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Question 1

Is the Hebrew word for man in Genesis 1:26–27 a personal name or a generic term for humanity?

In Genesis 1:26–27, the Hebrew word, which is translated as man in our English versions, is adam. Adam is sometimes used as the name of the first man (Gen. 5:1, 3-5). But in Genesis 1:26–27, adam is used in the generic sense for humanity, including male and female. Adam also underscores man’s connection with the ground, since the Hebrew word for “ground” is adamah (see Gen. 2:7). As careful readers of Scripture, we can use the context to determine whether adam is a personal name or a generic term for humanity, as in both Genesis 1:26–27 and 5:2.

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is currently working towards his third degree in at the University of Bristol, England. An ordained minister and full-time professor of pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute, Winfred has served churches across the City of Chicago, the near west subburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren. 

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