The Last Adam

“The Last Adam”
A reflection on 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
Sunday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time (Year C)
©2022 by Gloria M. Chang

Brothers and sisters:
It is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being,” the last Adam a life-giving spirit. But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, earthly; the second man, from heaven. As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly, and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.

1 Corinthians 15:45-49

In Jesus Christ, the last Adam, adam is deified.
The heav’nly man breathed his Spirit that dust be glorified.

In Paul’s allusion to Genesis 2:7, the word “adam” (pronounced ädäm) appears in the Hebrew Scriptures as both a common noun and a proper name. Thus in Hebrew, Paul says: “The first adam, Adam, became a living being.” In Greek, the word anthrópos (man, human) substitutes for the common noun adam.1

What does a man from heaven look like? At the Transfiguration, the eyes of Peter, James and John were opened to see the glorious rays of light emanating from the body of the Son of God. Every atom of the second Adam clung to the Godhead from the moment of his conception. No separation of humanity and divinity ever took place in Christ, even in death.2 

Throughout Christ’s earthly sojourn, the ever-present Light of God in his being was veiled from the eyes of his people. At the Transfiguration, an exceptional privilege was granted to Peter, James and John to behold with their own eyes the glory of the Son of God in communion with his Father and the Holy Spirit. 

For the Son of God became man
so that we might become God.

St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

References

1 See the New American Bible (Revised Edition) footnote to 1 Corinthians 15:45.

2 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, 50, 2.

2 Replies to “The Last Adam”

  1. Dear GMC, A wonderful reflection to meditate upon for me: “For the Son of God became man
    so that we might become God.” Is our God calling us to greatness? Wow! Thank you, GMC. Your words are a much-needed treat and retreat in a land that can seem barren at times!

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