Jonathan Edwards on

the Two Adams

Christ, the second Adam, acts the same part for us that the first Adam was to have done, but failed. He has fulfilled the law, and has been admitted to the seals of confirmed and everlasting life. God, as a testimony and seal of his acceptance of what he had done as the condition of life, raised him from the dead, and exalted him with his own right hand, received him up into glory, and gave all things into his hands. Thus the second Adam has persevered, not only for himself, but for us; and has been sealed to confirmed and persevering and eternal life, as our head; so that all those that are his, and that are his spiritual posterity, are sealed in him to persevering life. Here it will be in vain to object, that persons persevering in faith and holiness is the condition of their being admitted to the state of Christ's posterity, or to a right in him; and that none are admitted as such till they have first persevered. For this is as much as to say, that Christ has no church in this world; and that there are none on this side the grave, that are admitted as his children or people; because they have not yet actually persevered to the end of life, which is the condition of their being admitted as his children and people; which is contrary to the whole Scripture.

Christ, being the second Adam, and having finished the work of Adam for us, does more than merely to redeem or bring us back to the probationary state of Adam, while he had yet his work to finish, knowing his eternal life uncertain, because suspended on his uncertain perseverance. That alone is inconsistent with Christ's being a second Adam, and having undertaken and finished the work of Adam for us. For if Christ, succeeding in Adam's room, has done and gone through the work that Adam was to have done, and did this as our representative or surety, he has not only thereby set us, that are in him and represented by him, in Adam's probationary, uncertain state, having the finishing or persevering in the work on which eternal life was suspended yet before him and uncertain, or in the state that Adam was in on this side a state of confirmed life; but besides, if Christ has finished the work of Adam for us, as representing us, and acting in our stead, then doubtless he has not only gone through himself, but has carried us, who are in him, and are represented by him, through the work of Adam, or through Adam's working probationary state, unto that confirmed state that Adam should have arrived at, if he had gone through his own work.


From Jonathan Edwards's (1703-1758) treatise "Concerning the Perseverance of Saints" in Works 3: 512-13 ( reprint of the Worchester edition in four volumes). In the Banner of Truth edition, our selection may be found in 2:597.