In the Bible, Adam is a big deal, and if you’re like me, you grew up hearing about Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, and how the serpent introduced them to sin. Adam’s story is more than a simple Sunday school lesson, however, and his story makes ours possible, as well as the story of Jesus.
Who was Adam in the Bible? Adam was the first human being ever created by God. He was a real man, created in the image of God. Through Adam, mankind was given dominion over all the earth. But, Adam sinned and disobeyed God, causing sin to enter the world. Despite this Adam became the father of the human race and was a foreshadowing of Jesus.
The story of Adam matters to us as Christians because it tells us about our origins, who we are as humans, and the character of God. It tells us how God’s plan for redemption didn’t start when he sent Jesus, but it started as soon as he created the human race.
Who Was Adam?
Adam was a historical, literal man whose story is found in Genesis 1-5. He was the first human being ever created, and he was created in the image of God.
Adam was also the first steward of the earth and he became the father of the human race.
Adam’s role in the Bible is huge, and not just because he was the first person to ever live, but because his life and fall into sin foreshadows the need of a savior and the coming of the Second Adam, who is revealed to us as Jesus Christ.
Understanding who Adam is means that we get to understand God’s character and his rescue plan for the whole world through his Son.
Despite the fallenness of this world that was caused by Adam’s sin, his story isn’t about how the serpent tempted him into eating an apple, it’s about Jesus’ redemptive power and how He fulfilled everything for us that Adam couldn’t.
Adam Was Created From The Dust & The Breath Of God
When God made the heavens and the earth, he created the first man on the sixth day. He was created from dust and the very breath of God.
These are the records of the heavens and the earth, concerning their creation.
At the time that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, no shrub of the field had yet grown on the land, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not made it rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground. But mist would come up from the earth and water all the ground.
Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.Genesis 2:4-7 CSB
In the Hebrew language, the name for Adam literally means ground, or soil, because that was what he was made out of. Talk about humble beginnings. But why does that matter?
This passage is significant because God put part of himself into Adam. He was different from the plants God had also made from the dirt because he had God’s breath of life in him.
Adam was different from the animals too since you don’t hear God mentioning the creation of the first animal in any detail.
The creation of the human is important and distinct. Unlike the rest of creation, Adam was created with the breath of God, and in His image.
Adam Was Created In The Image Of God
What makes Adam different is that he was created in the image of God. We all are, and that’s what gives us our worth and life.
So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.Genesis 1:27 CSB
Another thing that distinguishes Adam is that God called him “very good” whereas God called his other creations simply “good”. The creation of the first man, Adam, was very good, and he was different from all of God’s other creations.
This shows us how much God loves us and created us to reflect his character.
Adam Was The First Steward Of The Earth
Another way that Adam was different than all of God’s other creations, was that he was called to rule over them and be a steward of the earth.
God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.’Genesis 1:28 CSB
God made Adam and mankind so important that they get to steward the world over anything else in creation. God gave Adam purposeful, worshipful work.
The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.Genesis 2:15 CSB
Adam wasn’t only a gardener, but he was able to use his creativity to name all the animals and image the creativity that is in God’s character. And Adam did all of this in the presence of God.
This part of Adam’s role matters to us because work was given to mankind to be fruitful and purposeful, and full of creativity. The best part about Adam’s work that we get to mirror is working in the presence of God.
Now, through the Holy Spirit, we can steward our work well and learn from Adam’s role as the first steward of the earth.
Adam Was The Father Of The Human Race
Adam lived from the 6th day of creation to be 930 years old (Genesis 5:5). That seems like a long life to live, but we know that based on the environment in that age, people lived to be a lot longer than we do now.
In his life, Adam worked the land and the earth like mentioned before, but he was also the father of the whole human race.
This is the document containing the family records of Adam. On the day that God created man, he made him in the likeness of God; he created them male and female. When they were created, he blessed them and called them mankind.Genesis 5:1 CSB
Genesis 5 records Adam’s descendants all the way to Noah, and through him, we are all here today.
As the human race, we are sadly also here in sinful natures because Adam and his wife Eve sinned against God, propelling all the future generations and the world into a life of sin and death.
Adam’s sin caused what is called The Fall, so even though he is the father of the human race, his humanness destined all of us to be born in a broken and fallen world.
The Fall Of Adam
God gave Adam and Eve everything they needed in the garden, but he did give them one rule. They could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.Genesis 2:16 CSB
God gave Adam one command, and that was not to eat from this tree. But, being tempted by the serpent who was the devil, Eve ate the fruit and gave some to her husband Adam, making the both of them guilty of disobedience.
