When we think of Adam, we think of some distant Bible character who is long dead and gone. And while that may be true, he’s not too different from the rest of us. Here are some surprising (but obvious) ways in which we’re not too different from Adam.
1. Adam’s Lineage is Our Lineage
I like that when God inspired Moses to write Genesis, he had him say, “This is the book of the generations of Adam” (Gen. 5:1a, KJV). And I like it because sometimes we tire of reading lineages of strangers who are the children and ancestors of other strangers, but if we remember that we all come from Adam, and that this is OUR family tree, we might pay more attention.
So, who is in your lineage? Sure there’s Cain, but Genesis 5 is a bit more upbeat, showing that we’re also related to legends! I’m sure in school you’ve learned all about the father of modern medicine, the father of science, the father of the English dictionary, the father of the modern novel, and on and on it goes.
Many have gathered to themselves famous legacies, and others infamous legacies (Hitler, Stalin, Belial, Judas).
And yet as great as it is to have ambitions for ourselves (that aren’t related to murder, treason, or world domination), I think we tend to forget about the most important ambition of all: a godly legacy.
Adam and Eve were the parents of all the living, which is interesting, but that could’ve been any two people. What intrigues me more is when the Bible mentions Enos as the father of those who called on the name Yaweh (Gen. 4:26), the holiest reference to the One True God. In fact, this name is so holy that the Hebrews purposefully didn’t put vowels into the word to ensure that no one accidentally said God’s name in vain.
Methuselah is interesting, too. He stands out for living a whopping 969 years (Gen. 5:27). Even for those living in a world where sin’s curse had just started taken a toll on people’s lifespans and environments, this was a long time. This was the longest anyone in the recorded history has ever lived.
Yet Enoch still outshines him. He may not have lived long for those times (only 365 years), but he is prominent because he “walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Gen. 5:24). God didn’t even let him taste death!
“That’s interesting,” you may say, “but so what?”
Here’s the so what: our lives are much shorter than those of Adam’s time. We can eat healthy and go to the hospital regularly and look both ways before we cross the street, but we can’t do much else to extend our lives. And even in Adam’s times, did you notice what happened after God mentioned how they lived, had children, and then lived some more? They died.
Some lived longer lives than others, but in the end, every story (except Enoch’s) concluded with “and he died” (Gen. 5:5, 8, 14, 17, 20, 27, 31).
The important thing isn’t how long they lived, though. It’s how they lived. So, how are WE living? Are WE fulfilling what God wants for our lives? Are WE doing what God set us on earth to do?
What will OUR legacies be?
2. Adam’s Likeness is Our Likeness
After all, this is the book of the generations of Adam, whose name means “mankind.” And the back and forth mentions of God and then man (Gen. 5:1-3), and of man and then God, emphasize the relationship that they share as Creator and creation.
More than that, these repeated mentions emphasize that Adam and Eve are made in God’s image, just like all their descendants would be (Gen. 5:2-3).
It’s good to know that we are still image-bearers of God. It’s the second pillar of all our laws (Gen. 9:6, Matt. 22:40, Rom. 13:8): recognizing that God made people, even bad people, in His image and with great love, should be reason enough to treat everyone we meet with respect due unto humanity.
As the apostle of love, John, said, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 Jn. 4:11).
True, the Fall marred our resemble to God, but we’re still responsible for asking for God’s help repairing that image to look more and more like Him.
Just as Jesus commanded his disciples, He commands us today, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (Jn. 13:35).
3. Adam’s Curse is our Curse . . . And His Hope, Our Hope
If you read Genesis 4 and 5, you may notice that it’s almost as if God were contrasting how well Seth’s line was doing to how horribly Cain’s line was. After all, Seth even has a man named Lamech in his line (Gen. 5:28-29), almost as if to better contrast Cain’s murderous descendant by the same name (Gen. 4:23-24).
But while that is all true, it would be a lie to say that Seth’s line was blessed while Cain’s was cursed. They both bore the punishment of Adam’s failure.
After all, it’s this very same Lamech who looked at his son Noah and said, “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (Gen. 5:29). Yep, Adam’s curse affected Seth’s godly line, too.
Even the righteous sin, after all–and even if we could be perfect here on earth, we would still suffer from other’s sinful tendencies towards jealousy, malice, gossip, rage, violence, fighting, and so on. And because we live in the same earth, all our sins collectively destroy the same planet and we all collectively suffer the same human struggles. And maybe we’ll get weary.
I certainly do.
But that doesn’t mean we need to end this study on a sad note! That doesn’t mean we give up in frustration. That doesn’t mean we grow bitter and resentful. That doesn’t mean we put on our batman costumes and turn into vigilantes.
Instead, we do right by God, even if that means standing alone, suffering cultural rejection, and never getting man’s praise. And then, we may not find approval on earth, but we will find it in heaven. God loves to see us stand strong in virtue, after all, and that’s why we get this beautiful verse in the Bible:
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8).
Our God is the God who “seeth in secret” (Matt. 6:4)–we’d do well not to forget that.
Come back soon for the next post in the Genesis series.