Use of Adam vs. Ha-Adam

@anon46279830 (@jongarvey):

It seems to me that you have reversed the general sense of “ha adam”.

When you write: “It is a generic man in 1:26. That’s why it says “adam” there and not “ha-adam” as in 1:27. Show us anywhere else in the text of scripture “ha-adam” means anything but “the man”…”

Doesn’t “ha-adam” actually mean “the human” or even PLURAL “humans”, as in “humankind”?

This source seems as resolved on the matter as you, but with more corroboration?

[[ Be sure to click on the images to maximize the font size !! ]]

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Marg’s a FB friend of mine, and if you look at footnote 1, she makes reference, obliquely, to a sequential reading view. I’ve not ever hashed out the “visionary revelation instead of miraculous manufacture” aspect of the interpretation I favor with her, so I’ll not take her comments as a rejection of that aspect. As for drawing out the ramifications of the text, especially regarding any gender heirarchies, which is her area of expertise, Marg is excellent. Australians often seem better equipped to see past some pretty typical “American” views, and I am glad to see you’re also acquainted with her views, George.

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I applaud your digging deep into the text on this one. It is absolutely essential to understanding what the text is saying. Glossing over the details of what is actually written in the text and then extrapolating all sorts of conjecture from a glossed-over understanding of the details is the path of endless speculation with no possibility of arriving at a sure conclusion (agreement). This was written thousands of years ago in an alien language and culture. We have to look closely. If we believe the text is divinely inspired, it is rational to believe that it is not just a hash that we needn’t bother reconciling.

“Adam” is one of those words like our “deer”. It is the same whether singular or plural. To complicate matters more, it is also a proper name for the first stand-in for the race.

In Hebrew “adam” is three letters. One looks like a capital “N”. The second an upside-down “L”, and the last (or actually first because Hebrew is read to the left) looks like a “D”. Notice that every instance in the highlighted account has another symbol in front of (which is on the right side in Hebrew) it. Except for 2:5 where it means something like “till-man” the symbol looks something like a lower-case “n” with a symbol below it. Well, verse 20 also has one which starts differently, and here it is translated “Adam” as a proper noun with the word “for” attached. Other than that, the uses of adam have the “ha”. As a prefix it means “the”, or when context is appropriate “of” Basically it can be a preposition or a direct article.

Now I want you to notice the inconsistency in verse 2:7. Here it has the Hebrew for “ha-adam” or “the man” just like all the other places highlighted in yellow save for 2:5 and 2:20 where it is translated differently. Yet even though the word is just the same as where it is translated “the man” in all those other instances, in 2:7 it is mistranslated “man”.

The exact same thing happens in Genesis 1:27. 1:26 used the word “adam” to describe the human race. And it does so correctly because it just used the three letters in “adam” to say “Let us make man in our own image”. This is how to use the term when you are not talking about some specific group of men or man, or an individual man, or some condition men enter at some point, but men as a type. There is no article to specify you are only speaking of some subset of the whole.

Genesis 1:27 however, says “So God created ha-adam in His own image”. That is, the man. Yet just like this translation did in 2:7, modern texts reflect dominant church doctrine rather than an accurate translation of the text. To erase any doubt that this meant to represent a man and not the whole race, the echo of this line (reflecting IMHO an earthly copy of what happened in heaven) says “In the image of God created He HIM” with “HIM” being a singular pronoun.

Here is an interlinear of 1:26, and if you click to the next verse it will show you 1:27. You will see what I mean about the use of the word. Genesis 1:26 Interlinear: And God saith, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that is creeping on the earth.'

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This is a really good article and blog about adam and ha’ adam. I have a Hebrew dictionary in transliteration and find it very interesting. Good work, George.



If we might linger on this topic for just another moment or two…
First, let me assure you that this is no “gotcha” endeavor. But you keep saying “the man” vs. “man”.
What I wanted to explore is when it is a better translation to write

“the human” vs. “the humans” vs.
“the male” vs. “Adam” (as a personal name).

This is really the test, don’t you think? I think you will agree that it is unlikely that the Hebrew
wording was ever intended to be construed as “the males”… at least, when we confine our
attention to the Creation account.

And the difference between “the man” and “man”, the way you employ those English words,
you are actually veiling how it would have been received by Hebrew ears: if you say a sentence
means “man”, the English listener doesn’t know whether you mean “male” or “humanity”.

And if every time you say “man” you follow it with an parenthetical qualifier, you are just
making it difficult for everyone.

There are exact English equivalents for all these choices … and “man” isn’t really the
best choice for any of these uses. And yet, it is the word that has multiplied within your

So, do you think you could render all the verses with “adam” and “ha’adam” (either)
into English using one of the following choices:

“human” or “humans”; or
“male” or “males”; or


“Mankind” and “The Man” and “Adam” is doable. I don’t see where Adam or Ha-Adam are used specifically for females without referencing a male, such as “the daughters of ha-Adam”.

I say that because from the surrounding context it is clear that Adam is a male. The text was not about gender equality. The women were meant to be one flesh with the respective man in each case- Eve with Adam and the Church with Christ,


Okay… do it that way…

And then for me, I’ll make the final adjustment:

“Human(s)” and “Male(s)” and Adam.

Nice to hear you guys agreeing on the need for translational precision.
My translation would read,
“Let us make the groundlings in Our image, according to our likeness. And let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps over the earth.” And so God created humanity in His image; male and female created He them.
Compare this to the NASB:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. - Genesis 1:26-27
I chose “groundlings” to convey the wordplay involved in the term for humanity; it has a strong resonance with the idea of “red earth.”
My two cents.

