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Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם, Arabic: آدم, Syriac: ܐܵܕ݂ܵܡ) is a important figure in the creation story of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and many others where he is described as the first man to walk the Earth, created by the hand of God. Most religions trace their account to that recorded by Moses in the Book of Genesis. Here he is regarded as the first of the Genesis Patriarchs. He and his female partner, Eve, first lived in the Garden of Eden, but were driven out for wickedness. They would have many children.


"Adam" (Hebrew: אָדָֿם) comes from the trilateral root אָדַֿם ( 'ADM ), meaning "red", "fair", "handsome".[1] In the Book of Genesis, Adam occurs as a proper name in chapters 2-5. As a masculine noun, 'adam [2] means "man", "mankind" usually in a collective context as in humankind,[1] and may also refer to the individual human.[3] 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).[4]

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][5]

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.[6] 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".[7]

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][8]


And Elohim Created Adam
William Blake.

According to Genesis 1, God (Elohim) created human beings. "Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam..." (Genesis 5:2). Here "Adam" is a general term for "mankind" and refers to the whole of humankind. God blesses "mankind" to "be fruitful and multiply" and ordains that they should have "dominion" (but the exact meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain and disputed) "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" (Genesis 1.26-27).

In Genesis 2 God forms "Adam" (this time meaning a single male human) out of "the dust of the ground" and then "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life", causing him to "become a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). God then placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, giving him the commandment that "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But 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" (Genesis 2:16-17).

God then noted that "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18). He then brought every "beast of the field and every fowl of the air" (Genesis 2:19) before Adam and had Adam name all the animals. However, among all the animals, there was not found "a helper suitable for" Adam (Genesis 2:20), so God caused "a deep sleep to fall upon Adam" and took one of his ribs, and from that rib, formed a woman (Genesis 2:21-22), subsequently named 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).

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 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. 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.[8] 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.[8]

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.[9] Her story was greatly developed, during the Middle Ages, in the tradition of Aggadic midrashim, the Zohar and Jewish mysticism.[10] 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.[8] Augustine taught that Original Sin was transmitted by concupiscence,[11] which he regarded as the passion of both, soul and body.

Jehovah's Witnesses Narrative

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.".[12] By his sin, he forfeited human perfection and was therefore unable to pass it on to his offspring.

Latter Day Saints Narrative

Adam and Eve with all living creatures, live at peace in the Garden of Eden.

Father of all, prince of all, the "Ancient of Days".

The Latter Day Saint movement holds that Adam and is the Archangel Michael who fought against and cast out Lucifer (who became Satan) and his followers at the conclusion of the War of Heaven during the Pre-existence|pre-mortal existence (Revelations 12:7-9) Michael was born into this mortal existence as the first man. Mormons also consider Adam to be the first among all 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.

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.[13]

Islamic view

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 Qu'ran promulgates that all the prophets preached the same faith of submission to God.[14]

Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, an early Islamic commentator on hadiths and isra'iliyats,[15] wrote that when it came time to create Adam, God sent Gabriel (Jibril), then Michael (Mika'il), to fetch clay from the earth; but the earth complained, saying I take refuge in God from you, if you have come to diminish or deform me, so the angels returned empty-handed. God then uses Azrael who brings clay from all regions, an explanation used for the variety of human races. According to Tabari, after receiving the breath of God, Adam remained a dry body for 40 days, then gradually came to life from the head downward. He came to life saying All praise be to God, the Lord of all beings. Having been created, Adam, the first man, is given domination over all the lower creatures, which he proceeds to name.

