1 Corinthians 15:47
The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.
The Exposition and Defence of the ResurrectionJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 15:1-58
Objections to the Resurrection; Replies Thereto; Conclusions InvolvedC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 15:35-50
The Resurrection BodyE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 15:42-53
Adam and ChristJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:45-50
Christ the Archetype of AdamW. Anot, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:45-50
Natural and Spiritual LifeJ, Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:45-50
The First and the Last Adam S. Cox, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:45-50
The Last AdamA. Gray.1 Corinthians 15:45-50
The Second Adam A Quickening SpiritW. Dodsworth, M.A.1 Corinthians 15:45-50
The Two AdamsD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:45-50
The Wonderful ContrastHomiletic Monthly1 Corinthians 15:45-50
Man's Present and FutureT. Spencer.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
Of the Earth, EarthyPrincipal Edwards.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
On Heavenly-MindednessJ. Grant, M.A.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
Perfection in HeavenD. Whittey.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
The Assimilation of Christians to the RedeemerT. Swan.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
The Attainment of the Image of the HeavenlyE. L. Hull, B.A.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
The Believer's Assimilation to ChristJ. Scott.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
The Believer's PedigreeJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
The Earthy and the HeavenlyJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
The First and Second ManJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
The Image of the Earthy and of the HeavenlyF. A. Cox, LL.D.1 Corinthians 15:47-49
The Second ManR. Winterbotham, M.A.1 Corinthians 15:47-49

The apostle has supported the Christian belief in the resurrection by adducing natural analogies, and these will always possess a certain measure of force for intelligent and reflective minds. But it is observable that he returns to what is the strongest ground of belief in the future life and all which it involves, viz. the personal relation of the Christian to his Divine and mighty Lord. The foundation of our hope is in the assurance of our Saviour, "Because I live, ye shall live also."

I. THE DESIGNATION OF CHRIST: THE LAST ADAM. This, though a rabbinical expression applied to the Messiah, has a truly Christian signification.

1. It implies our Lord's true humanity; he was a descendant of our first parents, and he was the Son of man.

2. It implies his federal headship, his representative character, and his peculiar authority. There is a new humanity created afresh for the glory of God; and of this the Lord Christ is the one rightful Ruler and Head.


1. This is in contrast with the description of the first Adam, "a living soul," so called in the book of Genesis. From our progenitor we have inherited the body and the animal and rational nature for which that body is a suitable vehicle.

2. This is indicative of the perogative of Christ to impart a new and higher spiritual life to humanity. We receive from him by the bestowal of his Spirit a nobler being, a being which allies us to God, and which fits us for the occupations and the joys of heaven. "In him was life." He did not however possess life only to retain it as his own, but in order to share it with his people. "I," said he, "am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

3. This is explanatory of the revelation of resurrection and immortality. The nature we inherit from Adam fits us for earth; the nature which we receive from Christ fits us for heaven. Adam is "the earthy," and they who dwell on earth share his earthy being and life; Christ is "the heavenly" and they who are made in his likeness and who share his character and spirit are qualified for celestial and eternal joys. - T.

The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
I. THE FIRST — is of the earth, earthy — consequently —

1. Confined to earth.

2. Perishes with the earth.

II. THE SECOND — from heaven, heavenly.

1. Rules the earth.

2. Opens heaven.

3. Lives for ever.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Χοὶκος properly means "clayey," but is here used to express man's terrestrial nature. Because he is of the earth in his origin — i.e., as to his body, there is a terrestrial side to his nature and sphere of action. From this we may infer —

I. THAT MAN IN HIS SINLESS STATE HAD A BODY CAPABLE OF DYING. If he had continued sinless, his body would have been rendered immortal by a Divine act, and we gather from Genesis 3:22 that the tree of life was the appointed sacrament of immortality. This is consistent with Romans 5:12. In the case of man sin brought death, not mortality, into the world. The correctness of this hypothesis is confirmed by the side light it throws upon the voluntariness of Christ's death. As Christ was sinless, death was not a necessity to Him, though He had a mortal body; and as He was Divine as well as sinless, death was impossible to Him without a voluntary act of "laying down" His life.

II. THAT THE DIVINE IMAGE IN ADAM CONSISTED, negatively, in sinlessness and, positively, in a potential and rudimentary goodness; by no means in the full perfection of human nature. Christ does infinitely more than restore our original state (cf. Wisdom 8:1).

