Why Our Children Need to Be Taught the Reality of Adam

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They say what goes around, comes around. And, unfortunately, there is a lot going around that we need to be on the alert for so that we can prepare our children with a strong defense…which brings us to Adam. A growing number of people—even some professing Christians—are challenging the reality and necessity of a historical Adam. Why should this be on our radar screen as parents and teachers? Because so much is at stake!

In his short and helpful article, “The Historical Reality of Adam” (posted at Ligonier Ministries), Guy Waters, professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, explains the importance of this reality. Here are a few excerpts,

…the Bible requires us to believe that Adam was a historical person. Some of the clearest testimony about Adam comes from the New Testament. When explaining Genesis 2, Jesus clearly speaks of the first man and the first woman in historical terms, and of the institution of marriage in historical terms (Matt. 19:4–6). The Apostle Paul, in referring to Genesis 2, speaks of Adam and Eve in terms equally historical (1 Tim. 2:12–14).

In 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5, Paul places Adam and Jesus in parallel relationship. Paul calls Jesus the “Second Adam”—there is none between Adam and Jesus (1 Cor. 15:47). He also calls Jesus the “Last Adam”—there is none after Jesus (v. 45).

May we uphold universal sin and death while discounting the way in which the Scripture says sin and death entered the world? The answer is no. The Bible does not give us that option. It clearly teaches that sin entered the world through the one action of one historical man, Adam (Rom. 5:12).

Absent a historical fall, the Bible’s account of redemption through the Second and Last Adam, Jesus Christ, makes no sense at all. How can it at all be meaningful to say with the Bible that God, in His sovereign and infinite mercy, has recovered and restored what was lost in the fall? To deny the historicity of Adam is no trivial matter. It has radical implications for the way in which we look at human nature, evil, and redemption.

How can we make sure to emphasize a “real Adam” in our teaching? Here are some suggestions:

  • Be careful and intentional when communicating Bible stories. Give “weight” to them as real events. Creative story-telling is a wonderful communication tool for children, but if creativity overtakes the clear biblical text, the children think of it more as make  believe than God’s authoritative word.
  • Be careful in the medium you use. For example, using “cartoon-like images” may inadvertently give rise in a child’s mind to something that is pretend or unreal.
  • Look for opportunities to connect the reality of Adam with the Gospel. Even younger children can understand the basic truths stated in Romans 5:12 and 19. Even younger children can have some understanding that they are a true “relative” of Adam.

 

(Image courtesy of Duron123 FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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