His Name Means "Of the Ground"
His Work: Until his sin, Adam was naked and was the happy
caretaker of the Garden of Eden. After succumbing
to temptation, he tailored his own clothes and
became a farmer.
His Character: The first man, Adam, was initially God's perfect
human creation. Adam was in harmony with nature
and with his wife, who was formed from one of his
His Sorrow: More tragic than any story in the Bible, Adam disobeyed
God, was expelled from the Garden of Eden, and spent the rest of his life in hard labor.
His Triumph: Adam was the firstborn of all creation.
Key Scriptures: Genesis 2-3
"What's that sound?" The tension in Eve's voice reflected the new
feelings in Adam's gut. His mind and heart swirled with sickening sensations,
ones he wished he had never experienced, born of deepest
guilt and the terror of truth.
Until this moment, his life had been filled with remarkable
It all began when Adam took his first breath.
The span of time between morning consciousness and gathering
enough energy to open one's eyes usually takes just a few moments.
But for Adam, the prewaking experience of semiconsciousness must
have taken some time. This was unlike anything that had ever happened
before-or has happened since: a full-grown man literally
sucking in his first gulp of air.
As he lay somewhere between sleep and full consciousness, Adam's
first thoughts must have been, Who am I? What are those sounds? Where
am I? What is this?
Brushing the sleep from his eyes, accepting life, Adam slowly sat
up. He looked down at his own legs and arms and saw smooth skin
and firm, strong muscles. He lifted his hands to his face, bending and
stretching his fingers, studying the sinews. He drew his hands closer
and touched his face, feeling the contours of his eyes and cheekbones,
then briefly to his hair, thick and long.
Adam slowly stood to his feet. He tightened the muscles of his legs
and stretched his new arms skyward. He drew in a deep breath of
fresh, cool air that would rival a pristine, deep forest breath. And it
was only then that Adam saw something of the breathtaking beauty
that surrounded him.
The foliage was lush, the flowers a panoply of color. The fully
orchestrated sounds of songbirds and animals filled his head with sheer
ecstasy. I am alive. He took another deep breath. Life is good.
Adam began to walk. Slowly at first, then a jog, finally a dead run.
Like a child turned loose, the man finally pulled up and spun around,
his arms spread wide. He sang and shouted sounds from his own
mouth, something he had never heard before.
And if the sounds and the beauty and the wind tousling his hair
were not enough to flood his senses, Adam felt an indescribable Presence.
Yes, there were lots of living things around him, but this was different-an
inexpressible Someone. All about him. Over there . over
there . and over there. Whoever it was, Adam inherently knew that he
was not the only one in the garden. Yet he was not afraid; instead, he
was comforted by the Presence.
Adam stopped in a small meadow, the soft grass cushioning his
feet. The glowing yellow sun in the sky warmed his shoulders. He
looked at the trees surrounding him and felt a vague emptiness in the
pit of his stomach.
And then, for the first time, Adam heard a voice, a sound different
from the sound of any of the other living things around him. He heard
words-a language that took shape and became immediate knowledge
in his mind. The voice was quiet and authoritative, and he recognized
it as belonging to the Presence.
"You are free to eat from any tree in the garden," the voice said,
"but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
Adam nodded his willing compliance. He had noted again the tree
to his left and decided he was more than willing to obey. With all of
this, he thought, looking all about, why would I miss the fruit of that tree?
It's an easy promise.
Walking to a small bush covered with red fruit, Adam pulled a
berry from a reluctant stem and tentatively bit into it. Juice covered
his tongue and ran down his throat, tickling his mouth with a delightful
sweet-tart sensation. Eagerly, he gathered others and shoved them
into his mouth.
Then from the woods and skies, animals and birds approached
him. As though mysteriously commanded to organize, these living
things passed by, and group by group, Adam called out their names.
And once they were named, they scattered again.
If ever a man experienced satisfaction by his surroundings, it was
Adam. There was the invisible Presence, the creatures, the vegetation,
and the fruit. But they weren't enough. Deep in his soul, Adam longed
for something-or someone-else by his side.
"It is not good for you to be alone," the voice spoke again." I will
make a helper suitable for you."
Adam sat down. The words warmed him. He knew that the Presence
understood his longing.
First a drowsiness, then a complete fatigue overwhelmed Adam.
He laid his head on the soft grass and closed his eyes.
In what seemed like a moment, he slowly opened his eyes, snatching
consciousness from the mist of sleep. As his eyes took focus, he saw
a form lying on the ground next to him. His heart raced at the beauty
of the creature, like him in some ways, different in delightful other ways.
Rising to his feet, Adam took the hand of the woman, helping her
to stand. Their eyes met. They smiled and gently extended their arms
toward each other until they embraced. Feeling the warmth of her
body against his own, Adam nestled his face on the woman's neck. And
her presence filled the hollowness in his heart. A perfect companion.
Adam felt an unexplainable sense of completeness. Wholeness. This
was someone with whom he could share the beauty and company of
the garden. Joy filled him and spilled upward, causing him to smile.
"I'm Adam," he said.
She smiled with a silent understanding.
"And you're Eve."
Taking her hand once more, Adam walked with her into the
woods. He spoke of his own "birth," the parade of living things, the
taste of the fruit, and the beauty of their surroundings. Adam told her
of the Presence and how she was the perfect answer to his yearning.
But later, as time went on, something happened. Something awful.
What should have been enough became clouded with a new longing.
It started with an innocent conversation with a serpent and a fascination
of that forbidden tree. Whispers of untold pleasure and desire. Conspiracy
between man and woman to blatantly disobey the Presence.
