For other uses, see Adam and Eve (disambiguation).
Adam and Eve, according to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions, were the first man and woman. The story of Adam and Eve is central to the belief that God created human beings to live in a Paradise on earth, although they fell away from that state and formed the present world full of suffering and injustice. It provides the basis for the belief that humanity is in essence a single family, with everyone descended from a single pair of original ancestors. It also provides much of the scriptural basis for the doctrine of Original Sin, an important belief in Christianity, although not generally shared by Judaism or Islam. However, some Jewish theologians teach that original sin was due to Adam's yielding to temptation in eating of the forbidden fruit and has been inherited by his descendants.
In the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, chapters one through five, there are two creation narratives with two distinct perspectives. In the first, Adam and Eve were created together in God's image and jointly given instructions to multiply and to be stewards over everything else that God had made. In the second narrative, God fashions Adam from dust and places him in the Garden of Eden where he is to have dominion over the plants and animals. God places a tree in the garden which he prohibits Adam from eating. Eve is later created from one of Adam's ribs to be Adam's companion. However, the serpent tricks Eve into eating fruit from the forbidden tree. God curses only the serpent and the ground. He prophetically tells the woman and the man what will be the consequences of their sin of disobeying God. Then he banishes the man (and presumably also the woman) from the Garden of Eden.
The story underwent extensive elaboration in later Abrahamic traditions, and has been extensively analyzed by modern biblical scholars. Interpretations and beliefs regarding Adam and Eve and the story revolving around them vary across religions and sects.
1 Creation of man and woman
1.1 Priestly narrative: Gen. 1:1-2:4a,
1.2 Yahwist-Elohist narrative: Genesis 2:4b-25,
2 Genesis 3: The Fall,
3 Genesis 4 and 5,
4 Textual notes,
5 Abrahamic traditions
5.1 Jewish traditions,
5.3 Gnostic and Manichaean traditions,
5.4 Islamic tradition,
5.5 Baha'i Faith,
6 Art and literature,
7 Science vs. literalism,
8 See also,
11 External links,
Creation of man and woman:
See also: Documentary hypothesis and Genesis creation narrative
According to Claus Westermann, the Old Testament presents not one but many creation accounts. In the Book of Genesis, the accounts of creation appear in at least two narratives, roughly equivalent to the first two chapters of Genesis. Westermann and other scholars are generally agreed that the two stories derive from originally independent sources: a Priestly source (P) (sixth-fifth centuries BC) in Gen. 1:1-2:4a and in Genesis 5; and an older Jahwist (J) or Jahwist-Elohist (J-E) (tenth-ninth centuries BC) in Genesis 2:4b-25. Westerman finds the recognition of two separate creation accounts to be "one of the most important and most assured results of the literary-critical examination of the Old Testament".
Priestly narrative: Gen. 1:1-2:4a:
Creation of Adam
Creation of Eve
In the first and probably more recently-written (sixth-fifth centuries BC) Priestly narrative (Genesis 1:1 through Genesis 2:4a) Elohim creates the world in six days, culminating in the creation of humanity, then rests on, blesses and sanctifies the seventh day. Known as the "non-subordinating view" (of woman), man and woman are presented as equals--both created in the image of God, and both are assigned "dominion" over all else in creation.
The first account of God's creation of humankind appears in Genesis 1:26-30:
Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; 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 the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
--Genesis 1:26-30, NIV
Jesus built upon the "non-subordinating view" of chapter 1, quoting from chapter 2 only 2:24 which dignifies woman. Paul the apostle and other New Testament writers built upon the "subordinating view" of chapter 2.
Yahwist-Elohist narrative: Genesis 2:4b-25:
In an older Jahwist or Jahwist-Elohist sources (tenth-ninth centuries BC) in Genesis 2:4b-25, also known as the "subordinating (of woman) account", Yahweh fashions a man (Heb. adam, "man" or "mankind") from the dust (Heb. adamah) and blows the breath of life into his nostrils. He then plants a garden (the Garden of Eden) and causes to grow in the middle of the garden the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the Tree of life. Yahweh sets the man in the garden "to work it and watch over it," permitting him to eat from all the trees in the garden except the Tree of Knowledge, "for on the day you eat of it you shall surely die."
