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1 Corinthians 15:45

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The first man Adam was made a living soul - These forms of expression are also common among the Jews: hence we find הראשון אדם Adam harishon, "Adam the first;" and קדמאי אדם Adam kadmai, " Adam the last." They assert that there are two Adams: 1. The mystical heavenly Adam; and 2. The mystical earthly Adam. See Sohar Exod., fol. 29; and the several examples in Schoettgen. The apostle says this is written: The first man Adam was made a living soul: this is found Genesis 2:7, in the words חיים נשמת nishmath chaiyim, the breath of lives; which the apostle translates ψυχην ζωσαν, a living soul.

The last Adam - a quickening spirit - This is also said to be written; but where, says Dr. Lightfoot, is this written in the whole sacred book? Schoettgen replies, In the very same verse, and in these words: חיה לנפש האדם ויהי vayehi ha - Adam lėnephesh chaiyah, and Adam became a living soul; which the apostle translates πνευμα ζωοποιουν, a quickening, or life-giving spirit. Among the cabalistic Jews נפש nephesh is considered as implying greater dignity than נשמה nishma . The former may be considered as pointing out the rational, the latter the sensitive soul. All these references to Jewish opinions and forms of speech the apostle uses to convince them that the thing was possible; and that the resurrection of the body was generally credited by all their wise and learned men. The Jews, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, speak frequently of the Spirit of the Messiah; and they allow that it was this Spirit that moved on the face of the waters, Genesis 1:2. And they assert that the Messiah shall quicken those who dwell in the dust.

"It ought not to be passed by," says the same author, "that Adam, receiving from God the promise of Christ - The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent, and believing it, named his wife חוה Chauvah, that is, life; so the Septuagint, και εκαλεσεν Αδαμ το ονονα της γυναικος αυτου Ζωη· And Adam called the name of his wife, Life. What! Is she called Life that brought death into the world? But Adam perceived τον εσχατον Αδαμ, the last Adam exhibited to him in the promise, to be πνευμα ζωο, ποιουν, a quickening or life-giving spirit; and had brought in a better life of the soul; and should at last bring in a better life of the body. Hence is that saying, John 1:4; : Εν αυτῳ ζωη ην, In Him was Life." Some contend that the first Adam and the last Adam mean the same person in two different states: the first man with the body of his creation; the same person with the body of his resurrection. See on 1 Corinthians 15:49; (note).

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And so it is written, - Genesis 2:7. It is only the first part of the verse which is quoted.

The first man Adam was made a living soul - This is quoted exactly from the translation by the Septuagint, except that the apostle has added the words “first” and “Adam.” This is done to designate whom he meant. The meaning of the phrase “was made a living soul” ( ἐγένετο εις ψυκὴν ζωσαν egeneto eis psuchēn zōsan- in Hebrew, נפשׁ חיה nephesh chayaahis, became a living, animated being; a being endowed with life. The use of the word “soul” in our translation, for ψυχὴ psuchēand נפשׁ nepheshdoes not quite convey the idea. We apply the word “soul,” usually, to the intelligent and the immortal part of man; that which reasons, thinks, remembers, is conscious, is responsible, etc. The Greek and Hebrew words, however, more properly denote that which is alive, which is animated, which breathes, which has an animal nature, see the note on 1 Corinthians 15:44. And this is precisely the idea which Paul uses here, that the first man was made an animated being by having breathed into him the breath of life Genesis 2:7, and that it is the image of this animated or vital being which we bear, 1 Corinthians 15:48. Neither Moses nor Paul deny that in addition to this, man was endowed with a rational soul, an immortal nature; but that is not the idea which they present in the passage in Genesis which Paul quotes.

The last Adam - The second Adam, or the “second man,” 1 Corinthians 15:47. That Christ is here intended is apparent, and has been usually admitted by commentators. Christ here seems to be called Adam because he stands in contradistinction from the first Adam; or because, as we derive our animal and dying nature from the one, so we derive our immortal and undying bodies from the other. From the one we derive an animal or vital existence; from the other we derive our immortal existence, and resurrection from the grave. The one stands at the head of all those who have an existence represented by the words, “a living soul;” the other of all those who shall have a spiritual body in heaven. He is called “the last Adam;” meaning that there shall be no other after him who shall affect the destiny of man in the same way, or who shall stand at the head of the race in a manner similar to what had been done by him and the first father of the human family. They sustain special relations to the race; and in this respect they were “the first” and “the last” in the special economy. The name “Adam” is not elsewhere given to the Messiah, though a comparison is several times instituted between him and Adam. (See the Supplementary Note on 1 Corinthians 15:22; also Romans 5:12, note.)

