A Biblical Survey of Adam's Significance to the Whole Story
When a character keeps popping up from cover to cover, you know that by his recurring presence the author is binding the whole book together. So the Holy Spirit shows Adam’s real historical existence as really important to the true story of sin and salvation by his protagonist role throughout redemptive history. Let this survey of Scripture illustrate the point.
The Bible Connects Actual Adam to the Factual Origin of Humanity and Morality
In Genesis 1:26ff, God reveals the origin and value of mankind, the plan for family propagation, and the properly governed order of life in the creation of Adam and in his creation orders.
In Genesis 2:19-25, God links Adam as an organizing manager to both the earth and his wife, and shares that the design of marriage is more than sexual. Humanity is created to be social and cultivating.
In the New Testament, God makes moral connections to His originally righteous couple. In 1 Corinthians 11:8-12, the literal creation order of Adam and Eve is imported into a symbolic order of gender relations. And the Lord Jesus Christ points to the first married couple as the blueprint for our own marital bliss in Matthew 19:4-8.
Humankind has a purpose installed into its progenitor. We should fit Adam’s prototypically created mold, but it broke.
The Bible Connects Actual Adam to the Factual Origin of Evil and Mankind’s Moral Corruption
In Genesis 3, we learn of the event in history that did the rest of human history in. We learn why life is hard and then we die, why marriage is now hard work, and why work is so hard. We all are formed by Adam’s originally broken and fallen sinful mold. The Scriptures keep pointing all sinners back to human history’s first sinner, “like father, like son”: Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me. (Isaiah 43:27) Job rebuked potentially hiding his sins from God by recalling humanity’s first cover-up by Adam (Job 31:33).
In 1 Timothy 2:13-14, Paul points to Adam and Eve’s early history for the reordering of disorderly human relations, basing leadership and teaching gender qualifications upon Adam being made before Eve and Eve being deceived before Adam. His argument is deemed factual by appealing to actual facts.
Paul explains in Romans 5:12-14 that through the historical Adam sin and death entered into the rest of human history. And he connects Adam with Scripture’s historic Moses as a similar prefiguring of the Second Adam and historic Savior. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive ... And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45).
Broken Adam pointed to the needful provision of a new, unbreakably historic mold.
The Bible Connects Actual Adam to the Factual Church and Her Redeeming God-Man Messiah
In Genesis 5:1-5, the family trees of both humankind and the Church are rooted in Adam. Deuteronomy 32:8 recalls that God separated Israel out from the rest of the “sons of Adam”. Later, Scripture’s eight-chapter ecclesiological genealogy begins in the first verse of its first chapter with the first historical begetter, Adam (1 Chronicles 1:1).
Earlier, in Genesis 3:20-21, Adam’s naming Eve pointed to his hope of eternal life in their distant Son of Man and His atoning blood to which God hinted.
In chapter 4, Eve chose Seth’s name to commemorate God’s appointing her another son to carry on Abel’s line of faith (vs. 25). Thus, to authenticate his sermon source as reliably holy, Jude distinguishes between Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam of the covenant line of Seth from Enoch in the third generation from Adam of the unbelieving line of Cain (Jude 14). So Jude links the history of both the elect and reprobate to the source of the one blood of all nations (Acts 17:26). And so too does Luke’s Messianic genealogy connect our Lord to this same Enoch, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:38).
It is from this historical son of God that the historical Son of God would become the Second Adam – the same Seed of the Woman prophesied in the protoevangelium of Genesis 3:15. That Seed was originally derived from the seed sown by the first Adam, without whom there would be no humanity, no family of God, and no incarnate Savior.
Grant Van Leuven has been feeding the flock at the Puritan Evangelical Church of America in San Diego, CA, since 2010. He is the adoring husband of Jennifer Van Leuven and a proud father of their four covenant children: Rachel, Olivia, Abraham, and Isaac. He earned his M.Div. at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA.