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Adam and Eve

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"Adam" and "Eve" redirect here. For other uses, see Adam (disambiguation) and Eve (disambiguation).

According to the Book of Genesis of the Bible and to the Qur'an, Adam was the first man created by God. Adam's mate, Eve (or Hawa) was either created from his rib (Genesis 2.21-22), or created at the same time (Genesis 1.27) as Adam, depending on which part of Genesis is read and how it is interpreted. Depending on which tradition is believed, she may or may not have been the first woman, or Adam's first wife.

Adam—אָדָם in Standard Hebrew, ʾĀḏām in Tiberian Hebrew, and آدم (ʾĀdam) in Arabic—means "man," "earthy," or "red." Eve—חַוָּה (Ḥavva) in Standard Hebrew, Ḥawwāh in Tiberian Hebrew, and حواء (Ḥawwāʾ) in Arabic—means "living."


Adam in Genesis

Traditional woodblock print portraying Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with many of the "lower creatures."
Traditional woodblock print portraying Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with many of the "lower creatures."

"God created man [i.e. Adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." According to this account, Adam was absolutely the first man whom God created. He was formed out of the dust of the earth (hence his name, which means "red earth"), and God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and gave him dominion over all the lower creatures (Gen. 1:26; 2:7).

The story of the Garden of Eden (the name possibly from Akkadian edinu based on Sumerian eden 'plain, steppe') recounts how God created Adam and gave him the commandment not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, and expelled him from the garden after he had 'become as one of us' (it is not explictly stated in the story that the woman was expelled). Many Christians interpret this story wrongly as the [[Fall (religion)|fall]. Many Christians interpret this story of the fall as the basis of the idea of original sin.

The story is in Genesis, chapters two and three. After his creation, Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it, and to enjoy its fruits under this one prohibition: "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

The first recorded act of Adam was his giving names to the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, which God brought to him for this end. Thereafter the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon him, and while in an unconscious state took one of his ribs, and closed up his flesh again; and of this rib he made a woman, whom he presented to him when he awoke. Adam received her as his wife, and said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." He called her Eve (Hebrew: Chava "life"), because she was the mother of all living. Being induced by the serpent (whom later tradition made into Satan) to eat the forbidden fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, for "the serpent said unto the woman, 'Ye shall not surely die.'" (Genesis 3.4), Eve persuaded Adam, and he also did eat. Until then they were nude, but now "the eyes of them both were opened" and they made aprons of fig leaves to cover themselves.

Adam was expelled from Eden to prevent him gaining access to the tree of life (Genesis 3), which if he ate from it would have given eternal life. At the east of the garden God placed Cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way. Eastern Orthodox tradition says that from the time Jesus was born, the flaming sword was removed from the Garden of Eden, making it possible for humanity to return to Paradise.

How long they were in Paradise is matter of literalist conjecture; traditional Jewish sources assert that it was less than a day. Shortly after their expulsion, Eve brought forth her first-born child, and called him Cain. Only three of Adam's children (Cain, his brother Abel, and the lesser-known Seth) are named in Genesis, but it is said that he had other sons and daughters as well (Genesis 5:4). According to the text, he died aged 930 years (the interpretation of how long a "year" is meant to be interpreted is the subject of much debate). Judaism holds the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron as the traditional burial place of Adam and Eve.

Later tales

In the Book of Jubilees, a daughter (Awn) is born to Adam and Eve after the birth of Abel, Seth, a daughter named Azr, and nine other sons who are not named. Cain later marries Awn and Seth marries Azr. But according to Genesis Rabba and other later sources, Cain had a twin sister and Abel had two twin sisters or Cain had a twin sister named Lebuda and Abel a twin sister named Qelimath. In The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, Cain's twin sister is named Luluwa, and Abel's twin sister is named Aklia.

There are a number of pseudepigraphical works about Adam and Eve:

According to some traditions, Adam had an earlier mate, Lilith.

A tradition not found in the Bible text holds that the forbidden fruit was an apple. The larynx in the human throat has been called Adam's apple because of a notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit sticking in the throat of Adam.

Some Biblical scholars have placed the Garden of Eden in what is now the Persian Gulf region. Others have suggested a location in Anatolia (Asia Minor)). Biblical geography had four rivers flowing from it: Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon and Gihon.

Adam in Islam

The Qur'an tells the story of Adam and Eve mainly in 2:30-39, 7:11-25, 15:26-44, 17:61-65, 20:115-124, 38:71-85. Eve is not mentioned by name in the Qur'an, but referred to as Adam's spouse; however, her name is given as Hawwa, as in Hebrew, by Islamic tradition.

While Adam is also regarded as the first human in Islam, he is also a prophet as well, in the sense that he was one of the people to whom God spoke. In the Qur'an, Allah (God) creates Adam of clay, and then told him "Be!" and he was. When God had announced his intention of creating Adam, the angels expressed dismay, asking why he would create a being that would do evil. But when He "taught Adam the names," they saw that he knew more than they, and learned from Adam.

When God orders the angels to bow to Adam, the jinn Iblis (approximately equivalent to Satan) refuses due to his pride and is summarily banished from the heavens. However, he promises God that he will lead as many humans astray as he can, to which God replies that those who will it will follow Satan, while those who will it will follow God.

Adam and Eve were sent to live in the Garden of Eden. They were allowed to live as they pleased there, but not to eat from a certain tree and taste its fruit. However, they both eventually succumbed to the temptation of Satan, who promised them immortality if they ate from it, and ate; they then saw their nakedness and covered themselves with leaves. God punished them by sending them out into the earth amid mutual enmity, but then took mercy upon them; warning them not to follow Satan, he promised them that all would be well for those who followed God's guidance, while those who rejected it would suffer hellfire.

The Qur'an also describes the two sons of Adam (named Qabil and Habil in Islamic tradition, but not mentioned in the Qur'an) that correspond to Cain and Abel. Islamic traditions also hold that Adam's Peak in Sri Lanka has an enormous footprint of Adam. Liberal movements within Islam have used God's command to bow before Adam as a means of supporting human rights.


Early Renaissance artists used the theme of Adam and Eve as a way to represent female and male nudes in a then morally acceptable way. Sometimes a fig leaf covered their genitals.

See also

External links

Last updated: 06-02-2005 13:26:52
Last updated: 09-03-2005 18:37:12