Welcome to 2023 in Yeshua’s Name!
ADAM, Where are You?
We read these words in the first book of the Torah in Genesis 3:9. God is speaking. Adam and his wife were hiding from the presence of the LORD God because they had sinned and disobeyed Him. God knew where Adam and Eve were, but His call was the sorrowful, plaintive cry of a Father whose children had just decided to choose death (through disobedience) instead of life (through loving Him above all).
I sense that the Lord is asking each one of us the same question as we enter 2023. “Child of God, where are you? Are you in the place to which the Lord has directed you? Are you established in a good, Bible-based congregation of disciples? Do you have a daily routine of seeking the face of
God in Bible reading and prayer? Are you walking on the highway of holiness spoken of in Isaiah 35?” Perhaps you can relate to that cry of God’s heart and to Adam’s response, “…I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10). A basic principle of scripture is expressed in this verse: Sin separates men from the presence of God. It thwarts the longing of the heart of God for fellowship with His creation.
The Name Adam
The name Adam, אדם (ah-DAHM), means “man of the red earth,” derived from the Hebrew word adamah, אדמה (ah-dah-MAH), meaning “earth” or “ground”—from which Adam was formed. The color red in Hebrew is adom אדם (ah-DOHM). The word for blood is dam דם (dahm). Considering the connection of “blood” with “life” in Hebrew, the name Adam has multiple layers of meanings. (The connection is also the origin of the kosher practice of returning the blood of a slaughtered animal to the ground and covering it with earth.)
The term for human beings in Hebrew is b’nei adam, בני אדם (beh-NAY ah-DAHM)—literally, “the children of Adam.” Man’s life began with a kiss: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). To breathe into someone’s nostrils is what happens when two people kiss. God kissed life into Adam.
Adam, the First Man
Lois Tverberg, in Listening to the Language of the Bible, reminds us that in Hebrew thought, the first of anything represents the whole. Therefore, Adam—the first man—represents all of humanity. Since he died, we all will die. Since he sinned, we all will sin. Since he failed the test, we fail the test as well.
The forbidden tree was placed in the Garden in order to provide a test whereby man could freely choose to serve God. Without free will, man would have been a robot. Eve also had free will, and, although she had not heard directly from God about the prohibition (Gen. 2:16-17), she had heard about it from Adam. In classic fashion, Satan waited until Eve was alone to subtly tempt her to doubt God’s goodness, righteousness, and holiness.
Adam and Original Sin
There were two trees in the Garden of Eden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die'” (Gen. 2:16-17). A very clever serpent entered the Garden and tempted Eve (Gen. 3:1). She was faced with the same three temptations that we face today: the lust of the flesh (the tree was good for food), the lust of the eyes (it was pleasant to look at), and the pride of life (a tree desirable to make one wise).
While HaSatan is cunning, he is also very predictable. His tactics have not changed since the Garden. The Brit Hadashah affirms this truth: “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (I Jn. 2:16).
When Adam and Eve sinned, they experienced a miserable feeling of guilt that made them afraid of God. They knew they were naked. Communion with their Father was broken. Their attempt to cover up their nakedness (Gen. 3:7) is a picture of man’s attempt to cover his guilt with a garment of excuses. But only a God-made garment can cover sin. That is why God Himself clothed Adam and Eve with garments made of animal skins. Blood was shed in making these first garments of redemption.
Traditional Christian and Messianic belief is that sin is both an act and a state. As a state, all mankind inherited a sin nature due to Adam’s fall. Dr. Michael Brown explains this concept well: “We do not believe that people are totally and exclusively sinful, incapable of doing or choosing anything good. Rather, we believe that by nature we are hopelessly prone to sin and thoroughly entangled with sin. It is because Adam fell—and we must remember that Adam is the father of the human race according to the Torah—that there are murders, rapes, thefts, and criminal acts committed every moment of every day. We are, typically, a fallen race.” Dr. Brown continues, “Something horrible happened in between Genesis 1, when God pronounced everything ‘very good’ [tov meod, טוב מאד], and chapter 4, when Cain killed Abel. We call this—with good reason—the fall of man, and it explains why children kill their own parents and parents abuse their own children—why in civilized Europe there could be a Nazi Holocaust, and why there is so much sickness and disease in the world.”
This is the doctrine of original sin, in Hebrew khet kadmon חטא קדמון (khet kahd-MOHN), the belief that Adam’s sin was a kind of disease that his offspring are indelibly born with, and that it is transmitted from one generation to the next. In other words, sin is “in our blood.”
Traditional Jewish Belief About Sin
Traditional Jews do not believe in the doctrine of original sin or the fall of man, but rather embrace a concept of the higher and lower nature of man, the good and evil inclination. The good inclination is yetzer hatov, יצר הטוב (YET-zer hah-TOV). The evil inclination is yetzer hara, יצר הרע (YET-zer hah-RAH). Jews are supposed to reform their ways and become moral and upright through adherence to the Law of God. In other words, overcoming the evil inclination. The Brit Hadasha, however, makes it clear that we are slaves to the yetzer hara: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14). And again, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good, I do not find” (Rom. 7:18).
