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Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam, a fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Adam is the figure on the left
Born 3760 BC (Hebrew calendar), 4004 BC (Ussher chronology)
Garden of Eden
Died 2830 BC (Hebrew calendar), 3074 BC (Ussher chronology)
Children Cain
Parents God (according to Genesis 3)

Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם‎) is a prominent figure in Abrahamic Religions. He is the first man created by God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He appears in the Hebrew Bible, in the Old Testament, and in the Qur'an. His wife was Eve.[1]


Individual/Humanity & Etymology

Adam אָדָם in Biblical (as well as modern) Hebrew is sometimes used as the personal name of an individual and at other times in a generic sense meaning "mankind", in the same way as the earlier Canaanite 'adam.[2][3] According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, its use in Genesis 1 is wholly generic.[2] In Genesis 2 and 3 the writer weaves together the generic and the personal senses of the word.[2] In all that pertains to the first man as the passive subject of creative and providential action the reference is exclusively generic.[2] It may also be observed that the writer in Genesis 2-3 always says "the man" instead of "Adam", even when the personal reference is intended, except after a preposition.[2]

The usage of the word as personal predates 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. Etymologically it is the masculine form of the word adamah meaning ground or earth and related to the words adom (red), admoni (ruddy) and dam (blood)[5][6][7][8] Gen. ii. 7 explains that the man was called Adam because he was formed from the ground (adamah).[2] Compare Gen. iii. 19.[2]

Hebrew Bible

The story is told in the book of Genesis, contained in the Torah and Bible. These texts have a central role in both Judaism and Christianity. Adam is discussed in Genesis 2 and Genesis 3, with some additional elements in chapters 4 and 5. These present two accounts of the creation story.[1] Several apocryphal books, such as the Book of Jubilees, Life of Adam and Eve and Book of Enoch also contain details of Adam's life,

And God 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). "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" (Genesis 1.26-27).[1]

The account in Genesis 2 records that God first formed Adam 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.[1]


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 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). Herein is the second sin that Adam committed, the first being that he ate from the forbidden tree.

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).

Biblical longevity
Name Age LXX
Methuselah 969 969
Jared 962 962
Noah 950 950
Adam 930 930
Seth 912 912
Kenan 910 910
Enos 905 905
Mahalalel 895 895
Lamech 777 753
Shem 600 600
Eber 464 404
Cainan 460
Arpachshad 438 465
Salah 433 466
Enoch 365 365
Peleg 239 339
Reu 239 339
Serug 230 330
Job 210? 210?
Terah 205 205
Isaac 180 180
Abraham 175 175
Nahor 148 304
Jacob 147 147
Esau 147? 147?
Ishmael 137 137
Levi 137 137
Amram 137 137
Kohath 133 133
Laban 130+ 130+
Deborah 130+ 130+
Sarah 127 127
Miriam 125+ 125+
Aaron 123 123
Rebecca 120+ 120+
Moses 120 120
Joseph 110 110
Joshua 110 110

Post expulsion

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. There was controversy over the fact that Ussher believed 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.[9]

According to traditional Jewish belief, Adam is buried in the Cave of Machpelah, in Hebron.

The New Testament

The relevance of Adam is not solely with the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the first Adam is compared with the second Adam. The first Adam brought about the Fall of Man, which cursed man with the knowledge of sin. Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden and out of God's presence. The second Adam (Jesus) came to the world to save mankind from Adam's original sin that everyone inherits. With the first Adam there is death, but with the second Adam there is life.

