Another Adam
Tuesday of Easter 3
9 May 2017
The father of one of my childhood friends worked in the pressroom of our local newspaper. Mr. Wilson often brought lines of type from the Linotype machine to his son and his friends like me. We would play happily for hours with the lines of type of our name and our salvaged old inkpads. The lines of type (called slugs) were intriguing for a number of reasons, not least of which was that everything in the line appeared backward, but when inked the print turned out right. In a way, the type was useless, and even difficult to decipher, until inked and the antitype appeared on the paper of the playroom floor. The cold metallic solidity of the line of type was only useful when it produced the printed word, even if it appeared only on scraps of soon discarded play paper. Tin type gave rise to meaning; a thing greater and far more powerful than the artifact that came from the pressroom. The full meaning was only available in the printing of the anti-type.
St. Paul places Adam and Christ together as type and antitype. Adam is an inadequate and incomplete type. He is the man who has been turned backward by the fall into sin and his backward shape turned unto death is the shape of all persons who share the code of his fallen nature, "as in Adam all die." He is useless, even worse than useless, because his backwardness brings the world death. The meaning the type brings is only the indecipherable wrath of God. Christ is the complete antitype who gives a completely adequate salvation to the world by giving a far greater and more powerful meaning to humanity in His divine human person. What appears backward and oriented toward death in Adam is reoriented toward life and meaning in Christ. In the incarnation, the type is redeemed by the meaning of the antitype, who is the Word become flesh. So while "in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1Co 15:22).
We know, feel, experience, and suffer the backwardness of Adam in our own lives. There is no doubt about our own death. We know we are turned backward away from our Creator and are turned in upon ourselves. The type has sapped our meaning. Only by being expressed in the incarnation is the backwardness of humanity turned toward God in Christ our Lord. The full meaning of cleansed humanity is only available in the antitype. And even more certainly so when the incarnation takes the indecipherable and turns it meaningful. Certainly all die. It is all the more certain that all shall be made alive in Christ. We fell into death and under the wrath of God through the work of another, Adam. So we live unto the new life and liberated from the wrath of God through the work of another Adam, Christ.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
"Adam is an image of Christ, as St. Paul says in Romans 5 [:14], where he enlarges on both. However, the latter [Christ] is far better and different, indeed, it effects the direct opposite of what its antitype, Adam, effected. For Adam transmitted nothing but death to all men, so that both he and we must submit to it and cannot escape it. But if that was to be corrected, God had to have another Man appear, who would again transfer us from death to life.
"Here St. Paul places these two types over against each other. He wants to say: 'Through one man, Adam, so much was effected that all men must now die, both he and all of us who, after all, did not commit or perpetrate the offense but came into sin and death solely because we are descended from him.' Although this happens after the Fall, yet it is no longer the sin of another, but it becomes our own when we are born. That is a miserable deal and an awful judgment of God; and it would be still more terrible if we were all to remain in death eternally.
"But now God placed a second Man, called Christ, over against the first one, so that, just as we die without any fault of our own by reason of the first man, we shall live again by reason of Christ and without our merit. And as we in Adam have to pay solely for the fact that we are his members or his flesh and blood, so we enjoy our advantage here in Christ also solely by virtue of His being our Head. It is pure grace and gift, so that we have no works or merits to boast of here, as our monks and false saints teach.
"For how should we who are born in sin and belong to death, being of Adam's flesh and blood, manage to liberate ourselves by our [monastic] cowls or other works both from sin and death, emerging alive from dust and ashes, brighter and more beautiful than the sun and the rest of creation? That can, of course, not be achieved by human power and strength or by that of all creatures, not even by the angels in heaven, but exclusively by God Himself. There must be another Man who can achieve that and bring it about, a Man who is called Christ, God's Son and Lord over sin, death, devil, and over all things, as St. Paul will say of Him later (Rm 5:21). It is He who acquired this article and initiated it in Himself and presented it to us, so that we, too, might attain it through Him, solely because we are incorporated in Him through baptism and were called to this article and engrafted in it, so that we will rise and live by the same power and merit by which He rose and lives." 

Martin Luther, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15, 21
Romans 5:12-21

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned- for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (ESV)
O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will; therefore grant to Your people that they may love what You command and desire what You promise, that among the manifold changes of this age our hearts may ever be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Lucille Herter, that she might never lose heart but live by the courage Christ grants
For the family and friends of Webb Thompson, whom the Lord called from this vale of tears, that they would mourn as those who have hope in the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come

For all those who are absenting themselves from the gatherings of the bride of Christ, that they would wooed back to the community of the faithful by the gentle voice of the bridegroom 
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Resurrection (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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