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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Adam (ăd'am), red, red earth. The name appropriated to the first man, the father of the inhabitants of the world; used, however, sometimes more generally, as in Genesis 5:1-2, where the woman is included. This name was probably chosen to remind the man of his earthly nature, seeing that out of the ground his body was taken, though his soul, the breath of life, was breathed into his nostrils by God's immediate act. This history of his creation is narrated in Genesis 1:26-30; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:15-25, a single pair being formed, to whom the earth was given for a possession, to replenish it with their children, to enjoy the fruits of it, and to have dominion over the inferior animate. We are told that "God created man in his own image" and after his "likeness;" not with respect to bodily shape, but with a likeness to God in moral attributes. This is implied by the expressions of St. Paul, who plainly considers righteousness and holiness the likeness of God. Ephesians 4:24; Col 3:10. The phrase must also denote the possession of dominion and authority; for immediately it is subjoined "let them have dominion," Genesis 1:26, explanatory, it would seem, of the term "image." And so St. Paul calls the man "the image and glory of God," on the ground of his being "the head of the woman." 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 11:7. The high intellectual power with which man was endowed is illustrated by his giving appropriate names to the lower animals. Genesis 2:19-20. He was indeed a glorious creature, and would have been uninterruptedly and increasingly happy had he continued in his first estate of innocence. Adam's lamentable fall is next related. How long it was after his creation, ingenious men have puzzled themselves to discover, but in vain. By sin Adam lost his best prerogative. He had suffered spiritual death, and he was to suffer bodily death: dust as he was, to dust he should return. To his posterity he transmitted, therefore, a corrupted nature, which could be restored and recovered only by the power of the second Adam, a head of life and blessedness to all that believe in him. Romans 5:15-16; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Corinthians 15:47-48. Of Adam's subsequent history we know little. We are expressly told that he had "sons and daughters," though the names of but three of his sons are recorded. He lived 930 years, Genesis 4:1-2; Genesis 4:25-26; Genesis 5:3-5; 1 Chronicles 1:1; Luke 3:38, and was probably contemporary with Methusalah about 240 years. Methusalah lived 600 years with Noah; Shem lived 150 years with Abram, and 50 years with Isaac, according to the Ussher Chronology, so that the history of the world before the flood might have been carried through three or four persons to the time of Moses. 2. A city near the Jordan, by which the waters were cut off when Israel passed over. Joshua 3:16.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Adam'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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