Adam in the Garden – Leadership Lesson

Adam in the Garden – Leadership Lesson

Sometimes videos capture exactly what you want to communicate: This is one of those videos – As you will see it’s not really about Leadership – yet I could spend several weeks focusing on some of the take away lines for what I am trying to accomplish in Iron Leadership.

Great Leaders – like Wolves caused a “Trophic Cascade”. Introducing something at top of the food chain which creates change all the way through the food chain, all the way to the bottom. They don’t personally change everything. Instead, they start a chain reaction which changes everything.

Great Leaders – like Wolves put things to death, yet that action leads to giving life to many others.

Leaders – like Wolves of Yellowstone have been absent for 70 years. Things were deteriorating because of their absence.

Great Leaders – like Wolves change patterns of behavior. They cause things to regenerate, and the growth is remarkable!

When Great Leaders – like Wolves, when introduced in small numbers can transform not just the ecosystem but also its physical geography. Wolves changed the Rivers! – A few Wolves changed a massive amount of landscape. This is my hope for Iron Leadership: Introducing just a few men into our culture, city, and churches can create a “Trophic Cascade”. Nothing is more needed as our culture rapidly deteriorates!

“To act like men” by: Equipping men to be better leaders in their own personal lives, their homes, their work, their churches and city for the sake of God’s Glory.”

Stated Purpose of Iron Leadership

This phrase: “Act like men” is lifted from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. The Apostle Paul closes his long and difficult letter with this phrase. The letter was difficult because the church at Corinth was a disorderly crowd (Politics, Power Struggles, Sexual Immorality, Lawsuits, and troubled marriages just to name a few reasons…Sounds like a fun church to lead!) — Although Paul addressed these challenges in the letter, he knows that when the letter is finished being read – the leaders in the church will not only have to face these issues head on, they will have to face PEOPLE head on. This will be an enormous leadership challenge. Paul knows the the challenge will require leaders to “Act like Men” – (An/drid/zo/mai) in the Greek.

One word in the Greek, no explanation. Paul assumes his readers will know that for some, it’s time to stop being children, it’s time to grow up, grow a spine, and step into God’s intended role: to be leaders.

Today, you’ll realize this phrase “Act like Men” is no longer politically correct. In a recent article from Princeton University, the Ivy League school banned the word “Man” from its vocabulary.

Here are suggested gender-neutral alternatives from the article:

Man Alternatives


So at Iron Leadership, we are swimming against the cultural tide as we learn how to “Act like men”. We believe the best place to learn how to act like men is by reading the Bible, examining the lives of men in the Bible (Good and Bad), and by being around other men.

This year we are going to walk through the entire Bible and examine leadership from different men: From Adam to Jesus, and later the Apostle Paul.

Adam’s Position as Leader

The Wolves video is perfect for this morning because Adam initiates a “Trophic Cascade” of epic proportions. His failure of Leadership initiated a cascade which has affected all of human history.

First, let me establish that Humanity (Male & Female) was given leadership over Creation. Creation is intended to thrive under man’s leadership (I realize humanity’s leadership is imperfect) but mankind is not equal to the rest of creation – we are unique & given unique responsibilities . We don’t worship the creation, we rule over it. This is important.

Biblical leadership is established in Genesis 1:26-28: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over [all creatures]. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over [every living creature]”

Male and Female are created in the image of God and given the task of ruling. Bearing the image of God is to represent the authority of God. We serve as vice-regents over the creation.

Second, it was God’s good design to give unique leadership to Adam – Something not always affirmed, even in Christian circles. Here are 4 ways we see the unique leadership of Adam:

  1. The order of creation: Adam was created before Eve. This forms the foundation for the order of human relationships.
  2. The naming of woman: Adam was given the honor and responsibility of naming his wife. (Genesis 2:23). In the Bible, the person who names something is always the one who has authority over it. In creation, God named the night and the day, the expanse, the earth, and the waters. By naming them he showed his authority. Authority does not mean oppression or dictatorship!
  3. The primary accountability: God held Adam primarily accountable for the Fall. While Adam and Eve hid from God, God called “to the man and said to him, ‘Adam, Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:9). God called to Adam alone – he is the leader – it’s God’s Chain of Command. Notice that Satan reversed this order, approaching Eve before Adam in an attempt to disrupt the God-given design of leadership. Satan is always turning God’s plans upside down.
  4. The representation of the human race: Adam had a special role in representing the human race. Though Eve was the first to be tempted to sin, it was Adam who was considered most responsible for their combined disobedience. I Corinthians 15:22: “as in Adam all men die…” Adam is given the responsibility for causing the “Trophic Cascade” – not Eve
  5. Adam represents Christ in a marriage: Ephesians 5:23 – “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” Adam is designed to model Christ’s leadership of the church in his family.
  6. The need for a Second Adam: Genesis 3:15 begins to hint at the need for a “Second Adam” – a second man who can come into the world and crush Satan and reverse the effects of the first Adam. I Corinthians 15:22: “as in Adam all men die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Christ is the second Adam, not the second Eve.

I Corinthians 15:45-49: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Jesus is the “last Adam” who initiates an eternal “Trophic Cascade” which reverses the effects of the first Adam.

The Second Adam is a HUGE topic that we can’t fully get into right now. But this does further add to the point that men were designed for unique leadership.

Adam’s Failure as a Leader

Read Genesis 3:1-6. Adam, what happened? Here are just a few areas where Adam failed as a leader.

  • Apathy / Severe Complacency: Adam stands nearby yet does not act. The world is about to fall apart and he doesn’t do anything.
  • Self Absorption: He may be just too into what he is doing to notice or care what’s going on around him.
  • Fear: Adam has never had to confront, challenge, stand up to anything, so he may be afraid. As a result, his fear paralyzes him.

Whatever the reason – it was a failure of Leadership. It wasn’t Satan’s fault, Eve’s fault, or God’s fault. It was Adam’s – and he began a “Trophic Cascade” which we still experience the effect of today.


  1. What has the greatest negative effect on your personal leadership: Apathy, Complacency, Self-Absorption, Fear….something else? Why or How?
  2. Are you convinced you were Divinely designed to exercise leadership? What is your biggest   leadership challenge in the coming year?

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church




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