A quickening spirit - ( εἰς πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν eis pneuma zōopoiounA vivifying spirit; a spirit giving or imparting life. Not a being having mere vital functions, or an animated nature, but a being who has the power of imparting life. This is not a quotation from any part of the Scriptures, but seems to be used by Paul either as affirming what was true on his own apostolic authority, or as conveying the substance of what was revealed respecting the Messiah in the Old Testament. There may be also reference to what the Saviour himself taught, that he was the source of life; that he had the power of imparting life, and that he gave life to all whom he pleased: see the note at John 1:4; note at John 5:26, “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” 1 Corinthians 15:21, “for as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”

The word “spirit,” here applied to Christ, is in contradistinction from “a living being,” as applied to Adam, and seems to be used in the sense of spirit of life, as raising the bodies of his people from the dead, and imparting life to them. He was constituted not as having life merely, but as endowed with the power of imparting life; as endowed with that spiritual or vital energy which was needful to impart life. All life is the creation or production of “spirit” ( Πνεῦμα Pneuma); as applied to God the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit. Spirit is the source of all vitality. God is a spirit, and God is the source of all life. And the idea here is, that Christ had such a spiritual existence such power as a spirit; that he was the source of all life to his people. The word “spirit” is applied to his exalted spiritual nature, in distinction from his human nature, in Romans 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18. The apostle does not here affirm that he had not a human nature, or a vital existence as a man; but that his main characteristic in contradistinction from Adam was, that he was endowed with an elevated spiritual nature, which was capable of imparting vital existence to the dead.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
1. How are the dead raised up? that is, by what means? How can they be raised? 2. As to the bodies which shall rise. Will it be with the like shape, and form, and stature, and members, and qualities? The former objection is that of those who opposed the doctrine, the latter of curious doubters. To the first the answer is, This was to be brought about by Divine power; that power which all may see does somewhat like it, year after year, in the death and revival of the corn. It is foolish to question the Almighty power of God to raise the dead, when we see it every day quickening and reviving things that are dead. To the second inquiry; The grain undergoes a great change; and so will the dead, when they rise and live again. The seed dies, though a part of it springs into new life, though how it is we cannot fully understand. The works of creation and providence daily teach us to be humble, as well as to admire the Creator's wisdom and goodness. There is a great variety among other bodies, as there is among plants. There is a variety of glory among heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly state; and there will be a variety of glories among them. Burying the dead, is like committing seed to the earth, that it may spring out of it again. Nothing is more loathsome than a dead body. But believers shall at the resurrection have bodies, made fit to be for ever united with spirits made perfect. To God all things are possible. He is the Author and Source of spiritual life and holiness, unto all his people, by the supply of his Holy Spirit to the soul; and he will also quicken and change the body by his Spirit. The dead in Christ shall not only rise, but shall rise thus gloriously changed. The bodies of the saints, when they rise again, will be changed. They will be then glorious and spiritual bodies, fitted to the heavenly world and state, where they are ever afterwards to dwell. The human body in its present form, and with its wants and weaknesses, cannot enter or enjoy the kingdom of God. Then let us not sow to the flesh, of which we can only reap corruption. And the body follows the state of the soul. He, therefore, who neglects the life of the soul, casts away his present good; he who refuses to live to God, squanders all he has.
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1128

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” He died to make an atonement, and to become a pattern for every one who would be His disciple. Shall selfishness come into your hearts? And will those who set not before them the pattern, Jesus, extol your merits? You have none except as they come through Jesus Christ. Shall pride be harbored after you have seen Deity humbling Himself, and then as man debasing Himself, till there was no lower point to which He could descend? “Be astonished, O ye heavens,” and be amazed, ye inhabitants of the earth, that such returns should be made to our Lord! What contempt! what wickedness! what formality! what pride! what efforts made to lift up man and glorify self, when the Lord of glory humbled Himself, agonized, and died the shameful death upon the cross in our behalf (The Review and Herald, September 4, 1900)! 5BC 1128.1

Christ could not have come to this earth with the glory that He had in the heavenly courts. Sinful human beings could not have borne the sight. He veiled His divinity with the garb of humanity, but He did not part with His divinity. A divine-human Saviour, He came to stand at the head of the fallen race, to share in their experience from childhood to manhood (The Review and Herald, June 15, 1905). 5BC 1128.2

