Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve, according to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions,[1][2] were the first man and woman. They are central to the belief that humanity is in essence a single family, with everyone descended from a single pair of original ancestors.[3] It also provides the basis for the doctrines of the fall of man and original sin that are important beliefs in Christianity, although not held in Judaism or Islam.[4]

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 are not named. Instead, God created humankind in God's image and instructed them 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. Adam is told that he can eat freely of all the trees in the garden, except for a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Subsequently, Eve is created from one of Adam's ribs to be Adam's companion. They are innocent and unembarrassed about their nakedness. However, a serpent deceives Eve into eating fruit from the forbidden tree, and she gives some of the fruit to Adam. These acts give them additional knowledge, but it gives them the ability to conjure negative and destructive concepts such as shame and evil. God later curses the serpent and the ground. God prophetically tells the woman and the man what will be the consequences of their sin of disobeying God. Then he banishes them from the Garden of Eden.

The story underwent extensive elaboration in later Abrahamic traditions, and it 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; for example, the Islamic version of the story holds that Adam and Eve were equally responsible for their sins of hubris, instead of Eve being the first one to be unfaithful. The story of Adam and Eve is often depicted in art, and it has had an important influence in literature and poetry.

The story of the fall of Adam is often considered to be an allegory. There is physical evidence that Adam and Eve never existed; findings in genetics are incompatible with there being a single first pair of human beings.

Hebrew Bible narrative

Adam and Eve are figures from the primeval history (Genesis 1 to 11), the Bible's mythic history of the first years of the world's existence.[5] The History tells how God creates the world and all its beings and places the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) in his Garden of Eden, how the first couple are expelled from God's presence, of the first murder which follows, and God's decision to destroy the world and save only the righteous Noah and his sons; a new humanity then descends from these sons and spreads throughout the world. Although the new world is as sinful as the old, God has resolved never again to destroy the world by flood, and the History ends with Terah, the father of Abraham, from whom will descend God's chosen people, the Israelites.[6]

Creation narrative

Adam and Eve are the Bible's first man and first woman.[7][8] Adam's name appears first in Genesis 1 with a collective sense, as "mankind"; subsequently in Genesis 2–3 it carries the definite article ha, equivalent to English "the", indicating that this is "the man".[7] In these chapters God fashions "the man" (ha adam) from earth (adamah), breathes life into his nostrils, and makes him a caretaker over creation.[7] God next creates for the man an ezer kenegdo, a "helper corresponding to him", from his side or rib.[8] The word "rib" is a pun in Sumerian, as the word "ti" means both "rib" and "life".[9] She is called ishsha, "woman", because, the text says, she is formed from ish, "man".[8] The man receives her with joy, and the reader is told that from this moment a man will leave his parents to "cling" to a woman, the two becoming one flesh.[8]

The Fall

The first man and woman are in God's Garden of Eden, where all creation is vegetarian and there is no violence. They are permitted to eat of all the trees except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The woman is tempted by a talking serpent to eat the forbidden fruit, and gives some to the man, who eats also.[8] (Contrary to popular myth she does not beguile the man, who appears to have been present at the encounter with the serpent).[8] God curses all three, the man to a lifetime of hard labour followed by death, the woman to the pain of childbirth and to subordination to her husband, and the serpent to go on his belly and suffer the enmity of both man and woman.[8] God then clothes the nakedness of the man and woman, who have become god-like in knowing good and evil, then banishes them from the garden lest they eat the fruit of a second tree, the tree of life, and live forever.[10]

The Fall of Adam and Eve as depicted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling

Expulsion from Eden

The story continues in Genesis 3 with the "expulsion from Eden" narrative. A form analysis of Genesis 3 reveals that this portion of the story can be characterized as a parable or "wisdom tale" in the wisdom tradition. The poetic addresses of the chapter belong to a speculative type of wisdom that questions the paradoxes and harsh realities of life. This characterization is determined by the narrative's format, settings, and the plot. The form of Genesis 3 is also shaped by its vocabulary, making use of various puns and double entendres.[11]

The expulsion from Eden narrative begins with a dialogue between the woman and a serpent,[12] identified in Genesis 3:1 as an animal that was more crafty than any other animal made by God, although Genesis does not identify the serpent with Satan.[13]:16 The woman is willing to talk to the serpent and respond to the creature's cynicism by repeating God's prohibition against eating fruit from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:17).[14] The woman is lured into dialogue on the serpent's terms which directly disputes God's command.[15] The serpent assures the woman that God will not let her die if she ate the fruit, and, furthermore, that if she ate the fruit, her "eyes would be opened" and she would "be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). The woman sees that the fruit of the tree of knowledge is a delight to the eye and that it would be desirable to acquire wisdom by eating the fruit. The woman eats the fruit and gives some to the man (Genesis 3:6). With this the man and woman recognize their own nakedness, and they make loincloths of fig leaves (Genesis 3:7).[16]

Adam and Eve in an illuminated manuscript (c. 950)

In the next narrative dialogue, God questions the man and the woman (Genesis 3:8–13),[12] and God initiates a dialogue by calling out to the man with a rhetorical question designed to consider his wrongdoing. The man explains that he hid in the garden out of fear because he realized his own nakedness (Genesis 3:10).[17] This is followed by two more rhetorical questions designed to show awareness of a defiance of God's command. The man then points to the woman as the real offender, and he implies that God is responsible for the tragedy because the woman was given to him by God (Genesis 3:12).[18] God challenges the woman to explain herself, and she shifts the blame to the serpent (Genesis 3:13).[19]

Divine pronouncement of three judgments are then laid against all the culprits, Genesis 3:14–19.[12] A judgement oracle and the nature of the crime is first laid upon the serpent, then the woman, and, finally, the man. On the serpent, God places a divine curse.[20] The woman receives penalties that impact her in two primary roles: she shall experience pangs during childbearing, pain during childbirth, and while she shall desire her husband, he will rule over her.[21] The man's penalty results in God cursing the ground from which he came, and the man then receives a death oracle, although the man has not been described, in the text, as immortal.[13]:18;[22] Abruptly, in the flow of text, in Genesis 3:20, the man names the woman "Eve" (Heb. hawwah), "because she was the Genesis 3:20).

The Genesis 2:7) to the "return" of his beginnings:[23]" you return, to the ground, since from it you were taken, for dust you are, and to dust, you will return."

The garden account ends with an intradivine monologue, determining the couple's expulsion, and the execution of that deliberation (Genesis 3:22–24}.[12] The reason given for the expulsion was to prevent the man from eating from the Genesis 3:22).[13]:18;[24] God exiles Adam and Eve from the Garden and installs Genesis 3:24).[25]


Genesis 4 narrates life outside the garden, including the birth of Adam and Eve's first children Cain and Abel and the story of the first murder. A third son, Genesis 5:4). Genesis 5 lists Adam's descendants from Seth to Noah with their ages at the birth of their first sons and their ages at death. Adam's age at death is given as 930 years. According to the Book of Jubilees, Cain married his sister Awan, a daughter of Adam and Eve.[26]