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Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

19 December 2013
  + Adam and Eve, Our First Parents +
19 December, Old Testament

Adam and Eve Adam was the first man, made in the image of God and given dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:26). His name may be variously translated "earth," "dust," or "clay," all of which point to the substance of his making. [A brief digression: Adam may also mean "red." This is akin to "Edom," the later name for Esau, who received the title not only because of how he looked at birth (25:25) but also because he sold his birthright for the red stew (25:29-34).]

Eve was the first woman, formed from one of Adam's ribs (may also be understood as from his side)to be his companion and helper (2:18-24). Her name seems related to the Hebrew words for "life giver" and "living." Interestingly, however, Adam didn't give her this name until after the Fall.

God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to take care of the creation as His stewards, or representatives. But they forsook God's Word, ate the fruit of the one tree of which the Lord had placed off-limits to them, and plunged the world into sin (3:1-7). For this disobedience, God drove them from the Garden. Eve had to suffer the pain of childbirth and be subject to Adam; Adam had to toil amid thorns and thistles and return to the dust of the ground. Our burial rite recalls this curse, as does the traditional sentence pronounced during Ash Wednesday's imposition of ashes: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (LSB Altar Book)"

The Crushing of Satan Despite Adam and Eve's attempt to overthrow their Creator and make themselves into gods, the Lord promised that the woman's Seed would crush the serpent's head while Himself suffering a mortal wound (3:8–24). While sin had entered God's perfect creation, decaying and changing it, God would restore it again through the perfect life and the bitter suffering and death of His beloved Son, the God-man Jesus Christ. And even though He died in the struggle, He rose to life on the Third Day and lives forevermore, as seal that we, too will rise and live in God's presence forever.

Eve is the mother of the human race. Adam not only fathered all mankind but also represents all humanity and the Fall, as St. Paul writes, "For in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)" The sinful corruption and rebellious natures which we have from conception and birth we sometimes call original (or "birth") sin. It clings to all descendants of Adam, save Jesus. Therefore, we often speak of our sinful natures as the Old Adam.

This date for the commemoration was chosen by the The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod. For some of my personal observations on the First and Second Adams, I invite you to read Temptation: Adam and Adamant. Drawing on this account, Pastor Michael McCoy wrote an extended allegory of the Church and the Pastoral Office, beginning in the Garden and ending with the Final Judgment. The Bestman, the Bride, and the Wedding is available for purchase as a paperback or as a free download (1.66mb PDF). Pastor McCoy also provides a detailed study guide.

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