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The Book Of The Generations Of Adam

"And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died." (Genesis 5:5)

“So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.” (Genesis 5:5)

What type of feelings do you associate with a graveyard? Sadness, fear, regret? Cemeteries often elicit a very powerful emotional response because of what they represent and what they remind us all of, that is, that this life will end someday for every one of us. Regardless of what a person believes concerning the afterlife, people of all beliefs recognize that this life will one day end.

Chapter 5 of the Book of Genesis is really a graveyard right in the middle of the story of the beginning of mankind on the Earth. We are given little more than a list of names, their children, and how long they lived. And the final words given in regards to nearly every single name on the list are: “And he died.” He was born, he had children of his own, and then he died.

This is the cold and sorrowful tale that a headstone relates. Most often, a tombstone tells noting more than the name, date of birth, and date of death of the individual buried beneath it. It has been said that most people will not be remembered at all beyond the third generation that comes after them. For the vast majority of us, we will be utterly forgotten within 20-30 years after we have passed on. Oh, that we might have a better perspective of the ultimate meaninglessness of the busy activities into which we pour so much of our time and strength!

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12)

Chapter 5 of Genesis is a stark reminder of the consequences that sin brings. While these people mentioned who lived before the Flood had remarkably long lifespans, they all still died. And so it is with every generation, save for the last one which will witness the return of the Lord. This life will end one day for all of us.

The Good News is that we will not remain in the grave! For those who are trusting in Jesus Christ, this life is but a preface to the true life that is to come. Indeed, the moment that these bodies cease to be alive, we will be forever present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Though we pass through this solemn graveyard of the Fifth chapter of Genesis, may we all be reminded of the words declared by the Apostle Paul:

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”(1 Corinthians 15:55)

The consequences of sin brings death to the body, but the Grace of God brings life to the spirit.

“So that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21)

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published September 29, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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15 responses

  1. Yes, cemeteries bring a sense of loss and sadness to me for those that I love that have gone on before me. This body of mine shall pass away but I shall live. The thought of whether anyone will remember us is something of the flesh but for those who place their trust and faith in Christ-crucified have eternal life. I hope that those that read this blog post of yours will at least stop and think.

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  2. In Romans 8.20 it says- “The creation was subjected to frustration…” – when did this happen?

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  3. Romans 8:19-22 is referring to what happened at Adam’s Fall. Not only did the curse of death enter the human race, the entire creation bore repercussions for the sin of man.

    God’s Creation which had been perfect before was now subject to futility and failure. Even the ground itself would cease to function in the way that God had originally intended (see Genesis 3:17-18).

    Thanks for visiting and commenting, God bless you.

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  4. So, then, you do not see a purpose in death?

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  5. Death is defined as a state of separation. God stated to Adam that in the day that he ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he would “die”, that is, he would be spiritually separated from God. In addition to spiritual death, Adam’s sin would bring with it the consequence of physical death – which is the separation of the spirit from the body.

    Death is a judgment and it was not God’s intention in the beginning for any to die.

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  6. Paul wrote – “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” What did he mean? Is it not intended for a seed to die so that there may be fruit?

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  7. “How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” (1 Corinthians 15:36 NIV)

    In the passage that you referenced, Paul was teaching on the nature of the bodily resurrection of the believer in Christ. In verse 35, he is anticipating the objections by some within the Corinthian Church (many of whom had philosophical backgrounds in the Hellenistic schools of Platonism and Epicureanism – both of which denied the possibility of a literal, bodily resurrection) which would question exactly how a physical body could be rejoined with the spirit which had indwelled it, especially after the physical body had decayed back into dust. He uses the illustration of a planted seed placed into the ground, “dying” to what it was, and being made alive again; not as a seed, but as a grain.

    Bearing in mind what I mentioned earlier: that “death” is used throughout Scripture to mean a “separation”, we see Paul employing the metaphor of death throughout his writings to signify the “separation” that the believer has in Christ (e.g., Rom. 6:2, 11, Gal. 2:19, Eph. 2:1, 5).

    If the point that you are making is that we, through the death of Christ, are made “dead” to sin, have “died” to the things of the flesh, and have “crucified” our old nature with the things of it: then I absolutely agree with you. Please understand, however, that my intention and usage of “death” within this article (The Book Of The Generations Of Adam) refers to death in the most straightforward, or “physical” fashion. The spirit’s separation from the body (physical death) and man’s separation from God (spiritual death) are both consequential of the sin that man has committed and are, therefore, judgments of God pertaining to such.

