In my last post I asked a hypothetical question about Christ’s incarnation. I want to first thank everyone who bravely responded here and those who pondered privately.
Today, I will share my thoughts on this interesting question in this continuation of my Christmas “God With Us” series.
So, I have a set up a hypothetical world where Adam and Eve, and all their offspring, somehow managed to pull off a sinless life. Would Jesus still need to come? And if Jesus hadn’t come to this imaginary sinless world, where would we be?
The problem we have with answering this question is that we’ve emphasized sin so much–that God sent Jesus for our justification–we’ve forgotten that the main purpose for His incarnation was for our adoption.
The first thing you need to see is that God chose us to be in Christ to Himself–before Adam, before sin, before time and space existed. Although He foreknew that we would sin, and He provided for our justification, it was not His main goal. His main purpose was sonship.
“just as He chose us in Him
before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
having predestined us to adoption
as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph.1:4-5 NKJV)
Some points to consider
Consider that Jesus’ prayer was that we would be IN Him, in the Father, as HE is in the Father. This obviously had never happened before.
“that they all may be one, as You, Father,
are in Me, and I in You;
that they also may be one in Us,
that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:21 NKJV)
Here are several additional points to consider (I’ve added bold-type to the various passages for emphasis):
- There’s a vast gulf–insurmountable by humans–between being with God and being IN God. Adam walked with God, but nowhere does it say that he was “in God” or that the Holy Spirit dwelt in him.
- John said that no one has seen God except Jesus. This includes Adam.
“No one has seen God at any time.
The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father,
He has declared Him.” (John 1:18 NKJV)
- Jesus said that only He knew the Father, and only the Father knows the Son. There is no case in the Old Testament where people referred to God as their Father. Jesus exclusively referred to Him as Father (over 100 times in John; 179 in all the gospel accounts).
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father,
and no one knows the Son except the Father.
Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son,
and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matt.11:27 NKJV)
- Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit was WITH them up to that point, but He WILL be IN them. This was because the Holy Spirit had not been given to dwell in man yet (caps added).
“the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him;
but you know Him, for He dwells WITH you
and will be IN you.” (John 14:17 NKJV)
- Jesus was the firstborn among many sons. That implies that there were none before His incarnation, including Adam. Even if we somehow managed to be sinless, we would still just be sinless orphans. But at Pentecost, the Father and the Son came and made their home in us for the first time in human history (John 14:18, 23), when we received the Spirit of adoption as sons and co-heirs in Christ (See Gal.4:6-7).
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined
to be conformed to the image of His Son,
that He might be the firstborn
among many brethren.” (Rom.8:29 NKJV)
- The promise was not to Abraham’s seeds, but to the Seed–Christ–and we are the seed and heirs to this promise but only if we are IN Christ.
“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made.
He does not say, “And to seeds,”
as of many, but as of one,
“And to your Seed,” who is Christ…
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed,
and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal.3:16, 29 NKJV)
And the answer is…
So, if Adam and Eve, and all their offspring, would’ve managed to pull off a sinless life, they and we would still have been with God (like Adam) but we would never be IN God.
They, and we, would’ve been like the angels in heaven, with Him but still separated from this Divine Fellowship, still living outside of the same communion that Jesus has enjoyed with the Father from eternity.
We would not be able to dwell in the Godhead (Father, Son, and Spirit) because humans can not be in God unless there is a Divine Human in God.
We would be His creation, but we would not be co-heirs with Christ.
We would not be the fullness that fills Christ, seated in heavenly places In God (Eph.1:22-23; 2:6).
Our life would still be separate from Christ, instead of His life being our very life (Rom.6:3-6; Gal.2:20; Col.3:3).
We would live forever but we would not have eternal life (John 17:3; Matt.11:27).
We would not be able to say that, as He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).
So, yes, Jesus had to come in human flesh, apart from sin, to include us in God. We are in this Divine communion between the Father and the Son in the Spirit because there is a Man in that Fellowship, and we are placed inside that Man!
