Why God named the race 'adam'...

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(Tim: this is a rerun) The Apostle Paul

prohibits the exercise of authority over man by woman, saying "I do

not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, for Adam

was created first, then Eve." (1 Timothy 2:12a)

With this simple statement, Paul explicitly affirms what is implicit

throughout God's Word: that the order of creation establishes

patriarchy as God's pattern for leadership in human relationships.

Addressing the matter of propriety in prayer, the Apostle Paul again

emphasizes this order: "For man does not originate from woman, but

woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake,

but woman for the man's sake" (1 Corinthians 11:8,9).

Imagine a new believer, thoroughly confused by our disordered world, discovering the truth of passages such as

1Corinthians 11:3-16, 14:34-35, Ephesians 5:22-33, 1Timothy 2:9-15, and

1Peter 3:1-7. What a deep sense of relief to discover that the order of

creation gives us universal principles for the relationships between

men and women.

But while the facts of Eve's creation are instructive for

establishing proper order between man and woman, Genesis goes on to reveal

another important biographical note about Adam and Eve. The significance of this

biographical detail, also, is revealed more fully in the New Testament.

The first hint of this element comes after the Fall when God,

walking in the Garden in the cool of the day, inquires of Adam, "Where

are you?" When Adam responds by explaining that he and Eve found

themselves naked and hid, it is notable...

that God directs His follow-up

question again to Adam, asking him, "Who told you that you were naked?

Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"

(Genesis 3:11). [Footnote 1]

It was Adam, not Eve, who was required to explain the tragic

alienation from God they both had suffered, and this despite Eve having

been the one deceived, [Footnote 2] the first one to sin, and

the one who enticed her husband to follow her into that sin. This is

neither a small nor unimportant aspect of the Genesis account: it was

Adam God first held responsible for the Fall despite Adam being the

second sinner in the Garden.

The Holy Spirit records that it is because of the sin of Adam--not Eve--that the

race of Adam remains under the curse of judgment and death down to

this present day.

Therefore, just as through one man sin

entered into the world, and death through sin, and so 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 until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the

likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

(Romans 5:12-14).

A quarter-century ago, now, my father noted that, despite efforts to neuter the

language of our Faith, he had yet to hear anyone propose that the

Church become a 'he' or Satan become a 'she.' Similarly, it seems

ironic feminists don't object to the essential inequality between

the sexes revealed by this portion of the Biblical account of the Fall.

Shouldn't Eve be recognized as the leader in the Garden? Shouldn't Eve

have been penalized more severely since she was the one who took the lead in

the sin of the Garden? Aren't we being patronizing when we attribute

the cosmic penalties of the Fall to Adam's account?

Perhaps feminists fail to argue the issue because this particular

point happens to be one where they rather like the clear meaning of

God's Word. There's no question but that the Bible is clear enough on

this issue... as the New England Primer puts it succinctly:

In Adam's fall

We sinned all.

God's Word makes clear that because God made Eve for Adam and placed

her under his authority, it was Adam whom God called to account for the

Fall. Adam was the patriarch of his home and his race. This is not to

say that Eve escaped personal accountability; in Genesis 3 we read that

God also placed Eve under a curse--the punishment that even today

brings suffering to all women in childbirth. So too the serpent and his descendants suffer under God's judgment. Yet it is through Adam alone

that death comes to all men, it is because of Adam's sin that all

creation groans awaiting its release from the corruption of sin (Romans

8:22,23), and it is in Adam that we all die:


For since by a man came death, by a man also came the

resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all

will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

One might think Adam's fatherhood over us all is neglected in the

Church today because it reinforces patriarchy. I think it more likely

that we neglect Adam's federal headship in preaching and teaching

because individualistic autonomy is written deep in the hearts of

modern man.

Consider, for instance, how long it has been since this kind of

theological understanding has appeared in services of infant baptism

(or dedication): "O merciful God, grant that the old Adam in this Child

may be so buried, that the new man may be raised up in him." [Footnote 3]

Federal headship is a doctrine modern man finds hard to swallow. As a

result, the significance of Father Adam to his human progeny is

slipping away within the Church, just as in the world, leaving the

imputation of Adam's sin to all mankind just one more antique notion

rooted in the culture of the Biblical writers and needing revision by

today's dynamic equivocators.

For centuries Americans have been enamored of the legend of the

autonomous loner. It's a cultural ideal we've propagated worldwide.

Consider loner movie stars such as Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, John

Wayne, or Humphrey Bogart, look back on what you remember of character

development in the novels of Ernest Hemingway, not to mention

Hemingway's personal life, think about Mother Earth News and the

idyll of natural self-reliance it and similar cultural organs promoted

throughout the Seventies; in each case individualistic autonomy serves

as a fairly good interpretive grid for American culture. And it goes

without saying that the ideal of the autonomous loner and the doctrine

of federal headship are worlds apart.

