World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Adam (Bible)

Article Id: WHEBN0020630191
Reproduction Date:

Title: Adam (Bible)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Traducianism, Fall of man, Olam katan, Book of the Penitence of Adam, Patriarchal age, Chronicle of Moissac, The Monk's Tale, Sepher Ha-Razim, Nomothete, Mandaeism
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Adam (Bible)

This article is about the figure from Abrahamic religions. For the given name, see Adam (given name). For other uses, see Adam (disambiguation).

Sistine Chapel ceiling

Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם‎, Arabic: آدم‎) is a figure in the Book of Genesis, the Quran and the Book of Iqan. According to the creation myth[1] of Abrahamic religions, he is the first human.

In the Genesis creation narratives, he was created by Yahweh-Elohim ("Yahweh-God", the god of Israel), though the term "adam" can refer to both the first individual person, as well as to the general creation of humankind. Christian churches differ on how they view Adam's subsequent behavior (often called the Fall of man), and to the consequences that those actions had on the rest of humanity. Christian and Jewish teachings sometimes hold Adam and Eve (the first woman) to a different level of responsibility for the Fall, though Islamic teaching holds both equally responsible. In addition, Islam holds that Adam was eventually forgiven, while Christianity holds that redemption occurred only later through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Bahá'í Faith, Islam and some Christian denominations consider Adam to be the first Prophet.


Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם, Arabic: آدم) in Biblical (as well as modern)

The usage of the word as personal pre-dates the generic usage. Its root is not the standard Semitic root for "man" which is instead '-(n)-sh but is attested as a personal name in the Assyrian King List in the form Adamu showing that it was a genuine name from the early history of the Near East.[4] The generic usage in Genesis meaning "mankind" reflects the view that Adam was the ancestor of all men.

In 19th century scholarship, "Adam" (Hebrew: אָדָם) was linked with the triliteral root אָדַם ( 'ADM ), meaning "red", "fair", "handsome".[5] In the Book of Genesis, Adam occurs as a proper name (in chapters 2–5). As a masculine noun, 'adam [6] means "man", "mankind" usually in a collective context as in humankind,[5] and may also refer to the individual human.[7] The noun 'adam is also the masculine form of the word adamah which means "ground" or "earth". It is related to the words: adom (red), admoni (ruddy), and dam (blood).[8]

Kabbalistic works explain that Adam also comes from the Hebrew word 'Adame', 'I should be similar', similar to G-d in having free will. [9]

Genesis narrative

In the first five chapters of Genesis the word אָדָם ( 'adam ) is used in all of its senses: collectively ("mankind"),[1:27] individually (a "man"),[2:7] gender nonspecific, ("man and woman")[5:1,2] and male.[2:23–24][10]

In Genesis 1:27 "adam" is used in the collective sense, whereby not only the individual Adam, but all humans, are created on the sixth day. The interplay between the individual "Adam" and the collective “humankind” is a main literary component to the events that occur in the Garden of Eden, the ambiguous meanings embedded throughout the moral, sexual, and spiritual terms of the narrative reflecting the complexity of the human condition.[11] Genesis 2:7 is the first verse where "Adam" takes on the sense of an individual man (the first man): the context of sex and gender, prior to these verses, is absent. The gender distinction of "adam" is then reiterated in Genesis 5:1–2 by defining "male and female".[12]

A recurring literary motif that occurs (in Gen. 1–8), is the bond between Adam and the earth ("adamah"). Adam is made from the earth, and it is from this "adamah" that Adam gets his name. God's cursing of Adam also results in the earth being cursed,[3:17] and Adam returns to the earth from which he was taken.[3:19] This “earthly” aspect is a component of Adam’s identity, and Adam’s curse of estrangement from the earth seems to render humankind’s divided identity of being earthly yet separated from nature.[8:21][13]


According to Genesis 1, God (Genesis 1.26-27).

In Genesis 2:16-17).

God then noted that "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Eve.

Fall of Man

Adam and Eve were subsequently expelled from the Garden of Eden, were ceremonially separated from God, and lost their innocence 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 their 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).

Adam and Eve 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 were removed from the garden (Gen. 3.23) (the Fall of Man according to Christian doctrine) 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 his expulsion from Eden, Adam was forced to work hard for his food for the first time. According to the Book of Genesis, he had three male children with Eve named Cain, Abel, and Seth. The Book of Jubilees, a second century BC text which is not considered canonical by most Abrahamic faiths, states that Adam also had two daughters, Azura and Awan, who married Seth and Cain, respectively, in incestuous unions.

According to the Genealogies of Genesis, Adam died at the age of 930, making him the third longest living person next to Noah and Methuselah. 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 that of Lamech (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 until 3074 BC. There was controversy over the fact that Ussher believed the whole creation process occurred on that day.

Religious views

Jewish traditions

In rabbinic writings and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Adam is a perfect human before his exile from Eden, but is diminished in stature when exiled.[13] A traditional Jewish belief is that after Adam died, he was buried in the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron. The Book of Joshua mentions a "City of Adam" at the time that the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on entering Canaan, but doesn't suggest any relationship between this city and the "first man" of Genesis.

