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Adam and Eve

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According to the Book of Genesis of the Bible, Adam was the first man created by God.

His mate was Eve, who was either created from his rib (Gen. 2.21-22), or created at the same time (Gen. 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.

"God created man [Heb., 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 Garden of Eden (Edinu in Sumerian) story recounts how God created Adam and Eve, gave them the commandment not to eat of the tree of knowledge, and expelled them from the garden after they disobeyed Him and ate the fruit. Christians interpret this story as the basis of the idea of original sin.

The story is in Genesis, chapters 2 and 3.

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, because she was the mother of all living. Being induced by the tempter in the form of a serpent to eat the forbidden fruit, Eve persuaded Adam, and he also did eat. Until then they were nude, but now they no longer felt comfortable like that and made aprons of fig leaves. They were expelled from Eden, and at the east of the garden God placed a flame, which turned every way, to prevent access to the tree of life (Gen. 3). 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 re-enter Paradise.

How long they were in Paradise is matter of mere conjecture. Shortly after their expulsion Eve brought forth her first-born, and called him Cain. Although we have the names of only three of Adam's sons, viz., Cain, Abel, and Seth, yet it is obvious that he had several sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). According to the text, he died aged 930 years.

Most interpretations of the Bible hold that Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the whole human race. Evidences of varied kinds are abundant in proving the unity of the human race.

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.

Some Biblical scholars have placed the Garden of Eden in what is now the Persian Gulf, see http://www.ldolphin.org/eden/. Others have suggested a location in Anatolia. Biblical geography had four rivers flowing from it: Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon[?] and Gihon[?].

Islamic traditions hold that Adam's Peak in Sri Lanka has an enormous footprint of Adam.

Fresco The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, depicting a distressed Adam and Eve, nude, without fig leaves, by Tommaso Masaccio, 1426-27: [1] (http://www.kfki.hu/~arthp/art/m/masaccio/brancacc/expulsio/expuls.jpg)

See also: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, millennialism, Mitochondrial Eve.

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