Jesus as "Spirit" in 1 Cor 15:45

In 1 Corinthians 15:45 Paul present us with a powerful parallelism to explain the new body Christ had in his resurrection but unfortunately leaves us in a slight quandary about what he meant:

So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living person"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

The problem is his use of the word "spirit"; on its face it appears that he argues that Jesus was a spirit, not a body, with this wording. The answer to this problem is found in typology and grammar.

The function of this verse in Paul's argument is to highlight the escalation which takes place between Adam and Christ. One clear emphasis is the escalation between “living” and “life-giving,” which is easy enough to understand: Adam simply lived, while Christ gives life. The interchange between person (ψυχή) and spirit (πνεῦμα) can also be understood as an escalation: In keeping with the emphasis throughout this section, Paul uses “spirit” to refer to the type of body Jesus had in his resurrection. This is clear enough from the surrounding verses where Paul uses πνευματικός. Paul uses πνεύμα here in v. 45 as a synonym of sorts for πνευματικός, not absolutely to mean a “spirit” as opposed to a body. Put another way, Adam was a normal person, while the resurrected Christ was a spirit person.

Grammatical grounds support this because nouns in Greek can be qualitative, quite often when used in the predicate nominative. Paul here uses εἰς + acc as the predicate nominative under the influence of the Hebrew preposition lamed, but this also occurred in Greek naturally. So semantically εἰς πνεῦμα ζῳοποιοῦν equals a qualitative predicate nominative, not an indefinite. Paul could have been more explicit by saying “The last Adam became a life-giving spiritual being,” but he preserves the more rhetorically pleasing parallelism by using the noun πνεῦμα instead of πνευματικός or a longer expression.