To dig into Adam, we will start where the bible starts—in Genesis 1:26-31.
1. The Imago Dei
In Genesis 1:26, we see a new way in which God creates. Every aspect of creation is the work of the spoken word of Christ to create. But when it comes to mankind, instead of “He”, it says, “Let US create man in OUR image, in OUR likeness.”
Do you see the work of the Trinity here?
The perfect unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit aimed to create not just a single man but a community of mankind. A oneness in marriage that would mirror the oneness of the holy Trinity.
The fact that mankind is made in the image of God is called the “Imago Dei”.
The image of God is a foundational concept for understanding our significance and purpose in life. Understanding how we are made in God’s image helps us understand our inherent dignity as a human being created by our heavenly Father.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
From these verses, we understand that our worth is connected to our Creator. If God is of indescribable worth, then human beings made in His image must have immense value, too.
In Genesis 9:6, God reminds Noah that man is made in God’s image: Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
In other words, this verse tells us, “To attack a person, is to attack God through His image bearer.”
We are also told again in the New Testament that human beings are made in God’s image.
James 3:9 With it [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
So how we treat people indicates how we value God.
C. S. Lewis says in his book The Weight of Glory, “There are no ordinary people. You have never met a mere mortal.” The people you see every day, even the ones to whom you give little regard, will live forever either under salvation or judgment. Even the most obscure person is not ordinary in God’s eyes.
For all of God’s creation, He said it was good. But after He created Man in the Imago Dei He said it was “very good”.
2. The Federal Head of Mankind
Read: Genesis 2:4-25
The Hebrew word for Adam, is translated most simply as man. What is cool, too, is that the Hebrew word for earth, or dirt, is almost exactly the same. So, this dirt man, is the representative of manhood.
Adam acted as a representative of the entire human race. With the test that God set before Adam and Eve, He was testing the whole of mankind. Adam’s name means “man” or “mankind.” Adam was the first human being created. He stands at the head of the human race. He was placed in the garden to act not only for himself but also for all who would come from him. Just as a federal government has a chief spokesman who is the head of the nation, so Adam was the federal head of mankind.
This is called federal headship. I will further define what Adam’s federal headship means for us later.
For now, let’s look at the four key responsibilities God gave Adam.
Read: Genesis 2:15-24
God gave man a work to do (work in the garden and take care of it).
God gave man a will to obey (do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or you will die).
God gave man a woman to love (a helper suitable for him; The two became one flesh).
Read: Genesis 1:28
God gave man a legacy to pass on (be fruitful and multiply).
3. In Adam, All Die
Read: Genesis 3:1-24
The Problem is Adam failed. Adam and Eve’s decision to choose death and sin over God and life meant that the human race would pay the consequences of life separated from God. A life deserving only death!
As a consequence of the fall of the first man, Adam, every person born into the world is morally corrupt and spiritually dead. It took only a single act of disobedience. This was the first sin on Earth, and through it entered sin and death to the rest of humanity (Romans 5:12). Sin is disobeying God. Sin is worshiping anything above God.
The Bible describes sin as the breaking, or transgression, of God's law (1 John 3:4) Sin is disobedience! Sin is trying to find your identity, personal significance, personal salvation, sense of security, purpose for living, or happiness and joy in these things, people, or status INSTEAD OF IN GOD! Sin is when we fail to do what God tells us to do or when we do what God tells us not to do.
As a result, all human beings incur physical, spiritual and eternal death, which is separation from God. Adam and Eve were punished with immediate spiritual death, eventual physical death, banishment from Eden, and loss of fellowship with God. Adam was cursed with having to sweat hard in his work, and Eve was cursed with labor pains in childbirth and the tendency to rebel against Adam.
The stark reality is this: God’s perfect wrath sits on all sinners no matter how many, or what kind of, sins they have committed.
Rom. 6:23 says, “… the wages of sin is death …”, meaning we have earned death because of our sin.
Consequently, all human beings are born sinful by nature and practice sin by choice which enslaves man to the fleeting pleasures of self-rule and sin leaving them totally depraved in every aspect of their being.
The chief idea of federal headship is that, when Adam sinned, it was counted for all of us. His fall was our fall. When God punished Adam by taking away his original righteousness, we were all likewise punished. The curse of the Fall affects us all. Not only was Adam then declared to make his living by the sweat of his brow, but that is true for us as well. Not only was Eve consigned to have pain in childbirth, but that has been true for women of all human generations.
God ordained that Adam act on behalf of all people when he was in the garden, so Adam’s choice to sin means that we are brought forth under the penalty of that sin and that his sin is imputed (credited) to us.
Imputation means to attribute or ascribe or credit.
Imputation speaks of what I am accredited. At no time in all of human history have we been more accurately represented than in the Garden of Eden. To be sure, we did not choose our representative there. Our representative was chosen for us. The one who chose our representative was almighty God.
When God chooses our representative, He does so perfectly. His choice is an infallible choice. Adam represented me infallibly, not because he was infallible, but because God is infallible. Given God’s infallibility, I can never argue that Adam was a poor choice to represent me.