You did not even attempt to translate the middle third of that verse.

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I like it … now we just need chapter 2!

Is there a Hebrew scholar who can sanity check this discussion? I’m not sure how much we can pin this down from our vantage point in English.

@swamidass This is pretty dry … but it seems pretty thorough: it’s a PDF file.


I would love a Hebrew scholar to jump in. In the meantime, there is Strong’s concordance which defines “adam” in Hebrew…

And Wikki and its article on Hebrew prefixes…
(look at prefix ‘he’)

I went ahead and plugged in the words I had been looking for.

But I provide this one important warning!

This version of Genesis 1 & Genesis 2 specifically embraces one specific idea (and idea which is not necessary for the pursuit of @swamidass’ model(s)!

The idea this version of Genesis 1 & 2 embraces is the idea that “Adam” in Genesis 2 was an androgene (bi-gendered) creature. And that when Eve was created, she was pulled out of the “Androgene” in order to create a separate Male and Female.

This interpretation is not about being right … .it’s about looking at how to read the text if one wanted to pursue that interpretation:



Gen 1:20 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.”

Gen 1:21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

Gen 1:23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Gen 1:24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.

Gen 1:25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.


Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make [[HUMANS]] in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

Gen 1:27 So God created [[HUMANITY]] in his own image, in the image of God [[did God]] created [[HUMANITY]]; both [[male]] and [[female]] [[God]] did create.

[[ Please note that 1:27 can be interpreted to refer to the Males and Females created through Evolution - - if one prefers that scenario … or it can be interpreted as just another perspective on a single de novo creation of an androgene human! ]]

Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

Gen 1:29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.

Gen 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.

Gen 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.




Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.

Gen 2:3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.

Gen 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

Gen 2:5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up–for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there were no [[HUMANS]] to till [< would “irrigate” be a better word than “till”? See Gen 2:6!] the ground;

Gen 2:6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground –

Gen 2:7 then the LORD God formed a [[HUMAN]] of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the [[HUMAN]] became a living being.

Gen 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the [[HUMAN]] whom he had formed.

Gen 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

[Verses on 4 rivers]

Gen 2:15 The LORD God took the [[HUMAN]] and put [[THE HUMAN]] in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the [[HUMAN]], saying, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden;

Gen 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."

Gen 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the [[HUMAN]] should be alone; I will make the [[HUMAN]] a helper fit for the [[HUMAN]].”

Gen 2:19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the [[HUMAN]] to see what the [[HUMAN]] would call them; and whatever the [[HUMAN]] called every living creature, that was its name.

Gen 2:20 The [[HUMAN]] gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the [[HUMAN]] there was not found a helper fit for the [[HUMAN]].

Gen 2:21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the [[HUMAN]], and while the [[HUMAN]] slept took one of the [[HUMAN’s]] ribs and closed up its place with flesh;

Gen 2:22 and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the [[HUMAN]] he made into a [[FEMALE]] and brought her to the [[MALE]].

Gen 2:23 Then the [[MALE]] said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called [[FEMALE]], because she was taken out of [[MALE]].”

Gen 2:24 Therefore a [[MALE]] leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Gen 2:25 And the [[MALE]] and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

[Final Note: Because pronouns (he, she, him, her) are frequently bound by the rules of syntax to be one gender or another (otherwise, you have to say “it” and “it’s”), pronouns have been replaced by the sense of the word for “ha adam” or “adam” as it applies to the context.]

How about Gen 6:7, and 7:21? Ecc 7:29?


I think you are quoting @anon46279830, yes? That doesnt sound like my position.

Just clicked the quote - software should be more thoughtful! :smile:

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A pleasant thought crossed my mind about you two @gbrooks9 and @Guy_Coe. Maybe you two have finally come together to arrange a little joke to pull my leg? I talk about applying the basic rules of Hebrew grammar consistently and you guys decide to make wholesale changes to the text and give it a gender studies flavor just to make fun of me a little? I mean, none of what you are talking about addresses the use of Adam vs. ha-adam.

Jon thank you for replying seriously and on topic in a challenging way. Ecc. 7:29 in particular gives me pause for thought and I admit I don’t have a good answer for you right now other than to wonder how that squares with the basic rules of Hebrew grammar for the prefix _he which I always understood to be a definite article- or a preposition.

7:21 is resolved by the fact that adam is the same whether singular or plural and the word is proceeded by “we-kol”. Thus instead of “every man” Shem, Ham and Japheth could be reporting that “all the men” were drowned in the flood. If it is their account, they are the narrators and it is them saying it and not God. This leaves open a non-universal flood. It killed all the men so far as they could tell at the time. So my position here is that the phrase “we-kol ha-adam” should be translated “all the men” and is not referring to “the human race” in total but is rather a report on what these witnesses see where they are.

Regarding 6:7 I had forgotten about that one. If it does refer to the human race then the flood was universal and all of humanity died except for eight. We know from science that this interpretation is incorrect. What else then could this be talking about? Resolution: This is not Elohim saying that He will destroy man whom He has made in chapter 1, rather it is Yahweh saying He will destroy the men whom He has made in chapter two- Adam and his descendants. So the flood was about purifying the line of Messiah, those who will bring the seed, not those outside. This makes the flood a much better picture of baptism which Peter says it was meant to point to. So the translation there is “I will destroy the men whom I have made”.


I see… I guess my exploring the “androgene” scenario does cloud what I was attempting to address. I’ll make one that focuses on the conventional “sequential or telescoping” scenario issues. Coming right up!

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