According to some Jewish mystical traditions, the original glory of Adam can be regained through mystical contemplation of God.[13]

In Jewish folklore, Lilith is the name of Adam's first wife, who was created at the same time and from the same earth as Adam. She left Adam after she refused to become subservient to Adam and then would not return to the Garden of Eden after she mated with archangel Samael.[15] Her story was greatly developed, during the Middle Ages, in the tradition of Aggadic midrashim, the Zohar and Jewish mysticism.[16] The resulting Lilith legend is still commonly used as source material in modern culture, literature, occultism, fantasy and horror.

Christian traditions

Early Christian views

Ronald S. Hendel views Augustine’s interpretation of Pauline theology as Adam’s sin being transmitted by sexual relations (specifically by semen) to each descending generation. This contrasts with Christ who was conceived without sin through Mary's virginal conception of Jesus.[13] Augustine taught that Original Sin was transmitted by concupiscence,[17] which he regarded as the passion of both, soul and body.

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses view Adam and Eve as the ones who brought sin, and thus death, into the world by committing the original sin, by disobeying Jehovah's clear command not to eat of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil.

Eve's sin is counted as deliberate disobedience, as she did know that Jehovah had commanded them not to eat, but she is held to have been deceived by the Serpent. (She was deceived only about the effect of their disobedience, not about the will of God on the matter.) Adam's sin is considered even more reproachable, as he had not been deceived. Rather, when confronted with his sin, he attempted to blame both his wife Eve, and Jehovah himself. Genesis 3:12 NWT – "The woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and so I ate.".[18] By his sin, he forfeited human perfection and was therefore unable to pass it on to his offspring.

Latter-day Saints

The prophets on earth.

The Latter-day Saints hold the belief that the "Fall" was not a tragedy, but rather a necessary part of God's plan. They believe that Adam and Eve had to partake of the forbidden fruit in order to fulfill God's plan so that humans would be able to have free agency.[20]

Seventh-day Adventists

Seventh-day Adventists believe that the importance of the literal creation time-line is pivotal to the story of humanity, their relationship to God, and the plan of salvation and atonement for Adam and Eve’s transgression (fall), by which all their descendants are under subjugation. The Bible states, “Since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Jesus the Christ) came also the resurrection... (I Cor. 15:21).” To disavow a literal creation and our first parents (Adam and Eve) nearly 6,000 years ago negates a fundamental, orthodox doctrine and the supremacy of the Holy Bible that the sovereign, triune God – “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,” (Genesis 1:26 NASB)—according to His own purpose and counsel and for His own glory, created humanity in the Biblical/Torah account.[21]

Islamic view

Main article: Adam in Islam

In Islam, Adam (Adem; Arabic: آدم) is believed to be the first human being and someone to whom God spoke directly, and thus viewed as the first prophet of Islam. Muslims also see Adam as the first Muslim, as the Qurʼān says that all the prophets preached the same faith of submission to God.[22]

Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, an early Islamic commentator on hadiths and Isrāʼīlīyāt,[23] wrote that when it came time to create Adam, God sent 2:31].

Abu Hurayrah referred to a hadith of Muhammad where he reportedly said, "God created Adam, making him 60 cubits tall" and, "Any person who will enter Paradise will resemble Adam (in appearance and figure)". A popular Islamic belief is that people have been decreasing in stature since Adam's creation.[24] There is an Islamic legend of a younger son of Adam; named Rocail; who created a palace and sepulcher containing autonomous statues that lived out the lives of men so realistically they were mistaken for having souls. [25]

Adam and the original sin in Islam

The concept of the original sin is not found in Islam (and Judaism). In contrast with the Christian theological doctrine, Adam and Eve were forgiven by God.

"O Adam, dwell with your wife in the Garden and enjoy as you wish but approach not this tree or you run into harm and transgression. Then Satan whispered to them in order to reveal to them their shame that was hidden from them and he said: 'Your Lord only forbade you this tree lest you become angels or such beings as live forever.' And he swore to them both that he was their sincere adviser. So by deceit he brought them to their fall: when they tasted 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 your avowed enemy?'" Sūrat al-Aʻrāf:19–22.

"They said: 'Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves souls. If You forgive us not and bestow not upon us Your mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers' " Surat al-Aʻraf :23

".. Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness, and gave him guidance." Surat Ṭā Hāʼ:121–122

"(God) said: 'Get down (from the Garden), one of you an enemy to the other [i.e. Adam, Eve, and Satan]. On earth will be a dwelling-place for you and an enjoyment – for a short time'. He (God) said: 'Therein you shall live, and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out [i.e. resurrected].' " Surat al-Aʻraf:24–25.

"That no burdened person (with sins) shall bear the burden (sins) of another. And that man can have nothing but what he does (of good and bad). And that his deeds will be seen, Then he will be recompensed with a full and the best [fair] recompense." Surat an-Najm:38–41

Bahá'í view

In the Bahá'í view, Adam was the first Manifestation of God in recorded history.[26] He is believed by Bahá'ís to have started the Adamic cycle 6000 years ago, which has culminated with Bahá'u'lláh.[27][28] The Biblical story of Adam and Eve, according to Bahá'í belief, is allegorical and is explained by `Abdu'l-Bahá in Some Answered Questions.[28] Táhirih, an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí Faith, wrote a lengthy poem called Adam's Wish, about the desire of Adam and all other past prophets to witness humanity's coming of age.[29]

Druze belief

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.[30]

See also



This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.