Who are Adam and Eve?
Adam and Eve, according to the Old Testament, are the First Humans who ever walked on earth from which all humans descended. God created Adam and Eve to care for His creation, populate the planet, and have a relationship with Him. The complete bible account of the story of Adam and Eve can be found in Genesis 1:26 to Genesis 5:5.
Introduction to the Story of Adam and Eve in the Bible
The story of Adam and Eve and the creation of man is probably one of the most recognized biblical stories throughout all of Scripture. It is the first story that appears in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, which details the beginnings of pretty much everything—from the beginning of sin and evil to the very first murder and death.
It also features elements of the fall of mankind, a fallen state of the world and outlines the need for a redeemer of some kind.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on the creation of Adam and Eve in particular—the very first humans as far as the Bible tells us. We’ll also be looking at their roles within the Garden of Eden, how they were led astray by the serpent, the punishments they each received and ultimately how they were kicked out of paradise for their betrayal of God.
The Creation of Adam and Eve, according to the Bible
‘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.’ — Genesis 1: 26-27
At the beginning of Genesis, we are told that there was nothing and that God created the heavens and the earth. He established the night and day cycle upon the earth by creating light and also creates the sky the water and the land upon it.
Upon the land, he creates vegetation and plants which can produce fruit and also introduces the Sun, the moon and the stars. After this we see God create fish and creatures of the waters before creating birds that fill the sky.
God is so pleased with these creations that he decides to also create land animals that move across the terrain freely. Lastly, he creates mankind, where it was stated in Genesis 1:26 to 27, he makes mankind in his image and likeness with the intention that they will rule over the animals that he has bestowed upon the earth.
We are then given even more confirmation of this in Genesis 28 through 30, which indicates that God intended for the world and all its contents to be ours, and animals and plants offer our consumption saying,
‘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 1:28-30
It is chapter 2 of Genesis that sees the first introduction of Adam. We are told that neither shrub nor plant had sprouted because not only had God yet to send rain upon the earth but there was also no one to tend to the plants either to ensure that proper growth.
What’s interesting here is that we get to see one of two of the first creation stories featured in Genesis. We are told in Genesis 2:7, ‘Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.’
The Purpose of Humans on Earth
We understand here that Adam had been created then with a purpose in mind: he’s not made on a whim or as a result of God’s creativity, but because God had a use for him, much like those of the faith believe God has a use for everyone in their way.
Adam’s role here was to serve as a caretaker for the Garden of Eden, which we learned from God in Genesis 2:15, ‘The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’
Adam is therefore the first human to ever commune with God in any way as far as Genesis goes. It’s hard to imagine the dynamic between Adam and God, given that the Bible does not share much of what their relationship was like—whether it was like that of a father and a son or whether it was more like that of a boss and an employee.
In any case, God appears to treat Adam quite reasonably he doesn’t make him do anything that appears to be too arduous, except to tend to the garden, and even allows Adam to share in the spoils telling him that he can eat from any tree in the garden.
The Command Given to Adam
However, in 2:15 of Genesis, God warns him not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, for if one were to eat from it, they would surely die. This is one of two trees that are named in the Bible: the other being The Tree of Life.
The Creation of the First Woman, Eve
God then begins to believe that Adam shouldn’t be alone. He decides that man should have a helper that accompanies him, and here, we get a glimpse of how much God cares about the man and that he takes into consideration how he is feeling. He understands that Adam, with no one to talk to, would likely have been lonely and so decides to bring all the animals to Adam to find a suitable companion.
He also gives Adam the honour of naming each of the animals, but from amongst them, there is no appropriate mate.
So, God puts Adam into a deep sleep and whilst Adam is sleeping, he removes one of his ribs and then closes up the gap with flesh. From this rib God created woman and he brought her to Adam.
In Genesis 2:23, we are told to Adam is pleased with God’s efforts to make him a companion as he states, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.’
Both man and woman were naked in the Garden of Eden and during his time, they felt no shame for mankind knew not what shame was. Interestingly, the Bible gives us an interesting insight about why relationships between man and woman take form, telling us,
‘That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.’ — Genesis 2:24
What it’s trying to tell us here is that the woman was made from a man’s rib, a man seeks to be reunited with that rib, thus making him whole again. The rib itself, the woman, also seeks the same unification and so the bond between man and woman is formed on the same basis and need to be complete.
