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Adam was mortal, but perfect being. His body and spirit had the potential to attain the divine measure of perfection for which he was created. This measure of perfection was the eternal life or immortality he would get as a gift. However, he never reached that measure because he stumbled and fell, well before God could confirm that perfection in him. Hence, eternal life could not be confirmed in him, even though he did gain access to the tree of life. But Jesus did not fall. After his resurrection he was “made perfect” because, while suffering and enduring to death, he preserved the life which he had received by the holy spirit when he was anointed (Heb 5:9). All this was meant to happen, because it was written:

 “Did not Christ have to endure all this and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26)

“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 2:10)

“When he was made perfect, he became the Bringer of eternal salvation to all who obey him …” (Hebrews 5:9)

Since he became perfect in the true sense only after the resurrection, then we cannot take that later image as a measure of the value in which he was similar to Adam, but that image of perfection he had before, that is, before his death. How can we know to what extent Jesus’ perfection matched the measure of Adam’s perfection? We can be guided by the fact that:

“Adam… a model (figure, likeness) to him (Adam) who was to come.” (Romans 5:14)

Therefore, we need to look at Adam through Jesus, and Jesus through Adam, because they are like one another from the beginning of their very existence, especially from the moment when Adam was brought to Eden, and when Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit.

  • ADAM  Jesus
  • JESUS Adam

When we observe Adam through Jesus, we will easily realise that he was not created with the eternal “life in himself”. He was physically no more perfect than his sons Cain and Abel, who were born after his sin. He was physically created according to the image Jesus had at birth. Namely, Jesus was created in the womb as a mortal, being subject to the “law of matter”. It was said of Jesus that he, until his death:

  • lived in a corruptible body (Acts 13:34)
  • was in the power of death (Romans 6:9)

Thus, Adam was, like Jesus, created in the dominion of death and corruption, like all other perfect living creatures on Earth. This is something that many ignore. Many associate mortality with the imperfection, that is, the error or stain of sin, even though it is the perfect “law of matter” by which all material beings are created. When God created all animal species, he said that He created everything perfectly, even though they were, by “law of matter”, subject to decay and death. So it was with the creation of the perfect man. Eternal life was to be a gift, enabling the humans to sustain and use that perfection to the glory of God.

Though living in a mortal body, a human can be perfect to the extent corresponding to the purpose of his life. He can have a perfect body without flaws and physical defects, until it reaches the point when the ageing of the body begins. By then, he can develop spiritual, emotional and intellectual perfection. Even if he does not attain the highest degree, he is perfect as a man, as he has the predisposition and the potential to perfect these divine qualities as long as he lives. E.g. Some gifted children, by the age of ten, already participate in college education and are quite different from others, while other children have this intellectual potential by which they can acquire knowledge to a lesser extent. However, this does not mean that they are not perfect simply because they do not have a high IQ. They would be imperfect only if they remained at the child’s level due to mental illness.

We do not know what IQ Jesus had, but in spiritual development he went to a degree that was ahead of others, and in that he differed from most but not all, because such people have always existed.

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour of God and men.” (Luke 2:52)

That is why, in wisdom and other qualities, he was not too different from other people because he was human himself. But people are also made to differ in gifts and abilities so they can work together and use their and others’ gifts for joint projects. So, in some things, Jesus was also different from others but had the potential for all divine attributes just like Adam.

Although Adam and Jesus were mortals, death and corruption could not immediately take control of them, since such a condition manifests itself in the flesh only at the highest point of one’s life force. Some say a man dies as soon as he is born, which is incorrect. He begins to die only when he reaches full physical maturity. In fact, death can take control of them only at a later stage of life. This means that God made a covenant with Adam and with Jesus at a time when death could not yet take power over their bodies.

We get a clear picture of Adam when we look at him through Jesus. Likewise, we will get a clear picture of Jesus if we view him through Adam while he was in Eden when the law of life and of death was still in effect. Only then did Adam…

  • enter into the covenant with God
  • receive the status of God’s firstborn Son
  • gain access to the tree of life
  • get authorised as the mediator of life

By the act of creation, Adam was the son of God. Nevertheless, he could not bear responsibility for his Father and his descendants until his Father made a covenant with him. Upon entering Eden, he consciously accepted the covenant with his Father (God), by which he was granted the status ( the name, authority) of the firstborn Son of God, and the authority to access the tree of life.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)

The Father first brought Adam to Eden, where was the tree of life. Thus, he was given the opportunity and honour to have “(eternal) life in himself”, which was a step towards ultimate perfection. This means that Jesus, as the second Adam, consciously entered into covenant with the Father and by the act of anointing, gained access to eternal life. He confirmed this by saying:

“My father made a covenant with me…” (Luke 22:29)

“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself .” (John 5:26)