Yet avoiding the doctrine of Adam's federal headship over all

mankind brings harm in three ways. First, we hide one of the principal

supports for the patriarchal ordering of the race of Adam which God has

written on the hearts of all men. Second, as the federal headship of

Adam becomes an obscure doctrine rarely mentioned, the corporate nature

of God's ordering of human society which God's Word reveals also is

obscured. Third, as the Church, out of a mistaken sense of what is and

is not fair, backs away from the imputation of Adam's sin to all men,

it must also inevitably back away from the similar imputation of the

righteousness of Jesus Christ to His elect.

Feminism is not taking aim simply at the practice of assigning

leadership roles by sex; it also is attacking the corporate solidarity

of marriage and family life which, historically, has led to so much

real suffering on the part of wives and children. Consider, for

instance, the misery endured by Abigail while she was married to Nabal;

the suffering of Jephthah's daughter;[Footnote 4] or the shame

endured on August 17, 1998 by President Clinton's wife, Hillary, and

daughter, Chelsea, when the head of their home went on international

television to confess he had committed adultery in the Oval Office. Why

should the destinies of wives and children be tied to such men? In

fact, in such a context who really would have any trouble understanding

Chelsea Clinton going back to Stanford and joining the local chapter of

the National Organization of Women?

Feminism, then, is bound up with a revolt against these twin pillars

of the Biblical account of creation: federal headship and the corporate

nature of human society. Both egalitarianism and the autonomous

individualism at the heart of feminism are at war with the Biblical

story of Adam. But though feminists have not fully recognized it, any

attempt to alter the story of Adam involves a parallel destruction of

the salvation brought by our blessed Savior. Today those called to

preach and teach God's Word must resurrect all the doctrines connected

with our father Adam; not just the doctrine of essential patriarchy,

but even more importantly, the doctrine of federal headship. Pascal

wrote:

Certainly nothing jolts us more rudely than this doctrine,

and yet, but for this mystery, the most incomprehensible of all, we

remain incomprehensible to ourselves. [Footnote 5]

God has named the human race "adam." This name reinforces what the

account of the creation of Adam and Eve reveals; that the first woman

was made after and for the first man and that for all time this

structure is to be mirrored in the lives of God's people by their

living together under patriarchy rather than matriarchy or a utopian egalitarianism. Further, this name also makes clear that every woman or man

ever to live has been born under the curse of a God-decreed solidarity

with the First Adam, our federal head, and that only those who come

under the Head of the Second Adam can be saved. John Murray wrote,

The principle of solidarity is embedded in the Scripture

and is exemplified in numerous ways. It is not necessary to enumerate

the instances in which the principle comes to expression. It is a

patent fact that in God's government of men there are institutions of

the family, of the state, and of the church in which solidaric or

corporate relationships obtain and are operative. This is simply to say

that God's relations to men and the relations of men to one another are

not exclusively individualistic; God deals with men in terms of these

corporate relationships and men must reckon with their corporate

relations and responsibilities. [Footnote 6]

We may very well wish to deny our solidarity with the First Adam but

it is fruitless and futile; in him we all died having been one with him

in his rebellion in the Garden.

Yet God from the riches of His mercy also calls us to solidarity

with the Second Adam through Whom we may have imputed to us,

immediately upon faith, a perfect righteousness which is effective "far

as the curse is found."

* * *

[Footnote 1] U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1998), part 1: From Adam to Noah, pp. 155-156. Also Nahum M. Sarna, The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis

(Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989), p. 26. See also

Raymond C. Ortlund's, "Male-Female Equality and Male Headship: Genesis

1-3," in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds., (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1991), pp. 95-112.

[Footnote 2]2Corinthians 11:3; 1Timothy 2:14.

[Footnote 3]Anglican Prayer Book (1611 edition). Note: this is a prayer of desire, not a declaration of faith.

[Footnote 4] Judges 11.

[Footnote 5]"For it is beyond doubt that there is nothing

which more shocks our reason than to say that the sin of the first man

has rendered guilty those who, being so removed from this source, seem

incapable of participation in it. This transmission does not only seem

to us impossible, it seems also very unjust. For what is more contrary

to the rules of our miserable justice than to damn eternally an infant

incapable of will, for a sin wherein he seems to have so little a share

that it was committed six thousand years before he was in existence?

Certainly nothing offends us more rudely than this doctrine; and yet

without this mystery, the most incomprehensible of all, we are

incomprehensible to ourselves." (Blaise Pascal, Pensees; vii.434, W. F. Trotter, trans.) With thanks to S. Lewis Johnson in Bibliotheca Sacra, October-December, 1975. pp. 316-327.

[Footnote 6] John Murray, The Imputation of Adam's Sin (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1959), pp. 5,22.