The Second Adam (is probably not Jesus)

There is a passage in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 that has always been interpreted in the light of continuing a contrast between two people: Adam and Jesus. In fact, early on in the selfsame chapter, Paul makes this very comparison, saying, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (vv. 21 – 22). But significant teachings could be lost where editors and translators assume a literary tool is extended where it is not. As though endorsing this proposal, Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers notes how that later in the chapter the phrase “the Lord” from “the second man is the Lord from heaven” does not appear in the best Greek manuscripts available from antiquity, strongly suggesting unauthorized doctrinal additions to the text (see C. J. Ellicott. “1 Corinthians 15:47,” A New Testament Commentary for English Readers. London: Cassell, 1896).

Of course, the point of this short exegesis is not to minimize Christ in the scriptures—the rest of the chapter makes clear allusions and comparisons to him. But if Paul’s writings are interpreted without overextending any literary comparisons between Adam and Christ, it may be derived from the text that Adam, after death, plays a role as a being capable of giving life (i.e., raising the dead), which role may perhaps have extended even to the raising of Jesus Christ, as Paul notes to the Romans: “if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11).

This appears consistent with Michael’s role in the redemption of the dead and vindicates Joseph Smith’s revelatory connection between Michael and Adam (see D&C 27:11):

“All old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; and not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand. But, behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael, mine archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their graves shall be opened, and they shall come forth—yea, even all” (D&C 29:24 – 26).

The above passage of scripture is significant and appears to compliment the themes found in Paul’s discourse regarding the resurrection, Adam’s passage through mortality and resurrection, and finally his role (as Michael) in resurrecting all others:

1 Corinthians 15:42 – 49:

  1. Original Greek:
    Οὕτως καὶ ἡ ἀνάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν σπείρεται ἐν φθορᾷ ἐγείρεται ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ· σπείρεται ἐν ἀτιμίᾳ ἐγείρεται ἐν δόξῃ· σπείρεται ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ ἐγείρεται ἐν δυνάμει· σπείρεται σῶμα ψυχικόν ἐγείρεται σῶμα πνευματικόν ἔστιν σῶμα ψυχικόν καὶ ἔστιν σῶμα πνευματικόν οὕτως καὶ γέγραπται Ἐγένετο ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος Ἀδὰμ εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν ὁ ἔσχατος Ἀδὰμ εἰς πνεῦμα ζῳοποιοῦν ἀλλ’ οὐ πρῶτον τὸ πνευματικὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ ψυχικόν ἔπειτα τὸ πνευματικόν ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός, ὁ δεύτερος ἄνθρωπος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ. οἷος ὁ χοϊκός τοιοῦτοι καὶ οἱ χοϊκοί καὶ οἷος ὁ ἐπουράνιος τοιοῦτοι καὶ οἱ ἐπουράνιοι· καὶ καθὼς ἐφορέσαμεν τὴν εἰκόνα τοῦ χοϊκοῦ φορέσομεν καὶ τὴν εἰκόνα τοῦ ἐπουρανίου.
  2. Berean Literal Bible:
    So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in decay; it is raised in immortality. 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. So also it has been written: “The first man Adam became into a living soul;” the last Adam into a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual was not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man was made of dust from the earth, the second man from heaven. As the one was made of dust, so also are those of the earth; and as is the heavenly one, so also are those of heaven. And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
  3. My version:
    So also is the resurrection of the dead. Though the body is planted in decay, it is fully blossomed in immortality. Though it is planted in indignity, it is fully blossomed in glory. Though it is planted in weakness, it is fully blossomed in power. Though it is planted as a body of physical senses, it is fully blossomed as a body of spiritual senses. If there is a body of physical senses, there will also be one of spiritual senses thereafter. So also it has been written that the man Adam, at the first, “became a living being;” then the man Adam, at the last, became a resurrecting spirit. However, the body of spiritual senses was not his first, but the body of physical senses; then the spiritual. The man at first was made of dust from the earth, then the man subsequently was made from heaven. As the man was made of dust, so also are those of the earth; and as the heavenly man now is, so also will be those of heaven. And as we now are bearing the image of the earthly, we shall also someday bear the image of the heavenly.


ἔσχατος (eschatos)

Adjective – Nominative Masculine Singular

Strong’s 2078: Last, at the last, finally, till the end. A superlative probably from echo; farthest, final.


Ἀδὰμ (Adam)

Noun – Nominative Masculine Singular

Strong’s 76: Adam, the first man, the first parent of the human race. Of Hebrew origin; Adam, the first man; typically man.

a life-giving

ζωοποιοῦν (zōopoioun)

Verb – Present Participle Active – Accusative Neuter Singular

Strong’s 2227: To make that which was dead to live, cause to live, quicken. From the same as zoon and poieo; tovitalize.


πνεῦμα (pneuma)

Noun – Accusative Neuter Singular

Strong’s 4151: Wind, breath, spirit.


ψυχικόν (psychikon)

Adjective – Nominative Neuter Singular

Strong’s 5591: Animal, natural, sensuous. From psuche; sensitive, i.e. Animate.

earthly [man],

χοϊκός (choikos)

Adjective – Nominative Masculine Singular

Strong’s 5517: Earthy, made of earth. From choos; dusty or dirty, i.e. terrene.

heavenly [man],

ἐπουράνιος (epouranios)

Adjective – Nominative Masculine Singular

Strong’s 2032: From epi and ouranos; above the sky.

Categories: Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s