Real  Manhood

Part II. Adam Means Man

by Kim Harrington


     Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Genesis 1:26

Did you know that "Adam" is the Hebrew word for "man?" God named the first man "Man"— kind of like Tarzan in the old movies calling his son Boy! The Lord, however, didn’t do it because of a limited vocabulary; He had a purpose in mind. He wanted Adam to be the ideal man, the epitome of manhood, the role model for all the generations to come. And prior to the entrance of sin, and even to a great degree after that, Adam really was the prototype of the perfect man. If we look at the original man, and God’s purposes for him, we may discover what God intends for all of us, even though we may live 6000 years after Adam.

The original man was created to be in dominion over something… let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, etc. Man is not happy unless he's ruling. By the way, this is also true of women—in the next two verses God commands both male and female to "fill the earth and subdue it"—but the domination instinct is probably even more prevalent in the male gender.

First of all, God created you to be in control of your own life. You’re not supposed to be the victim of circumstances, you’re not to allow yourself to get out of control; you shouldn’t get addicted to drugs, alcohol, and other substances or habits that bring you into bondage—you’re supposed to be in dominion, in control in the healthy sense. You’ll never be truly happy, fulfilled, unless you’re in dominion, gradually bringing your life into submission.

Furthermore, man wasn’t created to be somebody else’s flunky—a servant, or a despised employee. These kinds of relationships often have the effect of emasculating one man while building up the ego of another. Today, the man may be controlled and dominated by a number of various entities: the government, his supervisor at work, a woman, or even a strong-willed child that he’s too sentimental to discipline.

Some people, of course, get a kick out of humiliating others—it seems to reinforce their own manhood. This is testosterone out of control—a man with no dominion over himself, trying to mask it by taking dominion over others. This is the sort of man who picks fights at the bar, especially with those he judges least likely to put up serious resistance. This is not an example of true masculinity here—the healthy protector instinct mentioned in the last chapter—but, rather, a deep sense of insecurity, failure, and the resultant cover-up actions.

Biblical society was largely agricultural—each Israelite worked his own piece of land, and prospered according to his own wisdom and industry. There were small villages where a few families practiced specialized trades like shoemaking, flour milling, shoeing horses, and the like—but these tradesmen were also self-employed. Nobody was their boss. In the Millennium, after Christ returns to earth and sets up the visible Kingdom of God, the Bible says, "They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat," (Isa 65:22). In other words, God is going to return the earth to the old system of raising your own produce, working for yourself, rather than our present arrangement of employer and employee. God’s perfect will for the man is to be his own boss, to be in dominion of his own life.

The Industrial Revolution changed all that, and many men plod hopelessly to work each morning, having long since sacrificed their personal dignity and pride, daily buckling under the thumb, perhaps, of an unreasonable boss or foreman, making money for somebody else, and paying union dues to insure that their benefactor is forced to pay a decent wage.


A Balancing Note

According to our text from Genesis, man is created to be in dominion, in authority, the ruler of his own domain. The catch is, in order to be in authority you must also be under authority. If you break away from your head, then you lose your authority. Man’s rulership of his own home is a biblical responsibility, but he only has the right to exercise it if he’s submitted to God—and, within reason, to God’s authorities on earth, because God Himself rules through delegated authorities.

Somebody has to be able to at least offer advice, and approve or disapprove of the way you handle your authority. In Christian circles, this function is generally exercised by the pastor and elders of the church. They don’t have the right to run your life and make your decisions for you, but they are a source to turn to in time of need—a balance to the authority you might otherwise abuse if you had no accountability outside your own home. A Christian woman may be understandably dubious of submitting to a husband who is not in submission himself.


Is Bigger Really Better?

When we talk about dominion, we need to address the subject of bigness—man’s preoccupation with having something bigger (therefore presumably better) than his fellow man. Just how much dominion was man originally intended to have? How big was his sphere of influence? Well, Adam was in dominion of a garden!

In a general sense, mankind is in dominion over all the fish, fowl, cattle and creeping things of the earth—you don’t see giraffes building cities, or whales using laptop computers to communicate with their fellows who live oceans away. Only man has really developed and taken dominion over the earth, because only man has that capability, and only mankind is called of God to do it. Only man is concerned about his fellow inhabitants of the earth, only man is interested in ecology and wildlife conservation. Man is in dominion of the earth: it’s an observable fact, whether he’s used his authority wisely or not.

On a personal level, however, Adam was only in dominion over a garden. He was not in dominion over other men. Look again at our text from Genesis. Man doesn’t have dominion over other men—or women, either for that matter (the woman willingly submits to her own husband, not to other men—and he only has as much dominion as his character is able to demand of her). Over the fish, yes. The birds and animals and creeping things, yes, man’s in dominion. But it’s significant to notice he’s not given dominion over his fellow humans.

The first man recorded in the Bible who strove to have dominion over other men was a fellow named Nimrod. His name means "let us rebel," and that’s how he spent his life—rebelling against God. He began to take dominion over other men, and along with his wife, actually devised a false religion that helped to subdue them—it was the first organized attempt to worship anything other than the true God. The Bible refers to this religion as "Mystery Babylon," the mother of all the false religions of the world.

There is such a thing as leadership—God calls people to serve as leaders in the church, and in human society—but He wants servant leaders, not dominion-takers. The man that is driven by the desire to lead other men is suspect—he’s operating in the spirit of Nimrod. Perhaps that’s a key to understanding why there is so much corruption at the higher levels of government and corporate America.

