The name of "the first man" (1 Cor. 15:45), who, according to the chronology of the Bible, was created 4004
B.C. by God, subsequent to the overthrow of the world (Gen. 1:2), (see
Commentators and lexicographers with a few exceptions since the days of Josephus explain the word "Adam" as being derived from the Hebrew
Adamah "the ground" (Gen. 2:7). In the first place we must remember that while the name Adam does not occur in the English Bible until Genesis 2;19, the Hebrew word has already occurred nine times, namely in Genesis 1:26,27, 2:5,7,8,15,16,18 where it is translated "man" or "the man". The beasts were also formed out of the "ground" the
adamah (Gen. 1:25, 2:19) yet no beasts appear to have been given a name that associated them with their earthy origin. When we consider the first occurrence of the word "Adam", namely, in Genesis 1:26, we have the following context:
"And God said, Let us make man in our IMAGE, after our
LIKENESS . . . so God created man in His own image" (Gen. 1:26,27).
It seems strange to name the first man after the "ground" before the record even alludes to the
adamah from which he was Taken, Parkhurst in his Hebrew Lexicon refers the word "Adam" to the Hebrew
damah, which primarily means "to be equal" (Isa. 46:5) and then in the feminine form
damuth "likeness" (Isa. 40:18). In the book of the generations of Adam, it is this aspect of his creation, not that of Genesis 2:6,7 that is perpetuated.
"In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him."
The purpose for which man was created is expressed in the three terms "image," "likeness" and "dominion". The word "image"tselem, is from the Hebrew root tsel, meaning "shadow".
The first occurrence in the O.T. is in Genesis 19:8, "the shadow of my roof". The LXX translates tsel by the Greek skia some twenty-seven times. The latter is found in the N.T. seven times as follows:
"The shadow of death" (Matt. 4:16, Luke 1:79).
"The shadow of it" (a tree). (Mark 4:32).
"The shadow of Peter" (Acts 5:15).
The word is also used figuratively of the ceremonial law: "a shadow of things to come, and not the very image" (Heb. 10:1, Col. 2:17); and in Hebrews 8:5, "the example and shadow of heavenly things".
Adam was not the "very image" but he in great measure shadowed forth the Lord; and Romans 5:12-14 indicates that in other ways than those suggested in Genesis 1:26,27 Adam was a "figure of Him that was to come".
By creation, man is "the image and glory of God" (1 Cor. 11:7); but this image is, after all, "earthy".
"The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven . . . as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly". (1 Cor. 15:47-49).
In his second epistle to the same Church, the Apostle resumes the theme, and we give below the two references to "the image" in this second letter:
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same
image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18).
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the
image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor. 4:4).
How many know and preach this gospel? How many realize that the announcement that "Christ is the
image of God" is the "gospel of the glory of Christ", and the subject of Satan's attacks from the beginning? Before the world was, the Lord Jesus Christ had this "glory" (John 17:5), and it was the subject of Satanic opposition, as we learn from Ezekiel 28. It was
"shadowed forth" in the creation of man, and attacked by the Serpent in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3). It was "veiled" by the god of this age, as explained in 2 Corinthians 3 and 4, and is the goal towards which the purpose of the ages is directed. The central section of Romans (5:12-8: 39) opens with Adam, a
failing figure of Him that was to come, and closes with the goal of God's great purpose: "for whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to
the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29).
The climax of revelation in connexion with "the Image" is found in Colossians:
"His dear Son . . . Who is the Image of the Invisible God" (Col. 1:13-15).
"When Christ Who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory . . . and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the Image of Him that created him" (Col. 3:4,10).
Here, both in Colossians 1 and 3, the "image" is connected with creation. Moreover, Colossians 1:16 makes it clear that the Son was the Creator in Genesis 1:26, and that Adam foreshadowed in some way yet to be considered, "Him that was to come", "the last Adam".
Returning to Genesis 1:26, we must now consider the added clause "after our likeness"
(demuth). The LXX Version translates this by kath homoiosin, which we may compare with the Apostle's use of the word when speaking to the Athenians in Acts 17:
"Forasmuch, then, as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is
like (homoios) unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device" (29).