Beloved, the reason I bring this question up is to show you the crazy, over the top, truth about yourself! There is no species like you on the planet! Paul tried to get the earthbound Corinthians to see this by telling them, and us, that we will even judge angels! (1 Cor.6:3). Hello???
God is not trying to get us back to the Garden of Eden, living with Him but not in Him. It’s much bigger than that. You are God-inhabited flesh, heaven touching earth. You’re the realization of the promise of the Father to have many sons in Christ!
God already decided, before Adam sinned, before you and I sinned, that He would expand the Fellowship He has enjoyed within Himself, inside of God–to include you! And you’ve been invited because Jesus came in human flesh, lived, died, was raised again and put YOU inside of Him, forever in God.
And none of this could happen without the incarnation of Christ.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would help us “know” this new heavenly reality on “that day” (Pentecost) when He would come to live inside of human beings.
“At that day you will know that I am in My Father,
and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:20 NKJV)
What happened “that day” is that we were brought into an unprecedented communion in Christ in God that John also told us about here…
“”that which we have seen and heard we declare to you,
that you also may have fellowship with us;
and truly our fellowship is with the Father
and with His Son Jesus Christ.
And these things we write to you
that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:3-5 NKJV)
May this stunning reality make us all very merry and full of joy this Christmas!
Very good, my friend! A huge distinction between ‘with’ and ‘in’. Keep raising the truth-bar revealing Jesus until we appear in His same glory. Col 3:4
Amen. It’s way too good to accept anything less than our full inheritance! Even though it may take a lifetime to fully see, it’s SO worth it. 🙂
What an interesting question you posed yesterday. You’ve got my gray cells working on this, Mel. And I go back to the very beginning. “In the beginning, the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. He came into the very world he created.”
I don’t think Jesus appeared for the first time at his birth in the first century. I think it was he who walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. And I see the distinction you’re making between walking with and in. Having fellowship is one thing; being one in the fullness of Christ is something altogether holy and complete. Continuing to ponder this awesome treasure.
Yes, that’s called a theophany, when God appeared before the incarnation of Christ, But again, He only appeared TO them, not IN them. There’s a world of difference, and a world of difference between us and any other human being who ever walked the earth before Christ! This is why the main reason God created us was for adoption, to be in His Son, to live in the Divine Dance of the Trinity. Adam, Moses, David…are in Him now since Christ brought us with Him, but they weren’t when they were on the earth. We are…now!
This is why we have to get rid of our paltry religious vision of who we are in Christ and let the Holy Spirit give us an upgrade! 🙂
I love what the Amplified version of Col.2:10 says…”And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]…”
We are filled with the Godhead! The angels weren’t put there, they weren’t adopted, but we were! This is the mind-blowing reality of who we are and where we are in Christ, what the New Testament meant when it says over and over that our life IS Christ’s life. How cool is that! Because we are in Him, and He is in this Divine Togetherness of God, we are there too! We’re seated in the Godhead, because Christ is seated in the Godhead.
Mind-blowing is probably the best term for it, Mel. At least for now. 😀
Yeah, and the “mind-blowing” gets worse (or better) the more you actually understand it! This is why people thought Paul was out of his mind and why it’s all he talked about. He saw this (John 14:20; 2 Cor.12:2-4) and was ruined for anything else!
Well this is exciting stuff to say the least and I know we’re talking hypothetically…so I have a few thoughts.
In Genesis it says God created all the earth and everything in it. He created the first Adam and breathed into him and he became “a living soul” according to 1 Cor 15:45. And then after God had finished creating…He rested, meaning that all the work was finished.. As I understand it Adams spirit was alive to God in the garden before the fall. When Adam sinned Adam’s spirit-man died and he was in a sense orphaned or separated from God, and so the second Adam (Jesus) became “a life giving spirit.” In other words restoring the spirit connection back to God.
