Was Adam Saved?
The explanation of the entrance of sin into the world ought to be all too familiar for the Christian. It is an account which we should have heard in sermons hundreds of times. Hopefully it is a subject touched upon within the catechesis of your children (if you have any). That first federal representative, Adam—the man through which failure dawned and decay began. (Rom. 5:17) In representing the entire world, Adam would fail at keeping God’s initial conditions for humanity thereby plunging the kosmos (Gk. world) into chaos.
How could this destroyer of worlds be saved? Is that even a thought to be had? Was he saved? My prayer is to help all those pondering this question find an answer. This answer, Biblically, is nothing short of comforting, astonishing, and breath-taking.
The First Transgression
“…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” -Genesis 2:17
It is no secret within Christianity that Adam, being responsible for Eve’s actions as her head, (Eph. 5:22) retains responsibility for the first human sin ever committed, barring that detestable, angelic sin, which Satan committed beforehand. As Adam represented all of mankind, this sin was not merely limited to himself and his wife, but became the transgression of the world by way of representation.
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—“ -Romans 5:12
The issue of this particular post is Adam’s salvation. Take a moment to ponder the turmoil which entered the world because of the actions of this one person. If you do not feel at least a trace of anger, I do not think you’re human. Sick family members, starvation, murderous intent, sexual perversion, infant death (and murder), death in general, dictatorships, drug use, degradation of marriage, and the list goes on. These things would not be a reality if sin had not entered the world through this one man, Adam.
Understanding God’s Grace and Mercy
Before we can plow any further into this discussion, we must consider the mercies and grace of our holy and loving God. Consider, first of all, the nature of God’s plan of salvation. It is unconditional and has been unconditional since the Adamic fall of men. (Gen. 3) Salvation has never, in the Old or New Testaments, been administered as a result of man’s righteous works. This is the very proof of God’s grace. “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) It is clearly seen in Scripture that we have been afforded much grace, not as a badge of an earned reward, but as a badge given freely, apart from our works, from the Lord of lords. (Eph. 2:8,9) This is indeed a great mystery.
Consider the Pharisee, Saul. He had been “ravaging the Church” and breathed “threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.” Saul was killing the Bride of Christ, or at least attempting to do so. Yes, even this man was saved according to the unimaginable grace of our Lord. As Ananias declared, Saul was at last “filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17) Of course this Saul would eventually become known as Paul, the man who would be employed by the Lord to undertake many missionary journeys across the known world at that time. He became the man who would write much of the New Testament, most of the Epistles to be sure. May we find ourselves in silent aww of this. Surely salvation is not based on our work, it cannot be! To suggest such a thing renders the Gospel useless and to render the Gospel useless is heresy!
Ephesians 2:8 & 9 are two verses which Christians quote almost as a mantra. Indeed it is a glorious truth that we have been saved, and are saved, by grace through faith, not because of our works. But, often we seek to undermine this wonderful reality. We sometimes slip into the mindset of works by asking things such as, “how could God possibly save a person as wicked as that?” I wonder how many Christians in Saul’s day thought the very same thing. This, I believe, is exemplified in Scripture as Paul had to convince many believers of his faithfulness to Christ in light of his ugly past. (Rom. 9:1; 2 Cor. 11:31; Gal 1:20; 1 Tim. 2:7)
To be clear, I am not arguing some principle of universalism. There are people going to hell, there are no questions about that. I am merely saying that those whom God has chosen to save will be saved, not based on their actions, but on God’s. If we were saved by our own works, salvation would virtually be reduced to nothing more than an unjust handout. Thus we should adore God’s purpose in salvation—to preserve a remnant for Himself in order that they [we] may be conformed to the image of His Son. (Rom. 8:29; 9:27)
Adam, Covered by Grace
An attempted assassin [Saul] of Christ’s Bride was declared righteous before the God of glory because of the Son’s work. What grace is this, that it should overlook the foulest of transgressions? A brief peer into our own hearts will bring about disgust as we grow more sensitive to our own sin. We were putrid within our inner core, yet we have been justified, given a new heart, set aright with our Maker.
So, it is no longer difficult to see how someone like Adam could be saved in light of the fact that God’s salvific plan rests not upon the exertion or will of men, but upon Him who has mercy. (Rom. 9:16)
How then, one may ask, was Adam covered by grace? What is the Biblical basis for this? It could not be more clear as this, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” (Gen. 3:21) Alas, the first picture of redemptive sacrifice. God, not Adam, killed and skinned an animal in order to cover Adam and Eve with a sufficient covering. Notice that, prior to this, Adam and Eve attempted to cover themselves. (Gen. 3:7) However, it is apparent that God did not see this loincloth covering (man’s works) as sufficient. This is the earliest picture of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. We could not bear our own sin, we required God’s work. Still, thousands of years, and an inter-testamental period later, nothing has changed. We continue to be wholly dependent upon the grace of God for reconciliation. (Heb. 4:2; 10:4; 11:8)
Though misery entered onto the scene, most clearly depicted in God’s covenant curse, man would be redeemed by God’s grace. (Gen. 3:15) Adam and Eve would go on to honor the Lord in their marriage by bearing children, and God’s redemptive plan would continue thenceforth to be revealed fully in the person of Christ Jesus. (Jer. 31:31; Lk. 22:20; Heb. 8:8; 8:13; 9:15)
In conclusion to this section, Adam was most definitely saved and we will see him in the life to come.
The Covenant of Grace
A follow-up question which may be asked, If I may anticipate one, is, “so, you mean to say people in the Old Testament were saved?” to which I would answer a resounding—yes! In fact, I would go a step further and say that those who were saved in the Old Testament were saved by virtue of the blood of Christ alone. “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Heb. 10:4) Those considered saved in the Old Testament, though not knowing the name of Jesus Christ, were saved by grace through faith in that blurry promise. (Gen. 3:15) This promise, of course, would come into stronger focus at the advent of Christ in the New Testament.
This is that Covenant of Grace. (See series, Covenant Theology) This Covenant unites the entirety of Scripture. It is God’s unilaterally established Covenant, first promised in the Old Testament, then fulfilled and concluded in Christ starting with the New Testament. This is what Scripture has served to reveal, by way of other, separate covenants (i.e. Mosaic Covenant, Davidic Covenant). In consideration of this, the covering of Adam, though seeming insignifican at first, is realized as vitally significant when the entirety of Scripture is examined.
This is a question which has been asked many times and a question which I used to ask myself, “Was Adam saved?”
When considering Scripture, and therefore considering this unfathomable plan of salvation, it is something glorious to meditate upon—the salvation of Adam. What does it mean? It means that God has entered, covenantally, into a commitment to redeem His fallen people, unilaterally, that is—by Himself with no help required. It was God who clothed Adam; it was God who promised the destruction of the Serpent; it was God the Son who dealt with the sin of Adam (all the Christian’s sin) on the cross; and it is God the Son who, alone, conquered death. Praise be to Him for the Covering of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.