God brings the animals to the man for him to name. None of them are found to be a suitable companion for the man, so God causes the man to sleep and creates a woman from a part of his body (English-language tradition describes the part as a rib, but the Hebrew word tsela, from which this interpretation is derived, having multiple meanings, could also mean "side". See the Textual Note below). Describing her in Gen. 2:23a as "bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh," the man calls his new partner "woman" (Heb. ishshah), "for this one was taken from a man" (Heb. ish). The chapter ends by establishing the state of primeval innocence, noting that the man and woman were naked and not ashamed, and so provides the departure point for the subsequent narrative in which wisdom is gained through disobedience at severe cost.
Genesis 3: The Fall:
See also: Fall of man
The serpent, "more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made," tempts the woman to eat "of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden", telling her that "You will not certainly die" and that "God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil". After some reflection about the tree--that "the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom", the woman took some of the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." Though traditionally woman has received the major blame for the Fall of humanity, it is seldom mentioned that Adam was with her throughout the temptation and the disobedience. For example, Paul gives as his rationale for directing that a woman (NIV: possibly "wife") "should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man (NIV: possibly "husband"); she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner."
Aware now of their nakedness, they make coverings of fig leaves and hide from the sight of God. He asked them what they have done, and man blames the woman: "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." In turn, the woman blames the serpent for seducing her to disobedience: "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
God curses the serpent "above all animals," causing it to become an eternal enemy of the human race. God also explicitly curses the ground because of Adam. Genesis only uses the word "curse" in referring to the serpent and the ground. God then passes judgment for the disobedience of the man and woman, condemning the man to sustain life through hard labor and the woman to create new life through painful childbirth. Perhaps as a prophecy of the natural consequences of sin entering the human race, God forecasts that her husband "will rule over you". Richard and Catherine Kroeger, in their scholarly book on rethinking 1 Tim. 2:11-15 in light of ancient evidence, quote a professor of New Testament arguing that all women are bearers of Eve's guilt. He said, "...The punishments, subjection and child bearing, are the two issues in 1 Timothy 2:11-15. The woman's conduct in the fall is, according to Genesis, a primary reason for her universal, timeless subordinate relationship" (Emphasis added). The Kroegers retort is that "There is a serious theological contradiction in telling a woman that when she comes to faith in Christ, her personal sins are forgiven but she must continue to be punished for the sin of Eve." They maintain that judgmental comments such as the professor's are a "dangerous interpretation, in terms both of biblical theology and of the call to Christian commitment". They ask a rhetorical question: "If (the apostle) Paul was forgiven for what he did ignorantly in unbelief" including persecuting and murdering Christians, "and thereafter was given a ministry, why would the same forgiveness and ministry be denied women" (for the sins of their foremother eons ago)? Addressing that, the Kroegers conclude that Paul was referring to the promise of Genesis 3:15 that through the defeat of Satan on the cross of Jesus Christ, the woman's Child (Jesus) would crush the serpent's head, but the serpent would only bruise the heel of her Child.
Adam named his wife Eve (Heb. hawwah) "because she was the mother of all living" and Adam receives his name "the man", changing from "eth-ha'adham", before the fall to "ha'Adham" (with article/command), to Adam after the fall (disobedience). Eve/woman is also established as subordinate to Adam/man. Then Yahweh banished "the man" from the Garden and posted a cherub with a flaming sword at the entrance to block the way to the Tree of Life, "lest he put out his hand...and eat, and live forever."
Genesis 4 and 5:
Genesis four tells of the birth of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve's first children, while Genesis five gives Adam's genealogy past that. Adam and Eve are listed as having three children, Cain, Abel and Seth, then "other sons and daughters".