Jesus was given the status of the firstborn Son by covenant with God, and he emphasised it in this verse. Namely, the Jews knew that the Scriptures also called them “sons of God” (Moses 14:1). All humans have corruptible “life in themselves”, but then only Jesus, like Adam, the Son of God, was given to have ‘(eternal) life in himself’. What did it mean? Was Jesus immortal because he had “eternal life in himself”? Does this mean that Jesus could not grow old and die by natural death? That cannot be said because we saw that he was in the power of death and decay until the resurrection. Was it possible that he had been mortal if he had ‘eternal life in him’? Obviously, it was possible. We can confirm this by Jesus’ own words:

”Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:53, 54)

Mortal people were said these words. By the holy spirit, they could ‘have eternal life in themselves’ even then. Nevertheless, they could grow old and die. Jesus had in mind the value of his body and blood by which men would be redeemed and set free from the death penalty. Only those who faithfully accepted his sacrifice could through him, as the mediator, receive “eternal life in themselves” form God, by the holy spirit. However, that did not mean that they could no longer die or that they had already received eternal life as a gift in lasting inheritance. That ‘life’ could not be immediately confirmed in them. They were to wait for the kingdom of God. Many have grown old and died. It might even happen that a person loses that “life in himself” before the life had been confirmed in him. That happened to Adam. Apostle John, who wrote down the words of Jesus quoted above, said the following:

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” (1 John 3:15)

Accordingly, those who were redeemed from death after Jesus’ resurrection and gained access to eternal life, like Jesus and Adam, ‘had life in themselves’ that they needed to preserve. However, they were still mortals. Therefore, they

  •  were not exempt from death that was a result of the “law of decay”, but
  •  were freed from the slavery to death, that ensued from punishment.

When God awarded Adam and Jesus the honour of having ‘eternal life in themselves’, it still did not invalidate the life they had under the natural law of death. They received this ‘eternal life in themselves’ directly from God and not through a mediator. They were both equal in status and responsibility. At the same time, they both we differentiated from other people. Others could not have been redeemed nor access eternal life until the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was, much like Adam, given access to eternal life and was made perfect before everybody else. He was to be the mediator between God, as Giver of life, and men, as the recipient of life.

This is important to keep in mind when we talk about Adam who, upon entering Eden, gained access to the ‘tree of life’ in order to have life within himself. Although he was a physically and spiritually perfect being, he was not yet made perfectly perfect in a sense that would fit the image of God in the matter of immortality, and he could only do so if eternal life was sealed or confirmed in him.

Just as both Adam and Jesus were to die by the authority of death only after reaching the physical maturity conditioned by the law of death, by the authority of life they should begin to live eternally only after attaining and confirming the divine maturity conditioned by the law of life. Then man would have authority over death. So after Adam’s entry into Eden, where he had access to eternal life and after Jesus’ anointing by the holy spirit, when he was given the opportunity to have life in himself, both were:

  • in the power of death and decay that could not immediately take power over them and their bodies and
  • in the power of life and incorruptibility that could not immediately take power over them.

This means that they were still mortals in the transitional period of trial. However, by the holy spirit, they had in themselves the guarantee of an indestructible life, which, as a gift of God, should at some point take power over their bodies. Just as believers received a guarantee from Jesus that they would “never die”, so did the two of them, who were supposed to be mediators of life only if they fully submitted to God and his standard of life (John 11:26). Only then could they be perfect in the full sense of the word, because life and incorruptibility would take power over their bodies and then fully fit the purpose of their existence.

When Adam, as a mortal, was told that he was going to die on that day, then it meant that he would be separated from eternal life on that day and that the law of death would take power over his body. It was a punishment for sin against a person who was given a guarantee of life. Otherwise, it could mean that he would never die because, because of his obedience to the provisions of the law, life would take power over him, which in fact happened, but only with the second Adam who received that gift of life into a lasting inheritance.

Interestingly, after sin was done, Adam could have been given eternal life as a permanent gift only if he could go to the tree of life. God said:

“Lest now (man) lend a hand, pick from the tree of life and eat and live forever! Therefore, the LORD God cast him out of the garden of Eden.” (Genesis 3:22,23)

Namely, if God allowed Adam to taste the fruit of ‘life’ after transgression, then God’s ‘YES’ (you will die) would become ‘NO’ (you will not die), so it would be an act of forgiveness. The temptation would no longer be necessary so that eternal life would be automatically confirmed. But God did not allow it because it would undermine His justice and the principles of eternal life.

Hence, we can conclude that Adam did not lose the ‘perfect eternal life’ because he did not even receive it as a gift into lasting inheritance. Adam lost the right to such a life. Therefore, in exchange for Adam, God could use a mortal man born of a woman. However, it could only be one who would be free of condemnation and put in Adam’s place to gain the right to such a ‘perfect life’ by his obedience. It means that Jesus was like Adam in the period before he was resurrected into immortal (eternal) life. Unlike Adam, Jesus first had to die. His life, as a righteous man, had the redemptive value at the moment of his death. God had it at his disposal to reconcile the world with him through Jesus.