The Theological Significance of Adam

The theological significance of Adam is great in the grand scheme of things. On the other hand, there is more than just the straightforward fall of man that meets the eye. The fall of man is just one pertinent aspect of the Adam. There is, however, a dichotomy when talking about Adam—the Adam of old and the Adam of new. The original Adam sinned and man fell from God bringing all of Adam’s descendants along with him. The fall of man tarnished God’s image in man, beginning with Adam and Eve as well as their descendants. The image of God is still present in mankind, but the spiritual resemblance to the Creator has receded into the backdrop. Man is a slave to sin. In order to regain this likeness of God, man must have help—man must have salvation.[10]

The origin of sin is the fall of Adam, the first man. In order to be redeemed, it took a sacrifice that was beyond anything man could do, or ever possibly do. The redemption of mankind had to come from God; only God had the power to save us. Samuel J. Mikolaski states:

In Romans 5:12-21 Paul refers to a condition and power of sin in human life that is other than actual sin. This is not an anachronistic idea peculiar to Romans 5, but comprises the backdrop of other [New Testament] teaching on the human condition, grace, and redemption. Nowhere does the [New Testament] assume or say that humanity is born into Adam’s pre-fall state. Rather, fallen man has no capacity for the kingdom without rebirth (John 3:1-21); he is natural, not spiritual (1 Cor. 2:14); his carnal mind is at enmity with God and cannot be subject to God (Rom. 8:7, 8, 11); he is dead in sin (Eph. 2:1, 5; 4:17-20). The [New Testament] model is supernatural renewal of fallen human nature, rebirth by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ.[11]

Romans 5:12-21

The only way man can regain the likeness of God is through justification. In Rom. 5:12-21, Paul gives excellent theological insight into the two Adam’s. The first Adam brought sin into the world. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). On the other hand, the last Adam, Christ, brought us out of the world. "For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17).

Adam was the first man and appointed the head of humanity; however, his sin caused all of humanity to forfeit righteousness. Christ, the last Adam, was sent into the world by God, who made Him the divine head of man. Of course, Christ was not merely made the head of man, but of a new mankind—the saved. Speaking in soteriological matters, man’s fallen nature needed someone to help bring him out of his ignominious state, because man cannot reach God’s presence without God sending His only begotten as a propitiatory sacrifice. When man becomes justified, reconciliation takes place. Reconciliation is not one way, man is not reconciled to God, but rather man and God are reconciled with each other.[12] It is the believer’s relationship to Christ that undoes the effects of Adam’s original sin.[13] If the effects of Adam’s original sin are not undone before a person dies or before judgment day, then they are doomed.

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. Since Homo sapiens are believed by scientists to have been in existence for over 100,000 years a number of Jewish scholars have worked to reconcile these facts.[14]

One approach of reconciliation is that God implanted a soul into a hominid approximately 6,000 years ago.[15][16] 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.[17] In fact, the Talmud records that there were 974 generations before the appearance by man as described by Genesis.[18]

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 could not be that all of the people in the world today are descended from a single ancestor who lived less than 6,000 years ago.[19] (The biblical flood in Noah's day may have killed all but the descendents of Adam, as Noah was). 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.[20] Maimonidies similarly understood the Genesis creation myth as describing "a conceptual hierarchy of the world, rather than a historical account of creation."[21][22]

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

This is the book of the generations of adam, on the day that God created adam, He made him in the image of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them, and He called their name adam on the day He created them.

Although the Midrash states that this last reference to adam refers to the first person who was created in an androgynous form,[23] the plain meaning of the verses, according to Rabbi Natan Slifkin, indicates that this is indeed a reference to mankind, rather than the personal name of an individual.[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 heaven due to mankind. An important point to note here is that the Qur'an states or implies 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?" [Qur'an 7:20]

The Qur'an also mentions that Adam was misled by deception and was in fact pardoned by God after much repentance.

"Then Adam received (some) words from his Lord, so He turned to him mercifully; surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful." [Qur'an 2:37]

Islam indicates that because Adam was the first human, as a prophet he was also the first Muslim ("one who submitted to God"), thus teaching that the "word of God" is the oldest such religion that Islam has represented.