Isaiah also challenges us with the question:
"To whom then will ye liken (damah, see
demuth above) God?" (Isaiah 40:18).
And Ethan says:
"Who in heaven can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened
(damah) unto the Lord"? (Psa. 89:6).
Nevertheless it is true that man was made after the likeness of God, and in James 3, we read, concerning the tongue:
"Therewith bless we God, even the-Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the
similitude (homoiosis) of God" (9).
The prophet Hosea uses the word damah when speaking of the way in which God had condescended to use figures of speech:
"I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes
by the ministry of the prophets"
During His public ministry, the Lord Himself used many similitudes, for example:
"The kingdom of heaven is like(homoios) unto treasure" (Matt. 13:44).
"Unto what is the kingdom of God like?" (Luke 13:18).
"Whereunto shall I liken this generation?" (Matt. 11:16).
Adam was to God what a figure of speech is to thought, a symbol, an analogy, a type.
When Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream the successive kingdoms of Gentile rule in the form of an image, neither he nor
Daniel ever imagined that such kingdoms were actually "like" the image itself, but simply that this image and its peculiar construction "shadowed forth" in symbol the moral characteristics of the kingdoms concerned. So, in Genesis 1:26, there is no question of external resemblance. Whether seen in the frail type Adam, or in the glorious person of the Son of God, the "image and likeness" are never to be understood as physical.
How far, and in what direction, was Adam intended to shadow forth God Himself? How far was he, as a creature, able to represent Deity? What limits can be set? The reader will no doubt be acquainted with the two extreme answers to these
questions. There are some who will not allow the image and likeness to be anything more than physical, while there are others who would deduce from this passage the inherent immortality of the soul. The truth lies mid-way between the two extremes.
"And God said, LET US make man in
OUR image, after
OUR likeness; and
LET THEM have dominion" (Gen. 1:26).
The name "Adam" is similar to the Hebrew word for "likeness". This "likeness" was expressed in, the "dominion" which was originally conferred upon man. When sin entered into the world, however, resulting in a curse upon the earth, his dominion over the lower creatures was impaired. When Noah, whom we can regard as a sort of second Adam, steps out of the ark into a new world, the word "dominion" is no longer used and "the fear of you and the dread of you" takes its place (Gen. 9:2). Man, however, is still looked upon as being "in the image of God" (Gen. 9:6), and "in the likeness of God" (Jas. 3:9).
The dominion that was given to Adam was:
"over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26).
This dominion was a "shadow" of the greater dominion that was to be exercised by Christ, the true image of God. David, in Psalm 8, sees something of this, and the Apostle Paul in the
NT. completes the story.
"When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him? For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas" (3-8).
If we turn to the Epistle to the Hebrews, we shall see that Adam foreshadowed Christ. The Creator of Genesis 1:26 is addressed in Psalm 8 and the Psalmist says that "the heavens are the work of Thy fingers". Unless we are willing to quibble over the difference between "fingers" and "hands", it is clear that Christ is the Creator in Whose image and likeness Adam was created, for in Hebrews we read:
"And Thou , Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth: and the heavens are the works of Thine hands" (Heb. 1:10).
From Hebrews 1, we proceed to Hebrews 2, where we have Psalm 8 quoted, with the comment:
"For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him" (Heb. 2:8).
This shows that we have passed from the type, whose dominion was over sheep and oxen, to the antitype, whose dominion is over all. The Apostle continues:
"But now we see not yet all things put under Him: but we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:8,9).
This dominion of which Adam's "likeness" was but a faint shadow, is further expanded in Ephesians 1, where we reach the zenith of the revelation of "the mystery of Christ". In this epistle we are concerned with that section of the "all things" that is associated with the exalted sphere where Christ sitteth "far above all heavens" (Eph. 4:10). And so we read:
"He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come; and bath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be Bead over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:20-23).
With this rapid glance at the relationship between this "dominion" and "Mystery", let us turn back now to 1 Corinthians 15, to see one further application of the passage:
"Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He bath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He bath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all" (24-28).
