Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Easter: The Second Adam

I started reading Tim Keller's new book Kings Cross last week while I was on holiday. I thought it would be good to read over the Easter period and so far I've not been disappointed. It's a series of meditations on Jesus mission from some of the key moments in the Gospel of Mark, but with Keller's trademark theological insightfulness and cultural incisiveness.

In the light of the approach of Easter I was really struck by a thought Keller drops in at the end of the first chapter, almost as an aside, and it’s something I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

In both Romans and 1 Corinthians Paul describes Jesus as a 'Second Adam':
  • What Adam lost, Jesus regains.
  • Where Adam failed, Jesus obeyed.
  • What Adam spoilt, Jesus is in the process of restoring.

Keller brings out this doctrine in relation to the cross.

What was the commission God gave to Adam?
Answer: 'Obey me about the tree, and you will live and not die.'

It was a test of devotion.

But of course Adam DIDN'T obey God and the result was that humanity fell, our relationship with God was broken and Eden was lost.

Enter the second Adam: Jesus, sent to clean up the first Adam's mess.

What was the commission God gave to Jesus?
Answer: 'Obey me about the tree and you will die so that others might live.'

It was a greater test of devotion because Jesus’ tree was to be a cross.

And as a result a new humanity was born, a restored relationship with God was made possible and Eden will one day be restored, a new heaven and a new earth, with a new tree at the centre from which we will be free to eat.

‘On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month…Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.’ (Rev 22:2,14)
This Easter thank God for the obedience of the second Adam and the efficacy of the second tree.