Seventh-day Adventist view

Seventh-day Adventists acknowledge that most evolutionary scientists believe the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, based on radiometric dating. Seventh-day Adventists are creationists, and therefore believe Earth is approximately 6,000 years old based on chronologies in the Bible, beginning with Genesis. Seventh-day Adventists believe that God, through the triune entity of Jesus,[25] created the planet Earth or Terra in stages (world of land covered by water) at an undisclosed time in history and the present Earth (land, water, vegetation and creatures) at creation nearly 6,000 years ago.[26] Seventh-day Adventists believe in a literal 6-day creation week, with the seventh-day Sabbath rest. Seventh-day Adventist affirm the Biblical account of creation: Day 1 (Sunday) light; Day 2 (Monday) the firmament or atmosphere; Day 3 (Tuesday) separation of the earth (land) and seas; Day 4 (Wednesday) Sun and Moon; Day 5 (Thursday) fish and birds; Day 6 (Friday) the land animals and finally the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, from whom all living on Earth today are descended. Day 7 (Saturday or Sabbath) God rested from His work, finding all creation very good, and blessing the Sabbath day and making it holy, setting this day aside as a remembrance of His creative handiwork, He as creator, and giving man a day of rest from all his own labors. Seventh-day Adventist believe that the importance of the literal creation timeline 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 descendents 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.[27]

Bahá'í view

In the Bahá'í view, Adam was the first Manifestation of God in recorded history.[28] He is believed by Bahá'ís to have started the Adamic cycle 6000 years ago, which has culminated with Bahá'u'lláh.[29][30] 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;[30] in the Bahá'í view, in the biblical story Eve represents Adam's soul and the serpent represents attachment to the material world, and that ever since his fall, the human race has been conscious of good and evil.[31]

Latter Day Saint (LDS) view

Latter Day Saint religion holds that Adam and Michael the archangel are the same individual.[32] Michael the archangel fought against and cast out Lucifer (who became Satan), "that old serpent", at the conclusion of the war in heaven during pre-mortal existence (see Book of Revelation 12:7-9). "Michael" was born into this mortal existence as the man "Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days" (see Doctrine and Covenants 27:11 and 107:54). 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.[33]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Adam and Eve." Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Adam article in the Jewish Encyclopedia
  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 978-0310938965. 
  4. ^ The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17, Victor P. Hamilton, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1990
  5. ^ Gesenius[1]
  6. ^ Brown Driver Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon, ISBN 1-56563-206-0, p. 9.
  7. ^ Ibid. 1. a man 2. man, mankind.
  8. ^ Ibid. From same root adm (אדם), adamah — ground or land.
  9. ^ Adam in Early Christian Liturgy and Literature - Catholic Encyclopedia article
  10. ^ A. J. M. Wedderburn, The Reasons for Romans (New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004), 119-133.
  11. ^ Samuel J. Mikolaski, "The Theology of the New Testament," in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979), 470-471.
  12. ^ George E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 492-494.
  13. ^ D. A. Carson, and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 392.
  14. ^ Rabbi Natan Slifkin. The Challenge of Creation, Yashar Books, page 336
  15. ^ Gerald Schroeder. Genesis and the Big Bang, page 150
  16. ^ Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Immortality, Resurrection and the Age of the Universe, page 21
  17. ^ Rabbi Shimon Schwab suggests that there were soul-less men living at the time of Adam, Me'ein BEis HaSho'evah, Genesis 2:26
  18. ^ Talmud Shabbos 88b
  19. ^ Rabbi Natan Slifkin. The Challenge of Creation, Yashar Books, page 337
  20. ^ Rabbi Gedalyah Nadel. BeToraso Shel Rab Gedalyah, page 99
  21. ^ Rabbi Natan Slifkin. The Challenge of Creation, Yashar Books, page 339
  22. ^ Maimonidies, The Guide for the Perplexed 2:30
  23. ^ Midrash, Bereishit Rabbah 8:1
  24. ^ Rabbi Natan Slifkin. The Challenge of Creation, Yashar Books, pages 339-40
  25. ^ White, E.G. (1890). Patriarchs and Prophets Napa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association. Retrieved June 27, 2009, from
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Adventist Church Official Web Site". Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  28. ^ Taherzadeh, Adib (1992). The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 32. ISBN 0-85398-344-5. 
  29. ^ 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. 
  30. ^ 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. 
  31. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Adam". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 23. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
  32. ^ Millet, Robert L.. "The Man Adam". Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  33. ^ "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 from where Adamic souls derive their identities." 


