The First Man
The story of Adam cannot be separated from the story of the fall of man and the redemption of the human race. Genesis chapters two and three are foundational to the spiritual analysis of human nature. One can either accept or reject the Genesis account, but it cannot be disproved.
The chronicle of Adam and Eve is not a legend. They existed as actual human beings. If they were mythical figures, Luke could not have traced Jesus’ genealogy back to Adam (Luke 3:38). In Hebrew, the name Adam means “the one produced” and carries the concept of soil, indicating his earthly origin. Adam is said to be “of the earth,” showing his connection with the world (I Cor. 15:47). Although Adam is often treated as a theological curiosity, he is neither myth nor fable. The more one understands their own sinful nature, the more the story of Eden makes sense.
God creates man in His own image. The Lord forms Adam from the dust of the ground, breathes into his nostrils the breath of life and he becomes a living soul (Gen. 1: 27 & 2:7). This action is symbolic of God’s direct involvement with the human race. The fact that God gives Adam life indicates there is a spiritual aspect to Adam’s nature and his descendents. While the physical body depends upon the world for support, the soul depends upon God for spiritual sustenance.
Because God Himself breathes life directly into Adam, man is more responsible to God than animals. He is made in the image of God; other species are not. Adam is created distinctly different than the rest of the animal kingdom. Man is superior to monkeys. The theory of evolution is an insult to God as Creator. Man is capable of appreciating life as a gift. He is superior in conscience. He can reason and invent written language. He can know the difference between right and wrong and make moral choices. Adam and his descendents are made to communicate with God and obey Him.
The First Woman
Although God declares He will make both a male and a female (Gen. 1:27), Eve is not taken from Adam’s side until later (2:22). The concept of male and female genders is in the mind of God before He creates Eve. She is not an afterthought. Like Adam, she is made in God’s image. From the beginning, God knew it was not good that man should be alone (2:18). A man without a wife is incomplete. He needs a counterpart (2:20). The divine ideal for human life on planet earth is indissoluble marital unity. Eve is not made to compete with Adam, but rather to complete him and share life together.
If an animal could have met Adam’s need for a companion, there would be no need for Eve. He is consequently “divided” into two sexes. Eve is called woman because she is taken from man (2:23). Adam names her Eve because she is “the mother of all living” (3:20). Adam finds his life inseparably tied to hers. According to God’s design, both a man and a woman are needed for procreation (1:28). Adam and Eve are created as separate genders, yet Eve is Adam’s full equal in companionship.
God never indicates two persons of the same sex can fulfill each other’s needs. “Male and female created He them” (Gen. 1:27). The sex organs are not intended for homosexuality. God creates no bi-sexual human beings; just two distinct genders. Each has what the other needs and each is made complete by the other. Marital happiness depends upon exchange by providing what only the opposite gender can provide. A husband is commanded to cleave to his wife, not to another man (2:24). Homosexuality is forbidden among both men and women (Rom. 1:26-27). Sin always mars what God has perfectly designed.
There is no hint of sexual passion in the in the story of Adam and Eve. Companionship is the basic need of mankind; not conjugal pleasure. Woman is made from Adam’s rib to love and to be loved. She is made from a bone to become a part of Adam (Gen. 2:23). Eve is from his side, created as his intimate partner. Although Eve is assigned the task of childbearing, her primary duty is to befriend Adam. The creation of Eve is God’s answer to the human desire for intimate communication.
With Eve, God introduces mutual marital love. It is a great miracle she is made from Adam’s rib, but greater still is the miracle of womanhood. The functionality of the human race requires man be created first, and then a woman formed from his body. She is created while Adam sleeps, like a wonderful God-given dream. When Adam wakes, Eve is presented to him by the Lord Himself (2:22). It is the world’s first wedding ceremony. The uniqueness of her creation lays the foundation for the blessings of marriage. Christ quotes Genesis 2:24, stating a man must cleave to his wife and become one flesh with her (Matt. 19:5).
