Could the crown of thorns described in Mark 15:17 be an attempt by the writer to strengthen the relationship between Christ as the second Adam and the first Adam who is cursed in Genesis 3:18 with an earth growing thorns?

Mark 15:17 (NRSV)

And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him.

Genesis 3:18 (NRSV)

thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
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    Other than use of the word 'thorn' itself, it seems to me that there is almost nothing these two verses have in common, thematically or linguistically.
    – user2910
    Feb 17, 2017 at 0:21
  • Nothing in the text supports this view. Feb 17, 2017 at 5:13
  • 1
    I would agree with you except that the thorns seem to symbolize the fallen state of the earth and receive more than a passing reference in the story of the fall. Mark seems to feel it important to record and give a prominent place to the crown of thorns. It seems also the persistent theme of the New Testament that he is the second Adam and he is taking Adams place and erasing the curse and here the thorns become a crown. I would like to hear more.
    – Ted DeRose
    Feb 17, 2017 at 16:11
  • This is a systematic theological question more than a hermeneutical or textual one. I think it's a very good question from the systematic perspective. If you tie together the crown of thorns with Paul's language of the cross as a "curse" then you could be on to something. But the connection can't be made just on the basis of this text.
    – P. TJ
    Feb 17, 2017 at 18:00
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    From a historical-critical reading, no. But I think it's an intriguing allegorical reading. Unfortunately it's difficult to answer well from this perspective at BH.SE, partially because those who have tried rarely have any grounding whatsoever in literary theory, semiotic studies, or philosophical hermeneutics, so the answers tend to be purely subjective and don't meet our "show your work" requirement.
    – Dan
    Feb 17, 2017 at 19:45

3 Answers 3


Look at other thematic parallels:

  • Adam was the first born of the living (Gen 2:7-20) made in the image of God, and given dominion over creatures and the earth (Gen 1:26);
  • Yeshua was the first born of the dead (meaning resurrected) and the very likeness of the invisible God (Col 1:15), given dominion over 'kings of the earth' (Rev 1:4-5) indeed authority over all creation (Matt 28:18)


  • Adam was without bride but given one (Gen 2:18-21)
  • Yeshua was without bride but given one (John 3:29)


  • Adam whose heart was earth (Gen 2:7) was put into a deep sleep, or from (Gen 2:18,21) coma - H8639: תַּרְדֵּמָה (rumoured by some ancient traditions to be for 3 days).
  • Yeshua was put into the heart of the earth for 3 days (Matt 12:40)


  • Adam's bride came from Adam (Gen 2:23) requiring his side be pierced (Gen 2:21), and the two became one (Gen 2:24)(Matt 19:6)

  • Yeshua's bride came from Yeshua (Matt 16:19; 18:18; John 14:20) requiring his side be pierced (John 19:34), and the two became one (John 17:21)

There are other parallels:

  • Before Adam the Spirit of Elohiym came over the waters (of creation) (Gen 1:2)
  • Before Yeshua the Holy Spirit came over the waters (of Mary's womb)
    {since in Luke 1:35 the Greek word ἐπέρχομαι (G1904: eperchomai) manifests the same vision to a Greek speaker as the Hebrew word רָחַף (H7363:rachaph) does to a Hebrew speaker}

These parallels and more are why Paul held 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 to be true!

ANSWER: So - the question shouldn't be "Could the crown of thorns described in Mark 15:17 be an attempt by the writer to strengthen the relationship between Christ as the second Adam and the first Adam who is cursed in Genesis 3:18?"

Rather, the question should be "Given all of the other parallels, and Paul's endorsement of this idea of Yeshua (Jesus) as a better Adam, how could the crown of thorns described in Mark 15:17 NOT be an attempt by the writer to strengthen the relationship between Christ as the second Adam and the first Adam who is cursed in Genesis 3:18"?

  • Very astute observations. Many thanks for this. +1.
    – Dottard
    Dec 6, 2020 at 22:38

I don't know if my understanding is correct. Man's punishment is to work all his life until he dies so that he can eat. Maybe the thorns and thistles meant the sufferings in the midst of his labor.

Before the fall of man, everything was good even work. Whatever man do, it was all good because there's no evil in him, and because he does not know what sin is. After the fall, he realized his own nakedness, start sinning again and again, blaming God for all his disobedience... Remember God personally gave the instructions and warning to Adam about the consequences of eating the tree. Eve wasn't even born yet.

Before the fall, man was given everything except for one, he can enjoy all the fruits in the garden.

  • 1
    Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for your answer. Please take the tour (link below) to better understand how this site works. This answer could be improved by providing some supporting references.
    – Dottard
    Dec 6, 2020 at 22:36

Jesus took the crown of thorns as part of our punishment. Does not all of God's creation moan because of the sin of man?

I see the crown of thorns as Jesus taking the curse of the ground that He spoke because of our disobedience.

God took responsibility for our sin by His provision of His only Son Jesus, who is the only propitiation that satisfies all of His creation and heaven.

  • Hi Gary, welcome to BHSE! Please take the Site Tour when you get an opportunity, which explains more about the SE format and how it all works. This Answer has good reasoning, but doesn't really provide much evidence supporting its conclusions. Please feel free to Edit your answer to supply some more background and supporting texts/references where appropriate. Have a great day.
    – Steve can help
    Feb 24, 2020 at 15:44

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