Adam, OT, & Judaism

It seems that I am ever hearing about the relative unimportance of Adam as a determining figure in non-Christian Judaism: Adam is only mentioned outside of Genesis 1-4 in genealogies; there is no “fall” per se in the Hebrew Bible; Christians make a lot of Adam because of Paul, etc.

Ok, I get all that.

But perhaps it’s better to say that Adam influences the OT and non-Christian Judaism differently from how he influences the NT and Christianity, rather than to say that the influence is altogether absent.

When we read God telling Noah or Abraham or Jacob that he will make them fruitful and multiply them, what is this if not an echo of the creation narrative and an indication that what was supposed to be the fate of all humanity is now being focused on Israel?

When God promises Abraham that God will make Abraham fruitful, make nations and kings will come from him, what is this if not an echo of the creation blessing of not only fruitfulness and multiplication but also of the dominion over the earth.

When Psalm 2 or 2 Samuel 7 declare that the Davdic king is son of God, what is this if not an indication that the “image of God” by which first ‘adam ruled the world on behalf of God and as God’s children (cf. Gen 5:1-3) is now refocused on Israel’s king?

Passing through a few Qumran texts today, I was not surprised to find similar connections.

Blessings that anticipate the whole of creation worshiping God declare that humanity was established in dominion over the earth, and then move to anticipate a fulfillment of Abraham’s blessing of the nations. The faithful people of God, it seems, as heirs to Abraham’s promise, fulfill God’s intention that humanity will rule in such a way as to draw all the creatures and nations of the earth into the sphere of blessing God and receiving blessing from God.

Another text that looks forward to a coming king seemingly inexplicably jumps back to discuss the creation of Adam and Eve.

But is it so inexplicable?

The story of Israel in Genesis is told so as to communicate that the purpose for which God created humanity is being fulfilled within the people of Israel. The beginning continues to be the paradigm for God will do in the future–not only multiplying Abraham’s seed, but also reestablishing a holy humanity to represent God’s reign upon the earth and thereby drawing all creation back to its rightful subjection to God.

Please share the love:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.