In what way was Adam a figure of Christ?
In the course of a conversation with same earnest students of Scripture, the passage Rom. 5: 14 came up for discussion, and it was asked in what way Adam was the figure of Him that was to come? Upon our replying that Rom. 5: made it clear that Adam was a figure of Christ, because both were Heads, both involved those "in" them in their acts, whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness, this was denied and a suggestion made, which, as it finds no basis in what is written and revealed in Scripture, need not occupy our attention. We merely mention it as a prelude to the study of the question. In what way was Adam a figure of Christ? And particularly, Could Adam be a figure of Christ by contrast? The attitude indicated above says No, Adam cannot be a figure by contrast, but only by likeness. The verse which contains the statement we are considering introduces it as follows:
It is most evident that Adam's typical character cannot be divorced from his transgression: the link is intentional and a part of the similitude. Moreover, the next verses elaborate the contrasts that are to be observed in the type and the Antitype, "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift," and proceeds to show the glorious richness of the Antitype by the "much more" of grace that counterbalances the effect of Adam's transgression. The whole of Rom. 5: 12-21 is punctuated by the words "by one man."
"By one man" in Rom. 5: 12-21.
The closing verse (21) shows that a figure of similitude can be one of contrast as well as of comparison, for it says:
In 1 Cor. 15: Christ is called the Last Adam and the Second Man, and, once more, there is not one similarity, but, instead, a series of contrasts.