How Tall Was Adam?
I have never heard this question asked, but thought about it in the course of answering a couple of other questions. Let’s think about it.
Was Adam 5’3” tall or was he 10’ tall? For that matter, how tall was Eve? Although Eve was fashioned by God from Adam’s rib (Gen 2:21, 22) she was not a clone, then she would have had identical genetics to Adam and been a man. From the union of Adam and Eve (called the “mother of all living” Gen 3:20), the earth was populated as God had commanded (Gen 1:27, 28). That means the genome of Adam and Eve was transmitted to all subsequent generations by recombination, alternative splicing, etc. of the 19,000-20,000 genes estimated to exist in the human genome (source Human Genome Project) that resulted in the great variation of human traits (e.g., eye color, blood type, skin color, height, etc.).
The point is we know tall and short ran in Adam and Eve’s extended family (all mankind). For example, the Bible speaks of giants in Gen 6:4 (the Nephilim) also mentioned in Num 13:33 when the twelve spies reported “we were as grasshoppers”, indicating how short they seemed by comparison. In I Sam 17:4 Goliath, likely a descendant of the Nephilim, is mentioned as being around 9’6” tall. So Adam and Eve possessed all the genes needed to be tall or short. However, whether Adam and Eve were short or tall we can only imagine. This suggests a related question, “How tall have I always assumed Adam was?”
Our expectations for a person are often colored by our own life experiences. My predisposition is that Adam was about six feet tall, was white and had dark hair, or in other words, was a lot like me (except for my thinning gray hair). How would I react if I met Adam and he was ten feet tall, had dark skin, red hair and was shabbily dressed; surprised, uncomfortable, afraid? Would we consider him a good candidate to teach the gospel to, as a brother?
A good example of how expectations affected people’s response to another person is the Jews expectation of Jesus. Consider Nathanael’s initial response when he heard about Jesus being the Messiah. It was very negative (John 1:45-46); “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him ‘Come and see.’” Nathanael’s initial response to Jesus was to reject Him based solely on his expectations and predispositions for the coming Messiah. He didn’t expect the Messiah, who the Jews in general thought was to be a king like David and would throw off Roman oppression, could possibly come from a small, backwater town like Nazareth. Fortunately Nathanael in the end listened to his friend and to Jesus.
What was the Pharisee’s view of those who did not come up to their standard of righteousness? Consider their reaction to Jesus eating with tax collectors in Matt 9:9-13: “As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ 12 But when he heard it, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Pharisee’s attitude toward those they consider unrighteous is suggested by the fact that they questioned Jesus disciples about His motives eating with such people. Their idea of keeping free of sin was to avoid interacting with such people. Jesus heard the question and interceded with a challenge, If the Pharisees had truly understood Jesus statement concerning sacrifice and mercy, they would have understood that they were unmerciful and were themselves sinners.
This is also the point of the Jesus parable in Luke 18:9-12; “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’” We must be careful that our actions toward others do not result from our own judgment of their worth to God that is based on their appearance, education, wealth or even openness to the gospel message.
I know that I have failed sometimes in this regard. But remember what Jesus said in Mat 7:1-2; “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Where would you or I be if someone, rather than teaching us the gospel, had judged us to be unworthy of God’s love? How much did God love the world? (John 3:16)
How tall was Adam? How you answer this question is totally up to you.