PAUL says in Romans v. 14, that Adam “is the figure of him that was to come,” meaning that Adam is the figure of Christ. The Scriptures of the Old Testament abound with many figures of Jesus Christ, but Adam is said by Paul to be not “a” figure, but “the” figure, as though Adam is the definitely, satisfactory figure of Christ, as though while many figures dimly show Christ forth, yet Adam particularly and more clearly shows the character of Christ as no other figure in the whole Bible does. Some thoughts about Adam being the figure of Christ we would like to present for our readers’ consideration if they will bear with us for a few moments. The follower of reason is not satisfied to take the biblical account of the creation of man as being the truth. The rationalist accounts for man’s presence in the world, not on the ground that he was specifically formed of the dust of the earth, apart from the other animals, but regards man to have been evolved out of some lower form of the animal kingdom, possibly descended from the apes. Reason rather believes this than the plain declaration of man’s formation as written in the first part of the book of Genesis. Faith accepts unqualifiedly and without reserve the record of God’s inspiration, and faith will never be able to persuade reason that reason is wrong until that one who is ensnared of his reason is rescued therefrom by the spiritual demonstration of God’s truth within himself. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Faith no one can have until God imparts it to him, for faith is God’s gift, and exercises one unto the belief of God’s word. Faith exercises the one in whom it is implanted, and is not for the creature himself to exercise as he will. Therefore when this heaven-sent gift of faith is in lively exercise it brings the one in whom it is to believe that the worlds were framed by God’s great word of might. Before the triumph of faith, reason succumbs in defeat. Faith does not establish itself by argument or rules of logic, it manifests itself in power that cannot be resisted. God needs no argument to establish his truth. Enough for him to say that thus and thus is so. When his word declares a certain thing true, faith accepts without demur and with willingness. Jesus did not need to argue nor to resort to reason to prove to Martha that he is the resurrection and the life. Enough for him to say to her, I am the resurrection and the life. When he thus said she knew it was so. His words demonstrated their truth within her by power, so that she was convinced he spoke the truth. The truth can be experimentally known only by the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, never by clear argument logically unfolded. Therefore the spiritual reader exercised by God-given faith who reads the record of the creation, and of man’s formation as given by inspiration in Genesis, is abundantly satisfied therewith, and accepts it for truth Without question. The reader who reads it in the light of human reason discards it as childish and silly. What better proof do we need that the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world?
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Creation of all things therefore was in the beginning, and was the beginning of God’s material manifestation of his power. Formation took place after creation, but all that were formed as their order came, were created in the beginning. Formation simply made manifest, or brought into evidence, all that consisted in the creation. Like the oak tree is a development only of what originally lay in the acorn, nothing more and nothing less, so formation brought out and made visible all that God created in the beginning. Thus, though man was not formed until the “sixth day,” he had already been created. “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” God had said, “Let us make man in our image.” Here is where We begin to see how that Adam is “the figure “ of him that was to come. Right here is where so many Bible readers go astray, not being able to see how and in what manner Adam is the figure of Christ. So many have jumped to the conclusion that Adam, being made in the image of God, that God is therefore somebody who looks like man, only on a grander scale. Many intelligent people think of ‘God as being somewhere off in space, possibly having, his abode on some one of the other planets (maybe in the sun), and picture him with eyes, nose, mouth, hands, feet, just like men have, only grander. This is entirely imagination, as we see it, and nowhere near the truth. Adam was not made in the image of God in that he was made a miniature-copy of God. That is not the thought at all. Let us see what the record says: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. * * * So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created be them.” Right here, in the fact that in Adam God made both male and female, we see the figure of Christ. Just as the church is the bride of Christ, and was in him before the world began, so Eve was the companion of Adam, and was in Adam when he was formed from the dust of the ground, not having then any separate personality from him. Adam, the one individual, was made male and female; he and his bride were one in creation and formation. So Christ and his church are one. If you can tell when Christ began to be, then you can tell when the church began to be. If you concede that Christ is eternal, then you must concede that the church is and was eternally in him and of him. Now, further, while Adam was in this state, with Eve still in him, God put him under law. The law was given to Adam before Eve was taken from him. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” This is the law given to Adam with Eve still in him, she not yet having any separate personality from him. Is it any wonder then that when the woman afterward disobeyed this law that punishment devolved upon the man? Is it any wonder then that the law looked for satisfaction, not to the woman, but to the man to whom it was originally given? Just so, the law of God given to Christ in eternity with his church still in him, and not yet manifested apart from him, which law the church afterward broke when given being in the flesh, this broken law of divine justice demanded satisfaction, not at the hands of the woman (the church), but at the hands of the man (Jesus Christ). This affords the real basis as to why Christ ought to have suffered in the flesh all the demands of the law thus to save his church from the law’s penalty. The commandment came to the man, the man must obey. The law of God was concerned with Christ and with the church only as she was in him, therefore Christ must fulfill the law. None but the elect of God ever stood in this relationship to Christ, ever were bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. Thus the law which Jesus came under when he was made of a woman, and which law Jesus fulfilled, this law never concerned any but Jesus and his bride in him, so that the purchase price paid can redeem none but those held captive by it and who were previously the property of the Redeemer. “The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make an help meet for him.” Now we come to where God is shortly to give Eve a visible entity apart from Adam, yet still bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. So the time came in the purpose of God when God manifested his church in flesh and blood here in the world. The same church which was from eternity in Christ is now to be given a visible existence here in the world in the persons of men and women of Adam’s race. Eve was still Adam, even after she was taken out of him; her nature was his and his life was hers. Just so, the church does not cease to be in Christ even though she is given an identity here in the world so that she looks to be apart from him. His life is still her life, she is still a partaker of his divine nature, bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. Vitally, Christ and his church are never separated, not even when she is dead in trespasses and in sins. The Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and a rib was taken from him. The Lord made that rib a woman. From the fact that woman was taken out of the side of Adam, we see that she is the partner of her husband, to share equally with him, not being inferior to him. So the church is the equal of Christ in all things given them of the Father. All that is Christ’s is the church’s. She is with him an heir of God, and more than this, she is joint-heir with him: his equal in the estate of the Father. Eve was beguiled by the serpent and ate the fruit forbidden. She was deceived, the Scriptures tell us. When Adam followed Eve in the transgression, he was not deceived, he did it fully aware as to what the consequences of his sin would be. Here, again, we see Christ. When Christ came down from heaven and condescended to he made in human form to follow his bride in transgression, Christ was not deceived, but was fully aware of the suffering and death it meant for him to undergo in order to redeem his bride. Even if Adam had not himself eaten the forbidden fruit, he still would have been a sinner just the same, for Eve’s sin was his sin. Eve was but Adam himself, after all, and when she ate he ate, for was she not bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh? Further, was not the law given to man in the first place, and, not to the woman, except as she was in him? Then, it behooved Adam to follow Eve and be with her in the transgression, otherwise Adam could not have been the figure of Christ that was to come, and this was the great purpose that God had in Adam. Therefore the moment Eve ate, Adam had already sinned. Just so, when the church transgressed God’s holy law, the penalty devolved upon Christ, divine justice looked to him to follow his bride in condemnation so as to redeem her. In all this there is not a shadow of substitution as we see it. Our courts of law here will not accept an innocent man in place of the guilty. The one that is guilty must pay the penalty. Infinitely more so, the court of God’s divine justice will not put to death an innocent man for the sake of the guilty. Therefore, Paul says that Christ was made sin for us, who knew no sin. That is, that while Christ did not know sin in his own person, was not a sinner himself, yet the law of God required that he pay the penalty and die to redeem his people, for they were his property, chosen in him before the world began, and, more than that, they were his flesh and his bones and had received the law in him just as Eve had received the law in Adam, so that Christ must come under condemnation with her and die to redeem her; not as a substitute, but as being made sin for her, as being the Head and Surety of his church, her life and her nature. This being so, when Eve sinned Adam sinned. The moment the church sinned, that moment Christ became responsible for her transgression. Finally, in the end of the figure, God said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” “As one of us.” Which one of “us” had Adam become like? He had become, not like God the Father, nor yet like God the Holy Ghost, so he must have become like God the Son. He had at last fulfilled the image of Christ that was to come when he had followed Eve in the transgression and his eyes had been opened to know good and evil. It was said of Jesus that he should know to choose the good and refuse the evil. Adam had become the image of this. Thus, Adam’s being the image of Christ, or of God, begins with his being made male and female, and ends with his being with his bride in condemnation, having the knowledge of good and evil. All this it takes to make up the figure of the Christ that was to come. No other figure in all Scripture shows the vital unity of Christ and his people as does this relationship of Adam and Eve, their formation transgression and ensuing condemnation. L.
Elder H. H. Lefferts
Signs of the Times
Volume 84, No. 18.
September 15, 1916