The Fall of Adam and Eve
In chapter 3 of Genesis, we see the downfall of Adam and Eve simply entitled ‘the Fall’, as we see the emergence of the serpent. Now, whilst the serpent in this passage is referred to as the serpent only, many believe that this serpent is Satan or Lucifer.
Some theories on this originated from the fact that in Revelations, Lucifer takes on the form of a dragon to battle Archangel Michael and the heavenly hosts in a war for the heavens. A dragon being a serpentine creature might give some inkling as to why many people believe this. After all, we know that Lucifer can change forms as he does in Revelations and seen as he can transform into a dragon, why wouldn’t he be able to transform into a snake.
Whilst God banished Lucifer from the heavens and cast him down to earth, some idea suggests that he’d done the serpent disguise and snuck into the garden with the sole purpose of getting revenge and what better revenge could he have against God than to turn his most cherished creation against him.
Again, whilst Genesis here does not give us confirmation as to whether this serpent was Lucifer or not, it does give the serpent a motive for otherwise, he just appears to be an evil being that has no reasoning to turn Adam and Eve against God, unless the serpent is simply inherently evil.
Some people argue that the serpent was created by God to be evil on purpose so that he could test if mankind would turn against him if given the chance. In this, mankind fails the test miserably.
The Serpent Convinces Eve to Sin
What Genesis does tell us is that the serpent is the craftiest of God’s creations—Now the serpent was craftier than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’
Another interesting point to make of Genesis here is that the serpent appears to single out Eve in his attempt to corrupt mankind.
After Eve tells him that they may not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil because they would die, the serpent scoffs telling her ‘You will not certainly die. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
The second doesn’t appear to address Adam here at all and through this, some believe that is Eve who facilitated the Serpent’s plan. For it was she who was convinced otherwise, and she who hands Adam the fruit from the tree.
It is also she who reaches for the fruit and she who takes the first bite. Genesis tells us,
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so, they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” — Genesis 3: 6-7
Notice how Adam doesn’t resist either. There is no passage in Genesis where he tries to dissuade Eve, nor any writing where we see Adam advise against this course of action. Through this, Adam is just as bad as Eve, as he is quick to join her in doing the one thing that God had warned him against.
The Price of Eating from the Tree of Knowledge
We are also told here that in eating the fruit, Adam and Eve don’t die, but as the serpent had told them they gained some form of insight in that their eyes are opened. However, their newfound wisdom—the wisdom that is the awareness of good and evil—comes at a price.
As a result of eating the fruit, they both experience shame and through this, find themselves hastily so in fig leaves together to hide their private parts. It shows the depth of how shameful the two must have felt, for despite being described here as husband and wife, they still feel mightily guilty about being naked in front of each other.
Another interesting thing to take note of is that the serpent knew Adam and Eve wouldn’t die, as a result of eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Could it be that the serpent was bluffing? What did the serpent have some greater knowledge of God’s plan?
As stated earlier, many believe that the serpent was Lucifer, for Lucifer was once very close to God. Close enough that he may have been privy to this bit of information.
Others believe that God had orchestrated this whole thing. That he lied to Adam and Eve about the fruit being fatal, and he made the serpent say the opposite, just to see if humans would be loyal to him.
Or perhaps the serpent was just that much of a wicked creature that he believed Adam and Eve would die from eating the fruit but lied to them in the hopes of seeing them perish.
It is also only when the serpent tells Adam and Eve that ‘You will be like God knowing good and evil’ that they decide to eat from the tree.
I’m reminded of an old quote that once said, ‘Everyone’s got a price’ and it seems like for Adam and Eve, their price was to be like God.
Whilst one may have seen us in the flattering light, it also highlights man’s ambition: that he wants to be the most powerful; that he wants to rule the world; that he wants to be the Most High, something that may have been eerily reminiscent to God as one such as Lucifer, yet another being he had given his utmost trust to.
If you think about it, it’s almost no wonder God allows some of the calamities to happen to man throughout the Bible, given that everyone seems to end up betraying him in some way.
God Confronts Adam — The Blame Game
Soon after they eat from the tree, God comes looking for them and calls out to them. But the two tried to hide amongst the trees of the garden.