The assumption many of us make when we struggle with the Fall is that, had we been there, we would have made a different choice. We would not have made a decision that would plunge the world into ruin. Such an assumption is just not possible given the character of God. God doesn’t make mistakes. His choice of my representative is greater than my choice of my own.
So, the result of the Fall of Adam means that each one of us to follow him are totally depraved in sin.
In Genesis 5, we see the line of people that came from the original man, Adam. In Genesis 6, we see God's evaluation of mankind after the fall and His explanation of mankind's condition due to the fall of Adam.
Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
In Romans 3, Paul rightly explains mankind's condition.
Romans 3:10-12 … “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Jesus said we are like bad trees bearing bad fruit. Because of Original Sin, there is no good, only bad in us. Indeed, we are sons of the Devil (John 8:44).
Man has no hope or power to restore or save himself apart from God’s own gracious intervention. We call this Total Depravity. In man's natural state, he can do nothing that honors God and has no will that longs for God apart from any grace exerted by God to transform him.
We have no hope or power—no ability to restore or save ourselves into right standing with God.
This reality of our sin leaves us utterly desperate for the Second ADAM.
Martin Luther wrote about Him this way: “Since all of us, born in sin and God’s enemies, have earned nothing but eternal wrath and hell so that everything we are and can do is damned, and there is no help or way of getting out of this predicament…therefore another man had to step into our place, namely Jesus Christ, God and man, and had to render satisfaction and make payment for sin through his suffering and death”
4. In Christ is Life
Read Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 45-49
This is good news to us. Because the first Adam failed, all of us did. Mankind chooses to be self-centered and rebel against life and the Dance. To try to make the dance happen around our self-centered sinful existence. In this, we choose the battlefield that we now know as life in this world—full of sin and death.
But, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, stood face to face with the enemy on the battleground you and I face every day and instead of saying, “Ok. Let’s make it all about me. He chooses to stay in the Dance of the Trinity. He chooses to not be self-centered but to remain other-centered, to remain in LOVE and the glory of the Godhead. He chooses life.
Now watch this:
God told Adam and Eve to obey him regarding the Tree in the middle of the garden. Right? DO NOT eat of it. But they did eat of it and denied God and choose death. We all did.
God told Jesus to obey him about a tree, too. That tree was the Cross. But the flip was that in obeying God the Father, Jesus would die.
He willingly stepped into the heart of the battle so that He could draw you and me into the heart of LIFE.
What Jesus has known and experienced for all eternity is the beauty, the love, and the satisfaction of the fellowship of the trinity, and He has come to bring it to His people.
This is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
You see, Adam wildly failed at all four of the responsibilities God gave him. But in the second Adam, we see a different result.
Jesus, who is the last Adam, is given the same four responsibilities:
[A work to do] – Redeem the Lost
[A will to obey] – His Father’s
[A woman to love] – The Church
[A legacy to pass on] – The Disciples and the Church
In the same passage that Paul speaks of the first Man, Adam, he speaks of another man, Jesus!
1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures
“What I received I pass onto you as of first importance.” Paul rightly emphasizes the most important fact in all of human history—that “Christ died for our sins.”
Theologically, the Bible calls this atonement. Atonement is what was made for God’s people at the cross of Jesus.
Atonement means “at one with God.” Atonement means that at the cross, God reconciled His people to himself in Christ, making us one with Him again.
Romans 3:25 tell us that God presented Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood.
Romans 5:8 says it this way: “… God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB) He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
“God made Him (Christ) who had no sin (first requirement), to be sin for us (die for us [second requirement]), (why?) so that, in Him (Christ) we might become the righteousness of God.” God sent Christ who was sinless, to take on our sin, our punishment, and die for us.
Charles Hodge says this well:
“There is probably no passage in the Scriptures in which the doctrine of justification is more concisely or clearly stated than [this]. Our sins were imputed to Christ, and his righteousness is imputed to us. He bore our sins; we are clothed in his righteousness.”
Again, imputation means to attribute or ascribe or credit. Imputation speaks of what I am accredited.
While this worked for our bad under the first Adam, this is for our absolute good under the second Adam. The righteousness I am judged by is Jesus’, not mine. The veil, or the clothing, that God sees on me is Christ—His righteousness. This righteousness is not infused into me and is not performed by me. It is imputed. It is laid upon me—like a garment.
Every Human will be represented by one of these two Adams. Adam and Christ stand as the two great figures at the entrance to two different realities. Adam and Jesus represent two different generals who lead two very different armies.
The first Adam—a manhood set on a natural course, based on instinct—a manhood devoid of transcendent meaning.
The second Adam, Jesus—a manhood empowered by God, dependent on Christ and not flesh—a manhood full of transcendent meaning.
Thank God for “The Man,” Jesus Christ.
Thank God for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—The Second Adam; Jesus, who left His thrown in heaven where He rules and reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords to come to earth and take on the life of a servant.
He humbly and painfully took on our deserved wrath so that we might have life eternal with God and be empowered to serve Him on the mission He has given us for His Glory.