25 אדם (’dm) I. Assumed root of the following.
25a אָדָם (’ādām) man, mankind, Adam.
25b אֲדָמָה (’ădāmâ) ground, land.
’ādām. Man, mankind; also human (adj.), someone (indef.); Adam (the first man). The ASV and RSV translate the same with notable exceptions. In Job 31:33 the RSV obscures the reference to Adam. Although the etymology of ’ādām cannot be explained with certainty (cf. TDOT. I, p. 78). the word probably relates to the original ruddiness of man’s complexion (cf. F. Maas, ’ādām TDOT, I, pp. 78–79). This word for man has to do with man as being in God’s image, the crown of creation. It should be distinguished from ’ı̂sh (man as opposite of woman, or as man distinguished in his manliness), ’ĕnôsh (man as weak and vulnerable), geber (man as mighty and noble), and mĕtı̂m. Ugaritic ’adm normally means “people,” and is parallel to l’im, or is used in the appellation ’ab ’adm, “father of mankind.” ’ādām occurs exclusively in the singular absolute, 562 times.
’ādām also refers to generic man as the image of God and the crown of creation or is a personal name. Hence in Gen 1–3 it is the word usually used for man. (In later passages of Scripture it is difficult to distinguish in meaning from ’ı̂sh.) Here, man is distinct from the rest of creation in that: he was created by special and solemn divine counsel (Gen 1:26); his creation was an immediate act of God; he was created after the divine type; he was created with two distinct elements (Gen 2:7); he was placed in an exalted position (Gen 1:28); he was intended for a still higher (in the sense of a permanent and fulfilled) position. Hence, man (as ’ādām) was the crown of creation. Genesis 1 sets forth ’ādām as the goal and vice-regent of creation, while Gen 2 shows how the creation was formed as the scene of man’s activity, i.e. it was formed around ’ādām. In the first three chapters of Gen there is a wordplay on man, mankind, and the first man “Adam.” ’ādām connotes man in the image of God as to: soul or spirit (indicating man’s essential simplicity, spirituality, invisibility, immortality), physical powers or faculties (the intellect and will with their functions), intellectual and moral integrity (true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness), body (as a fit organ of the soul sharing its immortality, and as the means through which man exercises his dominion), and dominion over the lower creation.
The image of God in man has been much discussed. Engnell, Wildberger, and von Rad refer it to man’s dominion over the non-human world. Humbert and Koehler contend that it indicates man’s external form, which seems inappropriate in view of the repeated assertion of God’s spirituality. Brunner, Kierkegaard, and Berkhouwer think it refers to man’s exceptional relationship with God. F. Horst declares that man is a creature who “hears the word of God, speaks to God in prayer and obeys him in service” (TDOT, I, p. 85). In contrast to these somewhat neo-orthodox approachesthe image of God in the narrow sense refers to man as a rational-moral creature (cf. Deut 4:10–12). Significantly God’s first words to man are both a command and a prohibition (Gen 2:16–17); man alone is responsible for his decision, man alone determines his destiny by volitional choice, and only man is judged as righteous or sinful by God’s law. An older biblical theology holds that the “divine likeness is rather to be referred to the whole dignity of man in virtue of which human nature is sharply distinguished from that of the beasts; man as a free being is set over nature, and designed to hold communion with God, and to be his representative on earth” (G. F. Oehler, Old Testament Theology). Payne remarks that “the terms ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ … are used interchangeably. …The image thus connotes ‘freedom’ and ‘blessedness’, as it reflects within man the cosmic, ethical and beneficent sovereignty of the Testator himself. …The divine image thus implies all the various aspects of God’s reflected glory and honor. …It may be defined, in summary, as the totality of man’s higher powers that distinguish him from brute creation” (PTOT, p. ’227). The apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus says of the creation of man: he “made them according to his image, and put the fear of man upon all flesh, and gave him dominion over beasts and fowls. Counsel and a tongue, and eyes, ears, and a heart, gave he them to understand. Withal he filled them with the knowledge of understanding, and showed them good and evil … and they shall praise his holy name, that they may search out his marvellous works” (Eccles 17:3-9).
Even after the fall ’ādām is used of man! The image of God is still the central distinction. Hence, murder is an attack on the image of God (Gen 9:6). However, the fall lowered man’s position before God (Gen 6:5–6; 8:21), ruptured his communion with God, and brought the curse of death on him so that he did not fulfill his intended exaltation. That part of the divine image consisting of true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness was destroyed. Only in and by Christ, the new Adam (Rom 5:12–21), can the original divine promise be realized.