According to traditional Jewish thought, Adam’s sin does not predetermine the decisions of his offspring. Human obedience can counteract the yetzer hara that leads people to commit sinful acts. Man moves from being good to being holy. The sin-salvation paradigm of Messianic Judaism and Christianity does not agree with the Jewish belief that while Adam’s act was one of disobedience to God and therefore a sin, every child born after him is not “born damned for that sin” (Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, A Code of Jewish Ethics).
I often wonder about children and original sin. My experience as a mother and preschool teacher led me to an understanding of just how ingrained sin is in all of us. Children do not need to be taught to disobey. I remember, as if it was yesterday, the day that Neil was changing Jonathan’s diaper on the changing table where a light switch was within reach. Neil told Jonathan not to touch the switch. Every time Neil turned around to get a diaper or wipes, Jonathan reached for the switch. Disobeying came “naturally” to our precious six-month-old.
And yet, according to Rabbi Telushkin, Jewish law prescribes numerous ethical acts, the practice of which refine our natures and lead us to goodness. “The Jewish view of human nature would seem to be ‘do good and you will become a good person in spite of yourself.'” Therefore, the mitzvah מצוה (MITZ-vah), the obligatory good deed, becomes the way to improve one’s character. “From Judaism’s perspective, greatness of character is not measured by our not having an evil inclination, but by our success in controlling it.”
While Rabbi Telushkin—and other traditional Jews as well—agree with Gen. 8:21 (NIV), “… every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood,” this does not mean that man is born bad, but rather born morally neutral with strong tendencies toward evil.
Two Adams in the Bible
Our God is a God of redemption and restoration. Although the first Adam in the Garden sinned, God had a plan from the very beginning to send a Second Adam to restore what the first Adam lost. (Gen. 3:15) The New Covenant speaks about this Second or Last Adam many times. He is the Messiah, and His Name is Yeshua.
“And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life- giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven” (I Cor. 15:45-47). Yeshua, the last or second Adam, also known as the heavenly man, was sent to earth to reverse the curse that came through the first Adam. “As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (I Cor. 15:48-49).
Paul, writing to the believers in Corinth, has more to say about the Second Adam. “But now Messiah is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits, afterward those who are Messiah’s at His coming” (I Cor. 15:20-23).
The Book of Romans elaborates further: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come)” (Rom. 5:12-14).
“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:18-19).
A Summary of the First and Second Adam
The First Adam: the man from the earth The Second Adam: the Man from heaven The First Adam: the first creation
The Second Adam: the second or new creation
The First Adam: sin in his blood
The Second Adam: sinless blood (born of a virgin, Luke 1:34) The First Adam: disobeyed in a garden
The Second Adam: obeyed in a garden
The First Adam: God breathed life within him
The Second Adam: Yeshua breathed life within us through His Ruach The First Adam: lost access to the tree of life through sin
The Second Adam: opened up the way to the tree of life through His atoning sacrifice The First Adam: tempted by HaSatan and failed
The Second Adam: tempted in all points and was victorious
The First Adam: death came through him (physical and spiritual) The Second Adam: life came through Him (abundant and eternal) The First Adam: the source of our sinful, rebellious nature
The Second Adam: the source of man’s partaking of Yeshua’s divine nature The First Adam: the first creation from blood-red earth
The Second Adam: the new creation from Yeshua’s blood (I Pet. 1:18-19) The First Adam: head of the human, earthly family
The Second Adam: head of God’s heavenly family
The First Adam: a physical bride taken from his side while sleeping (Gen. 2:21-23) The Second Adam: a spiritual bride taken from His pierced side while dying
The First Adam: sin (death) originated by man
The Second Adam: sin (death) defeated by Man (I Cor. 15:21) The First Adam: bore sons in his earthly image (Gen. 5:3)
The Second Adam: bore sons in His heavenly image (Rom. 8:29) The First Adam: the first human and representative of all humanity The Second Adam: the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18)
Hineni! in 2023
The correct answer to the question, “Adam, where are you?” is “Hineni,” הנני (hee-NAY-nee), “Here I am.” The first person to give this reply was Abraham (Gen. 22:1) when God tested him by asking him to sacrifice the son he loved. The issue has always been: God’s will or our will. Who is first in our lives? Are we or is God? Were we God-centered or man-centered in 2022? Which will we be in 2023?
B. H. Clendennen makes an excellent observation about believers in one of his devotionals. “Every choice we make in life becomes the test. That was the test for the first Adam. This is the test you face every day. Every test, every temptation, is whether you are going to remain centered in yourself. Either God is the center of our universe and we have become rightly adjusted to Him, or we have made ourselves the center.” Pray with me, “Abba, please help me make YOU the center of my life in 2023. Please forgive me for being self-willed and self-centered. I want to be God-serving instead of self-serving. Thank You for the power of Your Spirit which sets me free from my Adamic nature to live a life of victory in Yeshua. Hineni, Adonai. Here I am, Lord!” AMEN.
A Final Thought
I found a statement about Adam in A Dictionary of Bible Types that touched my heart. I hope it touches yours as well. “Adam was sinless in the first part of his life, and then deliberately and knowingly became a partner in Eve’s sin in order that he might be with her, partake of her punishment, and continue to have her for his very own. So our Lord Jesus [Yeshua] was sinless and perfect. He willingly and knowingly took upon Himself the form of a servant and was made sin for us that He might forever have us with Him.”
Holiday Love and Blessings,