Some interpreters believe that the last Adam is Jesus Christ. But the last Adam is exactly who the Bible declares it to be, Adam.
Looking at 1 Corinthians 15
The first and last Adam are written in the New Testament part of the Bible in 1 Corinthians 15. As the reader begins to read the chapter they should take notice that Paul is declaring that Jesus rose from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:17-18 Paul writes, “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished”. Again, Paul says, “Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished”. Remember when the Bible says “fallen asleep” it is declaring the believer’s physical death. So, when Paul writes, “those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished”, when he says “have perished” he is then speaking of their spiritual death, their soul. Let us not forget, before Christ came, we were all destined to die, or in other words destined to perish. That’s why in this same chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul says in verses 21-22, “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive”. Before Christ we were all destined for the 2nd death that Revelations speaks of. Before Him there was no need for a “Judgement Day” because no one came to save us from our sins, therefore, we were already judged as sinners destined for the Lake of Fire. But thank God that He had a plan to send His Son to save our souls. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16.
Paul tells us in verse 19 of 1 Corinthians 15, “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied”. He says, “in this life only”, meaning this natural life. Jesus had to come here naturally because His purpose was to save us spiritually because we are both spiritual and natural. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. Jesus had a sinful soul on our behalf because He is the only one that had the power to despite the sin because He is the Word of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, John 1:1. Angels could not do it because they don’t have the power of God. We could not do it because we don’t have the power of God. God holds all power! He saved our souls, so that we may be resurrected.
We have a Spiritual Body
As we continue reading in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul says in verse 20, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep”. Jumping down to verses 35-36 he says, “But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?’ You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else”. He continues, “But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own”. Just as a seed has an embryo that when planted and nurtured grows and becomes the body of the planted seed, God also gave us a body that can now resurrect because of Christ resurrection. At Christ second coming the dead in Christ will rise and the rest that are alive “will be changed in a twinkling of an eye”.
The First and Last Adam
Now that we are beginning to understand that our physical body is a seed that holds our spiritual body, we can come to understand what Paul writes about the order of our resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 states, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body”. Look, Paul states, “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body”. Paul, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is declaring that we have a spiritual body as well if we have a natural one. Right after Paul says, “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” he goes right into saying, “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit”. God and Paul are telling us, the first Adam became a “living soul”, literally. That is what you see happening in Genesis 1:27 on the 6th day of creation. God created our soul, male and female, or in other words masculine and feminine. Here is what Paul says in the Greek in the pictures below when speaking of the first Adam:
1 Corinthians 15:45
With looking at these translations the reader should now understand that Paul, when writing the first Adam, was speaking of the soul. Remember, in verse 50 Paul tells us, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”. It is our souls that are endless in the kingdom of God. God created our soul first in Genesis 1 along with everything else that God made spiritually.
Now let’s look at how God and Paul wrote the last Adam in the Greek:
Genesis 2 is when the Lord God gave us our spirit when He breathed into Adam's nostrils giving him life in the physical body. God’s breath, which is our spirit, gives our soul life and/or power to animate this physical body. Without the breath of God, we can't do anything. Which is why the Bible describes us as asleep when we die physically/naturally. Our soul is still there, it’s just dormant until Christ returns.
Natural then Spiritual in the Order of Resurrection
If we continue to verse 46, Paul corrects the order of our resurrection because he realizes that we were created spiritually first in Genesis 1, then were formed naturally in Genesis 2. But because he is telling us the order of resurrection, we must die naturally in order to rise spiritually when Christ returns. Verse 46, “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual”. Remember, he is explaining the resurrection of the dead. Our natural body is the seed planted or buried. It was formed and given life in Genesis 2:7. And our spiritual body, which was created in Genesis 1 will rise when the trumpet sounds. In the order God made Man, He created him spiritual first (Genesis 1) and then formed him naturally (Genesis 2) (learn more here). But in order to be resurrected we must die naturally first to be raised spiritually. This is why Paul corrects the order of resurrection by saying, "However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual”. Remember, "if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body".
The Earthy Man and Heavenly Man
Now with understanding verse 45, how God and Paul intended for us to understand it, what do the next verses mean? Verses 47-49, “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly”. Again, looking at how Paul wrote it in the Greek will help the reader understand. Because Paul is basically saying the same thing in the verses, I will just give one verse with the definitions:
1 Corinthians 15:47
Remember, Paul described the first Adam as spiritual, the soul. So, when he's saying the first man is from the earth, he is saying the earth as a whole. That’s why when we are out in nature we feel connected to the trees and plants. We connect with animals like our pets or when observing animals in their natural habitat. Read this to get a clearer picture of what the Bible teaches about our soul and animal soul's. Now, here is the second man:
When Paul writes that the second man is from heaven, we have to remember this is now Adam’s soul in the body that the Lord God formed from the ground receiving his spirit. Our spirit is God’s breath. When God breathed into Adam nostrils, He gave Adam’s soul life/power to animate this physical body. Our spirit is then heavenly because it is God's breath and God is from heaven. That’s why Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it”. Again, our spirit is heavenly because it’s God’s breath.
To conclude everything that we've reviewed, we should understand now that the first Adam is Adam’s soul and the last Adam is Adam receiving life/power in the natural body. The Last Adam is not as Theology teaches (look here, here, and even here). Therefore, the last Adam is Adam as the Bible declares. Paul mentions the two Adam’s when talking about our resurrection because of Christ’s resurrection whom is the first fruits of the dead. Jesus rose to fulfill the scriptures. He rose with all power in His hands!
Read my next post: Why Jesus is not the Last Adam