When Eve is brought to him, Adam breaks into a Hebrew love song in joyous astonishment (Gen. 2:23). They are literally made for each other. Eve is referred to as his wife, showing marriage to be a divinely ordained institution (v. 24). Adam names her Eve, meaning to give life, to prosper, to keep alive (3:20). Eve comes to Adam as a mature woman, whose femininity is neither based on poise, education nor culture.
The First Temptation
Adam and Eve are blissfully ignorant in their garden paradise. They have not yet learned the meaning of right and wrong. God gives them only one rule: to not partake of a certain tree (2:17). At this point in redemptive history, there is one simple commandment to obey, not ten. Conscious of His direct command, they both proceed to violate it. Adam and Eve, as representatives of the human race, succumb to the only temptation possible. The suggestion that sin is worth the risk of disobedience is still foundational to Satan’s temptation methodology.
Satan lures Eve by substituting his words for God’s words. “You will not surely die” (3:4) is a direct contradiction of God’s warning (2:17). Satan tempts Eve by suggesting God has an ulterior motive. He proposes God will not willingly share His wisdom with anyone, lest they also become gods (3:5). Like Adam, Eve has no inherited sin. Eve is unique in all of creation. She is the first woman, the first wife, and the first mother. Although created sinless, she becomes the world’s first sinner. She is the first person on earth to encounter the devil.
Adam’s task is to guard and to keep the garden from evil intrusions (2:15). The serpent’s presence and influence reveal Adam sets himself up for temptation. Adam is with Eve when she is tempted and shares in her disobedience (3:6). Although Satan does not speak to Adam, he allows himself to be drawn into the trap. A husband’s duty is to protect, defend, cherish and spiritually guide his wife, but Adam makes no attempt to stop Eve from eating. Instead of rescuing her, he is influenced by Satan through Eve. All sin is disobedience to God and causes complications which obedience will preclude.
Satan insinuates there is no punishment attached to taking the fruit. Satan does not tell Eve to steal; he simply questions God’s integrity (3:4-5). His ploy is an indirect attack upon God’s character. He proposes God cannot forbid such a simple indulgence. The temptation is to possess what is forbidden. Satan leads Eve to imagine the benefits of the transgression, not count the cost. Satan implies God does not give her sufficient reason for not partaking of this tree. He suggests God is not so wise if He restricts one’s freedom of choice. The devil promises she can have something God says only He can give: wisdom regarding good and evil choices. Satan overcomes Eve by flattering her pride.
All temptation follows the pattern in Genesis 3:6:
1. She peers. The fruit is good for food and looks delightful. Satan tempts one’s sensuous nature.
2. She perceives. It can make her wise. Satan suggests one can be equal with God in wisdom.
3. She partakes. The temptation is to steal. Satan says she can take what belongs to another.
Adam submits to the same temptation as Eve. Both eat the forbidden fruit and paradise is subsequently forbidden to both of them. Adam is no less guilty. Satan tempts people to believe punishment for sin will not occur, but Jesus declares Satan to be the father of lies (John 8:44). Part of what Satan tells Eve is true. Satanic deceptions are often half-truths. Adam and Eve are changed, but not for the better. Their eyes are opened, but only to discover their own guilt (Gen.3:7). No longer innocent, they must face the consequences.
An all-wise Creator gives Adam and Eve a free will and the power to choose. But Eve allows herself be deceived by Satan. Sin results as she allows him to influence her decision. Job points out that all human beings, like Adam, are born with an inherent tendency to hide sin (Job 31:33). Paul teaches that Eve sinned by taking matters into her own hands (I Tim. 2:14). Paul states that Adam is created first and Eve is deceived first (I Tim. 2:13-14). He explains human relations in view of the created order, not by who first partakes. It is irrelevant who sins first, for both Adam and Eve disobey God. Paul also makes reference to how the serpent beguiles Eve (II Cor. 11:3). He uses Eden as an analogy, showing how false prophets and Satan distort God’s truth (v. 4). Like the marital team of Ananias and Sapphira, both Adam and Eve sin individually (Acts 5:1-11). They each make conscious, separate decisions to transgress God’s command (Gen. 3:3). Sin is not in the world because Eve eats something: sin exists because everyone eats their own forbidden fruit. By their actions, Eve and Adam only prove that all people will sin. Sin enters the world through temptation and disobedience. Satan continues to slant God’s truth today as he did in Eden thousands of years ago. In marriages from that day to the present, he continues his demonic “seek and destroy” strategy (I Pet. 5:8).