The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.Genesis 3:4-7
Because of their guilt, Adam and Eve hid from God. when God asked them where they were, and if they had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam then blamed Eve for his disobedience. Eve also blamed the serpent, who had tempted them.
Because of their sin, God punished both the serpent and Eve, as well as Adam.
So the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal.
You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children with painful effort. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.Genesis 3:14-16 CSB
Because God is holy and just, he could not let the sins of the serpent and Eve go unpunished, but the main responsibility for sin seemed to be charged to Adam.
And he said to the man, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you.
You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground since you were taken from it.
For you are dust, and you will return to dust.’Genesis 3:17-19 CSB
Adam was the one who God originally commanded. His responsibility was to lead Eve into obedience, but instead, Adam let the both of them fall into disobedience, plunging the rest of the world, their work, and their bodies into decay.
Adam Sent Away From The Garden
Because the stewardship of the earth was under Adam, and since he sinned, the earth also came under his punishment and under God’s justness. While these curses that God gave sound harsh, God still extended his grace to Adam inside and outside of the garden.
The Lord God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and he clothed them.
The Lord God said, ‘Since the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.”’
So the Lord God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove the man out and stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life.Genesis 3:21-24 CSB
God made Adam and Eve clothing, and he didn’t give up on them because of their sin against him. He separated them from him and the tree of life because if they ate from that tree, they would’ve died and been separated from God forever, with no chance for forgiveness.
At the same time, God was completely just in sending Adam and Eve out of the garden, since they were no longer blameless before him. Instead of giving up on them then and here, God decided to bring justice in another way for all human beings through Jesus.
The Second Adam
Jesus, the only Son of God, came as the second Adam to renew all things, save us from the sins that Adam fell into, and restore the dominion and authority over the earth to himself.
Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.1 Corinthians 15:45 ESV
Jesus, the life-giving spirit, did what Adam could not do. He lived a blameless life, facing all the same temptations that we do, and obeyed God even to the point of death. Through his death on the cross, he now offers us life through his Spirit so that we won’t be separated from Him anymore.
Jesus’ Spirit and power also took back the dominion over the earth so that the devil no longer reigns as king over the world. Jesus is the redemptive king, and all authority has been given to him.
When we surrender to Jesus, we are no longer born into sin and a fallen world, we are born again into a new life with Him.
When you think about it, God is a master storyteller. He foreshadowed Jesus’ coming through Adam, even though Adam messed things up.
This makes Jesus’ story central to the message of the Bible and everything revolves around it. He is the second Adam and shows us who Adam was meant to be if he had lived a perfect life like Jesus.
Jesus came because he wants a relationship with us, just like how God wanted a relationship with Adam and Eve, and he wanted them to be in his presence.
The story of Adam shows us the story of humankind, how we were designed to be with God forever, but fell short of that. All of us do.
By God’s grace, through faith in Jesus, we are not only saved to be with Him forever in heaven, but we are also saved to enter back into his presence right now, despite our past sins.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience, the many will be made righteous.Romans 5:18-19 ESV
Adam disobeyed God, but Jesus obeyed him so that we could all be justified. So, Adam’s story isn’t just a Sunday school lecture, it is the prelude of the gospel and prelude of God’s plan for redemption for all who follow him.
The Significance Of The Story Of Adam
The story of Adam matters to us as Christians because it tells us about our origins, who we are as humans, and the character of God.
It tells us how God’s plan for redemption didn’t start when he sent Jesus, but it started as soon as he created the human race.
God created Adam and all humans in the image of God, and he made Adam the father of mankind. Adam was given Eve as a wife, work to be creative, and responsibility to obey God, but sadly, he wasn’t enough to keep all of those things perfect.
Adam’s story can be boiled down to a story of failure since he couldn’t keep the world or himself blameless. He was weak, and when faced with the opportunity to sin, he did sin and disobeyed God. Despite this, God is merciful and from the beginning of time, he had a plan to send Jesus, who symbolizes the Second Adam, to save us for a life with him.
Though Adam had a significant role in human history, he was just that, human. This is why Jesus is so important, and such a big part of Adam’s story. Whatever Adam wasn’t, Jesus was and is, and now we can rejoice in Jesus because of his sacrifice and love for us.
Today, we can have a relationship with God because of Jesus. The story of Adam shows us human failure, sin, and our need for a Savior.