(Principal Edwards.)

In what sense is our Lord the second man? There were so many millions intervening between Him and Adam. The answer is that all the others were mere copies of the first; whereas Christ introduced a new kind of man, and became the head of a new family.


1. Of origin.(1) The first man is of the earth, earthy."(a) Whatever may be said of Adam's Divine parentage, according to his physical nature, he and his belong essentially to this earth; they are part of its fauna, and stand at the head of long lines of animal life, which, commencing with the lowest of sensitive creatures, find their highest term in man. All the materials of his physical life and being belong to the planet of which he is the chief inhabitant, of whose vital forces he is simply the highest outcome, the most elaborated product.(b) There are many who tell us that man is "of the earth, earthy," in the sense of being descended from the lower forms of animal life through the process of natural selection; but this can only be received as an hypothesis; yet there is nothing in it contrary to Scripture. If true it gives a new and most marvellous aspect to the Incarnation. Of course, if our ancestors were "marine ascidians," so were His; and thus we see Him in an unexpected sense, gathering together in one, and summing up in Himself all created life (Ephesians 1:10), and reuniting it unto God. I do not know why a Christian should be staggered at the thought of one unbroken continuity of life; for the great gap in the cycle of life, which seemed to be eternally impassable, was above man, not below him, and yet we know that this gulf which separated the highest creature by an infinite distance from the Creator was bridged by the condescension of the Son.(2) For the second man was the Lord from heaven. His origin was as distinctly Divine and heavenly as Adam's origin was earthy.

2. Of nature. This difference was not in wealth, happiness, beauty, nor in any of those things which ordinarily make one man superior to another, for in all these things Christ voluntarily placed Himself at a disadvantage; but it was in holiness.(1) Adam was a rebel, a sinner; and after him all we are the same. No doctrine of the Scripture is more confirmed by constant experience, or more in accordance with modern science than that of hereditary sin. For not only does every child afford a fresh example of the tendency to do wrong, but as the instinct by which the young bird feeds itself is the transmitted experience of its remote ancestors, so the mortal evil which began in Adam has become an inseparable characteristic of his race.(2) But Christ was not sinful. Coming into the world by a miraculous and immaculate conception, it was said to Mary, "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God"; and this holiness, which belonged to Him by virtue of His origin, He kept spotless amidst all the temptations of His earthly life. And what was the consequence of this holiness? This — that He was by right immortal and incorruptible, even as man; death and the grave could have no claim on One who had no sin. But did He not die? Yes, truly; but it was by His own permission. Being holy, although He was capable of death, it was not possible that He should be holden of it. I have seen some large insect fly into a spider's web, and the hungry spider has come forth with haste, thinking he has caught a finer prize than has fallen into his clutches for many a long day. But the prisoner is stronger than any for which the web was made; he gathers up his might, he throws himself hither and thither, he shakes the web violently, he rends it from top to bottom — he is gone, and has left the broken net and the baffled spider behind him. Even so death had spread his snares for the sons of men, and had caught them all one by one, and had held them fast; at last came the Son of Man, and He, too, died like men, and death and hell rejoiced together over their notable captive. But they did not rejoice long; their toils were not made for Him. The bands of death were to Him as the "green withes" were to Samson. As the flush of morning comes back upon the earth, as the tints of spring return upon the trees, and we cannot say at what moment it begins, so did Christ rise, we know not when; it needed no effort nor preparation; it was as natural and proper to Him to live, to be abroad in the freedom of unfettered life, as it is for the dew to rise when the sun is warm.


1. He introduced into the world a new type, a new order of humanity — a child of man, indeed, but such a child of man as had never been seen before. He was the beau ideal of the human race; all that is noble and lovely in other human beings was united in Him, and all that is noble and lovely in our dreams and fancies about what human beings might be was realised in Him. You have heard of those tropical plants which are said to blossom but once in a hundred years, then, having thrown up a single spike of exquisite white blossom, to die. This (however exaggerated in fact) may serve to illustrate the relation of Christ to the human race: once, and once only, humanity blossomed up and put forth one exquisite faultless flower, in which its entire life culminated, in which all its possibilities were exhausted; that flower was Christ, the Son of Man, par excellence, the second man.

2. But Adam not only set a type, but he began a race, a series like himself, and thus he became the fountain-head of a guilty and perishing humanity. In like manner Christ began a new race, and became the fountain.head of a new regenerate human life, cleansing itself from sin, rising victorious over death.

