Adam

Adam is both the first human and the first man to walk on Earth. God's creation of him is revealed in Genesis 1 and 2. The story of his life spans from the beginning of Genesis through Genesis 5. Adam marries Eve, and fathers at least three sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth. We all descend from him.

Introduction

Adam is both the first human and the first man to be created by God. His creation is told in Genesis 1 and 2 and the story of his life spans to Genesis 5. Adam marries Eve, and fathers three sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth. Adam lived to be 930 years old[2]. The name Adam is also the Hebrew word for man. It is thought that name could be derived from a Hebrew word meaning "to be red" or the Akkadian adamu which means "to make."[1]

Disclaimer: Liberty taken with the depiction of Adam.
Please remember the Bible does not specify a description for most individuals.
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Character

We are given much less information about Adam than Eve. We know that he named the animals, that he was lonely (hence God creating Eve), and we know he went along with Eve's plan to eat the forbidden fruit. However, we are not told anything distinguishing his character. We are told of Adam's initial disobedience to God, because that is necessary part of the narrative, but we aren't told much about his reaction after the fact. Does he ever sin again? Does he blame himself or does he continue to blame Eve?
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Progeny

Adam has many sons and daughters, according to Genesis 5:4, but his named (or important) descendants are Cain, Abel, and Seth. We know that Cain kills Abel, so Abel does not produce a line. Cain's line goes on to advance worldly knowledge, culminating in another murderer. Seth's line traces down to Noah, producing the only survivors of the flood, as well as, Enoch, one of the few men to never die. It is interesting that the offspring of the couple are often referred to as the seed of Eve (Genesis 3:15, Genesis 4:25), but never directly as the seed of Adam.
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Discussion

While there are lengthy passages dissecting the importance of Adam, it seems that most people spend a most of their energy discussing Eve and the ramifications of Eve's actions than Adam.

Adam as a Type

Paul said the following about Adam:
45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.1 Corinthians 15:49 KJV

It is obvious that this passage has more to do with Jesus than it does with Adam, but the contrast and similarities are very interesting. Paul defines Adam as a type, with Jesus being the last of his type. Russell Grigg from Creation Ministries has an entire article dedicated to the parallels between Adam and Jesus. One of the most interesting comparisons he makes is that Adam brought sin in the world, he brought the curse of death upon the Earth while Jesus conquered sin and through Him, the curse is lifted.[4] The parallels are poetic in a way that only God can manifest; we see that we inherit our sinful nature from Adam's failure but we inherit redemption and grace through Jesus' triumph. Both are condemned to death, but it is Adam who lives a full and "happy" Earth life the way society imagines. It is Adam who marries, has children, and ages to see his grandchildren (probably great-great-great grandchildren too at 930!). In doing the right thing, Jesus is the one who is persecuted, ridiculed, and eventually murdered for His obedience to God. Yet, it is Jesus who will rule God's Kingdom after judgement day.
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Race

One thing I find interesting is that despite the meaning of his name, people still depict him as white. This is one of the major criticisms of Christianity. Many African-American's are turned off from "the white man's religion," citing it as the source of oppression and white supremacy. In this, the discussion of white Adam and white Jesus often come into play. Like many things in Christianity, tradition is seen as "fact" turning people away from truth. While Europeans of the renaissance era may have depicted Biblical people as white, whether to promote white supremacy ideas/concepts or simply to make the faces more familiar, the Bible does not talk about race at all. The closest descriptions we are given about race are nationalities (e.g. Moses wife is Ethiopian and thus she is likely black) or distinguishing characteristics (e.g. Esau is described as red).

It seems odd that a word meaning "red" would be ascribed to the first man if he were not "red" in complexion. An alternate meaning for the word "adam" has been shown to mean Earth, suggesting a connection to Adam's formation from the dust of the Earth. However, in a fertile climate, such as the land where the Garden of Eden was placed, the dirt would be dark in color. The closest thing to "white" dirt that I've seen is the sand found at the beach. Likely the soil was a reddish brown, which is probably why the word was also associated with the color red. This lends to the idea that Adam would have been reddish in skin color.

Was Adam Black?

Although I have depicted Adam as a black man in cartoon above, this still does not mean Adam was in fact "black." The interpretation that Adam had reddish skin could place him into a myriad of races or ethnicities that we recognized today. When Europeans first came to America, they described the Native Americans as red (evidence for this can be seen in the racial slur still being used for an NFL football team). In black culture red or "redbone" is a black person who has red under tones in their skin, usually this person is also lighter-skinned. Likely, this terminology stems from the same origin as the terminology for the Native Americans, and perhaps these blacks are the ones who also have significant Native American ancestry. Yet, this skin color can also be found in Arabs, people of South East Asia, people from India, and even in parts of Africa. Thus, even if we could conclusively determine that Adam was red, as his name suggests, we can't pinpoint a "race" without further information. The reason I depicted Adam as a black man is because of the diversity in African genes; it stands to reason that the first man must have contained genes that would give rise to those we see today which makes it unlikely that he would have been white with blonde hair or blue eyes. Since the Africans are the most genetically diverse group of people today,[3] I chose to depict Adam with African features; however, as I said, this is no more "correct" than the depictions of him as a white man, because at the end of the day, we will never know what Adam actually looked like.

God's View of Race

God created all races and no where in the Bible does it say one race is better than the others. The fact that people try to cite the Bible to promote racial supremacy or hatred is deplorable. While it may seem that proving Adam and/or Eve (I say or because it's possible that Adam and Eve were not the same "race") belongs to a particular race proves that race "special," this is wishful thinking. When God said He created male and female in His image, He meant humanity in general. God didn't specify physical attributes, likely because He knew racism would be a problem, but also because that wasn't His point of reference. Think about this: Adam and Eve were made in the image of God, their children were made in the image of Adam and Eve, and their grandchildren in the image of Adam and Eve's children, etc. Thus all of humanity, regardless of "race" are made in the image of God.

When God talks about people, it is based on nationality, and He speaks of each nation based on their righteousness. In every case, when God finds someone righteous in an unrighteous nation, that person is spared (e.g. Rahab and Lot). Skin color is mentioned only in terms of leprosy (turning white) and Edom being red in color. This makes it obvious that God didn't care about color, so why should we?
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Bible Verses

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.Genesis 1:27 KJV
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.Genesis 2:7 KJV
And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.Genesis 2:19 KJV
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.Genesis 2:23 KJV
17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 20And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.Genesis 3:17-20 KJV
3And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth: 4And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: 5And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.Genesis 5:3-5 KJV

Other Bible Verses on Adam

  • Genesis 4:1-2
  • 1 Chronicles 1:1
  • Job 31:33
  • Luke 3:28
  • Romans 5:14
  • 1 Corinthians 15:22
  • 1 Corinthians 15:45
  • 1 Timothy 2:13-14
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References

  1. BehindTheName.com: Adam
  2. Genesis 5:5
  3. Highfield, Roger. "African DNA Has More Genetic Diversity". Telegraph. February 2008
  4. Grigg, Russell. "First Adam—Last Adam". Creation Ministries. 2011

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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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