Adam (Bible)

Adam (Bible)

Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם) was, [Brown Driver Briggs, "Hebrew and English Lexicon", ISBN 1-56563-206-0, p. 9.] ["Ibid". 1. "a man" 2. "man, mankind".] ["Ibid". From same root "adm" (אדם), "adamah" — ground or land.] according to a literal interpretation of Genesis, [Gerald Schroeder "Genesis and the Big Bang", page 150] [Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, "Immortality, Resurrection and the Age of the Universe", page 21] the first man created by God and noted in subsequent Jewish, Christian and Islamic commentary. "Adam and Eve." Encyclopædia Britannica. ] His wife was Eve.

Hebrew Bible

The story is told in Genesis, the first of the Five Books of Moses, in chapters 2 and 3, with some additional elements in chapters 4 and 5.

Account of Creation

Two accounts of the story of creation are told in the book of Genesis.

God created all living creatures, including human beings, on the sixth day of creation. "Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam..." (Genesis 5:2). "Adam" is a general term, like "Man" and could refer to the whole of humankind. God blessed them to be "fruitful and multiply" and ordained that they should have "dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen. 1.26-27, KJV).

, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2.16-17, KJV).

God then noted that "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Gen. 2.18, KJV). He then brought every "beast of the field and every fowl of the air" (Gen. 2.19, KJV) before Adam and had Adam name all the animals. However, among all the animals, there was not found "a helper suitable for" Adam (Gen. 2.20, NASB), so God caused "a deep sleep to fall upon Adam" and took one of his ribs, and from that rib, formed a woman (Gen. 2.21-22), subsequently named Eve. There is no mention of Adam waking up from his sleep.

Adam and Eve were subsequently expelled from the Garden of Eden, were ceremonially separated from God, and lost their immortality after they broke God's law about not eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This occurred after the serpent (understood to be Satan in many Christian traditions) told Eve that eating of the tree would result not in death, but in Adam and Eve's eyes being opened, resulting in them being "as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3.4-5). Convinced by the serpent's argument, Eve eats of the tree and has Adam do likewise (Gen. 3.6).

As a result, both immediately become aware of the fact that they are naked, and thus cover themselves with garments made of fig leaves (Gen. 3.7). Then, finding God walking in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve hide themselves from God's presence (Gen. 3.8). God calls to Adam "Where art thou?" (Gen. 3.9, KJV) and Adam responds "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself" (Gen. 3.10, KJV). When God then asks Adam if he had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam responds that his wife had told him to (Gen. 3.11-12).

As a result of their breaking God's law, the couple is removed from the garden (Gen. 3.23) (the Fall of Man) and both receive a curse. Adam's curse is contained in Gen. 3.17-19: "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (KJV).

After they were removed from the garden, Adam was forced to work hard for his food for the first time. He and Eve had many children although only three are named in Genesis: Cain, Abel, and Seth. The Book of Jubilees, in addition, names two of his daughters: Azura, who married her brother Seth, and Awan, who married her brother Cain.

According to the Genealogies of Genesis, Adam died at the age of 930. With such numbers, calculations such as those of Archbishop Ussher would suggest that Adam would have died only about 127 years before the birth of Noah, nine generations after Adam. In other words, Adam's lifespan would have overlapped Lamech (the father of Noah) at least fifty years. Ussher and a group of theologians and scholars in 1630 performed calculations and created a study that reported the creation of Adam on October 23, 4004 BC at 9:00 am and lived to 3074 BC. The controversy was not the time line but the fact that Ussher believed that the whole creation process occurred on that day.

According to the book of Joshua, the City of Adam was still a recognizable place at the time that the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on entering Canaan.

He appears to an extent in both Eastern and Western Christian liturgies. [ [ Adam in Early Christian Liturgy and Literature] - Catholic Encyclopedia article]

Jewish perspective on Adam

Reconciling biblical accounts with modern science

According to the Jewish calendar, man was created in year 1, with the year 2008 AD corresponding to year 5,768/9 on the Jewish calendar (because the new year does not begin simultaenously, there is an overlap of two Jewish years for every single Gregorian year).If "Homo sapiens" has been in existence for over 100,000 years according to modern science, some form of reconciliation is appropriate. [Rabbi Natan Slifkin. "The Challenge of Creation", Yashar Books, page 336]