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

God2-Sistine Chapel.png

Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם‎, Arabic: آدم‎) was, according to the Book of Genesis and the Qur'an, the first man created by God and noted in subsequent Jewish, Christian and Islamic commentary.


  • This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called 'woman',
    for she was taken out of man.
    • Genesis 2:23.
  • God: Where are you?
    Adam:I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.
    God: Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?
    Adam:The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.
    • Genesis 3:9-12.
  • God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.
    • Genesis 4:25.
  • Lord of the world, must I and my ass eat at one crib?
    • Upon being told that he would have to eat the herbs of the ground, reported in Charles Taylor, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (1886), p. 14.


  • When Adam dalf and Eve span, go spire – if thou may spede –
    Where was than the pride of man that now marres his mede?
    • When Adam delved and Eve spun, go ask – if you may succeed –
      Where then was the pride of man, which now deprives him of his reward?
    • "When Adam dalf and Eve span", line 1; Celia Sisam and Kenneth Sisam (eds.) The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse (1970) p. 617. Translation: ibid. p. 404.
    • Sometimes attributed to Richard Rolle. Adapted by John Ball during the Peasants' Revolt as "When Adam dalf, and Eve span, who was thanne a gentilman."
  • Adam lay ibounden,
    Bounden in a bond;
    Four thousand winter
    Thoght he not too long;
    And all was for an appil,
    An appil that he tok.
    • Adam lay bound,
      Bound up in a bond.
      Four thousand winters
      He thought not too long.
      And all was for an apple,
      An apple that he took.
    • "Adam lay ibounden", line 1; Sir Edmund K. Chambers and Frank Sidgwick (eds.) Early English Lyrics ([1907] 1972) p. 102. Translation: Joseph Glaser Middle English Poetry in Modern Verse (2007) p. 85.
  • When Adam sinned it was not he who cried, 'God, where art Thou?' It was God who cried, 'Adam, where art thou?'
  • In the time of the First Manifestation the Primal Will appeared in Adam.
    • Báb, Dalá’Il-I-Sab‘ih (The Seven Proofs).
  • Only the soul that is naked and unashamed, can be pure and innocent, even as Adam was in the primal garden of humanity.
  • The first idea was not our own. Adam
    In Eden was the father of Descartes
    And eve made air the mirror of herself,

    Of her sons and of her daughters.

  • Oh, but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn't it? Symbolic?! So Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual? Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than "barking mad". (Part 2, 00:30:25)
  • Without the Christian explanation of original sin, the seemingly silly story of Adam and Eve and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there was no explanation of conflict. At all.
    • Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz (2003, Nelson Books).
  • That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures--because he had stolen the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer--because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that that one paid for his courage.

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ADAM, the conventional name of the first created man according to the Bible.

Table of contents

1. The Name

The use of "Adam" (וחוה) as a proper name is an early error. Properly the word adam designated man as a species; with the article prefixed (Gen. ii. 7, 8, 16, iv. 1; and doubtless ii. 20, iii. 17) it means the first man. Only in Gen. iv. 25 and v. 3-5 is adam a quasi-proper name, though LXX. and Vulgate use "Adam" (Aba,u) in this way freely. Gen. ii. 7 suggests a popular Hebrew derivation from eidamah, " the ground." Into the question whether the original story did not give a proper name which was afterwards modified into "Adam" - important as this question is - we cannot here enter.

