If the Old Testament tells One Story, then it follows that all the
people, events, and themes we read about in the OT are but “types and shadows”
of the good things that would come (Romans 5:14; Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5;
10;1). Jesus himself says that these good things concern Him alone (Luke 24:27;
What we are going to do this
week is talk about these “shadows and types” as a set up for Genesis 3 and
Eden, the Temple Garden—God’s
Genesis 3:8 introduces us to
the notion of God walking through the garden. This time He does it in the
evening. The feet of the Creator of all things making contact with the soils of
this earth as they stamp under His feet the dry leaves that litter the garden
is a sign of God’s sovereignty.
If heaven is God’s throne, then
earth is his footstool (1 Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 99:5; 132:7; Isaiah 66:1;
Lamentations 2:1). He is Lord here and above. It is here that God’s glory and
presence is, where other than in the temple would the presence and glory of God
Adam is created by grace
After lavishing grace on the
monsters and all the plants, God bestows an even bigger grace on Adam. Out of
His own pleasure, He makes man after his own likeness (Gen. 1:26). Adam has
nothing to do with his own creation, he has no say, no referendum was held,
just God lavishing His love of man.
Here, transactionalism doesn’t enter into the case; Adam is just a recipient
of what God gives. Just like we receive God’s gifts, the hard work that is
required of Adam is to open his hands (or nostrils, which he can’t do by
himself!) and receive the breath of life that God gives. This is reminiscent of
the Lord’s Supper in the upper room and the words we hear on Sunday morning: “Take,
eat; this is my body” (Matt 26:26). That is
how Adam receives his life, that is how we receive our lives, by grace as a
free gift of God apart from what we do (Luke 12:32). He is “mercy” like we it’s
said in the prayer of humble access:
you are the same Lord,
nature is always to have mercy.
Adam, the High Priest
What would be of a temple without
a High priest? Adam as a created being was given a charge to rule over the
created things. That was his first act of worship as the one in charge of worship.
In fact Thomas Merton writes and says:
tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be
it is obeying [God]. It “consents”, so to speak, to [God’s] creative love. It is
expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence
of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.”
His point is that the created
things worship and glorify God by being and flourishing in their original God-intended
state. When an apple tree starts bearing mangoes, then it has disobeyed. Its charge
was to bear apples not mangoes. So was Adam, his act of worship was to be Adam—highest
and ruler among the created but lower than the Creator.
When Adam is given the world to
enjoy for the glory of God (Genesis 1:28-30), he takes the charge seriously by
naming the animals (2:20). This is his first act of worship in God’s temple
garden. Vocation should never replace worship; it should always be an act of
worship. In the things we do every day, we carry out our God-given functions
and that is how grace is dispensed in the work place—coram deo. The point is: in whatever you do, God has placed you there
for His glory alone. Things begin to get messy when we start seeking our own
glory in these little things that can give none of it to us.
Adam, God’s Prophet
Prophets, easily defined, are
people ordained by God to speak for Him. He heard from God directly (Gen
1:28-30), and went to carry out ministry as the Lord had spoken (Gen 2:19-20). It
is of utmost importance to point out that unlike the other prophets that come
after him, Adam had a natural ability to fully and perfectly keep God’s Law,
although it doesn’t last long.
Adam, the first Christ?
This is not the first time that
I am stirring up controversy and it won’t be the last. But on this point, the
now dead Anglican theologian Robert Capon in his book Genesis the Movie had raised the question: “IfChrist can be the lastAdam, why can'tAdam be thefirst sacramental appearance (the
first real presence) of Christ in the
Using Paul and the preacher
of Hebrews who both bring forth the notion of “types and shadows”, then Adam is
be the first type or shadow of Christ just like Christ is the Last and better
Adam. With this notion, all the OT characters are a type of Christ and therefore
Jesus is the better Version of them who does what they couldn’t do. This is how
Jesus encourages us to read the OT, to see in these characters a shadow of Him
and how he fully and finally does what they all couldn’t do.
Starting next week, we will
be developing this idea of Christ being “the last Adam”. But even now, in these
first two chapters of Genesis, we see a semblance between Adam and Christ (although
this picture becomes full blown from Genesis 3 and going ahead).
Jesus Christ is the last
and better Adam because the first Adam couldn’t get his act together. Christ is
a better High priest in the order of Melchizedek whose one perfect sacrifice
takes away the sins of the world for once (Hebrews 4:14).
Better still, unlike Adam
who was created above all created things, Jesus was given a name above all and
exalted to the highest of places and one day every knee shall bow before him
and declare His Lordship (Phil 2:9-11).
Whereas Adam spoke God’s
first word—that of naming the created things; Jesus Christ spoke God’s last
word—it is finished. Christ is the Yes and amen of God’s promises (2 Cor. 1:20).
As I close, let me state
that one of our greatest sins is to treat these “shadows and types” as if they
are the real thing. In the real world, shadows are a representation of the real
thing but cannot do what the real thing does. You can’t drive a shadow of your
car, can you? But the shadows are in themselves Good News because they are a promise
of a future gaze. When you look upon a shadow, then the real thing is nearby. I
will close with this quote from John Piper:
is easy, but all you get is leaves; digging is hard, but you might find