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As many of us know it today as the Bible states, God created man, "he formed him from dust and breathed into his nostrils to bring him to life. He planted a garden in Eden and put the man there. Out of the ground God made every tree pleasant to see and good for food." (Nietzsche) For the serpent had told Eve that the tree of knowledge of good and evil would not harm her or Adam, they chose to eat from it, without listening to the command of God. By eating this fruit, it imposes the knowledge of good and evil on Adam and Eve and now it causes the risk of making a sin against humanity. This is where the comparison of Adam and Jesus Christ come in for it explains the sin of Adam and how Jesus Christ maybe have cursed humanity through Adam according to Nietzsche.
The Bible tells the story of two men that stand head and shoulders above all the rest, in terms of their influence on the fate of humanity. The first is Adam, the second is Jesus Christ. Before Adam sinned, earth was a paradise where nothing was corrupted. Things were the way God intended them to be. But when Adam disobeyed God, he pulled all creation into a downward spiral of sin, and brought a curse upon all mankind. The only way God could solve the problem Adam had created was by making a new race of men on earth. That new race needed a founder, one that was not cursed and defiled by Adam's sin, one not born of an earthly father. The analogy between Adam and Christ is so close, in fact that Jesus is called the last Adam: "so it is written, the first man Adam became a living being, the last Adam, a life-giving spirit". (1 Cor 15:45) Because both men had such important roles, the parallel between the two is critical. Thus accounting for such high interest by the church's founding fathers and often still by many current biblical scholars.
Stanley Stowers a religion professor at Brown University is one of many modern researchers on biblical studies. In his book A Rereading Of Romans, Stowers describes and discuses his views on what he calls the "limited" Christ and Adam analogy. He makes two major arguments concerning the relation, first being that the analogy can only work for the time period between Adam and the giving of the law.
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Augustine of Hippo on the other hand explained the comparison as a type of reversal. Using verse fourteen in chapter five "Never the less, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a commandment, as did Adam"(Romans 5:14). After receiving the law, sin resembles that of Adams'. Adam was given one law by God, and his sin came as a result in disobeying, just as sin today. Augustine continues with the resemblance saying "Adam is the type of the one to who was to come but in reverse, for as death came through Adam, so life came through our Lord ("Augustine on Romans", Ancient Christian Commentary; Romans, p.142)". Jesus being of the same type in his mandate to bring life however, his comes through the spirit and not the flesh.
"We sin like Adam, even if in a different way ("The Holy Letter of St. Paul to the Romans", Ancient Christian Commentary; Romans, p.143)" claims [Pseudo-]Constantius as he explains the relationship between Adam and present sin. Contrary to Stowers, he believes sin that had taken place earlier than the law (expect Adams sin) was a sin against others (Natural Law). It's only after the law was giving that sins were against God's commandments, as Adam did. Constantius also made another point to argue against a "limited" connection of Jesus and Adam. Adam was the first man not to keep God's commandments and thereby giving an example to countless others to follow. Christ fully fulfilling the will of God is now a model for others who wish to imitate him.
The second theme Stowers points out is how the actions of one man can have an impact on so many. "Christ's obedience affects the many in a way analogous to the effect of Adam's disobedience in the period before the giving of the law." (Stowers, 254) He describes Adams rebelliousness as the cause of all human tendencies to sin, until Moses. Still after the law, Adam is solely responsible for death in the flesh. It's only through the obedient death on the cross that "produced the possibility of righteousness for all after him" (Stowers, 254). This Stowers states is Paul's main concern, in the whole comparison.
The early founders also understood this as being a central theme of the analogy. Adam was a type of Christ in the manner of, just as those after him did not break Gods commandments, but nonetheless inherited death. So it is with Christ, those who believe in him will come into righteousness, even though they did not produce it themselves. ("Homilies on Romans", Ancient Christian Commentary; Romans, p.142) In verse fifteen Paul even refers to Jesus as a man, underlining the fact that just as death came through one man so the cure for death also comes through one man. ("Interpretations of the Letter to the Romans", Ancient Christian Commentary; Romans, p.145)"
"If sin, and sin of a single man moreover, has such a big effect, how is it that grace, and that the grace of God-not of the Father only but also the Son-would not have an even greater effect? ("Homilies on Romans", Ancient Christian Commentary; Romans, p.144)" The free gift of Jesus out weighs the judgment on Adam. Adams one sin brought punishment to all after him, causing death. But the grace paid for in Jesus, came to all after and before him, a universal healing. ("Pauline Commentary from the Greek Church", Ancient Christian Commentary; Romans, p.146) "In Adam one sin was condemned, but by the Lord many have been forgiven ("Augustine on Romans", Ancient Christian Commentary; Romans, p.146)"
Another factor drawing the relationship between the two is neither man was created by sexual intercourse. Adam was made from the clay on the ground, in Gods image, having no human father. This goes hand in hand with Christ being born to a virgin, through the help of the Holy Spirit. ("Pelagius's Commentary on Romans", Ancient Christian Commentary; Romans, p.143)
Stowers seems perfectly in tuned with ancient scholars when it comes to the collective effect of Adam and Jesus. Both men by their own dictions or mandates from God changed the fate of humanity forever. I believe Stowers gets off track when he describes the analogy is very limited in its meaning. He even says "Paul shows no interest either here or elsewhere in developing a timeless psychology or anthropology of sin from the story of Adam's fall." (Stowers, 254) This strongly contradicts ancient writings along with Holy Scripture. Romans chapter five verse twelve reads "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Romans 5:12)." Paul states plain and clear where the origin of sin comes from, Adam. Resembling several things said by Stowers I am left scratching my head with his failure to not see the obvious within scripture. By comparing and contrasting Stowers' "rereading" with deep-rooted beliefs from Ancient Christians and scripture, one can easily see the similarities and differences that have developed over time.
Bray, Gerald, ed. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1998.
Stowers, Stanley K. A Rereading of Romans. Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers Inc, 1994.
Wood, Curtis. "A Study of the Letter to the Romans ." , . 47-52.
Nietzsche, F. "Which is it? Is man only God's mistake or God only man's mistake? ."
The Farce of Adam's Sin. 26 Sep. 2005 .