Written by Celia Barlow
I was recently going through my filing cabinet when I found some essays that I had written for a Diploma in Biblical Studies. I’d like to share these with you and I hope you find this first one interesting.
1.Use Genesis 1:28 and Psalm 8:3-8 to explain God’s primary purpose in creating man.
Genesis 1:26-27, which describes the creation of man, is followed in verse 28 by a
foundational statement that reveals God’s primary purpose for putting man on the earth:
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and
subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every
living thing that moves on the earth.”
Man’s primary purpose is physical conquest of the earth and all that is in it. This theme is
also picked up by David in Psalm 8:3-8:
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You
have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit
him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with
glory and honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You
have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen – even the beasts of the field, and the
birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.
The word “dominion” used here in the book of Psalms as it stands in the centre of the
scriptures is applied to mankind and parallels the description given to Adam right at the start of the
written word in Genesis. This job of subduing the physical creation will also include a spiritual
2.What was the first animal Adam encountered over which he was to have dominion? What happened?
Adam encountered the serpent not long after he was given the command to have dominion.
He was to subdue it and put it under his feet, but the serpent was inhabited by a hostile spirit, so this
became a spiritual battle.
Satan used the serpent as a means of talking to Eve. In his encounter with her he questioned
God’s command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He followed this with a
deceitful suggestion that by eating she would become as wise as God. This was far from the penalty
of death; which God had imposed for disobedience. When Adam came into the picture she had
already been deceived and had eaten. Far from crushing the serpent according to God’s instruction,
he also ate and committed the sin of rebellion against God.
The purpose of Adam’s life included the conquering of the serpent and to bring him under his
dominion, but he failed. God wanted to use man as an instrument to defeat Satan, but instead of
conquering, Adam was conquered and came under Satan’s subjection, making man a born loser.
3.Compare the first Adam to the last Adam in regard to God’s purpose for man.
Roman’s 5:12 shows us that sin entered the perfect world when Adam transgressed and the result of
this was death for all his progeny i.e. mankind:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus
death spread to all men, because all sinned -…
Adam was the federal head of the human race and was made perfect by God but in the
engagement with Satan he was the loser because he sinned. All have sinned in Adam, so all men are
sinners apart from the perfect man Jesus Christ.
The writer of Hebrews picks up the theme of God’s primary purpose in man’s creation as
seen in Genesis 1:28 and Psalm 8, and introduces His solution for the sin and loss so incurred –
….What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and
honour and set him over the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under
Part b of verse 8 adds that all things are not under man’s feet after Adam’s sin:
For in that he put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But
now we do yet not see all things put under him.
Things are not as God intended because man exchanged his dominion for the slavery of sin,
which brought death. The answer to this dilemma is in the next two verses:
But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death
crowned with glory and honour, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing
many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
The writer has described the victory of Jesus. He is our ”last Adam,” the only man who has
conquered Satan. By doing this He regained what the first Adam lost in his failure to subject the
creation to mankind as God intended.
Through these verses we see the world conflict, which has been taking place between the
opposing forces ever since Adam lost rule over the earth. We, who were once in the kingdom of
darkness, have been qualified by the sacrifice of Jesus to be translated into the kingdom of light and
so regain our inheritance Colossians 1:12-13:
…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the
saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the
kingdom of the Son of His love
Having accepted Jesus, we are the children of God but there are still the children of the devil,
battling against the seed of Adam. John 8:44:
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a
murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in
him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of
Our purpose is to do what the first Adam did not do and reinforce the dominion which has
been regained by Jesus. By the Holy Spirit dwelling in us we can subdue and conquer Satan. Paul,
tells us in Romans 16:20:
And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.
He is alluding to God speaking to Satan after Adam’s fall Genesis 3:15:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed; He
shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel
Jesus, the seed of Mary, is the Last Adam whose death on the cross gives us hope and we
have a God given role to fulfil in life as Christians.
Hayford, Jack, W. ed. Spirit Filled Life Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1991
Rodgers, Thomas, R, D. Min. Genesis, Impact Press, 1990
Trinity College USA cassete