(R. Winterbotham, M.A.)

1. On the one side traced to Adam who is of the earth — on the other to Christ who is the Lord from heaven.

2. On the one side he derives an earthly nature, on the other a heavenly.

3. On the one side he is stamped with the features of the earthy, on the other with those of the heavenly.

4. On the one side he can claim no inheritance in the kingdom of God, on the other becomes heir of all things.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy
I. THE EARTHY — frail, sensual, dying — can only produce his like.

II. THE HEAVENLY — pure, spiritual, immortal — communicates His own nature by a new birth, to be consummated in the resurrection.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly

1. The Scriptures represent Him as the express character of God's person, the brightness of His glory. The perfections of the Divine nature indeed shine forth in all the works of creation; but there is a clearer and more glorious display of them all in "God manifest in the flesh."

2. His life and character demonstrate Him to be the Heavenly.


1. That we may be humble, contemplate the dissimilarity. There is in Him the complete perfection of those various graces and virtues of which, in the saints, there is only an extremely remote resemblance.

2. But although the dissimilarity be great, there is an obvious similarity.

(1)In heavenliness of mind. A carnal Christian is a contradiction in terms.

(2)In faith. Like Christ, they put their trust in their heavenly Father.

(3)In being of a devotional spirit.

(4)In humility.

(5)In their conversation.

(6)In active goodness.

(T. Swan.)

A soul chained down to earth is as little suited for the occupations of heaven as is a body framed of the dust for becoming the eternal tenement of a spirit that liveth for ever. Temper, in its widest acceptation, is the uniform frame of the mind; the disposition, which it partly derives from nature and partly from circumstance; but to which, in its better condition, it is principally reduced by Divine grace and by religious cultivation. Thought is a sudden conception or a process of the intellect, and the fitful spring of action. Passion is a desultory violence of the soul when roused by external impressions. Both thought and passion are subject to variations in the same breast, and both may have intervals of cessation. But disposition is the inward light — the permanent hue of the heart, which tinctures the moral complexion, and blends with the whole course of thought, action, passion and existence. What, then, is that spirit, that disposition, which prevails among the blessed above, and by imitating which we may humbly aspire to be joined to their high and holy association?

1. In its reference to God it implies a spirit of devotion. To acquire the habit of contemplating, under all circumstances, the bond which connects earth with heaven, and of acknowledging the impulse which all the affairs of life are constantly receiving from an unseen arm: to discover providence where ignorance sees but chance, or where pride confesses only the power of man; to hear the voice of God in the accents of instruction; to trace His workmanship in the magnificence of Nature; to admire His beneficence throughout the varied year, whether crowned with blossoms or laden with sheaves — this is to imbibe the spirit of the heavenly; for the works and the wonders of Providence, we may rest assured, for ever occupy the meditations, the converse, and the praises, of the blessed, in the courts of light.

2. The temper and spirit of heaven may be considered, secondly, as it relates to our neighbour. Charity is the bond of union among the blessed above; all is there harmonious as the silent chime of the spheres.

3. It now remains to consider heavenly-mindedness in its immediate relation to ourselves. Humility is the pre-eminent virtue of the heavens. Another feature in the disposition which looks towards a heavenly prototype, and a feature relating to ourselves, is purity. The enjoyments of heaven, and the affections of its inhabitants, we may be sure, are unstained by the cloud or shadow of a thought that may suffuse the mind with the tinge of shame. But the crowning quality of temper, which at once unites and assimilates probationary mortals unto the multitude — the Sabaoth of heaven — is serenity. To this entire composure it cannot be expected that creatures such as we, in a state like that which we inherit, can attain. But here, too, though all may not be achieved or hoped, the task is not to be wholly relinquished. Some self-discipline is practicable; and what is practicable is what God expects. We have the treasury of grace for our feebleness — we have devotion as the key which unlocks it.

(J. Grant, M.A.)

As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly

1. Sin.

2. Sorrow.

3. Death.


1. Holiness.

2. Happiness.

3. Life.

(F. A. Cox, LL.D.)

