Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Adam: The man of dust

As they grew older, Eve loved nothing more than to travel and visit her family. She was, after all, the mother of all living and it brought her great joy to see and experience new life. Children. Grandchildren. Great-grandchildren. Great-great grandchildren. Great-great-great grandchildren. Not that she ever referred to them by such sterile titles, for each had a name. But more than that, each had a lineage, a pedigree, an unbroken chain of people that connected them uniquely and inextricably to her.

So it was that afternoon, as she bounced a young boy on her knee, that she knew him not only as Methusaleh, although that was his name. Rather she knew him as Methusaleh, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth. Her Seth. The Seth whom she had bounced on her knee. Just like this.

She studied him as he smiled and giggled. His first tooth was coming in and he was drooling, his fist in his mouth. His eyes blinked and danced as he bounced.

Eve looked over at Adam who sat nearby. Though he was surrounded by activity, his eyes seemed to be fixated on nothing in particular. He was in one of his moods. She hated to see him this way.

"Adam," she said attempting to cheer him up, "I think little Methusaleh looks just like you!"

"I know," he responded sadly. "They all do."

We read in the account of creation that God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." So God formed Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed life into him. Yet later, after the fall, we read that Adam had a son named Seth in his own likeness and after his own image.

Adam is the pattern, the mold from which all subsequent human beings have sprung. It is a pattern marked by sin, death, corruption and weakness. "We all bear the image of the man of dust," Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

But Christ has broken the mold. Paul described Jesus as the Second Man, the Last Adam, the Heavenly Man. Through his death and resurrection he has established a new pattern. His is an image of incorruptibility, glory and power. His is the image we one day shall bear.

(Genesis 5; 1 Corinthians 15)