Q&A: God's Benevolence to Humanity in Adam's Day

God's Benevolence to Humanity in Adam's Day

How was God's benevolence towards humanity expressed in Adam's day?

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Answer

So, when we read the creation account, we see that mankind is the last thing God makes before he rests. The creation week is not a static, flat telling. It climbs in its intensity, its level of description, and that ultimately gets expressed and manifested. It's zenith is at the creation of mankind. So, the last thing that God does before he rests, before he stops — it's not a rest because he's tired; that's a rest as in he it's complete; he stops. So the last thing he does is create people. So they have a privileged place in the narrative and over all of creation. God's benevolence to Adam is also showed because Adam, humanity, gets to rule over everything else that God had made to the point where he created mankind, and indeed all of creation is made for Adam. So Adam has this symbiotic relationship in a way where he is supposed to rule creation in God's image and his likeness, but then at the same time creation takes care of him because everything that God has put — all the plants of the ground, all the trees, all the fruit — is for the sustenance of Adam. So, the fact that he's made last, has this privileged place in the creation account and in creation itself, and the fact that Adam is the only one who is able — well, along with Eve — Adam is the only one able to rule and subdue the earth, subdue all of creation, shows how much God had this intimate and close relationship that he had with Adam and Eve. And it's worth noting the stark contrast that that account has with all other ancient Near Eastern creation accounts, because in those cases, man and the creation of man is usually an afterthought. It is some gods losing a bet, some gods refusing to work, and so they make man to pick up the slack where the gods have gone on strike. And so, you just don't see this ethical, moral, intimate relationship that you see in the in other ancient Near Eastern accounts that you see in the Genesis account.

Answer by Prof. Jeffrey A. Volkmer

Prof. Jeffrey A. Volkmer is assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Talbot School of Theology.