My question is, if the first Adam’s spirit was alive to God in the beginning why would there be a need for adoption. I understand the physical connection in Christ (being man) and I can understand the need after spiritual death to be restored….but if the spirit is alive to God why does there have to be a physical (man) connection.?
If I understand you correctly, Jesus was showing us that it is possible to be adopted by the Father and to have the same relationship that is shared among the Godhead that Jesus enjoys….and the proof is that Jesus did it as a man…and that through Him we can have that same relationship.
I suppose I’m caught in the first Adam quandary. Was Adam’s creation incomplete in the beginning and if there was still something more that needed to happen, why did God rest?
Are you saying that even if Adam (and his descendants) had never sinned we would still have to make a choice to accept Christ…even in a sinless state?
I say that because, if the Holy Spirit is “in” us…as He was in the disciples at the day of Pentecost, would it not be the same as the Holy Spirit in Jesus revealing spiritual things to (our) spirit? How would this be different than a sinless first Adam whose spirit is alive to God…would he not receive from God through the Holy Spirit…wasn’t this their fellowship in the cool of the evening?
Help…maybe we’re talking about the same thing…just saying things differently.
Thanks Mel….I can be thick of skull sometimes. 🙂 I hope you’re ok with my questions. ~ Dave
Thanks Dave. No problem, great questions! I will try to work through them briefly here…
“…if the first Adam’s spirit was alive to God in the beginning why would there be a need for adoption.”
First, we’ve made assumptions (including me) about the pre-fall Adam, like him being alive in the Spirit (like us), which is speculation at best. There’s nothing that says that the Holy Spirit was resident in Adam. As Eugene Peterson says in his Message Bible about Adam and Jesus, “The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly.” (1 Cor.15:45 MSG). That’s the difference I’m talking about.
Secondly, when it says that God rested it means rested from His creation. It doesn’t mean He was done with His eternal purposes to adopt us as heavenly sons in Him.
Third, when it explicitly states that no one, at any time, has been in this relationship with God before Jesus (Jn.1:18; Mt.11:27), it certainly had to include Adam.
You are correct in your understanding about what I’m saying, that we’ve been included in the same relationship that Jesus enjoyed from eternity. 🙂
“Are you saying that even if Adam (and his descendants) had never sinned we would still have to make a choice to accept Christ…even in a sinless state?”
No, I’m saying that the only way we could be included in the Godhead is if there is a Man in the Godhead. For that to happen, Jesus had to become a Man. This was impossible before the incarnation of Christ. But now we are in that Man!
Again, as I said before, this is all hypothetical. My only point was to illustrate that God’s main purpose for us was our adoption (Eph.1:3-5), and scripture tells us that Jesus was the firstborn of this God-inhabited species of heavenly sons, not Adam.
Another way to say it–no matter how good Adam was, he wasn’t God the Son, so he could never be included in this eternal communion between the Father and the Son by being sinless (Jesus’ definition of “eternal life” – John 17:3). Only when God the Son became a Man and put Adam inside of Him could he experience this Divine Fellowship. No one knew the Father except Jesus (Mt.11:27), but we DO know the Father now because we are IN Christ and He is in the Father. This was not true of any human being before Christ because they were of earth, Christ is of heaven (1 Cor.15:45). I hope these points help answer your question about Jesus becoming human because this is THE absolute most wonderful thing about the incarnation!
Whoa. Selah. Yeah, I think that’s probably about all I have to say right now–except that, once again, this is great, thought-provoking (and heart-pondering) stuff! 🙂
Yeah, you said it. If seeing Christ in the Father, and us in Him, and Him in us (John 14:20) doesn’t just freak out every brain cell in our head, we still don’t get it! :). As I said in another post, this is what drove Paul crazy with wonder when he saw it, why they couldn’t beat it out of him, why the stones didn’t matter to Stephen. Who can stop this! This IS eternal life!
We’ve so underestimated the incarnation of Christ (Christmas!) and what it means us. I think this is the most amazing gift of all!