This goal of the ages is the fulfilment of the pledge shadowed forth in the creation of Adam.
We must now return to Genesis 1:26, in order to investigate what is actually implied by the world "dominion". There are various possible alternatives that are not used in this passage. The word used here is not
baal, "to have dominion as lord and proprietor" (Isa. 26:13), nor
mashal, "to reign as a governor, or a superior" (Judges 14:4), nor
shalat "to rule" (Psa. 119:133), but radah, "to tread down, to subdue". The following are three passages in which this particular word occurs:
"They that hate you shall reign over you" (Lev. 26:17).
"With force and cruelty have ye ruled" (Ezek. 34:4).
"Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies" (Psa. 110:2).
These references indicate something of the nature of this particular type of dominion, and particularly the passage from Psalm 110, which is Messianic and speaks of the Day of the Lord. The Psalm goes on to speak of the Lord "striking through kings", "filling places with dead bodies" and "wounding the heads over many countries" (Psa. 110:5,6). This conception of dominion is carried over into Genesis 1:28 where we read:
"Replenish the earth and subdue it."
The word "subdue" is a translation of the Hebrewcabash, and its significance may be gathered from the fact that its
substantival form means a "footstool" (2 Chron. 9:18). In Nehemiah 5:5 it is rendered "to bring into bondage"; and it is the word used by the King when he exclaims of Haman, "Will he force the Queen?" (Est. 7:8). The word is also used of the conquest of Canaan under Joshua (Josh, 18:1), a subjugation whose rigour there is no need to quote chapter and verse to prove.
The LXX translates the word "subdue" by kata kurieuo, meaning "to rule imperiously", "to lord it over", "to get the mastery". Its occurrences in the N.T. will give further light on its meaning:
"Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them" (Matt. 20:25, Mark 10:42).
"The man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them" (Acts 19:16).
"Neither as being lords over
God's heritage" (1 Pet. 5:3).
The creation of Adam, his very name, and the dominion given to him, all foreshadowed the subduing of
all enemies beneath the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. An enemy is most certainly in view in Genesis 1:26-28, and in chapter three he is
revealed "that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan" (Rev. 12:9).
We are greatly tempted to explore further into the many vital themes that the name Adam opens up to us but must keep before us the limits set by the word "dispensational". The nature of the soul, the question of inherent immortality, the problem of evil, the relationship of Adam to sin and death, belong to the realm of doctrine, and we dare not begin to examine these important themes without loading our pages so heavily as to bring the work to a stop. Apart from the reference in Jude, where he calls Enoch, the seventh from Adam, and Luke, who takes the genealogy of the Saviour
back to Adam (Luke 3:38), no other writer in the N.T. than Paul uses the name Adam or relates either doctrinal, dispensational
or practical teaching with it.
Paul uses the name seven times, and these occurrences we now give:
Adam in Paul's Epistles
Rom. 5:14. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses.
5:14. After the similitude of Adam's transgressions.
1 Cor. 15:22. For as in Adam all die.
15:45. The first man Adam was made a living soul.
15:45. The last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1 Tim. 2:13. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
2:14. And Adam was not deceived.
Some students of Scripture have put forward the idea that the creation of "Adam" in Genesis 1:26-28, and the creation of Genesis 2:18-25 refer to two different events and to two different men. The opening verse of the book of the generations
of Adam (Gen. 5:1) most certainly refers back to Genesis 1:26,27, yet, as it is the Adam of Genesis 2 and 3 who was the father of "Seth" one and the same man must be intended. So also the
Adam of Romans 5:12-14 is the Adam of Genesis 2 and 3. To Paul, the Adam who brought death into the world, was "the first man" (1 Cor. 15:45).
That Paul, alone of the Apostles has a doctrine of "Adam" and that he alone is the Apostle of the Gentiles, together with the fact that it is Luke and not Matthew that takes the genealogy of the Son of God back to Adam, are facts eloquent and illuminating to the discerning reader. See
THE SECRETS OF THE SON, and