2. Creation of Adam

For convenience, we shall take "Adam" as a symbol for "the first man," and inquire first, what does tradition say of his creation? In Gen. ii. 4b-8 we read thus: - "At the time when Yahweh-Elohim l made earth and heaven, - earth was as yet without bushes, no herbage was as yet sprouting, because Yahweh-Elohim had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and no men were there to till the ground, but a stream 2 used to go up from the earth, and water all the face of the ground, - then Yahweh-Elohim formed the man of dust of the ground, 3 and blew into his nostrils breath of life, 4 and the man became a living being. And Yahweh-Elohim planted a garden s in Eden, east ward; and there he put the man whom he had formed." (See EVE.) How greatly this simple and fragmentary tale of Creation differs from that in Gen. i. i - ii. 4a (see Cosmogony) need hardly be mentioned. Certainly the priestly writer who produced the latter could not have said that God modelled the first man out of moistened clay, or have adopted the singular account of the formation of Eve in ii. 21-23. The latter story in particular (see EVE) shows us how childlike was the mind of the early men, whose God is not "wonderful in counsel" (Isa. xxviii. 29), and fails in his first attempt to relieve the loneliness of his favourite. For no beast however mighty, no bird however graceful, was a fit companion for God's masterpiece, and, apart from the serpent, the animals had no faculty of speech. All therefore that Adam could do, as they passed before him, was to name them, as a lord names his vassals. But here arises a difficulty. How came Adam by the requisite insight and power of observation? For as yet he had not snatched the perilous boon of wisdom. Clearly the Paradise story is not homogeneous.

3. How the Animals were named

Some moderns, e.g. von Bohlen, Ewald, Driver (in Genesis, p. 55, but cp. p. 42), have found in ii. 19, 20 an early explanation of the origin of language. This is hardly right. The narrator assumes that Adam and Eve had an innate faculty of speech. 6 They spoke just as the birds sing, and their language was that of the race or people which descended from them. Most probably the object of the story is, not to answer any curious question (such as, how did human speech arise, or how came the animals by their names?), but to dehort its readers or hearers from the abominable vice referred to in Lev. xviii. 2 3.7 There may have been stories in circulation like that of Ea-bani (� 8), and even such as those of the Skidi Pawnee, in which "people" marry animals, or become animals.

Against these it is said (ver. lob) that "for Adam he found no helper (qualified) to match him." 4. Three Riddles. - Manifold are the problems suggested by the Eden-story (see Eden; Paradise). For instance, did the original story mention two trees, or only one, of which the fruit was taboo? In iii. 3 (cp. vv. 6, II) only "the tree in the midst of the garden" is spoken of, but in ii. 9 and iii. 22 two trees are referred to, the fruit of both of which would appear to be taboo. To this we must add that in ii. 17 "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" appears to have the qualities of a "tree of life," except indeed to Adam. This passage seems to give us the key to the mystery. There was only one tree whose fruit was forbidden; it might be called either "the tree of life" or "the tree of knowledge," but certainly not "the tree of knowledge of good and evil." 8 The words "life" and "knowledge" (= "wisdom") are practically equivalent; perfect knowledge 1 The English Bible gives "the Lord God." This, however, does not adequately represent the Hebrew.

See commentaries of Gunkel and Cheyne. As in v.10, the oceanstream is meant. (See Eden.) 3 A widely spread mythic representation. (Cp. Cosmogony.) "See an illustration from Naville's Book of the Dead (Egyptian) in Jewish Cyclopaedia, i. 174a.

Or park. (See Paradise.) The later Jews, however, supposed that before the Fall the animals could speak, and that they had all one language (Jubilees, iii. 28; Jos. Antiquities, i. I, 4).

Cheyne, Genesis and Exodus, referring to Dorsey, Traditions of the Skidi Pawnee, pp. 2, 80 ff.

8" Good and evil "may be a late marginal gloss. See further Ency. Bib. col. 3578, and the commentaries (Driver leaves the phrase); also Jastrow, Relig. of Bab. and Ass. p. 553; Sayce, J-Iibbert Lectures, p. 242.

(so primitive man believed) would enable any being to escape death (an idea spiritualized in Prov. iii. 18).

