Dr Jones, in his recent Kreitler Lecture (at the Virginia Theological Seminary) picked out something I had not realised. When God put Adam in the Garden of Eden “to dress it and to keep it”, the two words dress and keep in Hebrew are also found in the prescription of the Levites’ duties in the sanctuary of God. This, Dr Jones says, suggests that Adam, standing for all mankind, has a priestly role in uniting nature to God.
Dr Jones points out that the Old Testament is much quoted in the theology of the ethics of the environment. What about the connections between ecology and Christ? The bishop has touched on this before, in his book Jesus and the Earth (SPCK, 2003).
Jesus, we know, is the second Adam. As, in Eden, the disobedience of the first man, Adam, led all mankind into alienation from God, so the Son of Man reconciles all mankind to God. At his Resurrection, Jesus is even taken for the gardener by Mary Magdalen, as this paper noted in its leading article for Easter.
Jesus habitually referred to himself as the Son of Man, and the name Adam means “man”. But the Hebrew also seems to be connected with the word for “earth”, and “God formed man of the dust of the ground”.