"...a living being" - God breathes into the man's nostrils and he becomes nefesh hayya. The earlier translation of this phrase as "living soul" is now recognised as incorrect: "nefesh" signifies something like the English word "being", in the sense of a corporeal body capable of life; the concept of a "soul" in our sense did not exist in Hebrew thought until around the 2nd century BC, when the idea of a bodily resurrection gained popularity.,
"...tree of knowledge of good and evil..." - The tree imparts knowledge of tov wa-ra, "good and bad". The traditional translation is "good and evil", but tov wa-ra is a fixed expression denoting "everything," rather than a moral concept.,
"...you shall surely die" - Adam is told that if he eats of the forbidden tree the consequence will be moth tamuth, "die a death", indicating not merely death but emphatically so. As Adam does not in fact die immediately on eating the fruit, some exegetes have argued that it means "you shall die eventually," so that Adam and Eve would have had immortality in the Garden, but lost it by eating the forbidden fruit. However, the grammar does not support this reading, nor does the narrative: Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden lest they eat of the second tree, the tree of life, and gain immortality. Another explanation is that Adam will undergo "a spiritual death". The 2nd century Book of Jubilees (4:29-31) explained that "one day" is equivalent to a thousand years and thus Adam died within that same "day". The Greek Septuagint, on the other hand, has "day" translated into the Greek word for a twenty-four hour period (ἡμέρα, hēméra).,
"...a rib..." - Hebrew tsala` or tsela (from Strong's Concordance #6760 Prime Root) can mean curve, limp, adversity and side. Tsal'ah (fem of #6760) being side, chamber, rib, or beam. The traditional reading of "rib" has been questioned recently by feminist theologians who suggest it should instead be rendered as "side", supporting the idea that woman is man's equal and not his subordinate. Such a reading shares elements in common with Aristophanes' story of the origin of love and the separation of the sexes in Plato's Symposium.,
The 3rd century BC Septuagint translation into Greek says: "ἔλαβε μίαν τῶν πλευρῶν αὐτοῦ", literally: "God took one of his (i.e., Adam's) pleurōn". The word pleurá in Greek means both "side", or "flank", and "rib"; it is used in the Genitive Plural (tőn pleurōn) in the Septuagint text. Usage of the Dual number would have rendered taīn pleuraīn rather than tőn pleurōn, and would have clearly directed exegesis towards "one of his two flanks" rather than towards "one of his several ribs"; however, the Dual number is never used in the Septuagint, as it had become practically obsolete in Koine Greek by that time. Therefore, as it stands, the Septuagint supports either reading.
A recent suggestion, based upon observations that men and women have the same number of ribs, is that the bone was the baculum, a small structure found in the penis of many mammals, but not in humans.
Even in ancient times, the presence of two distinct accounts of the creation of the first man (or couple) was noted. The first account says "male and female God created them", implying simultaneous creation, whereas the second account states that God created Eve subsequent to the creation of Adam. The Midrash Rabbah - Genesis VIII:1 reconciled the two by stating that Genesis one, "male and female He created them", indicates that God originally created Adam as a hermaphrodite, bodily and spiritually both male and female, before creating the separate beings of Adam and Eve. Other rabbis suggested that Eve and the woman of the first account were two separate individuals, the first being identified as Lilith, a figure elsewhere described as a night demon.
Genesis does not tell how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, but the 2nd century BC Book of Jubilees provides more specific information. It states (ch3 v17) that the serpent convinced Eve to eat the fruit on the 17th day of the 2nd month in the 8th year after Adam's creation. It also states that they were removed from the Garden on the new moon of the fourth month of that year (ch3 v33).
According to traditional Jewish belief Adam and Eve are buried in the Cave of Machpelah, in Hebron.
The story of Adam and Eve forms the basis for the Christian doctrine of original sin: "Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned" wrote Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans. Chapter 3 of Genesis does not use the word "sin" and Genesis 3:24 makes clear that the couple are expelled "lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever". St Augustine of Hippo (354-430), working with a Latin translation of the epistle, understood Paul to have said that Adam's sin was hereditary: "Death passed upon (i.e., spread to) all men because of Adam, in whom all sinned". Original sin, the concept that man is born in a condition of sinfulness and must await redemption, thus became a cornerstone of Western Christian theological tradition; the belief is not shared by Judaism or the Orthodox churches.