Next, which of the trees is the" tree of life "? Various sacred trees were known to the Semitic peoples, such as the fig-tree (cp. iii. 7), which sometimes appears, conventionalized, as a sacred tree. 9 But clearly the tree referred to was more than a" sacred tree "; it was a tree from whose fruit or juice, as culture advanced, some intoxicating drink was produced. The Gaokerena of the Iranians 10 is exactly parallel. At the resurrection, those who drink of the life-giving juice of this plant will obtain perfect welfare," including deathlessness. It is not, however, either from Iran or from India that the Hebrew tree of life is derived, but from Arabia and Babylonia, where date wine (cp. Enoch xxiv. 4) is the earliest intoxicant. Of this drink it may well have been said in primitive times (cp. Rig Veda, ix. 90.5, of Soma) that it "cheers the heart of gods" (in the speech of the vine, Judg. ix. 13). Later writers spoke of a "tree of mercy," distilling the "oil of life," "i.e. the oil that heals, but 4 Esdr. ii. 12 (cp. viii. 53) speaks of the" tree of life,"and Rev. xxii. 2 (virtually) of" trees of life,"whose leaves have a healing virtue (cp. Ezek. xlvii. 12). The oil-tree should doubtless be grouped with the river of oil in later writings (see Paradise). Originally it was enough that there should be one tree of life, i.e. that heightened and preserved vitality.

A third enigma - why no" fountain of life "? The references to such a fountain in Proverbs (xiii. 14, &c.) prove that the idea was familiar, 12 and in Rev. xxii. i we are told that the river of Paradise was a" river of water of life "(see Paradise). The serpent, too, in mythology is a regular symbol of water. Possibly the narrator, or redactor, desired to tone down the traces of mythology. Just as the Gathas (the ancient Zoroastrian hymns) omit Gaokerena, and the Hebrew prophets on the whole avoid mythological phrases, so this old Hebrew thinker prunes the primitive exuberance of the traditional myth.

5. The Serpent

The keen-witted, fluently speaking serpent gives rise to fresh riddles. How comes it that Adam's ruin is effected by one of those very" beasts of the field "which he had but lately named (ii. 19), that in speech he is Adam's equal and in wisdom his superior? Is he a pale form of the Babylonian chaos-dragon, or of the serpent of Iranian mythology who sprang from heaven to earth to blight the" good creation "? It is true that the serpent of Eden has mythological affinities. In iii. 14, 15, indeed, he is degraded into a mere typical snake, but iii. 1-5 shows that he was not so originally. He is perhaps best regarded, in the light of Arabian folk-lore, as the manifestation of a demon residing in the tree with the magic fruit. 13 He may have been a prince among the demons, as the magic tree was a prince among the plants. Hence perhaps his strange boldness. For some unknown reason he was ill disposed towards YahwehElohim (see iii. 3b), which has suggested to some that he may be akin to the great enemy of Creation. To Adam and Eve, however, he is not unkind. He bids them raise themselves in the scale of being by eating the forbidden fruit, which he declares to be not fatal to life but an opener of the eyes, and capable of equalizing men with gods (iii. 4, 5). To the phrase" ye shall be as gods "a later writer may have added" knowing good and evil,"but" to be as gods "originally meant" to live the life of gods - wise, powerful, happy."The serpent was in the main right, but there is one point which he did not mention, viz. that for any being to retain this intensified vitality the eating of the 9 See illustration in Toy's Ezekiel (Sacred Books of the Old Testament), p. 182.

10 Gaokerena is'the mythic white haoma plant (Zendavesta, Vendidad, xx. 4; Bundahish, xxvii. 4). It is an idealization of the yellow haoma of the mountains which was used in sacrifices (Yasna, x. 6-10). It corresponds to the soma plant (Asclepias acida) of the ancient Aryans of India. On the illustrative value of Gaokerena see Cheyne, Origin of the Psalter, pp. 400 - 439.

