Thursday, January 24, 2008

Is Jesus a Footnote to Adam?

Is it possible to overestimate Jesus Christ? Is it possible to give Jesus a place in our theological vision that is over the top, so to speak, too significant, too critical, too central? Can we make too much of Christ? Can we give him a role in the creation and in the purpose of the cosmos that is far more than he is actually worthy of? Are we violating the witness of the Spirit if we give Jesus Christ too much of a hearing when it comes to our thinking about God, about creation, about humanity and human history? Are we in error if we make Jesus Christ our fundamental hermeneutic–the key to our understanding of God, humanity and the cosmos, and everything within it?

It is striking to read the apostles in the light of these kinds of questions. For Paul and John and the writer of Hebrews, Jesus Christ is the one in and through and by whom, and for whom, the entire universe was called forth and is constantly sustained. He is the center of the created world, the one in whom it all holds together, and in whom the human race lives and moves and has its being (JN 1:1-3; COL 1:16-17; ACTS 17:28; 1COR 8:6-7; HEB 1:1-3).

Note carefully Paul’s stunning statement: “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself…” (EPH 1:5). We will surely return to this breathtaking thought many times, but for the moment please note that adoption is the eternal purpose of God for the human race. The triune God does not create the world and then have a meeting to find out what to do with creation, or the human race within it. Our creation follows a prior and definite purpose—adoption.

Even more beautiful and challenging is the fact that before the foundation of the world Jesus Christ was chosen to be the one in whom our adoption would be accomplished. Adoption through Jesus Christ is the eternal purpose of the triune God. Adam was created and called, and then Abraham and Israel, to serve the larger purpose of the coming of the Father’s Son. Jesus is not a footnote to Adam, not plan “B” quickly put in play after the fall of humanity. Jesus—and our adoption through him—is the eternal point. To borrow a thought from Professor T. F. Torrance, ‘the Word of God was on the road to becoming flesh’ before the first particle of creation was called into being.

For more on the eternal centrality of Christ see my book, God is For Us and my essay, “The Cosmic Christ,” both available at


Ted Johnston said...

Beautifully and powerfull expressed Baxter. The truth about Jesus and our adoption in him is indeed stunning.

You will find of interest the Christianity Today article from Phillip Yancey titled "Ongoing Incarnation." It's posted at

Yancey addresses the question: Would the incarnation have occured had Adam not sinned (or as you ask, 'Was Jesus plan B')? The comments on the article are particularly interesting as this question confronts some of our evangelical presuppositions.

C. Baxter Kruger, Ph.D. said...

"Modern" evangelical presuppositions. I suspect Irenaeus and Athanasius would wonder where we have been in our thinking.

Anonymous said...

2 things:

1. Welcome to blogdom. It's great to have you here.

2. Thanks again for a great post.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday when the pastor spoke about the resurrection, etc.. at my mother-in-law´s funeral, I was at deep peace and the thoughts of "in Christ" or our "union with Christ" flooded my mind and the joy is still with me one day later. Mr Baxter comments are aligned with Christ´s full work in and through Creation.

Corliss Mock said...

Dear Baxter,
I keep listening over and over to your sermons The Great Dance. They are so encouraging. Regarding the incarnation and the eternal plan of God, I need to understand more of how to view hell. I am not a universalist, as you say, but are fewer "saved" than those who's end is destruction? I want to believe God's mercy is much greater than where Adam took the human race, too.