Adam, Christ, and Star Wars
The argument of Romans 5:12 – 21 involves a synkrisis, or comparison between the two ‘types’ or figures, Adam and Christ. In Adam, we have a story of a world gone horribly wrong. As the one who was made to rule over creation is now subject to it, he forfeits his wonderful privileges of intimate fellowship with God. He suffers a severe loss of fortunes, loses divine favor, is exiled from paradise, and even his own being becomes disfigured and corrupted. The one created for immortality experiences the painful horror of death, and so do all of his offspring, as they share his guilt and new-found disposition towards evil. It is not blessings but sins that are multiplied to future generations, as humanity forgets and then forsakes God altogether and so recapitulate the story of Adam’s disobedience in their own persons. Death begets death. Sin dehumanized humanity, so that, despite possessing the divine image, they are little more than complex beasts, fighting and devouring one another.
But in Christ we have a story of a world put right, as Christ is faithful where Adam was faithless, and is obedient where Adam was disobedient. Through his act of righteous obedience, Jesus overturns the transgression of Adam and so is able to deliver and transform the fallen progeny of Adam. Christ creates in himself a new humanity, which, through the renewing power of the Spirit, is able to undo the effects of the fall and become the new Adamic race.
In want of a modern analogy, George Lucas’s six-part saga Star Wars can be called a ‘Tale of Two Skywalkers’, and in many ways mirrors the Adam-Christ contrast of Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, where Adam and Christ stand for the two respective heads of humanity. They are representatives or types of either a corrupted humanity (Adam) or a regained humanity (Christ). The first Skywalker (Anakin Skywalker) faced the temptation to give in to the dark side of the force: he gave into it and death, destruction and chaos followed. In contrast, the second Skywalker (Luke Skywalker) faced the same temptation, but was faithful and obedient to the Jedi vocation, and consequently hope, life and the triumph of good followed. In fact, Luke was able to redeem the first Skywalker, his father Anakin, from evil through his faithfulness.
Christ, the second Adam, delivers the offspring of Adam from their sins by his faithfulness in obedience. Thus, the story goes, Adam sinned and because Adam is humanity’s representative his sin is counted as theirs. Humanity receives from Adam a verdict of condemnation upon it and an inherited propensity to sin. Whereas the disobedience of the first Adam brought sin, condemnation and death, the faithfulness of the second Adam brings righteousness, and vindication and eternal life.
-Michael F. Bird, Introducing Paul: The Man, His Mission and His Message, 42-43