" See Life of Adam and Eve (apocryphal), �� 36, 40; Apocal. Mos. � 9; Secrets of Enoch, viii. 7, xxii. 8, 9. "Oil of life," in a Bab. hymn, Die Keilinschriften and das Alte Testament, ed. 3, p. 526.

Cp. the Bab. myths of Adapa and of the Descent of Ishtar.

13 W. R. Smith, Relig. of Semites, pp. 1 33, 44 2; Ency. Bib., " Serpent," �� 3, 4.

fruit woul t d have to be constantly renewed. Only thus could even the gods escape death.' 6. The Divine Command broken. - The serpent has gone the right way to work; he comprehends woman's nature better than Adam comprehends that of the serpent. By her curiosity Eve is undone. She looks at the fruit; then she takes and eats; her husband does the same (iii. 6). The consequence (ver. 7) may seem to us rather slight: "they knew (became sensible) that they were naked, and sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves girdles (aprons)." But the real meaning is not slight; the sexual distinction has been discovered, and a new sense of shame sends the human pair into the thickest shades, when Yahweh-Elohim walks abroad. The God of these primitive men is surprised: "Where art thou?" By degrees, he obtains a full confession - not from the serpent, whose speech might not have been edifying, but from Adam and Eve. The sentences which he passes are decisive, not only for the human pair and the serpent, but for their respective races. Painful toil shall be the lot of man; subjection and pangs that of woman. 2 The serpent too (whose unique form preoccupied the early men) shall be humiliated, as a perpetual warning to man - who is henceforth his enemy - of the danger of reasoning on and disobeying the will of God.

7. Versions of the Adam-story. - Theologians in all ages have allegorized this strange narrative.' The serpent becomes the inner voice of temptation, and the saying in iii. 15 becomes an anticipation of the final victory of good over evil - a view which probably arose in Jewish circles directly or indirectly affected by the Zoroastrian eschatology. But allegory was far from the thoughts of the original narrators. Another version of the Adam-story is given by Ezekiel (xxviii. ii-1 9), for underneath the king of Tyre (or perhaps Missor) 4 we can trace the majestic figure of the first man. This Adam, indeed, is not like the first man of Gen. ii.-iii., but more like the "bright angel" who is the first man in the Christian Book of Adam (i. io; Malan, p. 12). He dwells on a glorious forest-mountain (cp. Ezekiel xxxi. 8, 18), and is led away by pride to equalize himself with Elohim (cp. xxviii. Thess. ii. 4), and punished. And with this passage let us group Job xv. 7, 8, where Job is ironically described as vying with the first man, who was "brought forth before the hills" (cp. Prov. viii. 25) and "drew wisdom to himself" by "hearkening in the council of Elohim." No reference is made in Job to this hero's fall. The omission, however, is repaired, not only in Ezek. xxviii. 16, but also in Isa. xiv. 12-15, where the king, whose name is given in the English Bible as "Lucifer" (or margin, "day-star"), "son of the morning," and who, like the other king in Ezekiel, is threatened with death, is a copy of the mythical Adam.

The two conceptions of the first man are widely different. The passages last referred to harmonize with the account given in Gen. i. 26, for "in our image" certainly suggests a being equal in brightness and in capacities to the angels - a view which, as we know, became the favourite one in apocryphal and Haggadic descriptions of the Adam before the Fall. And though the priestly writer, to whom the first Creation-story in its present form is due, says nothing about a sacred mountain as the dwelling-place of the first-created man, yet this mountain belongs to the type of tradition which the passage, Gen. i. 26-28, imperfectly but truly represents. The glorious first man of Ezekiel, and the god-like first men of the cosmogony (cp. Ps. viii. 5) who held the regency of the earth, 5 require a dwelling-place as far above the common level of the earth as they are themselves above the child like Adam of the second creation-narrative (Gen. ii.). On this sacred mountain, see Cosmogony.

1 Note the food and drink of the gods in the Babylonian Adapa (or Adamu?) myth.

2 The mortality of man forms no part of the curse (cp. iii. 19, "dust thou art").

See H. Schultz, Alttest. Theologie, ed. 4, pp. 679 ff., 720; Driver, Genesis, p. 44.