Most conservative Protestants/evangelical denominations interpret Genesis 3 as leading to these conclusions:
Humanity's original parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God's prime directive that they were not to eat "the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (NIV).,
When they disobeyed, they committed a major transgression against God and were immediately punished.,
This is generally referred to as "the fall" of humanity.,
Sin and death entered the universe for the first time,
Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden of Eden, never to return.,
Because Eve tempted Adam to eat of the fatal fruit, some early Fathers of the Church held her and all subsequent women to be the first sinners, and especially responsible for the Fall. "You are the devil's gateway" Tertullian told his female listeners in the early 2nd century, and went on to explain that they were responsible for the death of Christ: "On account of your desert (i.e., punishment for sin), that is, death, even the Son of God had to die." In 1486, the Dominicans Kramer and Sprengler used similar tracts in Malleus Maleficarum ("Hammer of Witches") to justify the persecution of "witches".
Over the centuries, a system of uniquely Christian beliefs has developed from the Adam and Eve story. Baptism has become understood as a washing away of the stain of hereditary sin in many churches, although its original symbolism was apparently rebirth. Additionally, the serpent that tempted Eve was interpreted to have been Satan, or that Satan was using a serpent as a mouthpiece, although there is no mention of this identification in the Torah and it is not held in Judaism.
Medieval Christian art often depicted the Edenic Serpent as a woman (often identified as Lilith), thus both emphasizing the Serpent's seductiveness as well as its relationship to Eve. Several early Church Fathers, including Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius of Caesarea, interpreted the Hebrew "Heva" as not only the name of Eve, but in its aspirated form as "female serpent."
Gnostic and Manichaean traditions:
See also: Gnostics and Manichaeans
Gnostic Christianity discussed Adam and Eve in two known surviving texts, namely the "Apocalypse of Adam" found in the Nag Hammadi documents and the "Testament of Adam". The creation of Adam as Protoanthropos, the original man, is the focal concept of these writings.
The Manichean conception of Adam and Eve is pessimistic. According to them, the copulative action of two demons, Adam and Eve were born to further imprison the soul in the material universe.
"Mani said, 'Then Jesus came and spoke to the one who had been born, who was Adam, and ... made him fear Eve, showing him how to suppress (desire) for her, and he forbade him to approach her... Then that (male) Archon came back to his daughter, who was Eve, and lustfully had intercourse with her. He engendered with her a son, deformed in shape and possessing a red complexion, and his name was Cain, the Red Man.'"
Another Gnostic tradition held that Adam and Eve were created to help defeat Satan. The serpent, instead of being identified with Satan, is seen as a hero by the Ophites. Still other Gnostics believed that Satan's fall, however, came after the creation of humanity. As in Islamic tradition, this story says that Satan refused to bow to Adam due to pride. Satan said that Adam was inferior to him as he was made of fire, whereas Adam was made of clay. This refusal led to the fall of Satan recorded in works such as the Book of Enoch.
See also: Biblical narratives and the Quran and Adam in Islam
In Islam, Adam (Ādam; Arabic: آدم), whose role is being the father of humanity, is looked upon by Muslims with reverence. Eve (Ḥawwāʼ; Arabic: حواء ) is the "mother of humanity." The creation of Adam and Eve is referred to in the Qurʼān, although different Qurʼanic interpreters give different views on the actual creation story (Qurʼan, Surat al-Nisaʼ, verse 1).
