Paul says while teaching about resurrection of the dead and resurrected body:

1 Corinthians 15:45 (NET)
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

It is clear reference from some scripture to Jesus which Paul is referring. Which book or writings Paul was referring here?

  • Any reason to think that the part in quotes isn't Genesis 2:7? The second part doesn't appear to be a quote. Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 9:59
  • That is one possibility. May be Paul was saying it in two parts: first part quoted from Genesis. Could the the second part be his own? Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 10:20
  • The second part is not in quote marks. NT Greek didn't have quote marks, but their absence means that at least the translators believed the second part was his own. Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 10:44

2 Answers 2


The phrase is a direct quotation from Genesis 2.7. There is some difference in the wording in most modern bibles. This is because Paul was quoting from the Greek text of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint or LXX, whereas our modern bibles are translated from the Hebrew text from which the Greek was originally translated.

The LXX text of Genesis 2.7:

ἐγένετο ὁ ἄνθρωπος εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν

The Greek text of 1 Corinthians 15.45:

ἐγένετο ὁ πρωτος ανθρωπος αδαμ εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν

So Paul uses the exact same words, but adds the words in bold (πρωτος meaning "first" and "αδαμ" meaning "Adam") to add clarity to the meaning.

If we followed the conventions of modern writing, we'd add quotation marks and square brackets to indicate a direct quotation and an interpolation, but obviously that wasn't the custom in the ancient world.

  • Where's the latter half of that quote come from, "the last Adam become a quickening spirit" Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 2:06
  • @MorrisBuel I think that's St Paul's own words. Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 12:35

Both "Pulpit Commentary" and "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible" recognize this quote as taken from Genesis 2:7, not word by word but carrying the same meaning.

Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils, and the man became a living person. (Genesis 2:7, NLT)

The "Last Adam" was composed by Paul himself, which was analogous to Jesus Christ, as John Gill wrote,

by "the last Adam" is meant Jesus Christ, called Adam, because he is really and truly a man, a partaker of the same flesh and blood as the rest of mankind; and because he is the antitype of the first man Adam, who was a figure of him that was to come; and therefore called Adam,

It makes more sense when we interpret the "seed of Eve", who will strike the serpent, as Christ, as John Gill also commented on Genesis 3:15.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15, KJV)

and especially by the seed of the woman may be meant the Messiah; the word "seed" sometimes signifying a single person, Genesis 4:25 and particularly Christ, Galatians 3:16 and he may with great propriety be so called, because he was made of a woman and not begotten by man; and who assumed not an human person, but an human nature, ...

... Messiah, the eminent seed of the woman, should bruise the head of the old serpent the devil, that is, destroy him and all his principalities and powers, break and confound all his schemes, and ruin all his works, crush his whole empire, strip him of his authority and sovereignty, and particularly of his power over death, and his tyranny over the bodies and souls of men; all which was done by Christ, when he became incarnate and suffered and died, Hebrews 2:14.

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