Dead in Adam but Alive in Christ: 1 Corinthians 15:20–23

dead Adam alive Christ (2)

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7) 1 Cor 15:20–23: In this passage, Paul presented an extremely concise story of redemption: by rising from the dead, Jesus vanquished death, the archetypal effect of sin (Gen 3:19; Rom 5:12–21).[1]

To ensure no one missed his point, the apostle utilized perfect double parallelism, demonstrating that Christ’s resurrection makes the raising of those who die in Christ inevitable.[2]

Paul employed the metaphor of first fruits to depict the similarity and difference between Adam and Jesus (Lev 23:9–14; Rom 8:29; Col 1:18). As the two people who represent humanity, we find our identity and our destiny in one or the other.[3]

The first Adam caused death to enter the human world.[4]

He represents all his descendants (Rom 5:12–14). Sin has disseminated throughout the earth,[5] resulting in death for all, for everyone shares Adam’s sinfulness (Rom 3:9–18, 23).[6]

Only those of us in Christ find our identity and destiny in Jesus. We await the ultimate restoration of our resurrected bodies (John 5:28–29, 1 Thess 4:13–18). Christ’s redeeming work shall continue until he has completely destroyed the reign of sin and death (1 Cor 3:10–15).[7]

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Read 1 Cor 15:20–23.  What does it mean to be “in Adam” versus “in Christ?”  How have you experienced those conditions?



Go to Perishable Flesh and Blood (1 Cor 15:50)

[related posts include A Second Resurrection (John 5:28–29); A Return to the Ground (Gen 3:19); Christ’s Resurrected Body (Luke 24:31, 35–44); Effects of the Fall Reversed (Rom 5:12–21 and Rom 16:1–12); Co-Heirs with Christ (Rom 8:16–18); Creation’s Eager Expectation (Rom 8:19); Subjected to Futility (Rom 8:20); Set Free from the Slavery of Corruption (Rom 8:21–22); Perishable Flesh and Blood (1 Cor 15:50); We Shall Be Changed (1 Cor 15:51–52); Victory over Death (1 Cor 15:53–55); The Firstborn of All Creation (Col 1:15–18); and The Armies in Heaven (Rev 19:14)]

[Click here to go to Chapter 10: The Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22–24)]


[1] Ciampa and Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, 763.

[2] Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, Rev. Ed., 830.

[3] Ciampa and Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, 762–3.

[4] Witherington, Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians, 304.

[5] Blomberg, 1 Corinthians, 298.

[6] Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, Rev. Ed., 832.

[7] Ciampa and Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, 763–4.