In Column 1 Adam is good but naive.
Column 2 is the capsizing of the kayak; the cosmos is upside down and out of order. Now Adam is informed.
He doesn’t just know good.
The anguish of the 2nd column is the fact that God is there but eclipsed by the disorder wrought by rebellion. That is the epic tragic drama of the Hebrew scriptures. Crazy weird stuff recorded as people fumble with revealed hope and keep thrashing about upside down. Lot’s of sad and horrible stories. But, as Bob Dylan has said, inside of everything beautiful there’s been some kind of pain.
The beauty is the fierce love of the Creator. He loves what is right and good: his original creation, his regents made in his image, his own Triune glory which is the source of good and right for all else. From the day of the capsizing promises and signs have been given. A rescue is being launched. A counter revolution will restore what is to what ought.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in Son.
The letter to the Hebrews launches into a storm of passionate exhortation to straighten up and zero in on Jesus as the creator and completer of our trust. John riffs Genesis and shows the creation to capsize is about to be flipped, and a new creation emerging triumphant an emphatically clear about the direction and order of reality: right over wrong, good over evil, life over death, the Creator over his creation.
In lyric verse Paul as bard lauds the movement of the divine rescue:
“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God,did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a manin His external form,He humbled Himself by becoming obedientto the point of death—even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the namethat is above every name,so that at the name of Jesusevery knee will bow —of those who are in heaven and on earthand under the earth —and every tongue should confessthat Jesus Christ is Lord,to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:5-11
You came from heaven to earth, to show the wayFrom the earth to the cross, my debt to payFrom the cross to the grave, from the grave to the skyLord I lift your name on high.
So why take the likeness of men? Why not rescue us in fully divine glory and splendor? The writer to the Hebrews explains intricately, and for brevity’s sake, I’m tempted to proof text and stick to the part about him needing to be human, but the problem is that we sometimes think it was a rule in the game:
Hebrews 2:14-1814 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil — 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring.17 Therefore, He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.
So there is an aspect of “like for like”. Jesus as a genuine part of Adam’s race. But, there is something I had missed when I was taught the logical balance of substitution. The impression I got, possibly for my own reasons, was that the life of Jesus was a mission to not be tainted prior to the substitution. But the section right before this great passage has a foreign sounding idea to the god-man equation. It has sweat.
For in bringing many sons to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God—all things exist for Him and through Him—should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Hebrews 2:10
Perfect? Sufferings? This becomes the missing idea of the great big whopping story with disappointing heroes like Jacob and baffling tragedies like Job, and the siege of Jerusalem with infant stew and the betrayal of Uriah by the great king and worship leader. What is the function of all the discomforting failures recorded in grim honesty and systematics defying untidiness? What should I realize in order to truly bow the knee and confess that Jesus is Lord?
Telos is the “ought”. Suffering is the tension of what “ought” and what is not. The Story is over and over about the amazing grace of redeeming that which is not deserving, but it goes about revealing that grace while portraying a grace that makes what “ought” the hope of all of us who just are not.
Yes, that is cryptic, but it is where I think so much was missed in my own spiritual formation. I sensed the tension but was fettered, to grace (defined as transaction) a debtor. Fidelity to a part of the truth blocked me.
In the great argument for the grandeur of the gospel, Paul makes the point about both the substitution and the story:
For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19
The argument has been toward hope in affliction, and then digresses to explain the great salvation that is so uncommon, the righteous for the unrighteous. But the gripping point for me is:
Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17
The first Adam allowed the possibility that there was more LIFE through disobedience to the Creator and trusting in what was heard from creation. The second Adam did not allow that possibility. The second Adam resisted temptation, at times with profound anguish, to obey the calling to trust that the Creator is right even though the creation can effectively deceive us in our limited perspective.
So the 2nd Adam, resisted in the wilderness, confronted evil and suffering with goodness and truth, and did so up to the very end. In the first garden there was a temptation to more, in the second garden there was a temptation to less:
He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39
The difference is in obeying the will. Which ‘will’? The will is what constitutes personhood. It is the chooser. My will is using the chooser God has given me. But, it does not work right on its own. My chooser only works right with God’s guidance. I see in part, he sees it all. He tells me to do counter-intuitive things. He told Jesus, the 2nd Adam, the one who emptied himself, to do what did not seem like a good choice. God’s choice was for good to come from bad, for sweetness to come from drinking bitterness. Jesus’ manly sensibilities were not able to process the problem directly. He prevailed by subordinating his own will, his own choosing, to God and his personhood, his choosing, his will.
That is the Adamic calling: To actively trust that my Creator’s will trumps my will. Column 1 to column 2 is the capsizing of man’s calling. Column 3 begins with the Son of God diving into the depths and righting the vessel. Through obedience and suffering, ought was actualized. That original “ought” continues. To telos our calling of being God’s regents over creation is still here. Redemption, which follows in the diagram and the story, will essentially show us how to be the Adam 2.1
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