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Originally published in Creation 13, no 4 (September 1991): 28-31.
From reading Genesis, and armed with a basic knowledge of genetics, we can learn a lot about what Adam was probably like.
Did Adam have black hair, brown skin, and brown eyes? Was he six feet eleven inches tall? These are questions we cannot answer for sure, because we were not there to see Adam. However, from reading Genesis, and armed with a basic knowledge of genetics, we can learn a lot about what Adam was probably like.
But, how much detail can we go into concerning this man? Did he have a navel (belly button) for instance? This is something I have often been asked. Actually, I believe we can have a definite answer here. Your navel is really a scar formed from the attachment via the umbilical cord to your mother. After birth, the cord was cut, and where it was attached to your body it shrivelled up and formed a scar known as your belly button.
Now think about Adam. Was he born in the same way you or I were? He certainly was not. He was made directly by God from the dust of the earth. In Genesis 2:7 we read, ‘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 soul’
Adam was not born of a woman. He was the first human. In l Corinthians 15:45 we read, ‘And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul’. Adam was the first man.
This is an important point by the way, there were no other human beings made alongside Adam.
If Adam was not born of a woman, he would not have had an umbilical cord, thus no scar, and thus no navel. Now consider Genesis 2:21-22, ‘And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’
Genesis 3:20 states: ‘And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was [to be] the mother of all living. ’ The first woman (the first wife) was made directly from part of Adam. She was not born of a woman either. Adam and Eve were unique. Neither of them would have had a navel. When you think about it, that would have been a tremendous witness to everyone who saw them while they were alive. They had evidence that they were the first two people.
I have often had people ask me, after reading the passage about the creation of woman, why men don’t have one fewer rib than women if God made Eve from Adam’s side (or rib). The way I answer this is: If a man had an accident and his leg was amputated as a result, and then he married and had children, would all his children have only one leg?
Of course not! This is because the instructions for how we are constructed are contained in the DNA in the nucleus of our cells—in our genes. When God took part of Adam to make Eve, He didn’t change Adam’s genes. All the information in Adam’s genes was still there.
Eve was made specially for Adam. This was the first marriage. That is why Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6 reminded people that the meaning of marriage is dependent on the origin of marriage - and the first marriage is in Genesis: ‘And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.’
In Genesis 2:15 we read, ‘And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.’ Adam, the first man, was told to work, and to look after the garden God had made. This would not have been a chore. This would have been a joy for Adam. This was a perfect garden. There were no thorns and thistles, as these did not come until after God had cursed the earth. And because everything God had made was ‘very good’ (Genesis 1 :31), Adam, the plants, the garden, and in fact every thing, would have been perfect.
How different this is to today’s world. How different looking after gardens and farming is today!
In Genesis 2:19-20, we are told that Adam named many of the animals. ‘And out of the ground the Lord God [had] formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field’.
Man has always given names to things. Scientists who give names to the different animals and plants are called taxonomists. Anyone who studies taxonomy knows how hard it is to remember any of those names. Adam would not have had this problem because he was made perfect - he would have been as intelligent as man could ever be.
By the way, to do this, Adam must have been able to speak. He must have had a complex language right from the start. He did not even have to learn to speak as we have to. He was made as a mature human being.
He awoke after his creation, a conscious being, fully formed, able to communicate and understand.How different it was for Adam. He awoke after his creation, a conscious being, fully formed, able to communicate and understand. Have you ever thought about the fact that Adam did not see God make him? The evidence that God created was all around Adam though. Adam did not even see God make Eve. This means Adam had to have faith in God’s Word concerning where he came from, just as we have to have faith today. But just like Adam, we have plenty of evidence that God created just the way His Word states.
Some people think that because Adam had to name all those animals on day six of creation, this could not have been an ordinary day. They think it must have been a long period of time. I am often told that there is no way someone could name all of the names in one day. However, people who say this usually think that because they couldn’t name and remember all the names, Adam could not have either.
The Bible, though, tells us that the first man Adam rebelled against God and sin came into the world. Ever since, the creation has been running down. Not only are there no perfect humans in the world now, but all humans have lots of mistakes on their genes (mutational defects or copying mistakes that slowly accumulate in the human race).
