If ‘Adam’ means both man the individual (the one) and mankind the race (the many) implying that the individual recapitulates and encapsulates the race, the correspondence must be borne out in Scripture. The following is a brief attempt to trace this correspondence.

1. Far from being created full-grown in one literal day as literalistic fundamentalists would have us believe, Adam must have been created by God the Father as seed (cf. Ps.139:15f.; 1 Pet. 1:23) in mother earth (Gen. 2:7). If this is not so, he could not have been a type of the one who was to come (Rom. 5:14) whose mother we know was fertilized by God (cf. Luke 3:38).

The second Adam as incarnate (Jesus) was created (Heb. 10:5b) in the earth (Eph. 4:9) through his mother and it was from there that to all intents and purposes he also began his earthly pilgrimage. To express the matter alternatively, he was born of woman (Gal. 4:4, cf. Job 31:15; Jer. 1:5) who as flesh symbolized the earth (dust, cf. Gen. 1:24-30; 3:20). As God’s Spirit hovered creatively over the waters in Genesis 1:2 so he overshadowed the Virgin Mary’s womb in Luke 1:35.

(It is worth noting that in Scripture women like Jephthah’s daughter, Jud.11:37, and Tamar, 2 Sam. 13:20, who do not have a husband are desolate, Isa. 54:1; Gal.4:27, like land that is not sown, Jer. 2:2.)

2. As seed Adam was transferred by God from the earth to the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8,15) to gestate, mature and to procreate transgenerationally.

Since procreation mirrors, imitates or recapitulates creation (cf. Rom. 8:18-25 and 2 Cor. 4:7-5:10), we can infer that man as the glory of God (1 Cor. 11:7) transfers his seed to his wife’s womb, which symbolizes the Garden of Eden, to gestate, mature and so to procreate. Jesus says that God continues to work (John 5:17) despite having finished what he originally began at creation (Gen. 2:1-3). In procreation, he builds on and extends this initial creative work, as Bible characters are well aware (Gen. 30:2; Job 31:15; Isa. 44:2; 49:1,5).

The correspondence or parallelism between God and man is brought out in Isaiah 45:9-10. Just as God created originally but did not repeat his action (cf. Gen. 2:1f.), so man procreates transgenerationally in accordance with the divine purpose (Gen. 1:28; 9:1,7; Mt. 19:5f.).

3. Since Adam derived from the earth, Eve who was created from his side (Gen. 2:23) was also earthy (clay/dust/grass/flesh, Ps. 78:39; 103:14; 1 Pet. 1:23). According to Scripture, as Adam was created first (1 Tim. 2:13), so we begin in our father’s loins (Heb. 7:10) and gestate in our mother’s wombs (cf. 1 Cor. 11:8-12). Thus Eve, who symbolizes the earth which was originally created and fertilized by God, is fertilized by Adam (cf. 1 Cor. 11:7b) and is hence the mother of all living (Gen. 3:20).

4. God, like Abraham at a later date, is our Father in two senses. First, he creates us physically ‘by hand’ (Job 10:8f.; Ps. 119:73; Isa. 64:8) and all human beings are by nature his physical offspring (Acts 17:28). Second, he re-creates us spiritually or ‘not by hand’ (John 1:13; 3:6, cf. 1 Pet. 1:23; 1 John 3:9) to prepare us for his heavenly kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50; 2 Cor. 5:1).

5. It is clear that though physically adult while he was still in the Garden of Eden (the womb of the race) Adam was mentally and spiritually like a baby emerging from total ignorance of (the) law and without knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17; 3:5,22, cf. Dt. 1:39). It was not until he had like a child transgressed the one commandment (cf. Dt. 4:9b; Ps. 78:5-8; Prov. 1:8; 4:1-9; 6:20, etc.), which promised eternal life if he kept it (Gen. 2:17; Lev. 18:5, etc.) and death if he did not, that he was cast out of the Garden and sent into the harsher world outside. Once there, there was no more going back for Adam (Gen. 3:22-24) than there was for Nicodemus (John 3:4).

Babies as we know them are physically immature or imperfect. In the womb they remain totally ignorant (Rom. 9:11) and without the law they can be neither sinful nor righteous (Rom. 4:15; 6:16, etc.). Furthermore, they do not encounter the problem of exercising dominion over the outside world until after birth and weaning. Thus Paul, whose experience recapitulated, first, that of Eve (Rom. 7:11) then that of Adam (Rom. 7:13-25), says that he had ‘life’ until he broke the commandment and ‘died’. This meant that he who was born naturally mortal and corruptible (Rom. 1:23; 6:12; 2 Cor. 4:11) had failed to gain the eternal life which the commandment promised if it was kept (Rom. 7:9f.). (See my Interpreting Romans 7) As a consequence, like Adam, he was headed for certain death and corruption in the ground from which he was taken. In light of this, he needed rescue from his body of death by Jesus Christ as a matter of urgency and necessity (Rom. 7:25). The same holds true with regard to all who are sinners like him. (See my Two ‘Natural’ Necessities)

6. Knowing that they have broken the commandment, Adam and Eve sense their guilt and lack of excuse (cf. Rom. 1:20f.). So though still in Eden they sew fig-leaves together to hide their shame (Gen. 3:7). A little later we read that as physical adults they are clothed by God in skins (Gen. 3:21) apparently to prepare them for combating the rigours of life outside of the Garden of Eden after their expulsion from it (cf. the ‘womb’). Correspondingly, Jesus as a baby who was born of woman was wrapped in swaddling cloths (Luke 2:7).