The natural man (and all too often, the born-again believer operates in the natural) is preoccupied with bigness. Americans are probably more preoccupied with bigness than most other cultures, simply because it’s more attainable here than it is in a developing country with less opportunity. We seek bigness because it shows that we’re successfully taking dominion over our world—and because it represents our ability to take dominion over our fellow man!

We admire men with big muscles. And men admire men with big muscles more than women do, did you know that? Because it’s something you wish you had the personal discipline to do yourself, it’s something you value—being bigger and better than the next guy, able to lift more weight, flex a larger biceps, earn the admiration of other men, and presumably, to be more desired by the women. Bigger muscles means being able to impose your will on others, to take dominion.

It’s not just physical size that’s at stake, of course. The struggle for dominion drives men to build bigger companies because that makes them feel superior to their competitors—they have a larger share of the market, a greater degree of dominion. Big companies strive to buy out the competition and close down their companies. They already have a large enough profit margin, their own personal success or survival is not at stake—it’s simply the carnal, fallen nature of the stronger man to take dominion over others who are more vulnerable. It’s not a whole lot different than the muscleman kicking sand in the face of the 98-pound weakling and walking off with his girl. It’s a satanically inspired drive to show exercise personal dominion by emasculating somebody else.

The Christian leader’s obsession with attracting more people, getting on more television stations, and building bigger buildings can be inspired by the same base desire to be bigger and better than the next guy. We’ve learned to express our desires more sanctified terminology—winning the lost and advancing God’s kingdom—but it’s no big secret that it’s often more about building our own kingdoms.

Man’s preoccupation with bigness is nothing more or less than a carnal desire to lord it over his fellow men and women. That’s not what God had in mind when he put us in dominion of the planet.

God does want man to be in dominion, however, in the sense that we’ve already discussed. Furthermore, He wants us to be abundantly fruitful…


Be Fruitful & Multiply

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it...

Genesis 1:28

Back again to the original blueprint. In Genesis 1:26, God gives the man dominion. In verse 28 he commands him "Be fruitful and multiply." It is required of a man to be fruitful; he can only be content when he is multiplying himself in others. It’s the fatherhood instinct: imparting of yourself into somebody else—your offspring, your disciples, your apprentice. Teaching other people how to do what you do. Bearing fruit in younger people and perpetuating what God has done in you. He who does this has fulfilled one of the great purposes of manhood, or humanhood, if you will—for women are to be fruitful, too.

Dominion and fruitfulness are inter-connected. "God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it...’" Get it? Subduing the earth isn’t an individual effort; it’s not about building an empire and ruling over it. Mankind as a whole is to take dominion over the earth, to subdue it, tame it, care for it, take authority over it. He does this by sending his fruit out into it.

In the context of Adam and Eve, being fruitful meant to bear children. The man marries a woman, the two of them have children, and family by family mankind subdues the earth by sending their offspring into it. This is one of the reasons that there is a great emphasis on child-bearing, and the legacy of children, in the Bible. The true man has a lot to impart, and it’s his duty to help the world by multiplying himself in others and sending out other true men and women.

Spiritually speaking, this was emphasis of Jesus, Paul, and the other leaders of the Bible. Jesus had twelve disciples that He reproduced himself in; Paul always had a handful of young men with him, being mentored, learning to be like he was—they were his fruit, his spiritual offspring. Neither Jesus or Paul ever married, but look at all the spiritual offspring they have today. A man needs to be fruitful and multiply.


The Intellect of Adam

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field...

Genesis 2:19-20

At one point, God brought all the animals to Adam and told him to name them. And, of course, as every Sunday School student knows, the first man proceeded to do so.

It strikes me that this was a very intelligent individual—to be able to recognize and name all the animals of the earth: all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects—everything. And there were more species back then, too—not just two varieties of elephant, like we have today, but maybe a dozen now extinct mastodons and mammoths and such. This guy had great mental abilities.

Adam's mind was a wonderful piece of equipment. It should inspire us to develop our own minds. Scientists tell us that we utilize less than two percent of our minds. I wonder how much Adam used—in the days before sin started to take its effect on mankind. Imagine the amount of knowledge he absorbed in his 930 years! How much might someone like Einstein have learned if he were allowed good health and all his faculties for over 900 years? A man who wants to live up to his potential as a man should strive to be intelligent, learned, educated as possible. We should make it a part of our lifestyle to be continually stretching our minds, learning about new subjects—yes, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Ignorance leads to prejudice, intolerance, and other ugly attitudes that nobody can be proud of. Education, pursued properly, with the intent to develop yourself fully for the glory of God, is wonderful thing. Part of manhood is striving to be all that you can be, intellectually as well as spiritually and physically.

Adam means man. Now that sin has taken hold of the human race, we may never, this side of glory, be able to regain the totality of manhood that he enjoyed, but we certainly can come a lot closer to it than we are today. Go for it. Enjoy your manhood and seek to be all the more manly, as a testimony to the grace of your Heavenly Father.


Copyright © 2003,  Kim Harrington, Masterbuilder Ministries. All rights reserved

Scripture quotations from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted

Go to Part III of This Article: What Separates the Men from the Boys

Go to Part I of this Article: Provider & Protector

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