’ădāmâ. Ground, land, earth. The ASV and RSV reflect the difficulties in deciding which of the English words to use in translation. Originally this word signified the red arable soil. From this it came to denote any cultivated, plantable ground and/or landed property. At times it approaches the meaning “home country” (see especially Jon 4:2), but probably not in a political sense (however, Isa 14:2; 19:17, and especially Ezekiel’s almost exclusive “land of Israel,” et al.). One should compare and distinguish ’ereṣ “earth, land,” and ’āpār, “dry earth, dust.” Also, contrast ḥelqâ “portion, field,” yabbāshâ “dry land, dry ground,” and śādeh “field, land, open country.” ’ădāmâ occurs 224 times.
The Bible makes much of the relationship between man (’ādām) and the ground (’ădāmâ). That this might be vivid in the mind of the reader we will transliterate the words in the following discussion. Initially, God made ’ādām out of the ’ădāmâ to till the ’ădāmâ (Gen 3:23, to bring forth life?). The ’ădāmâ was God’s possession and under his care (Gen 2:6). Thus, the first ’ādām (the man, Adam) and his family were to act as God’s servants by obeying him in maintaining the divinely created and intended relationships vertically and horizontally. As long as this condition was sustained God caused the ’ădāmâ to give its fruitfulness (blessing) to ’ādām.
Then came sin. The unit ’ādām (Adam and Eve; see also Rom 5:12) violated the created structure. The ’ădāmâ, henceforth, brought forth thorns and thistles rather than freely giving fruit (Gen 3:17). Since ’ādām had disrupted the paradisiacal life-producing state, he was driven off the paradisiacal ’ădāmâ and sentenced to return to the ’ădāmâ (Gen 3:19). He was driven to it rather than it being given to him. He was to go down rather than up. His life moved in and toward death rather than in and toward life. However, the gracious Creator did not completely destroy ’ādām. He promised to bring forth from ’ādām a lifegiver (Gen 3:15). As a token of that promise the Creator caused the ’ădāmâ to give of its fruit (blessing) to ’ādām (note the curse on Cain, Gen 4:12,14, whereby the ’ădāmâ was no longer to give its strength to him). Because of disobedience ’ādām received a curse from the ’ădāmâ rather than life. Thus, we see that ’ādām/’ădāmâare deeply involved in the pattern creation-fall-redemption.
This pattern is repeated throughout the ot. After the flood God said he would never again curse the ’ădāmâ because of ’ādām(Gen 8:21). He made a new covenant (creation) with Noah (Gen 9:1–17) who became the father of ’ādām (since only Noah and his immediate family were in the ark, Gen 7:7). Noah became a tiller of the ’ădāmâ (Gen 9:20), and God blessed his efforts. However, Noah sinned. In Abraham the promise (redemption) given by God through Noah to Shem emerges in the form of Paradise regained, i.e. the promised land (’ădāmâ Gen 28:14–15).
In the Mosaic legislation God gives the ’ădāmâ or takes it away according to the obedience of his people (Lev 20:24). Its fruitfulness depends upon their obedience (Deut 11:17). Solomon repeats this creation-fall-redemption pattern around ’ādām/’ădāmâ (I Kgs 8:34, 40). This cycle governs the history of Israel (I Kgs 13:34; 14:15; II Kgs 21:8; 25:21). Nehemiah recognizes the same theological pattern (Neh 10:37 [H 38]).
In the eschaton God will change the inner constitution of ’ādām (fully restore the divine image) so as to eliminate the possibility of a fall and assure eternal possession of the ’ădāmâ which yields its fruit freely (Ezk 36:25–30; cf. Jer 31:33–34; II Cor 5:17; Heb 8:8–12)—the return to the garden of Eden (Ezk 36:35).
Bibliography: Asselin, David Tobin, “The Notion of Dominion in Genesis 1–3,” CBQ 16:277–94. Bloom, Alfred, “Human Rights in Israel’s Thought,” Interp 8:422–32. DeFraine, J., “Individue et Societe dans la Religion de I’Ancien Testament,” Bib 33:324–55, 445–75. Koehler, Ludwig, Hebrew Man, Abingdon, 1957. May, Herbert G., “Individual Responsibility and Retribution,” HUCA 32:107–20. Oehler, G. F., Old Testament Theology, Funk & Wagnall, 1883, pp. 146-47. Payne, J. Barton, Theology of the Older Testament, pp. 221–31. Porter, J. R., “The Legal Aspects of the Concept of ‘Corporate Personality’ in the Old Testament,” VT 15:361–80. Richardson, TWB, pp. 14–15. Thomas, D. W., ed., Archaeology and Old Testament Study, Oxford:Clarendon, 1967. Wright, J. Stafford, Man in the Process of’ Time, Eerdmans, 1956. TDOT, I, pp. 75–87, 88–98. THAT, I, pp. 41–56, 57–59.