Adam the First

How do we relate to God? One way is to see God as a being to be worshiped, as a being that is separate and removed from us. As it says in Psalm 92, “It is good to praise Adonai, to sing hymns to Your name, O Most High”. The God described in this Psalm is a God for which humans' only hope of connecting is through song. However, what if there were a different way to connect to God? What if the way we relate to God could be found not only in worship, but in our regular daily actions? What if we saw that through our actions we were actually emulating the actions of God? As it says in Psalm 77, “I will meditate on all your workings, and I will speak about Your deeds: God Your path is holiness.” In figuring out what God does and has done in the universe, and seeing how our actions are similar to those actions, we discover a different way of relating to God that does not involve worship.

In part of his essay “The Lonely Man of Faith” Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik takes the first chapter of Genesis and offers a different paradigm for the human divine encounter. In chapter one of Genesis God commands Adam to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genisis 1:28).

This version of humans is called adam the first or Majestic adam (translate adam as human, not as a proper noun). He says, “Adam the first is aggressive, bold and victory minded. [The] motto [here] is success, triumph over the cosmic forces. [The human] engages in creative work, trying to imitate God (imitatio Dei)” (Lonely Man of Faith, 15) The adam the first aspect of the human being connects to God by trying to imitate God’s creative power. Majestic adam creates and builds to be just like God, in order to be close to God, adam one imitates God’s creative power.

Therefore, when we create, when we build, when we explore and when we discover, these are all different ways for us to act like God. In acting like God we can connect to God. Therefore, the next time you are engaged in an act of creation, competition, or mastery, think of it as not just a function of task completion, but as way of modeling yourself after God through your actions.