When God does find them, Adam tells him that they hid because he was scared of being found naked, to which God answers ‘Who told you that you were naked?’
Realizing that Adam is aware of his nakedness and his shame, he immediately concludes that Adam has betrayed him and eaten from the tree of knowledge. Adam pretty much snitches on Eve straight away. He says, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:12)
Here, it seems that Adam tries to shift the blame onto Eve, given that he doesn’t accept responsibility for eating the fruit himself. At no point does Eve or the serpent appear to force Adam to eat it he seems quite willing to share in the spoils of the tree if it will grant him the wisdom that the serpent promises.
Here, Adam comes across as a child who tried to blame his sibling for stealing cookies from the jar. Although, he does at least confess to eating the fruit. God then immediately turns his fury upon Eve saying, ‘What is this you have done?’ To which Eve replies, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’
Eve’s reply is a little bit more honest than Adam’s, for she seems to be a bit more concise in her response, simply telling God, yes, I was deceived and yes, I ate the fruit.
Unlike Adam, she doesn’t try to throw her spouse under the bus and appears to take responsibility for her actions, telling God exactly what happened.
The Punishment on Adam and Eve, and the Serpent
God then talk to the serpent and tells him,
‘“Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly, and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”’ — Genesis 3:14-15
Here, we learned that the serpent becomes the most cursed of all animals for having deceived Adam and Eve into sin. God appears here to detest the animal but whilst he doesn’t destroy snakes for the Serpent’s meddling, he does curse the animal to crawl on his belly and to eat dust for the rest of its days.
He also establishes a wedge between man and serpents, saying that man will be there to cross the head of snakes and snakes will be there to strike the heel of man. In this, the two can never truly coexist and through this, both man and snakes become mortal enemies that will never quite see eye to eye.
To Eve, God punishes her by saying,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor, you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” — Genesis 3:16
Here, we learn that due to Eve’s betrayal, childbirth becomes an utter ordeal. It certainly seems like an extreme punishment for having been deceived by the serpent, in that all women who follow after Eve now have to experience, perhaps, the greatest pain on earth to reproduce.
Both the serpent and Adam get off relatively easy compared to Eve, whereby the serpent is cursed to merely fall on its stomach and the Adam is cursed to have to ‘work for his own food.’
Eve was also punished in that her desires as a human are taken away from her and she’s they’re forced to be ruled by Adam. So, not only this Eve received the utmost agony in giving birth, but she’s also pretty much denounced as a slave for Adam.
You might say that the magnitude of each punishment is attributed to the times in which the Bible was written—a time when women were subservient and considered lesser. By this, Eve, who some might say serves as a representation for women in this story in the same way Adam represents man, comes across as a scapegoat.
Her punishment is grossly disproportionate to Adam’s and the only reason I can think this is is because of how women were viewed at the time that Genesis was produced. Women were already something along the lines of servants for their husbands, and so it is no wonder that Eve in this story comes to reflect a similar nature.
When we look at Adam’s punishment, in contrast, it certainly doesn’t add up. Perhaps, you might say that Adam got the lighter serving of God’s wrath because Adam was not the instigator of the sin. It was after all not he who took the fruit, nor he who offered the fruit anyone else.
You might also say that as the firstborn, Adam was God’s favourite. Notice how God gives Adam the honour of naming the animals and even gives him a companion in the first place because he was lonely. God does not appear to give Eve anything at all and shows her no favouritism or even an inkling that he cherishes her in the same way.
Perhaps then, this is why we see Adam’s punishment as merely an inconvenience as opposed to excruciating pain.
“Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil, you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust, you will return.” — Genesis 3:17-19
Here, God explains that the ground Adam walks upon henceforth will be cursed man and that if he wants to survive, he’ll have to work his ass off to ensure this.
In the Garden of Eden, food was readily available as God had amply supplied for him but going forward Adam would now need to get his food, and this meant planting seeds, growing crops and harvesting, all in terrain that was plagued by thorns and thistles.
He tells him that is only by the sweat on his face that he will eat bread. In that, if he wants to eat, he will have to work hard to do so. He tells Adam that he’s on his own now and that all the benefits of getting a free meal and the comforts that came with it are now forfeit.