The great hindrance to our reception of the full power of these words lies in the difficulty of realising them as a present experience. We fancy that death is the great magician. Paul contemplated the change as actually begun. We were once merely natural men, and knew nothing of the higher spiritual world. Then quickened by the grace of God in Christ we became spiritual. Thus because the quickening Spirit of Christ is forming His image in us now, the earthly shall perish, and we shall wear the image of the heavenly. Just as the flowers which open beneath the summer sunshine are folded in the dark buds which are beaten and tossed in the winter winds; just as the strength of will, the fire of feeling, etc., of a man are hidden in the child, so the heavenly life is within us now, and because it is there it is possible for us to reach the full formed image of the heavenly.

I. THE GREAT AIM OF CHRISTIAN ASPIRATION — "to bear the image," etc. This is one of the deepest longings of the soul. We yearn for rest, for service, for happiness; but there is a deeper longing; we want to be holier, heavenlier men. This is also the all-embracing Christian aim. Every prayer for light, blessedness, strength, is gathered up and centred in the aim to be like Christ. Observe His image has three great features.

1. Divine vision — the spiritual insight that realises the presence of God and the unseen world. It is true that we cannot see God and the radiance of eternity with the bodily eye; but were we like Christ, we should apprehend them through the sympathies of the soul.

2. Divine love. We admit the feebleness of our love to God, yet in many ways we aspire after a deeper love. What means our perpetual unrest, our constant effort after the unattained, etc., but the yearning after that love of God which alone can fill us, our longing after the image of Christ who realised it fully.

3. Divine power.

II. THE HINDRANCE TO ITS ATTAINMENT. "The image of the earthy," i.e., the body of corruption whose tendency is —

1. To limit aspiration to the earthy.

2. To become an aid to the sin of the soul.Conclusion:

1. Our aspirations must be earnest and real. What we sincerely aspire to be we may become.

2. Our endeavour must be practical. Meditation alone will do but little.

3. God will aid us by the discipline of life. Many strokes may be needed; but as the form of immortal loveliness lies concealed in the block of stone, and is being moulded stroke by stroke by the sculptor's genius, so the heavenly form in man is being developed by the Eternal Sculptor, who by His discipline is unveiling in us the image of His Son.

(E. L. Hull, B.A.)


1. In innocent infirmities; hunger, thirst, weariness, etc., and the like. How unlike are we in this respect to the blessed who hunger no more, and thirst no more, and rest not day nor night.

2. In sinful imperfections, commonly expressed by the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of nature.

3. In the consequences.

(1)The miseries of this life.


(3)A liableness to suffer under the wrath and curse of God for ever.


1. In the glorious spirituality of the body. How vastly will it differ from what it now is (vers. 42-44).

2. In the perfect holiness of the soul.

3. In complete happiness.

4. In immortality.

(D. Whittey.)


1. The earthy.

2. The heavenly.

II. THE FACT ASSUMED — "that we have all borne," etc.

1. The first man is emphatically styled earthy (ver. 47).

(1)On account of his origin.

(2)Because of his tendency.

(3)Because of his apostasy.

2. But Christ is the heavenly One, because of —

(1)His pre-existence.

(2)The moral beauty and glory displayed by Him while on earth.

3. Therefore it is said that we have borne the image of the earthy.

4. And not only because of this, but also because the first man's moral image has become characteristic of us.

III. THE PROMISE IN REFERENCE TO BELIEVERS. A perfect moral resemblance to Christ will be attained at the last day.

(J. Scott.)

I. CONFIRM THE LAMENTABLE FACT THAT, BY NATURE, WE ALL BEAR THE IMAGE OF THE EARTHLY. So says my text; so says my experience, the melancholy experience of all ages and nations; so witness our own feelings in the endurance of those ills to which mortality is subject. Behold it —

1. In our bodies, which are earthly, frail, and tending to dissolution. What is that in the cold corpse which shocks the feelings of humanity, and harrows up the soul? It is the image of the earthly Adam! And ere long you shall bear it too.

2. We all bear this image in our souls.

(1)Our souls are defiled with sin.

(2)Our souls are exposed to Divine wrath, and thus bear the image of the earthly.


1. It is first impressed upon us at the time of our regeneration. Effectual grace then gives a new bias to the mind, and the Father of the spirits of all flesh then makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Saviour imparted to us the principle of grace; He made us, who before lived only for folly and sin, to pant after holiness as our noblest pursuit; to grasp after purity as our noblest attainment.

2. This image shall visibly discover itself through the whole course of the Christian's life, producing a happy effect upon his temper, his passions, his pursuits; it shall make him to speak, to look, to live, like the children of God.

3. This image shall be rendered more striking and glorious on the resurrection morning.

(T. Spencer.)

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