The first man is of the earth - That is: Adam's body was made out of the dust of the earth; and hence the apostle says he was χοΐκος, of the dust; for the body was made האדמה מן עפר aphar min haadamah, dust from the ground; Genesis 2:7.
The second man is - from heaven - Heavenly, ουρανιος, as several good MSS. and versions read. The resurrection body shall be of a heavenly nature, and not subject to decay or death. What is formed of earth must live after an earthly manner; must be nourished and supported by the earth: what is from heaven is of a spiritual nature; and shall have no farther connection with, nor dependence upon, earth. I conceive both these clauses to relate to man; and to point out the difference between the animal body and the spiritual body, or between the bodies which we now have and the bodies which we shall have in the resurrection. But can this be the meaning of the clause, the second man is the Lord from heaven? In the quotation I have omitted ὁ Κυριος, the Lord, on the following authorities: Manuscripts - BCD*EFG, and two others. Versions - Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian in the margin, Vulgate, and Itala. Fathers-Origen, who quotes it once and omits it once; Athanasius, Basil, the two Gregories, Nyssen and Nazianzen; Isidore, Cyril, Tertullian, Cyprian, Hilary, Zeno, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Ambrosiaster, Philaster, Leo, Pacianus, Primasius, Sedulius, Bede, and others. See these authorities more at large in Wetstein. Some of the most eminent of modern critics leave out the word, and Tertullian says that it was put in by the heretic Marcion. I do think that the word is not legitimate in this place. The verse is read by the MSS., versions, and fathers referred to, thus: The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is of heaven, heavenly; Κυριος being omitted and ουρανιος added. The first man and the second man of this verse are the same as the first Adam and the second Adam of 1 Corinthians 15:45, and it is not clear that Christ is meant in either place. Some suppose that there is a reference here to what Eve said when she brought forth Cain: I have gotten a man from the Lord, יהוה את איש קניתי kanithi ish eth Yehovah, I have possessed or obtained a man, the Lord; that is, as Dr. Lightfoot explains it, that the Lord himself should become man: and he thinks that Eve had respect to the promise of Christ when she named her son; as Adam had when he named his wife. If Eve had this in view, we can only say she was sadly mistaken: indeed the conjecture is too refined.
The terms first man of the earth, and second man from heaven, are frequent among the Jews: לעילא אדם the superior Adam; and תתאה אדם Adam the inferior; that is, the earthly and the heavenly Adam: Adam before the resurrection, and Adam after it.
The first man - Adam.
Is of the earth - Was made of the dust; see Genesis 2:7.
Earthy - Partaking of the earth; he was a mass of animated clay, and could be appropriately called “dust;” Genesis 3:19. Of course, he must partake of a nature that was low, mean, mortal, and corruptible.
The second man - Christ; see the note on 1 Corinthians 15:45. He is called the second man, as being the second who sustained a relation to people that was materially to affect their conduct and destiny; the second and the last 1 Corinthians 15:45, who should sustain a special headship to the race.
The Lord from heaven - Called in 1 Corinthians 2:8, the “Lord of glory;” see note on that place. This expression refers to the fact that the Lord Jesus had a heavenly origin, in contradistinction from Adam, who was formed from the earth. The Latin Vulgate renders this, “the second man from heaven is heavenly;” and this idea seems to accord with the meaning in the former member of the verse. The sense is, evidently, that as the first man had an earthly origin, and was, therefore, earthy, so the second man being from heaven, as his proper home, would have a body adapted to that abode; unlike that which was earthy, and which would be suited to his exalted nature, and to the world where he would dwell. And while, therefore, the phrase “from heaven” refers to his heavenly origin, the essential idea is, that he would have a body that was adapted to such an origin and such a world - a body unlike that which was earthy. That is, Christ had a glorified body to which the bodies of the saints must yet be made like.
God will not accept one of us who is belittling his powers in lustful, earthly debasement, by thought, or word, or action. Heaven is a pure and holy place, where none can enter unless they are refined, spiritualized, cleansed, and purified. There is a work for us to do for ourselves, and we shall be capable of doing it only by drawing strength from Jesus. We should make the Bible our study above every other book; we should love it, and obey it as the voice of God. We are to see and to understand His restrictions and requirements, “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not,” and realize the true meaning of the word of God. FE 133.1
When God's word is made the man of our counsel, and we search the Scriptures for light, angels of heaven come near to impress the mind, and enlighten the understanding, so that it can truly be said, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” It is no marvel that there is not more heavenly-mindedness shown among the youth who profess Christianity, when there is so little attention given to the word of God. The divine counsels are not heeded; the admonitions are not obeyed; grace and heavenly wisdom are not sought, that past sins may be avoided, and every taint of corruption be cleansed from the character. David's prayer was, “Make me to understand the way to Thy precepts: so shall I talk of Thy wondrous works.” FE 133.2
If the minds of our youth, as well as those of more mature age, were directed aright when associated together, their conversation would be upon exalted themes. When the mind is pure, and the thoughts elevated by the truth of God, the words will be of the same character, “like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” But with the present understanding, with the present practices, with the low standard which even Christians are content to reach, the conversation is cheap and profitless. It is “of the earth, earthy,” and savors not of the truth, or of heaven, and does not come up, even to the standard of the more cultured class of worldlings. When Christ and heaven are the themes of contemplation, the conversation will give evidence of the fact. The speech will be seasoned with grace, and the speaker will show that he has been obtaining an education in the school of the divine Teacher. Says the psalmist, “I have chosen the way of truth: Thy judgments have I laid before me.” He treasured the word of God. It found an entrance to his understanding, not to be disregarded, but to be practiced in his life. FE 133.3Read in context »