There’s also an implication here that Adam will surely die, where he might have lived forever in God’s garden, for God tells him that he is dust and to dust he shall return. Not only is Adam stripped of the luxuries of instant food, but he’s also immortalized and must now live with the notion that one day he will perish.
Again, you might say Eve’s punishment is far worse: Adam has merely taught to fend for himself, something that both men and women are capable of doing. We are all responsible for feeding ourselves at a certain point and perhaps this is symbolic of where we leave our parents and caregivers and set out on our own to forge our paths.
Perhaps by this, Adam’s betrayal of God was inevitable, for it is outside of the home or the Garden of Eden that mankind’s destiny begins to manifest.
With the perfection of the Garden of Eden, it would have been hard for mankind to grow, given that everything would have been done for us and in this, we would have remained the same, perhaps mere pets for God that exists mainly to tend to his garden as Adam did.
Another reason why Adam’s punishment isn’t even that bad is that Adam was created to work anyway. God seems to punish Adam by forcing him to do hard labour, but labour is what Adam had been created for in the first place. He was tasked to tend to the Garden of Eden.
Admittedly, this task was far less strenuous than say raising crops on the cursed land, but it’s still within Adam’s ability to survive in these conditions. He isn’t subjected to the curse of childbirth and isn’t forced to compromise his independence by becoming ruled by another, but instead, is forced to work a little harder.
In a way, God allows Adam to become better than he was before.
Was Adam and Eve at Fault for Sinning?
Whilst we’ve spoken about the Fall of Adam and Eve and that they were both led astray, are we being too harsh on them?
Many of us often criticize Adam and Eve for being tempted so easily but is it entirely their fault. If you think about it, God made Adam and Eve without the understanding of good and evil, and so when they met the serpent, they probably weren’t able to decipher that the serpent was evil.
They would not have found foreboding in his words and would most likely not have been suspicious of him, for they knew not of evil.
Through this, the Serpent’s words were as neutral as God’s were to Adam and Eve, and so, it’s possible that whilst they ate the fruit, they did not do so out of an ambition to be like God but merely because they didn’t see anything wrong with it.
Whilst God does specifically tell them not to eat from the tree, I guess we must cut them some slack given that Adam and Eve would have had their innocence and gullibility of children. You can’t get mad at a child if they were to make such a mistake, because the child has never had the experience before. The child has not become weary of the dangers around him, and the child is dependent on the advice and intentions of the adults around him, regardless of their character.
It is through this that we can view the story of Adam and Eve as a story of growth, in that we all make mistakes, and we all endure the punishments of those mistakes to learn from them. Notice that Adam and Eve going to live righteous lives after their folly because, like us, they learn what they have done is wrong and can make amends and become better for it.
What If God Gave Adam and Eve a Second Chance?
Perhaps, if God had given them a second chance, they might very well have kept away from the tree with more effort. Although, you might also understand that God boots Adam and Eve from the garden out of caution because he no longer trusts them.
Furthermore, he expels them from paradise because he knows they now have the knowledge of good and evil and isn’t sure which path Adam and Eve intend to take.
Notice he says in Genesis 3:22, ‘See the man has become like one of us knowing good and evil.’ Furthermore, establishes that man has become something new, something that can make his own decisions and decide his fate.
God is also weary that now man knows he can gain more by eating the forbidden fruit, he might be tempted to do so again, only this time from another tree —The Tree of Life.
God tells us, “…and now he might reach out of his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.”
Here, God is aware that man could become even more powerful should he remain in the Garden of Eden and recognizes the potential for man to do more wrong against him by consuming the fruits he had told them not to.
He gets a glimpse of this new nature of man after having acquired the knowledge of good and evil, in that man is no longer subservient to his every word, but instead more likely to turn on him and use his gifts to further themselves and become just like him—maybe enough like him to challenge him as Lucifer once did.
We are told,
“So, the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” — Genesis 3:23-24
Here, we see Adam and Eve banished from the Garden of Eden and that God isn’t taking any chances with them getting back in. He even employs a Cherubim—an angelic attendant of God to stand guard with a flaming sword, to drive man away to the ever work his way back to paradise in search of the Tree of Life and its fruit.
This isn’t an often-overlooked aspect of the story of Adam and Eve, that the tree of life and what it represents is seldom ever talked about in detail. It is the one other tree that Adam and Eve did not get to taste from, nor even seen to acknowledge.
