Most Christians consider declaring that Adam was not created first as absurd. But those with analytical minds would seek to prove before denouncing. There are many factors revealing Adam, not, necessarily having been the first human. Of course, Adam was first, according to common narrative. But not according to the logical analysis of the Judeo-Christian Biblical narrative.
This is just as Abraham is revealed as being the Father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). Yet Abraham could not have, necessarily been the first genealogical father in the ancestral realm of humanity. Actually, Adam is recorded as having been the first, according to Mosaic record, leading to the birth of Abraham.
But, those of us not having been of biological seed of Abraham, have become the seed of Abraham, by virtue of having become Christians. Before dealing with whether Adam was, or was not the first created human, let us analyze the circumstances, pertaining to the curse pronounced on Cain:
“When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch” (Genesis 4:12-17) (ESV).
On this scriptural reference, there are several questions that make it impossible to conclude that Adam was the first ancestral pedigree. Cain was to be a wanderer on the same day that God pronounced the curse on him—according to Cain’s response (Genesis 4:14). Apparently, Cain knew what being a wanderer meant—as scared of being killed by strangers. Having been the first son of Adam, who could Cain have been scared of?
After settling in the land of Nod, east of Eden, Cain got a wife who gave birth to a son named Enoch, for him. Where could that wife have come from, as Cain was the first son of Adam? He could not have waited until his siblings were grown up, before he could then take one of his sisters to become his wife?
Others may give a speculative narrative, assuming that, indeed, Cain had to wait for any, among his sisters to grow up. That narrative, alone, stretches the Biblical record to imply what it does not say. That should be viewed as corrupt and unacceptable—as bringing disrepute on Holy Scriptures.
The clear Biblical narrative of Man’s creation starts with Genesis 1:26-27. This reference does not indicate that the Man being referred to is Adam. Neither does it refer to one Man or two people being created on that day. This is just as the other living creatures were not created singularly. But what is shown in the following Scripture is formation as opposed to creation:
“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7) (ESV).
The process of forming implies manipulating existing physical materials to come up with something different. This is unlike creating—which implies causing what is none existent to become existent. When God said “dust you are and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19): He was referring to the man of dust. Jesus made that distinction very clear, when talking to the Pharisaic Jews:
“So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken” (John 2:18-23) (ESV).
Verse 21 shows that what Jesus was going to raise after three days was His body—referring to it as the temple. A temple is a sanctuary—regarded as God’s dwelling place—according to the Jews. Destroying a temple, does not mean destroying God.
Moreover, the being of Jesus, declares that He will raise the temple after three days. This implies that the being of Jesus would not be killed by the Jews. They would have succeeded in killing the temple but not killing Jesus. Symbolically, the state of Adam as a physical person implies that the being of Adam dwelt in a temple made of dust.
It is this temple of dust that God said shall return to the dust, from where it came. The clear narrative of Man’s creation is given in Genesis 1:26-27. God’s image is not mud, but Spiritual. Therefore, the Man created in God’s image is Spiritual, rather than physical.
Adam’s formation is different from the creation described in Genesis 1:26-27. What is created in God’s image is not authenticated in man-from-mud theory. The formation of Adam is not complementing what God declared as very good (Genesis 1:31). Adam’s formation is a different process—possibly aiming at developing the character of what was created in God’s image?
In Adam’s story we perceive a workshop that develops understanding towards the adoption of Godly character. There must be a special reason why Man’s creation in Genesis 1:26-27, appears as singular, yet plural at the same time. Male and female are also one in marriage, as described in Scriptures:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) (ESV).
God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). Therefore the Man created in God’s image ought to be one. But, who is this Man created in God’s image? The assumption of this being Adam is wrong—as not in agreement with what was created in God’s image. According to Jesus—answering the skeptical Sadducees—what was created in God’s image is not identified by gender:
“But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching” (Matthew 22:29-33) (ESV).
Indeed, those Sadducees did not know the Scriptures. They did not know what being created in God’s image meant. When talking of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Jesus is not referring to people in Adam’s image. But He is referring to those fortified into that which was created in God’s image—whose structure is angelic.
Such people are different from what was declared as dust—poised to return to dust, after death (Genesis 3:19). Also, Jesus declared: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51) (ESV).
This is another reason why the Jews wanted to stone Jesus. They were stuck on the man-from-mud theory. Jesus was referring to what was created in God’s image. But they thought of what was formed of the dust. Theologians are also trapped in failure to duplicate what Jesus said to the redeemed thief, on the cross:
“And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43) (ESV). Those theologians are stuck in failure to comprehend how that thief would be with Jesus in Paradise. They assume that the being of Jesus would be in His grave, for three days? They cannot make a distinction between that which was created in God’s image and what was formed of the mud.
Truth is in that the being of Jesus went to paradise, exactly at the point of His death, while His body was put in the tomb for three days. Similarly, the being of the thief went to paradise, precisely at the point of his death—though redeemed by Jesus. The actual being of a person is the spiritual aspect that Jesus seeks to redeem—not what returns to dust, after death.
How can we know that the being of Jesus, which is Spiritual, went to paradise, immediately at the point of His death? “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last’” (Luke 23:46) (ESV).
The actual being of Jesus and the being of the redeemed thief—settled in paradise, at the point of their physical death. Although his body was crucified and got buried, the being of the thief did not die. His body returned to the dust or was incinerated. But he escaped death—according to Jesus who had also declared: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51) (ESV).
Similarly, Jesus is commonly understood as having died on the cross. But, it is only the physical nature that died on the cross—not the spiritual nature of Jesus. This is why Jesus had the guts to tell the Jews: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) (ESV).
The spirit in a physical being does not die. It is only that which is physical of a human being that dies. This is why Jesus declared: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51) (ESV).
Yet, both the righteous and the unrighteous are known to die. For instance, the other thief—not redeemed on that day—died on the same day that the other thief and Jesus died. It, obviously, becomes impossible to understand—without first appreciating the definition of death, according to God:
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 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” (Genesis 2:16-17) (ESV).
According to God’s word, Adam died on the very day that he ate of the wrong tree. Yet what is recorded in the same Bible is that Adam lived for nine hundred and thirty years. Clearly, the meaning of death according to God’s definition is not what is commonly understood by humans.
The same viewpoint was reiterated by Jesus—talking to those manifesting a divided opinion between following Jesus and attending to physical needs: “And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:60) (ESV).
According to Jesus, as long as a person did not have the Spirit of God, he was as good as dead. In other words, humanity is embraced in Adam—who took a wrong fruit, at the Garden of Eden and died. The sin of Adam caused a death curse to the entire humanity. Adam’s sinfulness caught up with us, as his descendants.
What God said to Adam, after Adam had eaten the wrong fruit describes effects—as not affecting the Man created in God’s image: “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19) (ESV).
That curse was not referring to the Man created in God’s image. But to what returns to dust, as identifying with death. The other thief—unlike the redeemed one—still entangled in death—is not in paradise. All this points to the fact that humans were created on the same day and should be one—just as God is one.
Physically, a person becomes aware of his existence after birth. But spiritually, that person would have been in existence since creation. The most important factor to know being that it is impossible for a physical person to appreciate the things of the spirit. The spirit is far too superior to be likened to physical things. This is why the apostle Paul declared: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, what the Lord has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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