“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:45–49, KJV)
One of the engineering jobs I did was to assess equipment that was not functioning properly and implement the corrective measures necessary to correct the problem. I had one project where I discovered the manufacturer of a printing press did not install a proper paper tensioning system. I designed a retrofit, manufactured, and installed it on the machine. What I built was a prototype tension control with mechanical and electrical components. The prototype system worked, but after observation, I discovered some areas for improvement.
I then designed a second prototype and upgraded the first. This second version worked better and resolved the issues with the first. Yet, I still saw some room for improvement. I ended up building several versions of these, improving the design until I had the final version. This is the process used in developing most every machine or complex product. This includes automobiles, computer software, appliances, etc. It is why I usually shy away from purchasing the first model of anything, unless it is from a reputable company that will back their product. What all of us want is the final proven design.
Paul compared Adam to Jesus earlier in the letter to the church at Corinth (1 Cor 1522). In this passage Paul continued this thought where he wrote of the first Adam and the last Adam, who is Jesus. Paul, speaking of Jesus wrote to the Romans that Adam was the “figure of him that was to come” (Romans 5:14, KJV). However, there were significant differences between the first Adam and the second Adam. Here, he highlighted several of these differences to further explain the resurrection believers.
He stated the first Adam was made a normal living being. He was the prototype of how we are today in our mortal bodies. Jesus on the other hand “was made a quickening spirit,” one who would give eternal life to us who believe. Paul went on to say that the natural man came first and then the spiritual.
He further stated that the first Adam was from the earth. Remember that God formed Adam from the dust of the earth (Gen 2:7). Yet the second Adam, Jesus, is from heaven, quite different than those descended from Adam (John 3:31).
Paul then gives us this picture of the earthly man and the heavenly man. “As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” The first Adam was connected to the earth and so were all of us. However, Jesus was not connected to earth, He was connected to heaven. Moreover, all who have trusted Jesus are now also connected to heaven in Him.
Last, we have this blessed guarantee. “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Every believer is “in Christ” and will experience the future resurrection. While now we have the body that is in the image of Adam, a day will come when we will bear the image of the heavenly.