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  8. Do you think that Adam knew about death when he was first formed? Do you think he knew the difference between good and evil?

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  9. It would seem that Adam learned about death when God commanded him to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16-17). Looking throughout the Bible we can see that God’s commandments are usually accompanied with a warning of the consequences that will come if His commandments are not obeyed. Could Adam completely comprehend exactly what death was and what it would look like? No. But God certainly told him enough for him to understand that his disobedience would bear consequences.

    Perhaps a good comparison for us might be the fact that we have been warned that those who reject Jesus Christ will suffer eternal separation from God. Can any person alive today truly fathom exactly what that would be like? No. But we have been given enough warning and have been told enough to know that rejecting the free gift of Salvation bears this consequence. It is now up to us, as it was up to Adam and Eve, to decide if we will believe and trust what God has said and obey Him.

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  10. I hope you don’t mind my questions – you wrote – “God’s creation which had been perfect before was now subject to futility and failure.” – what do you mean by ‘perfect’? Are you saying that man was like God?

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  11. I do not mind your questions at all :)

    I would like to invite you to read some of the earlier posts I have written on this website in the study of the Book of Genesis (if you have not already), some are quite pertinent to the discussion we are having and you may find them useful for addressing some of your questions. Nevertheless, I am happy to do my best to clarify your areas of concern.

    The “perfection” in which God created man (and, indeed, the entire Creation) means simply that man was created lacking nothing in which to fulfill the purposes for which God made him. God beheld His Creation and declared it (including man) to be “very good” (Gen. 1:31). In other words, God created man without blemishes or imperfections or shortcomings that would limit his ability to function in the way that God intended.

    To borrow the dictionary definition of “perfection”, the word means: “1. conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type: a perfect sphere; a perfect gentleman.
    2. excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement: There is no perfect legal code. The proportions of this temple are almost perfect.
    3. exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose: a perfect actor to play Mr. Micawber; a perfect saw for cutting out keyholes.
    4. entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings: a perfect apple; the perfect crime.” (taken from “dictionary.com”)

    I believe that all of these descriptions would be appropriate for Adam and Eve in their condition before the Fall. The only exception would be definition #2 since it is apparent that God intended them to learn about the world around them experientially, over time (see Gen. 1:28), and they would, therefore, not be “beyond practical improvement.” God created man with the ability to grow in wisdom and knowledge, but did not create him already perfected in these.

    While man was created in the image of God, it would be inaccurate to say that man was like God in terms of perfection. The glory of God is unlike any other (1 Timothy 6:16), and it is a glory that He shares with no one (Isaiah 42:8). God is “perfect” in the sense that He bears no blemish, no imperfection, no shortcoming, no defect; nor does He have the capacity for such. God was not perfectly created, He is the perfect Creator. God bestowed some of His attributes upon man, but He did not give him His prerogatives of Deity (i.e., omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence). Man may be said to be “like” God in the sense that he has free will, the ability to know and express love, etc. But the creation of man in a “perfect” state is wholly incomparable with the glorious perfection that exists only with God.

    Adam and Eve were keenly aware that their glory was only a reflection of the true glory that comes from God alone. This is why Satan tempted Eve with the false promise that she and Adam could become like God if they ate of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:5).

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  12. Let me go back to my first question. If you see the words of Romans 8.20 – “The creation was subjected to frustration…”, as being effective from the very beginning, from the moment man became a living being, then what?

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  13. And then man sinned. It was through Adam’s sin that death, destruction, and the “frustration of the creation” entered in:

    “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12)

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  14. I see that the condition of frustration that ends in death was imposed upon man from the beginning. This would then mean that death has a purpose.

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  15. It seems that we have come full circle and have arrived back at the beginning. I believe that you are more interested in having a debate over issues of semantics rather than discussing the Word of God. With all due respect, I am in no way interested in arguing over whether or not we should label death as having a “purpose” or not.

    I maintain what I said before that it is a judgment and consequence for man’s disobedience of God. The only “purposes” of death are entirely due to man’s rebellion against God’s sovereignty (I would not choose to use the expression that death was “imposed” on man; disobedience was man’s choice, not God’s) and death was never in God’s plan for His Creation.

    I must candidly admit that the point which you are attempting to make is being entirely lost on me; I truly have no idea what you are driving at. Suffice it to say that it is apparent that you are in fact seeking to engage in a dispute and I have no interest whatsoever in doing so.

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