Why sin exists is one of life’s great enigmas, but sin is an active force in our world. The cohesion of the human race is not based on common ancestry, but on the fact “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Adam originally enjoys great privileges, but loses his estate because he violates God’s command. Eden represents what the human race might have enjoyed. Adam and Eve fail to grasp what most human beings fail to grasp: that with God-given privileges come responsibilities. Adam should have sought God’s counsel, rather than the advice of someone influenced by Satan.
Immediately, their former state of innocence is lost. Instantly, their punishment is pronounced (Gen. 3:16-19). Their moral education commences, based on the discovery of the cost of sin. The couple is displaced from a peaceful garden to a cruel world. Too late, they both learn the price of listening to the wrong voice.
Adam and Eve both take that which is forbidden. Some imagine the two of them, discussing this as a marital team, might have withstood the temptation. The fact remains, God is not consulted. His command is ignored. Any punishment would have been unfair and undeserved if Adam and Eve did not have the power to choose. Bad choices always breed restrictions.
The price for sin must be paid—and the price is death (2:17). The immediate result of sin is guilt. Up to this point, Adam and Eve have no sense of shame in their nudity (v. 25). Confronted with their sin, they seek to hide their shame. In a vain attempt to cover their nakedness, they make clothing from leaves (3:7). Perhaps they sought a covering to escape the gaze of God as they hide among the trees (3:8). Failing in this, they try to cover up their transgression with flimsy excuses. They are afraid to be confronted (3:10). The voice of God is now a terror to them, rather than a comfort. The pair flees from justice, although Satan has assured them of safety.
The sin of Adam and Eve is significant in that it shows the first evidence and impact of sin in marital life. Violating God’s law makes them conscious of sin and its consequences. Adam and Eve both seek to avoid responsibility for their actions. Apparently, a very short interval elapses between Adam receiving Eve as his wife and attempting to use her as a scapegoat (2:22 & 3:12). Adam blames both God and Eve, hinting that if He had not given Eve to him, this would not have happened (3:12). Eve blames the snake (v. 13). Transference of blame has become a popular marital game.
Solomon reminds us that those who try to cover their sins will not prosper (Prov. 28:13). The fig leaf clothing represents all human effort to cover sin. God then provides them with coats of animal skin, for only God can cover sin and its subsequent guilt (Gen. 3:21). Eden’s privileges demand obedience. Since that day in Eden, human beings usually learn the results of rebellion the hard way.
Adam and his wife are banished from paradise into a world of thorns and thistles (3:18). Both punishments are suited to their genders. God tells Eve she is now subject to the mastery of her husband. Adam is cursed with hard work and sweat (v. 17). Eve’s punishment is distinctly different from Adam’s. God tells Eve she will have pain in childbearing as a direct result of her sin: birth pangs are part of the curse (v. 16). Motherhood is ordained as woman’s sacred responsibility. Along with pain, there is joy in childbirth, as Eve expresses when Cain is born. When Eve states she has received a man child from the Lord, she indicates she has turned from reliance upon Satan to reliance upon God for her blessings in life (4:1).
The Second Adam
By one man’s disobedience, sin is proven to be universal. The cycle of global indifference to God’s Word begins. Later in the biblical record, Cain kills Able. David sins with Bathsheba. Shimei curses David. Jonah pouts. The prodigal son rebels. Judas betrays Christ. Thomas doubts. Topping the list of sins, the Jews murder their own Messiah. The actions of Adam’s descendants prove the reality of sin, but the actions of the Son of Man provided the remedy for sin.