Christ had not exchanged His divinity for humanity; but He had clothed His divinity in humanity (The Review and Herald, October 29, 1895). 5BC 1128.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1074

Simplicity and Power of Faith—Faith is simple in its operation and powerful in its results. Many professed Christians, who have a knowledge of the sacred Word, and believe its truth, fail in the childlike trust that is essential to the religion of Jesus. They do not reach out with that peculiar touch that brings the virtue of healing to the soul (Redemption: Or the Miracles of Christ, the Mighty One, 97). 6BC 1074.1

11 (ch. 3:24-26). A Divine Remedy for Sin—The atonement of Christ is not a mere skillful way to have our sins pardoned; it is a divine remedy for the cure of transgression and the restoration of spiritual health. It is the Heaven-ordained means by which the righteousness of Christ may be not only upon us but in our hearts and characters (Letter 406, 1906). 6BC 1074.2

12-19 (Matthew 4:1-11; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15). Strength in Cooperating With God—[Romans 5:12, 18, 19 quoted.] The apostle contrasts the disobedience of Adam and the full, entire obedience of Christ. Think of what Christ's obedience means to us! It means that in His strength we too may obey. Christ was a human being. He served His heavenly Father with all the strength of His human nature. He has a twofold nature, at once human and divine. He is both God and man. 6BC 1074.3

Christ came to this world to show us what God can do and what we can do in cooperation with God. In human flesh He went into the wilderness to be tempted by the enemy. He knows what it is to hunger and thirst. He knows the weakness and the infirmities of the flesh. He was tempted in all points like as we are tempted. 6BC 1074.4

Our ransom has been paid by our Saviour. No one need be enslaved by Satan. Christ stands before us as our divine example, our all-powerful Helper. We have been bought with a price that it is impossible to compute. Who can measure the goodness and mercy of redeeming love (Manuscript 76, 1903)? 6BC 1074.5

Christ a Free Moral Agent—The second Adam was a free moral agent, held responsible for His conduct. Surrounded by intensely subtle and misleading influences, He was much less favorably situated than was the first Adam to lead a sinless life. Yet in the midst of sinners He resisted every temptation to sin, and maintained His innocency. He was ever sinless (The Southern Watchman, September 29, 1903, reprinted from Atlantic Union Gleaner, August 26, 1903). 6BC 1074.6

Man on Vantage Ground With God—As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death. But Christ steps in and passes over the ground where Adam fell, enduring every test in man's behalf. He redeems Adam's disgraceful failure and fall by coming forth from the trial untarnished. This places man on vantage ground with God. It places him where, through accepting Christ as his Saviour, he becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Thus he becomes connected with God and Christ (Letter 68, 1899). 6BC 1074.7

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 270

The paralytic found in Christ healing for both the soul and the body. The spiritual healing was followed by physical restoration. This lesson should not be overlooked. There are today thousands suffering from physical disease, who, like the paralytic, are longing for the message, “Thy sins are forgiven.” The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies. They can find no relief until they come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can give, would impart vigor to the mind, and health to the body. DA 270.1

Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil.” “In Him was life,” and He says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” He is “a quickening spirit.” 1 John 3:8; John 1:4; 10:10; 1 Corinthians 15:45. And He still has the same life-giving power as when on earth He healed the sick, and spoke forgiveness to the sinner. He “forgiveth all thine iniquities,” He “healeth all thy diseases.” Psalm 103:3. DA 270.2

The effect produced upon the people by the healing of the paralytic was as if heaven had opened, and revealed the glories of the better world. As the man who had been cured passed through the multitude, blessing God at every step, and bearing his burden as if it were a feather's weight, the people fell back to give him room, and with awe-stricken faces gazed upon him, whispering softly among themselves, “We have seen strange things today.” DA 270.3

The Pharisees were dumb with amazement and overwhelmed with defeat. They saw that here was no opportunity for their jealousy to inflame the multitude. The wonderful work wrought upon the man whom they had given over to the wrath of God had so impressed the people that the rabbis were for the time forgotten. They saw that Christ possessed a power which they had ascribed to God alone; yet the gentle dignity of His manner was in marked contrast to their own haughty bearing. They were disconcerted and abashed, recognizing, but not confessing, the presence of a superior being. The stronger the evidence that Jesus had power on earth to forgive sins, the more firmly they entrenched themselves in unbelief. From the home of Peter, where they had seen the paralytic restored by His word, they went away to invent new schemes for silencing the Son of God. DA 270.4

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