One approach of reconciliation is that God implanted a soul into a hominid approximately 6,000 years ago. [Gerald Schroeder. "Genesis and the Big Bang", page 150] [Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. "Immortality, Resurrection and the Age of the Universe", page 21] Although humans in the biological sense of the term have existed for over 100,000 years, humans according to the Jewish definition only began when one, Adam, received a soul. [Rabbi Shimon Schwab suggests that there were soul-less men living at the time of Adam, "Me'ein BEis HaSho'evah, Genesis 2:26] In fact, the Talmud records that there were 974 generations before the appearance by man as described by Genesis. [Talmud Shabbos 88b]

This explanation, however, serves to create a somewhat greater inconsistency. If only one individual was given a soul a mere 6,000 years ago, it would indicate that many of the people in the world today are not human according to the Torah definition, because it couldn't be that all of the people in the world today are descended from a single ancestor who lived less than 6,000 years ago. [Rabbi Natan Slifkin. "The Challenge of Creation", Yashar Books, page 337] To settle this inconsistency, Rabbi Gedalyah Nadel proposes that references to "Adam" in Genesis do not always refer to the same person. Sometimes, a reference "Adam" is really to all of mankind. [Rabbi Gedalyah Nadel. "BeToraso Shel Rab Gedalyah", page 99] Maimonidies similarly understood the Six Days of Creation as describing "a conceptual hierarchy of the world, rather than a historical account of creation." [Rabbi Natan Slifkin. "The Challenge of Creation", Yashar Books, page 339] [Maimonidies, The Guide for the Perplexed 2:30]

An example of this is in Genesis 5:1-2:

Although the Midrash states that this last reference to "adam" refers to the first person who was created in an androgynous form, [Midrash, "Bereishit Rabbah" 8:1] the plain meaning of the verses indicates that this in indeed a reference to mankind, rather than the personal name of an individual. [Rabbi Natan Slifkin. "The Challenge of Creation", Yashar Books, pages 339-40]

In a similar vein, Gersonides makes it clear that he does not believe there was any physical entity known as the "Tree of Knowledge" or a scheming snake. [Rabbi Natan Slifkin. "The Challenge of Creation", Yashar Books, page 342] Likewise, he believes that none of the conversations purported to have occurred in the Garden of Eden actually took place between actual, living beings. [Ralbag, Commentary to Genesis 2:9-3:24]

Islamic view

In Islam, Adam (آدم) is considered the first Prophet of God and the husband of Eve (Arabic: Hawwa) who was also created by the "will of God". Satan had lured Adam and Eve into disobeying God by tasting from the forbidden tree (although no reference is necessary as to what he may have tasted). This was the first act of revenge from Satan for being banished from the kingdom of heaven due to mankind. An important point to note here is that the Qur'an states or implys that it was not Eve who tempted Adam to disobey God. They were both tempted by Satan and therefore equally guilty:

"Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he said: "Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should become angels or such beings as live for ever. And he swore to them both, that he was their sincere adviser. So by deceit he brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: "Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?" ). Mormons also consider Adam to be the first among all the prophets on earth.

Druze religion

In the Druze religion, Adam and Eve are seen as dualistic cosmic forces and are complementary to one another. Adam represents the universal mind and Eve, the universal soul. [cite web |url= |title=The Night of Departure from Eternity |accessdate=2007-11-22 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date=2005 |work=Gnosis of the Book of Life |publisher=Druzenet |quote=According to the Ancient Gnostic Wisdom, Adam and Eve stand for The Wholly Mind and The Wholly Soul – the spiritual parents from where Adamic souls derive their identities.]


The name "Adam" is the masculine form of the Hebrew word "adamah" meaning "ground". Related words are "adom", red and "dam", blood.

The word is sometimes used as the personal name of an individual and at other times in a generic sense meaning "mankind". [ Adam article] in the Jewish Encyclopedia] In Gen. i. its use is wholly generic. In Gen. ii. and iii. the writer weaves together the generic and the personal senses of the word. In all that pertains to the first man as the passive subject of creative and providential action the reference is exclusively generic. Indeed, it is doubtful whether "Adam" as a proper name is used at all before Gen. iv. 25 and v. 3 . Here the same usage is manifest: for in the two opening verses of chap. v. the word is used generically. It may also be observed that the writer in Gen. ii., iii. always says "the man" instead of "Adam", even when the personal reference is intended, except after a preposition.

The usage of the word as personal name appears to predate the generic usage. The name is attested in the Assyrian King List in the form "Adamu" showing that it was a genuine name from the early history of the Near East [The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17, Victor P. Hamilton, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1990] . The generic usage in Genesis meaning "mankind" reflects the view that Adam was the ancestor of all men. Gen. ii. 7 explains that the man was called "Adam" because he was formed from the ground ("adamah"). Compare Gen. iii. 19..

ee also

*Banu Adam
*Adam and Eve
*Adam Kadmon


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