Luke 3:38 (KJV) states (emphasis added):

which was the son of Enos, which was the son of seth, whcih was the son of Adam, which was the son of God" .

The verse uses the past tense. Does that indicate that Adam is no longer a son of God?

When Jesus was speaking to the Sadducees in Mark 12:26 (KJV), emphasis added, He said:

God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham....

Which is present tense and shows Abraham is still alive. Since the bible is using Adam "was" the son of God, does this mean Adam is no longer a son of God?

4 Answers 4


This is an artifact of the translation you are using. There is no verb in the Greek text of the verse. Consider this version:

the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. [Luke 3:37-38 NKJV]

Notice that the NKJV (like many other translations) places the son in italics. This indicates that the words were added to make to text read more like English. Some other translations go further and add something like 'who was'.

The Greek version is more terse, reading something like "... Enosh of Seth of Adam of God"

The passage in no way suggests that Adam is no longer of God.


The answer onto your question is exactly in your question. Following your logic, we should ask also: does it mean, that Enos is not son of Seth, and Seth is not son of Adam anymore, because the past tense "was" is used in the text?

Of course no. That only means that born event and their relations were in past, as all this people died. That does not mean that spiritual relations, or historical relations were broken.


There is no indication of past present or future time in the original Greek. I found the text in Greek and English at this biblehub page. As you can see, it simply shows there is a relationship, not the exact nature of it. The first Greek text is from the SBLGNT version, which closely matches the Greek text used by the NIV translators, also found on bibehub.

(Luke 3:38 [SBLGNT]) τοῦ Ἐνὼς τοῦ Σὴθ τοῦ Ἀδὰμ τοῦ θεοῦ.

GRK: ... Σήθ τοῦ Ἀδάμ τοῦ θεοῦ

NAS: ... the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

KJV: ... which was [the son] of Seth, which was [the son] of Adam, which was [the son] of God.

INT: ... of Seth of Adam of God

The INT (interlinear) line is the key to what is in the Greek text. The word "τοῦ", transliterated to "ton", is a form of the Greek for "the" and here is understood to mean "of".

Both the KJV and NAS add the words "the son" to clarify the relationship for the English reader. Only the KJV chose to add "which was", which suggests, but does not require, that the relationship no longer exists.

Another way to put it could be, " ... Enos came from Seth came from Adam came from God". And then I wonder if I should add some "who"s in there.


The use of the past tense in Luke 3:38 does not mean Adam is no longer the son of God anymore than the past tense in any of the verses of Luke 3:23-38 mean those sons are no longer sons of the fathers mentioned. For example, in verse 23 we read:

...Joseph, which was the son of Heli...

The use of the past tense means the speaker is referring to people who have died. Joseph remains the son of Heli just as Adam remains the son of God.

Likewise, if we take a larger look at Mark 12:26, we find:

...how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham...

Mark is discussing a past event. It is common when speaking of past events to express them in present tense. Think of it this way, back then God said, "I am the God of Abraham."

Please note that the verse does not mean (as you suggest in your question) that Abraham is still alive. That may be true in a spiritual sense, but Abraham was long dead by Mark's time and could not enjoy the resurrection until after Jesus was resurrected, which had not happened by the time discussed in Mark 12:26.

  • Notice that at the time God said this to Moses, Abraham had already died. So the use of the present tense here can't mean that Abraham was (physically, on Earth, in the flesh) alive at that time. Your answer is correct, and past tense often means that the person had died, but I don't think the example helps the answer.
    – Bit Chaser
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 22:48
  • That's a good point, but as I think about it, God, Himself, has not passed away. He remains the God of Abraham. I can easily accept the discrepency in what one might call a "royal context."
    – JBH
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 23:39

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