Now new feelings of fear and dread engulfed Adam's soul, eating
away the peace and joy that once resided there. And when he and his
mate heard the Presence-the sovereign Creator-walking in the
garden, they instinctively cowered, ducking behind the brush.
Shame filled them, flushing their faces with heat, widening their
eyes with fear at what was to come. The Presence. Judgment.
"What's that sound?" Eve whispered again.
But they both knew exactly who it was and why he had come.
A LOOK AT THE MAN
For the Man Who Has Everything
Try to imagine what it must have been like to wake up for the first
time as a grown man-to rub the sleep from your eyes and not know
anything about anything. This is exactly what happened to Adam.
Everything was unfamiliar and new. His mind must have spun with
possible scenarios of who he was and who put him in the garden.
The first few days of Adam's life were an indescribable sequence
of extrasensory experiences, like checking into one of those opulent
European hotels, all expenses paid-only much better and much
more extravagant. Everywhere he turned he saw lavish beauty. And
because no other man was in sight, Adam rightly assumed that all of
this belonged to him.
And if that wasn't enough, Adam's great longing-for perfect
human companionship-was completely satisfied with the creation
of a woman, her face lovely and radiant, her companionship pleasing,
her affection for him alone.
Every day the Life section of USA Today tells of the rich and
famous, the accomplished and gifted, the successful and powerful-the
beautiful people. But if ever there were such a person, Adam was
surely the man who had everything. How could he possibly want for
But, incredibly, he did want more. He refused to be satisfied with
what God had provided for his pleasure. His heart was piqued with a
hint of discontent. He wanted to go his own way, to do what he
wanted to do, to be his own man.
And so the only thing God had told him to avoid became the very
thing he submitted to. Willing to sacrifice his abundance on the altar
of this temptation, Adam, the man who had absolutely everything,
lost absolutely everything. All of this ruin over a silly bite of fruit he
was told to avoid. What a foolish wager. What a waste of paradise.
The man who has it all risks it all on something shameful and inconsequential.
But doesn't this sound strangely familiar? Of course it does.
Every once in a while the beautiful people in the Life section find their
way to the News section-indicted for shoplifting, embezzlement,
fraud, assault, and even murder. And so, by their own accord, they
exchange their riches for the poverty of embarrassment and exile-a
page right out of Genesis 3.
But before we jump to judgment against Adam and these fallen
contemporary heroes, we have our own hearts to deal with, don't we?
Our longing for more when we have enough. Our sin of discontent
in the midst of plenty.
HIS LEGACY IN SCRIPTURE
Read Genesis 1:26-28.
1. Why do you think God made men and women in his image? What
does it mean to bear God's image?
2. God told the first human beings to fill the earth and subdue it. What
might that have involved before the fall? What about after the fall?
Read Genesis 2:15-24.
3. What role does obedience play when it comes to enjoying the good
God intends for us? Think of instances in your own life that have
required obedience. How have you experienced God's goodness during
4. God saw that Adam was incomplete without a partner. And Adam
seemed delighted by the woman God made for him. When married
couples blend their lives to do God's will, God's initial plan is carried
forward. What makes couples who have a strong marriage so
effective and happy?
Read Genesis 3:8-24.
5. Why did Adam and Eve suddenly become aware of their nakedness
after they disobeyed God? What did their attempt to make clothing
for themselves signify?
6. Why did they hide from God? Think about ways you tend to "hide
from God" when you do something wrong.
HIS LEGACY OF PROMISE
Adam's story offers a glimpse of the good life God intended for all
of us. He was the first to commune with God, the first to look at
everything beautiful, the first to enjoy an intimate relationship with
his wife, the first to be given satisfying work at which he could certainly
succeed. Utter peace, perfect health, supreme confidence-all
these were his. Unfortunately, Adam, along with Eve, was also the first
to lead the way into sin-into that dark tunnel full of misery and
death. Still, Adam retained his status as a creature made in God's image,
even though that image became suddenly distorted. Fortunately, God
has initiated a plan to restore his image in the children of Adam (that's
us) by making us the children of the new Adam (that's Christ).
Promises in Scripture
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. -Lamentations 3:22-23
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. -1 Corinthians 15:22
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be
to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Corinthians 15:55-57
HIS LEGACY OF PRAYER
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to
work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat
from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you
will surely die." -Genesis 2:15-17
Reflect On: Genesis 2:8-25
Praise God: For creating you in his own image.
Offer Thanks: For the work God has given you, whether it's easy or
hard-or, more likely, a mixture of both.
Confess: Any discontent, disobedience, or mistrust that prevents
you from enjoying the good things God
intends for your life.
Ask God: To help you understand the link between obedience
Every day offers us another chance. Either we can become more like
Adam, the natural man who follows his own independent course, or
we can become more like Christ, the supernatural man who depends
on God for everything in his life. Take a few minutes today to slow
down and ask yourself where God is requiring your obedience. Maybe
he wants you to look for a new job, to keep putting up with your old
job, to spend more time with your children, or to get help with a persistent
sin. Whatever it is, don't hide from the truth, but face it, trusting
that if God is showing it to you, he will help you make the change
and bless you in the process.
* * *
Father, you know how hard it is for me to rely on anyone but myself. I don't
like the idea of depending on someone else. Help me, God, to learn how to
trust and obey you no matter how "unnatural" it may feel. Help me to
remember the example of my brother, Jesus, who depended on you for everything
and who never once went his own way.