The name ‘Adam’, which is the name of the first human, is also the common Hebrew word for ‘man’, both man the individual and the human race as a whole. The root of the word appears originally to have meant ‘red’, and is the same as that for ‘red soil’. The two words are used together in the sentence, ‘The Lord God formed man (adam) of dust from the ground (adamah)’ (Gen 2:7). Adam represented the climax of God’s creation. He shared his physical origin with other animals in being made of common earthly chemicals, yet he was uniquely different in that he was made in the image of God (Gen 1:27; 2:7; see CREATION; HUMANITY, HUMANKIND). God gave Adam a wife, Eve, who shared his unique nature (Gen 2:21-23), and this nature has passed on to the human race that has descended from them (1 Cor 15:45-49).

God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful parkland for their time of testing and training. There they had opportunity to develop in body, mind and spirit, through doing physical work, making choices, learning skills, relating to each other and living in fellowship with God (Gen 2:15-23). But instead of submitting to God, Adam attempted to live independently of God and so fell into sin (Gen 3:1-7). In so doing he brought judgment upon himself and upon the whole human race which, in effect, existed in him (Gen 3:14-19; Rom 5:12; see DEATH; SIN). Only Jesus Christ can undo the damage that Adam has caused. Through his death, he becomes head of a new race of people, those saved by God’s super-abundant grace (Rom 5:14-19). As Adam was the first of a race of people fitted for the physical life of the present age, so Jesus Christ is the first of a race of people fitted for the spiritual life of the age to come. As all who are in physical union with Adam share the deathly consequences of Adam’s sin, so all who are in spiritual union with Christ share the resurrection life that Christ has made possible (1 Cor 15:21-22,45-49; see also IMAGE).

Adam lived 930 years, during which he fathered many sons and daughters (Gen 5:1-5; cf. 1:28). The most well known of these were Cain, his firstborn; Abel, whom Cain murdered; and Seth, whom Adam and Eve considered a special gift from God to replace Abel (Gen 4:1-8,25).

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