Today’s Reading: Genesis 1-4
One of the languages God used to speak in was the story of creation and Adam. But, now God speaks in the language Son. Therefore, in light of Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-57 where Paul compares and contrasts Adam and Jesus, I made a list of all the ways Jesus translates the story of Adam as I read the first four chapters of Genesis this morning.
Adam was made “in the image of God.” (Genesis 1:26-27) But, Jesus “is the image of God.” (Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3) There is a big difference between “in” and “is”. This post explains the difference.
Adam was given “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.” (Genesis 1:26) When Adam named the animals, he began to exercise that dominion. However, Adam’s sin and expulsion from the garden effectively ended his dominion unfulfilled though. But, Jesus fully expressed his dominion over the fish (Matthew 17:27, Luke 5:1-9, John 21:1-7), birds (Matthew 6:26, Matthew 10:29, Luke 12:24), and livestock (John 2:14-15, Matthew 8:30-32).
Adam was commanded “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28). Adam had three sons and other children (Genesis 4:1-5:4). But, Jesus was the grain of wheat that fell into the earth and died, bearing much fruit, (John 12:20-26) so that he would be “the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15), “the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).
Adam was commanded “fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28). While this command meant Adam was to control the earth, we never really see him do it. But, Jesus commanded the winds and the waves and they obeyed (Mark 4:35-41).
Adam was formed “of dust from the ground.” (Genesis 2:7) Adam was the “first man” and “from the earth, a man of dust.” But, Jesus “the second man is from heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:47).
Into Adam God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7) But, Jesus breathed on his disciples and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22). “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Adam was formed by God (Genesis 2:8). But, Jesus “was in the form of God.” (Philippians 2:6)
Adam was put in the garden by God (Genesis 2:8). But, Jesus was the beloved son that God sent to his vineyard (Luke 20:13).
Adam was provided everything that he needed in the garden by God – every tree that was pleasant to the sight, every tree that was good for food and the tree of life. Adam was disobedient and rejected his dependence on God, asserting his own independence. (Genesis 2:9, 16-17; 3:6) But, Jesus emptied himself so that he was completely dependent on God for everything, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Matthew 4:1-11, Philippians 2:7-8)
Adam was free to eat from the tree of life so that he could receive the life of God. (Genesis 2:9, 16-17) But, Jesus is the tree of life, “the true vine”, who gives life to those who partake of him. (John 15:1-11, Hebrews 6:4, 1 Peter 2:3)
Adam was put into “a deep sleep” by God. In this deep sleep, God took of Adam’s side and made a woman. God presented this woman to Adam as his wife. Adam says his wife Eve is “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” (Genesis 2:21-23) And, Jesus died, or went into a deep sleep, on the cross where his side was pierced. Out flowed blood and water, symbolizing the birth of the church, Jesus’s wife, the bride of Christ. The blood and water could be thought of as Jesus’ life (blood) and the Holy Spirit (water). (John 19:31-34) Jesus, as God, “gave himself up her…that he might present the church to himself.” (Ephesians 5:25, 27)
After Adam receives Eve as his wife, Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Jesus left his father in heaven and came to earth in the form of a man to hold fast to his wife, nourishing her and cherishing her “because we are members of his body.” Paul then quotes Genesis 2:24. (Ephesians 5:29-31)
Adam said nothing when Eve “also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” He ate, that is he took into himself, his own body, what Eve gave him. Eve was deceived and she gave what she took to Adam. Adam, making a willful choice, took it in silence, perhaps for her sake so that they would remain together. (Genesis 3:6) Jesus, without saying a word, “he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (1 Peter 2:24) Like Eve, we are deceived about our ability to live independently from God. Our deception resulted in mankind becoming fully corrupt with lies and murder, sin. Without a word, Jesus took that sin into his body. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin” so that we could be one with him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Adam hid himself in the garden after he sinned. He was afraid because of his sin, so he hid himself, hoping to avoid God. God asked if he ate from the tree which was forbidden. (Genesis 3:9-11) But, Jesus, just before his crucifixion when he would be made sin for us, went to a garden. Jesus said, “My soul is sorrowful, even to death.” But, instead of hiding, Jesus went to the garden to pray, to seek God. While God asked Adam if he had eaten from the tree that was forbidden, Jesus asked God “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:36-46)
Adam, having made a willful choice to sin and bringing sin into the world, said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Adam shifted the blame to his wife. He spoke up in his own defense, refusing to take accountability for his own willful actions. He was deceitful. (Genesis 3:12) But, Jesus, made a willful choice to become sin, expunging sin from the world and giving us the victory of sin and death through the free gift of his grace. Unlike Adam, Jesus was a just and righteous man who was falsely accused. “But Jesus made no further answer.” “But Jesus remained silent.” “But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge.” “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth…and there was no deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7, 9)
In effect, Adam died in the garden. One result of his willful sin was that he would no longer be the gardener, fulfilling his purpose of keeping and guarding the garden. A second result was that Eve was cursed as her desire would be for her husband. She would long for him, want to cling to him, want to imitate him. After the curse was pronounced, Adam named his wife Eve. Adam took authority or dominion over her. He treated her like one of the animals that he had named in Genesis 2. Adam overstepped the bounds of the image he was created in and the purpose and function given to him and his wife together. (Genesis 3:16, 20). But, Jesus was buried and resurrected in a garden. Before Jesus was seen in his resurrection, Mary Magdelene stood next to his tomb, weeping and looking into the open tomb where Jesus’ body was laid but was no more. She was desiring Jesus. She said they had taken her Lord and she didn’t know where he was. After saying this she turned and saw a man that she thought was the gardener. But, she didn’t know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Notice Jesus didn’t name her. He called her “woman” like Adam did his wife before he sinned. Mary was to be one with Jesus not someone he would lord it over. Mary told the “gardener” that she was looking for Jesus. It was only then that Jesus called her “Mary” and said “do not cling to me.” She was not to cling to Jesus to desire him for herself, to be the only one to imitate him. For Jesus was going to the Father so that all could imitate him through the Holy Spirit. But, Jesus was going not just to his father but Mary’s father too. Jesus was being one with her. (John 20:11-17)
Adam was sent out of the garden to work the ground. Adam was removed from the presence of God. (Genesis 3:23-24) But, Jesus has made a way for us to return to the garden, God’s kingdom. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus was glorified and given authority over all flesh to give eternal life, which is to know the only true God. Jesus brings us back into God’s presence. (John 17)