Abu Huraira 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.[16]

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?' " Sura Al-A'raf: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' " Sura Al-A'raf :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." Sura Ta-Ha: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].' " Sura Al-A'raf: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 recompense [fair] " Sura An-Najm:38-41

Bahá'í view

In the Bahá'í view, Adam was the first Manifestation of God in recorded history.[17] He is believed by Bahá'ís to have started the Adamic cycle 6000 years ago, which has culminated with Bahá'u'lláh.[18][19] 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.[19]

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.[20]

Marriage and Family

  1. Cain ben Adam - first son, slew his brother Abel, per tradition married to Awan and had childrne
  2. Abel ben Adam - second son, murdered by his brother
  3. Seth ben Adam - 2nd of the Genesis Patriarchs - ancestors to Noah ben Lamech, Abraham ben Terah and King David.
  4. Awan (?-?) - per tradition in the Book of Jubilees a daughter that married to Cain
  5. Azura - per tradition in the Book of Jubilees a daughter that married to Seth
  6. other sons and daughters - Per Book of Jubilees 4:10 Eve bare nine other sons.


Offspring of Adam and Eve (4004 BC-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Cain ben Adam 9999 City of Enoch, Land of Nod Awan (?-?)
Abel ben Adam
Seth ben Adam (3630 BC-2718 BC) 9999 Olaha 9999 Cainan Azura (Seth's sister)
Awan (?-?) 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Mesopotamia Cain ben Adam
Azura (Seth's sister) Seth ben Adam (3670 BC-2758 BC)
other sons and daughters

Family tree


Scriptural Commentary

Latter-day Saints

See also

  1. ^ a b Gesenius, Wilhelm & Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1893). Genenius's Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures. J. Wiley & Sons. p. xiii. 
  2. ^ Strong's Concordance: H120
  3. ^ Eerdmans 2000, p. 18
  4. ^ Brown Driver Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon, ISBN 1-56563-206-0, p. 9.
  5. ^ Hendel. p.18
  6. ^ Hendel, pp.18-19
  7. ^ Hendel, p.18
  8. ^ a b c d Hendel, p.19
  9. ^ Samael & Lilith
  10. ^ Tree of souls: the mythology of Judaism, By Howard Schwartz, page 218
  11. ^ Imperfectum Opus contra Iulianum, II, 218
  12. ^ "What was the Original Sin?". Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  13. ^ "Adventist Church Official Web Site". Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  14. ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, C. Glasse, Adam
  15. ^ On The Transmitters Of Isra'iliyyat
  16. ^ Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin al-Mughira al-Ja'fai. "Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 543". 
  17. ^ Taherzadeh, Adib (1992). The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 32. ISBN 0-85398-344-5. 
  18. ^ Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, March 13, 1986. Published in Effendi, Shoghi; The Universal House of Justice (1983). Hornby, Helen (Ed.). ed. Lights of Guidance: A Bahá'í Reference File. Bahá'í Publishing Trust, New Delhi, India. p. 500. ISBN 81-85091-46-3. 
  19. ^ a b Taherzadeh, Adib (1977). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 2: Adrianople 1863-68. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 352. ISBN 0-85398-071-3. 
  20. ^ "The Night of Departure from Eternity". Gnosis of the Book of Life. Druzenet. 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-22. "According to the Ancient Gnostic Wisdom, Adam and Eve stand for The Wholly Mind and The Wholly Soul – the spiritual parents whence Adamic souls derive their identities." 
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about:
  • Kinship of Families - hundreds of suggested descendants over six thousand years
  • Adam and Eve
  • Adam Kadmon
  • Banu (Arabic)
  • Paradise Lost
  • Table of prophets of Abrahamic religions
  • Mahabad (prophet)

Footnotes (including sources)

₪ Wedding
  • Neither in a church nor in a court, nor with any evidence of license or human celebrant.
  • Oxford annotated NRSV, editors, Michael D. Coogan, editor ; Marc Z. Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, Pheme Perkins, associate (2007). The new Oxford annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books : New Revised Standard Version (Augm. 3rd ed. ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-528880-3. 
  • Barker, Kenneth (Editor); John H. Stek, Mark L. Strauss, & Ronald F. Youngblood (2008). The NIV Study Bible. Genesus: Zondervan Publishing House. pp. 7. ISBN 978-0-310-93896-5. 


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