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1001 adam and eve
Added on 06th October 2020

Religious story From the Old Testament


A religious story about the first two humans on earth.


In the Old Testament (Genesis 1), Adam and Eve were the first humans, created by God on the 6th day of creation and ancestors to all mankind. They lived in the Garden of Eden where a serpent enticed them to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

However, there are two Old Testament creation narratives offering two perspectives.

In the narrative of the 5th- 6th century (Priestly), God created humankind to be ‘fruitful and to multiply’ and to act as stewards over all other living things.

According to the lengthier 10th century BCE narrative (Yahwist), God forms Adam out of the earth’s dust. God places Adam in the Garden of Eden commanding him not to eat from the ‘fruit of the tree of knowledge’. God created Eve out of one of Adam’s rib so that he would not be lonely. Eve is tricked by the serpent into eating from the tree of knowledge, as does Adam. As a result, God banishes them from the Garden (Genesis 3).

Why we chose it

Creation myths are often considered sacred accounts and this is one of the oldest in the western world. The Old Testament text is a result of the compilation of multiple traditions.

Where it came from

It has intertextual links with the ancient Mesopotamia where the Gods, after creating the earth made humans out of dust to act as their servants. The Mesopotamian ‘Seven Tablets of Creation, ‘The Enuma Elish’ is dated to pre-1750BCE.

The Hebrew Bible does not name the first humans. In ancient Judaism, one account has them being created simultaneously.

Irrespective of differing accounts and perspectives, Adam and Eve are central to the belief that humanity is in essence, a single family with everyone descended from a single pair of original ancestors.

Where it went next

Beliefs revolving Adam and Eve vary across religions and sects. For example, the Koranic version holds that Adam and Eve are equally responsible for their sins. In the Christian New Testament, Adam has theological importance as the forerunner of Christ (Romans 5:12).

Associated stories

In ancient Judaism, Lillith is identified as the first being. This figure was developed earliest in the Babylonian Talmud (3rd to 5th Century) and can be directly related to ancient Mesopotamian religion (cuneiform texts of Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria and Babylonia). From AD 700, Lillith appears as Adam’s first wife created from the same clay as Adam.

Secular retellings include, John Milton’s Paradise Lost (17thC) written in blank verse that explores the Adam and Eve story. Mark Twain’s satirical, Eve’s Diary (1906) and The Private Life of Adam and Eve (1931). C. S. Lewis’s, in Perelandra (1943) re-enacts the story of Adam and Eve on the planet Venus.

A musical, Children of Eden (1991) was produced by Stephen Schwartz.

Added on 06th October 2020

Religious story From the Old Testament