In al-Qummi's tafsir on the Garden of Eden, such place was not entirely earthly. According to the Qurʼān, both Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in a Heavenly Eden (See also Jannah). As a result, they were both sent down to Earth as God's representatives. Each person was sent to a mountain peak: Adam on al-Safa, and Eve on al-Marwah. In this Islamic tradition, Adam wept 40 days until he repented, after which God sent down the Black Stone, teaching him the Hajj. According to a prophetic hadith, Adam and Eve reunited in the plain of ʻArafat, near Mecca. They had two sons together, Qabil and Habil. There is also a legend of a younger son, named Rocail, who created a palace and sepulcher containing autonomous statues that lived out the lives of men so realistically they were mistaken for having souls.
The concept of original sin does not exist in Islam, because Adam and Eve were forgiven by God. When God orders the angels to bow to Adam, Iblīs questioned, "Why should I bow to man? I am made of pure fire and he is made of soil." The liberal movements within Islam have viewed God's commanding the angels to bow before Adam as an exaltation of humanity, and as a means of supporting human rights; others view it as an act of showing Adam that the biggest enemy of humans on earth will be their ego.
In the Baha'i Faith, Adam is seen as a manifestation of God, and the Adam and Eve narratives are seen as having divine mysteries and containing universal meanings, but are also seen as having mythical features. Abdul-Baha described Adam as a spirit and Eve as a soul. Their story is explained in the Baha'i text Some Answered Questions.
Art and literature:
Adam and Eve were used by early Renaissance artists as a theme to represent female and male nudes. Later, the nudity was objected to by more modest elements, and fig leaves were added to the older pictures and sculptures, covering their genitals. The choice of the fig was a result of Mediterranean traditions identifying the unnamed Tree of knowledge as a fig tree, and since fig leaves were actually mentioned in Genesis as being used to cover Adam and Eve's nudity.
Treating the concept of Adam and Eve as the historical truth introduces some logical dilemmas. One such dilemma is whether they should be depicted with navels (the Omphalos theory). Since they were created fully grown, and did not develop in a uterus, they would not have been connected to an umbilical cord as were all born humans. Paintings without navels looked unnatural and some artists obscure that area of their bodies, sometimes by depicting them covering up that area of their body with their hand or some other intervening object.
John Milton's Paradise Lost is a famous 17th-century epic poem written in blank verse which explores the story of Adam and Eve in great detail.
American painter Thomas Cole painted The Garden of Eden (1828), with lavish detail of the first couple living amid waterfalls, vivid plants, and attractive deer.
Mark Twain wrote humorous and satirical diaries for Adam and Eve in both Eve's Diary (1906) and The Private Life of Adam and Eve (1931), posthumously published.
Adam and Eve depicted in a mural in Abreha wa Atsbeha Church, Ethiopia.
Adam and Eve by Titian.
Depiction of the Fall in Kunsthalle Hamburg, by Master Bertram
Adam and Eve by Albrecht Dürer
Eve giving Adam the forbidden fruit, depicted by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Adam and Eve from a copy of the Falnama (Book of Omens) ascribed to Ja´far al-Sadiq, ca. 1550, Safavid dynasty, Iran.
Detail of a stained glass window (XIIth century) in Saint-Julien cathedral - Le Mans, France.
Science vs. literalism:
The story of Adam and Eve, if interpreted literally, is incompatible with the conclusions of modern science. Most notably, it contradicts the scientific consensus that humans evolved from more primitive species of hominids. It is also incompatible with the current understanding of human genetics. In particular, if all humans descended from two individuals several thousand years ago, it would require an impossibly high mutation rate to account for the observed variation. These incompatibilities have caused some Christians to move away from a literal interpretation and belief in the Genesis creation narrative, while others continue to believe in what they see as a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith.
The names Adam and Eve are used metaphorically in a scientific context to designate the patrilineal and matrilineal most recent common ancestors, the Y-chromosomal Adam and the Mitochondrial Eve. Those are not fixed individuals, nor is there any reason to assume that they lived at the same time, let alone that they met or formed a couple. A recent study on the subject estimates that the Y-chromosomal Adam lived 120 to 156 thousand years ago, while the Mitochondrial Eve lived 99 to 148 thousand years ago. Another recent study places the Y-chromosomal Adam 180 to 200 thousand years ago.