Physical death is connected to spiritual death. The entire human race is connected to Adam by a common ancestry and a sinful nature. Therefore, a “new Adam” must be found to pay the penalty for sin. The human race cries for a Savoir untainted by human sin. In God’s divine plan of salvation, the Messiah is the sinless representative of the human race. Only God’s Son is qualified. “As in Adam, all die: even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22).
Adam and Eve are confronted with a choice: to obey or disobey. All humans are faced with the choice of accepting or rejecting God’s Messiah. Adam and Eve’s rebellion brings sin into the world. Christ’s obedience to the Father’s plan provides forgiveness for sin. Only One who is sinless could have done it. If the horrors of the cross is the remedy for sin, how great is the disease. But we can measure the universal reality of God’s cure for sin by its universal success. Whereas the first Adam is banned from paradise, the Second Adam ascends into paradise and opens it for all who follow Him.
When Adam and Eve are driven from the garden, angelic guards are posted to make reentry impossible (Gen. 3:24). Whereas Adam closes paradise, Christ opens it again for those He redeems. The only “Eden” human beings can now hope for is the one promised by Christ to the penitent thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43). Heaven is described in superlatives far greater than those used to describe Eden (Rev. 21-22). No earthly paradise can be compared to the Kingdom of Heaven. An elderly saint wrote the following many decades ago: “Eden has flowers, but heaven has gold like transparent glass and riches untold. Eden has sun to make her bright; but heaven has God, and the Lamb is the light. Through Adam and Eve came sin and shame: but we have redemption through Jesus’ name.”
God designed His plan of salvation so that both men and women are held accountable for their sins. Many blame “environmental conditioning” or “heredity” for their tendency to sin. But Eden is a perfect environment, yet Adam and Eve still sin there. Jesus is the key to God’s paradise, for only He can forgive sins.
No overview of Adam’s life is complete without mentioning his connection with the New Testament. Jesus takes us back to Eden when He speaks of the permanency of marriage. A man must cleave to his wife and become one flesh (Mark 10:7). In creating Adam and Eve to be together for life, God provides humankind with the blueprint for lifelong matrimony (Rom. 7:2). Marriage is so precious in God’s sight, it becomes an analogy depicting the intimate relationship between Christ and His Church (Eph. 5:22-33).
Single Christian women dream of a godly husband who will stand strong against the temptations of Satan. Many Christian wives suffer because their husbands will not lead them spiritually. The husband’s task is to protect his wife from satanic influences. He must guide her and protect her spirituality against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:11). She need not be ignorant of satanic schemes (II Cor. 2:11). Only a committed, pro-active marital team can withstand Satan’s daily demonic darts (Eph. 6:16).
The man who is blessed by God with an incredible wife is entrusted with a sacred responsibility. One who fully appreciates the woman God gives him holds dear his marital vows. A faithful husband appreciates the great gift the Lord has provided. When a Christian husband and wife are spiritually strong, the result is peace and security. With the Lord Jesus as the head of their home, both can enjoy a wonderful life together. Only then can they create a paradise at home—a heaven on earth.
A good wife is the poetry of a man’s life. She is a dream, a song, a wonderful gift. Woman is the last thing God created, and every man who is happily married knows she represents the best of all creation.
1. What did God definitively state was “not good” (Gen. 2:18)
2. Why does God call Eve “woman (2:23)? Why does Adam name her “Eve” (3:20)?
3. Two persons of the same sex can fulfill the others sexual needs (Gen. 1:27 & Rom 1:26-27): True or False?
4. What does Jesus quote in Matthew 19:5? What does Paul quote in Ephesians 5:21?
5. In Eden, what was God’s primary rule (Gen 2:17)?
6. Adam was with Eve when she was tempted (Gen. 3:6). True or False?
7. Who questioned God’s integrity and motives (Gen. 3:4-5)?
8. Who is called “the father of lies” – and by whom (Jn. 8:44)?
9. Describe the separate punishments of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:16-19).
10. After their sin, what did Adam and Eve fear (Gen. 3:7-10)?
11. Who does Eve blame and who does Adam blame? (Gen. 3:12-13)?
12. Using Biblical resources, elaborate on First Corinthians 15:22.