It’s probable that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve did not consider their mortality, because they were so well cared for and had their every desire met, and so the tree of life and its fruit which granted immortality did not have an immediate appeal.
But after eating from the tree of knowledge and gaining the understanding that living forever would make them more than human, and in essence, like God and that they would become immortal, they would eventually yearn to have it.
It is why good take such precautions to keep man away from it after they have been cast out because the Tree of Life would offer men a power that perhaps no man should ever inherit—a power that made him as infinite has got himself.
Various Views Regarding the Story of Adam and Eve
The story of Adam and Eve has undergone extensive investigation, which has led to some very different elaborations. Both characters appear in other religions outside of Christianity, and whilst they have near enough the same role, there are some stark differences which we’ll speak about in a moment.
Even from a Christian perspective, however, there exist many different ideas as to what the fall of man represents; who Adam and Eve were; what they represented, and also who was to blame for their original sin.
Who is to Blame for the Sin of Adam and Eve?
A very early Christian interpretation held Eve as the sole perpetrator for the original sin and would proceed to hold all women to be sinners, given that it was Eve who tempted Adam into eating the fruit. As we’ve seen in the Bible, Eve doesn’t appear to tempt Adam but more so hands the fruit to him, and as I mentioned, Adam makes the decision for himself.
A prolific Christian author from Carthage in the first century once said of women that they were the devil’s gateway and would condemn them for the sin that Eve had committed. The idea of women being inherently evil was echoed throughout history, and we see Inklings of this permeate as late as the 15th and 16th century, where witchcraft trials were still being conducted, something that Heinrich Kramer—the author of the Malleus Maleficarum, a well-known treatise on witchcraft—implicates that Eve’s sin justified the persecution of witches, most of which were of course women.
Eve’s sin had major repercussions in the real world for women, for not only were they to be the attachments to their husbands as Eve becomes an attachment to Adam in that she is ruled by him, but they were often deemed as untrustworthy or prone to seducing men to sin as Eve supposedly did to Adam.
We can see this in the way the serpent also takes on the form of a woman in many contemporary artworks, the very form of the woman becoming a symbol for evil.
How did all humans Sin?
Likewise, they existed a belief based on Christian doctrine that because Adam had sinned, all of that sin became hereditary and that every man was ever born was born into sin, and that he had to await redemption. By this, no man was born free and was also born with inherent wickedness, that he had no choice but to live with until he found salvation.
As time went by, however, baptisms were introduced and this was thought to be a ceremony that washed away this innate sin that was acquired by Adam and passed down, allowing man to live his life without the burden of Adam’s folly.
Islamic View on the Story of Adam and Eve
However, Islam has a bit of a different take on Adam and Eve, in that there isn’t a notion of Eve seducing Adam to sin. In the Quran, Adam and Eve are both equally responsible for the consumption of the fruit, and as a result, are cast out from the garden where they spent 40 days apart to repent.
The idea of original sin doesn’t have much of a foothold in Islam, because it appears that both Adam and Eve are forgiven by Allah for their betrayal. We later see Allah command his angels to bow before Adam, which invokes Iblis to refuse, causing him to be cast out.
The fact that Allah asks his angels to bow before Adam serves as a symbol that Allah has truly forgiven mankind and that he supports the humans despite their defiance of him in the first place.
Swahili’s View on Adam and Eve
Another compelling take on Adam and Eve’s story is some Swahili culture, where Adam demonstrates heroics and selflessness. After Eve bites from the fruit, Adam chooses to take a bite as well, not because he is deceived but because he wishes to follow Eve and protect her, even if this means going against God.
I’m sure there are many more interpretations of the Adam and Eve story, and I’m sure many of you have more ideas as to what this story represents.
Interestingly, this is an article about Adam and Eve without a mention of Lilith. Well, if you want to read more about her, Click HERE!
Questions from Readers
Who is Adam in the Bible?
Who is Eve in the Bible?
How old was Eve when she died?
Who ate the Apple, Adam or Eve?
Did Adam and Eve go to Heaven?
How many children did Adam and Eve Have?
How did Adam and Eve Die?
Art Credits: Wikipedia, Wikimedia, National Geographic.