The first man had no mistakes when he was made—he was perfect. I think we can get a glimpse (looking through a glass dimly, so to speak) of what Adam was like by observing certain people today. I have met people who have photographic memories, others who are brilliant artists. I have read about people who can play musical instruments brilliantly from a very young age, such as Mozart. Others can do extremely complex mathematical computations in their head which even advanced computers take time to accomplish. If we put all these talents, plus much more, into one person, I think we are getting close to what Adam was like. Almost makes you feel depressed, doesn’t it?
We have to realize that Adam was so much more intelligent than we are. We are even told that we don’t use much of our brain power. Imagine a human who could use all of his brain power. It was certainly no problem for Adam to name and remember animals on one day.
We can’t say for sure, but I suspect Adam had a middle-brown skin colour. All humans have the same skin colour. We have a pigment called melanin. If we have a lot of this pigment we are very dark (even black). If we don’t have much of this pigment we are very fair (white).
In The Answers Book, it is explained that from two people having the right mix of dominant and recessive genes for the amount of melanin, all shades of colour in humans could arise. Thus, if Adam and Eve were both a middle-brown colour, all shades from black through to white could be accounted for in their children and future generations. For the same reason, Adam and Eve probably had brown eyes and dark hair.
In a similar sort of way, if Adam had blood group ‘A’, and Eve had blood group ‘B’, all of the ‘ABO’ blood groups (A, AS, B. O) could arise.
Genesis 5:4 tells us that Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters. Jewish tradition has it that they had 56 children altogether! Remember Adam lived for 930 years (Genesis 5 :5). If Adam and Eve were the first humans, and all people have descended from them (Acts 17:26, ‘And hath made of one blood all nations of men . . .’), then somewhere brothers had to marry sisters. (This is also explained in detail in The Answers Book.)
In Genesis 2: 17, Adam was told he could not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, if Adam, being the federal head of the human race, disobeyed, all of his descendants would have to suffer the consequences.
Even though Eve was the one tempted by the serpent, and the one who first ate the forbidden fruit, Adam is the one who brought sin into the world, because he was the head of the human race and the one to whom the commandment had first been given.
Romans 5:12 states: ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned’ Because of this sin of rebelling against God’s law, God cursed the ground (Genesis 3:1 7), caused thorns and thistles to come forth (Genesis 3:1 8), and introduced death into the world - Adam and Eve died spiritually, and started to die physically.
The first physical death recorded is that of at least one animal when ‘unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.’ God killed an animal, and shed blood, and gave a covering to Adam and Eve. This is a beautiful picture of something special to come - that shed blood would be a covering because of sin.
Hebrews 9:22 states that ‘without shedding of blood [there] is no remission.’ God requires the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. However, the blood of bulls and goats was not good enough. Because a man brought sin into the world, a man needed to atone - but it had to be a perfect man. If all descendants of Adam now suffered from sin, how could this be accomplished?
God provided a second Adam - a perfect Adam who could be the perfect sacrifice.. God himself came to earth as a man. Jesus Christ, the second member of the Trinity, was born of a woman to become a man so that the perfect sacrifice could be made. Jesus was God, but He was also man as God intended man to be - sinless. He was crucified on the cross of Calvary. He shed His blood and paid the penalty for our sins, and was raised from the dead, conquering death, the judgment which God had brought upon man because of sin.
That is why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:20-22: ‘But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’
We read further in 1 Corinthians 15:45-47: ‘And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.... The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.’ First Corinthians 15:26 states: ‘The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.’ Death is swallowed up in victory, Paul says. And we can say with him, ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55). Christ has paid the penalty. The last Adam has conquered death and provided a means of deliverance from the first Adam’s fall into sin, resulting in separation from God.
This is the message of the Gospel. But isn’t it sad that those Christians who accept evolutionary ideas are really destroying this message? Paul tells us in Romans 8:22 that the whole creation is groaning because of sin, awaiting the time that all things will be renewed. The death and the suffering we see in the world today resulted from the first Adam’s actions.
However, if evolution is true, and the world today is an evolving world in which death and suffering have been God’s way of doing things, then why did the last Adam need to come and die? What is this world going to be restored to? What were the consequences of the first Adam’s actions?
Evolution destroys the Gospel message. Evolution destroys any understanding of what Jesus did on the cross. Evolution stops people understanding the meaning of the first and second Adam. When we take Genesis literally, and understand about the first man Adam, we then understand what the rest of the Bible is all about.