7. With the failure of Adam, with whom God had not made a covenant but to whom he had simply given a command, followed a period of rampant sin in his immediate adult successors. They behaved like babies, who are unprofitable flesh (John 6:63, cf. Rom. 7:18a; 8:8) in the process of being weaned, and failed to produce appropriate spiritual fruit. So they were destroyed by the flood (Gen. 6:11-13, cf. Heb. 6:7f.). Here, we must distinguish between real babies (cf. 1 Cor. 13:11; Eph. 4:13-16) and adults who act like babies but refuse to grow up and act responsibly (cf. Jer. 9:25f.; 1 Cor. 3:1-3; Heb. 5:11-6:8). These immediate descendants of Adam though individually adult acted like animals (Gen. 6:5-13; 2 Pet. 2:5), and proved spiritually fruitless (Jude 12). As they were destroyed by the flood, so their fleshly successors will be by fire at the end of the age (2 Pet. 2:12-22; 3:5-12, cf. Luke 17:26-30; Heb. 6:7f.; Jude). Of course, Jesus who was a genuine baby needed like Noah to have his body cleansed from his infantile filth as he began conscious life under the covenant with Noah (1 Pet. 3:21).

8. Under Noah began the rational and responsible heathen period of the history of mankind. It re-enacted the deception of Eve in the worship of false gods and capitulation to the sins of the flesh (Gen. 3:1-6; Rom 1:24ff.). Otherwise expressed, fleshly heathenism with its limited revelation bred large scale idolatry and immorality. Clearly God did not intend that this heathenism which characterizes childhood should be permanent, so during Noah’s covenant dispensation he interposed the call of Abraham to whom promises of world blessing were made (Gen. 12,15,17). These were eventually to be realized in Jesus (Gal. 3:8,14,29).

9. If heathenism reflected Eve who was uncircumcised, Israel reflected Adam who had received the commandment directly from God in Eden. Thus Israel was circumcised shortly after birth on the eighth day in preparation for life under the law at a later date. Jesus like all Jewish boys was too. This was followed by the heathen bondage of the children of Israel in Egypt where they worshipped false gods (Jos. 24:14f.), the exodus and release from childhood with a view to adolescence under the law of Moses delivered at Sinai. For Jesus this meant recapitulating Israel’s heathen experience if not its sin (Mt. 2:15, cf. Gal 4:1-3). After this ensued his bar mitzvah at age 13 which made him a son of the commandment and under personal obligation is keep the entire law.

10. Adam (mankind) as epitomized in Israel failed to keep the law (Ps. 106:6, etc.) and hence to gain eternal life (Gen. 2:17; Lev. 18:5). But Jesus as the True Vine having recapitulated Israel’s experience in Egypt (Mt. 2:15, cf. Ps. 80:8; Isa. 5:1-7), kept the law, was baptized and gained life, that is, was as man born again from above. Thus endowed with the Spirit, he went on to redeem Israel by his blood and enable all under law who trusted in him to receive adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4f.). Just as the Spirit had fallen on Jesus himself after he had kept the law and gained the righteousness which was the precondition of eternal life promised to Adam in Eden, so the Spirit later fell on all who put their trust in Jesus and so gained righteousness by faith (cf. Gal. 4:6). Consequently, all who acknowledge Christ as Saviour are no longer slaves but sons and heirs of God into the bargain (Gal. 4:7).

Prior to developing moral consciousness and self-awareness, Adam, like a baby, including Jesus, did not know:
(a) the law/commandment and hence good and evil (Gen. 2:17; 3:5,22, cf. Dt. 1:39; Isa. 7:15f.; Rom.9:11);
(b) that he was naked (cf. Gen. 3:11);
(c) significant pain (3:16f., cf. animals). This suggests that increasing pain and growing moral self-awareness are concurrent in all children and not directly related to sin as such. A sense of sin occurs only because we have knowingly broken the commandment. The idea that unself-conscious babies and animals suffer as self-conscious and morally aware adult humans do reflects anthropomorphism. (See further my Creation and / or Evolution)

It was only after Adam had transgressed that he sought to cover his guilt and hide his shame by sewing fig leaves together (Gen. 3:7). By contrast, God himself provided him with skins (Gen. 3:21) apparently in preparation for combating the rigours of life outside of Eden which like a womb had provided all he needed. Jesus, of course, as a genuine baby born of woman was, like all babies who do not know the law (Rom. 4:15), sinless (Dt. 1:39). Nonetheless, since he was outside the womb, he was wrapped in swaddling cloths.

(It should be noted here that if this is so, animal death which must have taken place in order to provide the skins, is unrelated to sin. It was in fact an act of provision and grace by God for man outside the womb (Garden of Eden). Later of course animal sacrifice is used in atonement for sins. Even this shows that animal death as such is unrelated to sin, first, because it is ineffective (Heb. 7:27, etc.), and second, because if it was sinful, then its use would be like setting a thief to catch a thief or using sin to combat sin. Evil is only overcome by good. That animal death in itself is morally insignificant is demonstrated (a) by nature, which is red in tooth and claw (Ps. 104:21, etc.), and (b) by the legitimate exploitation of animals for food by humans.)


Clarification of aspects of the above may be gained by reading my Did God Make a Covenant with Creation?, The Correspondence Between Romans 8:12-25 and 2 Corinthians 4:7-5:10Death Before Genesis 3, Animal Rights, etc.