Thursday, September 21, 2006

Explaining Jesus to Muslims: Jesus as the Second Adam

The Qur'an records this comment in Sirat Al-Imran (3:59):
The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be": and he was.

The Bible records this about Jesus (I Corinthians 15:20-22, 42-45):
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man [Adam], the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man [Jesus]. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. ... The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam [Christ], a life-giving spirit.

The world around us is corrupt and dying. It needs to be re-created, and whatever is not re-created will be lost. As the first sign of the re-creation to come, Christ was created by an act of God when he blessed Mary, still a virgin, to be the mother of the Messiah. Jesus is the only human in history honored with this honor since the days of the first man created by God. Since the world was first made, there has not been something new made by the command of God, until the day when Christ was made within Mary. Christ's purity and sinlessness is a sign that he came directly from God's mind and spirit. It is a sign of the new creation to come, when all the world will be re-created and restored to purity, because the whole world will be born anew of God's mind, his word, his spirit. The second sign that Christ is of the new creation was when God raised him from the dead never to die again. Jesus is the first human in history honored with this honor. It also shows God's faithfulness to his creation: he has given us a sign and a promise of the new creation to come, when we shall all be raised in Christ, just as Christ was raised: imperishable and in glory. In this way Christ is the firstborn from the dead. Christ is God's promise to us of the new creation that will come, as God said through the prophet John, "Behold, I am making all things new." Jesus is the beginning of the new creation.

No comments: