Several years ago I was talking with a woman, who was an elder in her church, about the Bible. She declared herself to be an evolutionist, a feminist, one who could not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to get to heaven, and one who could not believe that a "loving God" could send any of His children to hell. Her beliefs did not catch me off-guard nor her boldness in stating them, I have known this woman for many years. She then explained to me and others who were listening that the word "adam" means "man" and did not imply that the Biblical Adam was a real person, but just a word representing humanity. She also told us years later that her dead mother had come to her hotel room as a pigeon banging on her window. This was a sign letting her know that her mother was well. That is certainly what a pigeon would tell me about mom when it was constantly banging against my window, a window that could not be raised. I might have thought it was saying, "Help, help, help. Get me out of this pigeon! I'm eating bugs, for pete's sake. Get me out o' here!" if I believed in such nonsense, which I don't, really, I don't. But her comment on the word adam made me think. Of course, her "bird thing" made me think, too. But that will have to wait for another time.
She was right, of course, about adam meaning man. She was wrong about the Genesis man, Adam, being merely a reference to mankind. Adam was a literal, historical figure, a real live human being, the first human on earth. Eve's name means "the mother of all living" and is likewise treated by theistic evolutionists as a reference to women of all times. But like her husband, Adam, Eve also was a literal, historical person, created out of Adam's side, the first woman on earth. And from these two sprang all humanity. Humanity did not ooze out of primordial ooze and then evolve from apes or monkeys over billions of years. God did not work through evolution. He did not create life-giving primordial mud and call it "adam and eve" (and likewise apes when they evolved) until these living creatures reached the point to where He could tempt them with the forbidden fruit and zap them for eating it. God worked through creation with a redemptive purpose.
The New Testament expands the disciple's understanding of Adam. He is called "the first Adam" (ICor.15:45) and it is written of him that he "became a living being." This cannot be read to say that Adam was a metaphorical representation but an acutal "living being." In the context of Paul's letter to the church at Corinth where he is defending the literal, historical and physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the first Adam is clearly depicted as a "type" of Christ, "the last Adam." Neither Adam nor Christ are metaphors. As Jesus Christ lived and walked on earth, so did the Adam and Eve of the book of Genesis. And as Adam was a historical living being, so Christ was and is a historical "life-giving spirit."
This "last Adam" was the aim of all history, pre-figured by the first Adam. The first Adam's name is significant soley because it points to the absolute necessity of the last Adam, the sinless Lamb of God who takes away the sin and death in the world brought upon this earth by the first Adam (Rom.5:12-21). The "federal headship" of the first Adam had to be superceded by One greater, One who was without the sin inherited from our original parents. The name Adam was given to the man Adam by God Himself in a prophetic manner that the Hebrews and we might see His plan of redemption that began before the earth was founded. In this sense, "adam" is representative of all man-kind, but it is through the first Adam's sin and disobedience as it is passed on to all. And it is in the representative sense that Paul refers when he writes, "The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly" (15:47-48).
Why do we need forgiveness and reconciliation to our Creator who is justified in sending some to eternal damnation? Because in Adam we have all sinned; it is our nature (Eph.2:1-3). In Adam we are by our very natures "children of wrath." Jesus is called the last Adam in order that we might make the connection between the sins of our original parent and the forgiveness of those sins in our new. There is a "scarlet thread" running from Adam to Jesus that cannot be severed by anthing but the cross of Calvary. This is why God named Adam, Adam; He has a plan that was conceived and finished before time began and that plan will be brought to pass (Isa.46:8-13). Adam was the first step in that plan.