are passed away, all things have become new.

The Christian's life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. {DA 172.1}

This is what God's word says and as Paul says, “Let God be true but every man a liar.” If my experience as a Christian is different from this it is because I don't believe the word of God!

As we are born, in Adam, our great need is to have a new life! The old one is condemned and cannot be repaired. It has to die! But where are we to get this new life? In order for life to be passed on there has to be an original source of life. Adam was the source from which all human life was passed on. Now that we need a new life, what does God give us? He gives us a second Adam! He gives us somebody else who is the source of a new life. Now if we can understand this we can know why Jesus is called the last Adam. Not because he was put in a garden with a beautiful woman but because He is the source of a new life, He is the Father of a new race of people.

Only by birth

Now as we consider what it means to be in Christ there is another principle that we need to understand: Life is passed on from one person to the other by birth and only by birth. The only person who has ever broken this rule is Eve, because she was not born. She received her life through Adam's rib.

I always wondered when I read Isaiah 9:6 why Jesus is called, “the Everlasting Father”. Trinitarians say it is because He and the Father are a part of the same Being, but it is evident that this is a confused interpretation. Even in the trinitarian concept, Jesus is not the Father in the godhead, He is the Son. But this concept of the two Adams makes it clear what the true meaning of this verse is. Jesus is the Everlasting Father, but of whom? He is the Father of all who make up the new creation, the new human race! He is the second Adam and from Him there comes a new race of people who have been born into His life. In this sense He is their Father, the last Adam.

Let us consider what this means. There is a parallel between both Adams. One brought us into sin, one brings us into righteousness. When Adam took the forbidden fruit, none of us was born, we had no consciousness, but our life was there and when thousands of years later we were born, naturally we began to live the fallen life of Adam. Did we have any choice? No, we simply obeyed what our natures demanded that we should do.

Now consider the second Adam; does His life work in the same way? If you are born into the second Adam, what is it that now determines how you live? It is His life! It is not your effort! Your effort was not what determined how you lived when you were in the first Adam. It was nature working its course which made you what you were. Likewise when we are a part of the second Adam our effort does not produce the life we live, our behaviour is the natural result of our new nature taking its course.

The life in Christ

All the qualities which Jesus possesses are a part of His life. There is no sin, there is no condemnation in Him. This life is in Christ, on the right hand of God, the place of infinite power and privilege, far above all principalities and powers. These are the qualities which are an intrinsic part of this life of Christ. We don't need to struggle to obtain these wonderful things, they are already ours, present in Christ. The one question is, whose life do we have? That is the only question. Our deliverance and victory does not depend on what we have done, but on whose life we have inherited.

Now notice that what Adam did, was done before anybody was born. Likewise, what Christ did was done before we were born. But when we were born into Adam, the behaviour which appeared in our lives was simply a manifestation of what Adam had already done thousands of years ago. In the same way, when we are born into Christ what appears in our lives is simply a manifestation of what Christ already did two thousand years ago. So Paul could say, “I am crucified with Christ,” and every Christian can say the same thing. If you ask me, “when were you crucified, when did your old life of Adam die?” I will say, “two thousand years ago,” for the life that I possess, was crucified two thousand years ago. If you ask me, “what is your relationship to God?” I will say, “we are one.” The life I possess is one with God's life, for the life which I possess is the life of Christ himself.

When poor David Clayton was praying, my question was, “who am I to talk to God?” No matter how I tried, it was hard to believe that I was heard, because I was so unworthy, I could hardly ever believe that I could get an answer. But when Jesus prays, His prayer is perfectly acceptable. There is no obstacle standing in the way of God's answering His prayers. There is great power in prayer when we pray, in Christ. In terms of how God deals with us there is no difference with how he deals with Christ, it is the same life in which we live. We are truly, one. It is something wonderful to think about, it is even more wonderful to believe.

So in these two Adams. The lives we live were already determined, even before we were born. This is why the Bible tells us that one man made us all sinners (Rom. 5:19). As soon as we were born we began to live like sinners, because this is what we already were. We could not help ourselves.

Now on the other side inorder to experience the life of Christ, we have to be born again. How do we become born again? On the side of the first Adam our life is passed on by means of a sexual relationship. But how is life passed on, from the second Adam? It is by faith. It is by the holy spirit that his life is passed on, yes, but our involvement is that we believe God. So even though Christ has done all of this, if we are to experience it, we do have to be born again, and faith takes us into that experience.

Adam accomplished condemnation for all men. He did it for us all, but nobody will experience it unless he is born. In the same way, although Jesus accomplished deliverance for us all no one will experience it unless he is born again into Christ.

So Jesus said,

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:17-18)

What do we have to do to be condemned? Nothing! We just have to remain the way we are. We are born in unbelief, all we have to do is just continue to not believe and we will continue in that condemnation where Adam had already put all mankind.

We are not standing here in the world in a neutral position, free to choose between two sides. Some have the idea that we are in a kind of neutral, in-between ground, and that we can freely choose one side or the other. This idea is a false one. This may have been true in a sense, of Adam, but we are not standing in his place. We are born, and live our lives, already on Satan's side. Our only choice is to escape from that side, and the only way to escape is to believe. If we don't believe, we remain in our condemnation, but if we believe, our faith takes hold of the life of Christ and we escape the condemned life.

Finally, what are we to believe, what is the gospel in essence?

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Gal 3:8)

The gospel was preached to Abraham, and what was this gospel? Look at what it says, In one man all the world is blessed. That is the gospel. Our lives, our blessing, everything, is in one person!

When I read the Bible I realize that in a sense, God is only going to save one man. All of us will partake of that salvation, but God's plan was to save us all as a part of one person. There is one righteous man, one who deserves God's favour, one who conquered sin. Our only hope is to join up to that life.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11)

Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.



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