Can anyone point me to any modern biblical scholars (from 1700s to today), who have written about Jesus as either an Adam figure or as a covenant head based on exegesis of the Gospels? Certainly there are many scholars who have seen Jesus as an Adam figure in the epistles, especially the Pauline corpus, but I'm looking for scholars who have made this connection from the Gospels--especially those outside of the Reformed tradition like John Wesley, Martin Luther, the Methodists, and the Anabaptists, etc. Any response would be much appreciated!

Edit: I am looking for specific scholars/theologians and their texts as it is for a research project.

  • Kynes in his Dissertation, a Christology of Solidarity discusses something very similar.
    – Jas 3.1
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 2:07
  • This is not a good fit for the site as its basically a 'list' or 'shopping' question, but an exception has been proposed on meta. Please weigh in there but done hold off voting to close/reopen here in the meantime. Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 5:43

2 Answers 2


While I don't have any specific references to modern scholarship, Adam typology is definetly evident in the Gospels.

1. Luke presents Jesus as a new Adam.

This is beyond a doubt Luke’s purpose in the placement and arrangement of Jesus’ genealogy. Unlike Matthew who places his genealogy at the outset of his gospel, Luke places it immedietly after Jesus’ adult baptism and immediately prior to his three temptations. The genealogy is thus bookend by the issue of Jesus’ sonship. In the baptism God declares Jesus to be His “beloved Son” and in the temptations Satan challenges Jesus, “if you are the Son of God…”

Also instead of beginning with Abraham and working forward to Jesus, as Matthew does in the genealogy he records (Matthew 1:1-16), Luke genealogy begins with Jesus and works backwards to Adam (Luke 3:23-38). The net effect makes his genealogy a list of sons rather than a list of father and points to Adam as also God's son. Luke is making an implicit comparison between these two men. Only Jesus and Adam are said to be God's son.

2. Luke presents Jesus as tempted like Adam.

Jesus’ three temptation follows the genealogy. The placement of the temptations here make perfect sense if Luke is indeed comparing and contrasting Jesus and Adam. But Jesus’ success here is merely the beginning of a battle that will continue in the later part of Luke. Luke tells us that after the temptations the devil, “left him until an “opportune time” (4:13). In Luke, Satan finds this opportunity at the beginning of the crucifixion plot, entering into Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:3).

This suggests that the events surrounding the crucifixion are themselves a continuation of the temptation. Certainly there are echoes of the devil’s challenge at the trial when the leaders ask, “Are you the Son of God…” (22:70). And it’s Jesus’ bold “Yes!” which seals his fate and overcomes the desire to save his own skin.

As with the other gospels Jesus confession is juxtaposed with Peter’s denial. If Peter’s denial is due to, as Luke tells us, the sifting of Satan (22:31-32) then there is little doubt Satan is also present in this challenging question to Jesus. It echoes the devil’s challenge in the earlier temptations.

3. Luke presents Jesus undoing the curse of Adam.

At Jesus’ death, the centurion declares, “surely this man was innocent!” Here Luke differs remarkably from the centurion’s confession in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. In those accounts the centurion says, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Owing to the fact that Luke has already declared Jesus to be the Son of God, it is doubtful that Luke wants to downplay this fact here. Instead it appears the verdict of innocence is in some sense connected to Jesus being like Adam, the Son of God.

For Luke, Jesus’ innocence is not simply in reference to the crime for which He has been charged but His victory over all temptation. What Christ has done in his persistent innocence is to reopen the way closed by Adam. Jesus final words to the thief on the cross are directly connected to this second Adam motif, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” “Paradise” is the same Greek word used elsewhere in Septuagint and the book of Revelation for the “garden” of Eden.

Several of these points have been noted by others (here and here) but as of yet I have found no one who sees in Luke’s Adam the key to Luke’s theology of vicarious atonement. Does Luke teach that the crucifixion of Jesus satisfies God’s punishment for sin? Absolutely. Jesus is the victorious Son of God who’s final victory over temptation reverses the curse of Adam.

Again this is just one example. I have also found an Adam typology in the Gospel of John. Note: I already used this answer for What was meant by “paradise” when Jesus spoke to the thief on the cross?

  • thank you for your thoughts. If any specific references come to mind, then please let me know!
    – cgeorge
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 1:33
  • Welcome back!! :-)
    – Jas 3.1
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 2:05

G. Campbell Morgan makes this connection and develops it very skilfully in an excellent book entitled "The Crises of the Christ" (1903).

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