Adam, Solomon, and Jesus
The Bible is the story of God’s desire to live in harmony with creation. Adam and Eve were created to reign in the Garden in relationship with God. But the harmony is disrupted when Adam and Eve follow the advice of the serpent instead of the words of God.
They were not to eat of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17). This is a bit of a puzzling prohibition. It seems that it would be a good thing to eat of this tree. Wouldn’t God want the people to know good and evil? There are some different ways of looking at this, but whatever the case, God had said No, but they said Yes. They sinned.
The rest of the Bible is about restoring what was broken in the Garden. Who will be the next Adam who will perfectly obey God and lead the people back into relationship with God? Who will overcome the power of deception found in the serpent?
The beginning of the reign of Solomon is told in such a way that the reader wonders if the next Adam has arrived. When God asks Solomon what it is that he wants, Solomon responds by requesting to have “an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). It’s a phrase that calls to mind Adam’s failure. God gives wisdom to Solomon. Next, Solomon must decide how to navigate a case involving two women (As a side note, it’s interesting that the wisdom literature of the Old Testament personifies wisdom and foolishness as being like two women. The wise person must choose correctly).
Solomon “had dominion” (1 Kings 4:24), calling to mind the language in the Garden of Eden. Interestingly, this word is not applied to the reigns of Saul or David. Furthermore, Solomon speaks “of animals and birds and creeping things and fish” (1 Kings 4:33). You can’t help but think of the Garden of Eden with that line. Also, Judah and Israel are said to be “as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:20), conjuring images of the promises made to Abraham as well as the commandment to Adam and Even to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).
Many students of the Temple have noted what appear to be similarities between Solomon’s Temple and the Garden of Eden. This is a temple that may have even appeared a bit like a garden. “The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with ornamental buds and open flowers” (1 Kings 6:18). There were “two cherubim of olive wood” (1 Kings 6:23). Several times, Solomon is said to have “finished” what was being built (1 Kings 6:9, 14, 38; 7:1, 40). This is the same word used to refer to God having completed His work (Genesis 2:1-2).
But Solomon falls. He follows the gods of his wives and loses the kingdom because of it. God comes to Solomon in 1 Kings 11:11 and says, “Because you have done this...” (It’s very similar wording to Genesis 3:14,17).
Solomon didn’t come to give us eternal life. However, the promised King, the Savior, did come into the world. He was known for His wisdom (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 13:54; Luke 2:52; Colossians 2:3), He did not fall to temptation (Matthew 4:1-11), He remained obedient to the point of death (Philippians 2:8), and He built a temple, the church which is not to be destroyed (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Praise God that, although death and sin entered the world through Adam, it is through Christ that we have grace, righteousness, and life! (Romans 5:12-21)