4 See Cheyne, Genesis and Exodus. Cp. the "fair shepherd" Yima of the Avesta (Vend. ii.), the first man and the founder of civilization to the Iranians, though not like the Yama of the Vedas.

8. Origin of the Adam-story. - That the Hebrew story of the first man in both its forms is no mere recast of a Babylonian myth, is generally admitted. The holy mountain is no doubt Babylonian, and the plantations of sacred trees, one of which at least has magic virtue, can be paralleled from the monuments (see Eden). But there is no complete parallel to the description of Paradise in Gen. ii., or to the story of the rib, or to that of the serpent. The first part of the latter has definite Arabian affinities; the second is as definitely Hebrew. We may now add that the insertion of iii. 7 (from "were opened") to i 9a passage which has probably supplanted a more archaic and definitely mythological passage - may well have been the consequence of the change in the conception of the first man referred to above. Still there are four Babylonian stories which may serve as partial illustrations of the Hebrew Adam-story.

The first is contained in a fragment of a cosmogony in Berossus, now confirmed in the main by the sixth tablet of the Creation epic. It represents the creation of man as due to one of the inferior gods who (at Bel's command) mingled with clay the blood which flowed from the severed head of Bel (see Cosmogony).. The three others are the myths of Adapa, 6 Ea-bani and Etana.. As to Adapa, it may be mentioned here that Fossey has shown reason for holding that the true reading of the name is Adamu. It thus becomes plausible to hold that "Adam" in Gen. ii.-iii. was originally a proper name, and that it was derived from Babylonia. More probably, however, this is but an accidental coincidence; both adam and adamu may come from the same Semitic root meaning "to make." Certainly Adamu (if it is not more convenient to write "Adapa") was not regarded as the progenitor of the human race, like the Hebrew Adam. He was, however, certainly a man - one of those men who were not, of course, rival first-men, but were specially created and endowed. Adamu or Adapa, we are told, received from his divine father the gift of wisdom,' but not that of everlasting life. He had a chance, however, of obtaining the gift, or at least of eating the food and drinking the water which makes the gods ageless and immortal. But through a deceit practised upon him by his divine father Ea, he supposed the food and drink offered to him on a certain occasion by the gods to be "food of death," "water of death," just as Adam and Eve at first believed that the fruit of the magic tree would produce death (Gen. iii. 4, 5).

The second story is that of Ea-bani, 8 who was formed by the goddess Arusu (= the mother-goddess Ishtar) of a lump of clay (cp. Gen. ii. 7). This human creature, long-haired and sensual, was drawn away from a savage mode of life by a harlot, and Jastrow, followed by G. A. Barton, Worcester and Tennant, considers this to be parallel to the story which may underlie the account of the failure of the beasts, and the success of the woman Eve, as a "help-meet" for Adam. This, however, is most uncertain.

The third is that of Etana. 9 Here the main points are that Etana is induced by an eagle to mount up to heaven, that he may win a boon from the kindly goddess Ishtar. Borne by the eagle, he soared high up into the ether, but became afraid. Downward the eagle and his burden fell, and in the epic of Gilgamesh we find Etana in the nether world. According to Jastrow, this attempted ascension was an offence against the gods, and his fall was his punishment. We are not told, however, that Etana had the impious desire of Ezekiel's first man, and if he fell, it was through his own timidity (contrast Ezek. xxviii. 16). But certainly the myth does help us to imagine a story in which, for some sin against the gods, some favoured hero was hurled down from the divine abode, and such a story may some day be discovered.

To these illustrations it is unsafe to add the scene on a cylinder preserved in the British Museum, representing two figures, a See Jastrow, Rel. of Bab. and Ass. pp. 548-554; R. J. Harper, in Academy, May 30, 1891; Jensen, Keilinschr. Bibliothek, vi. 93 if.

The wisdom was probably to qualify him as a ruler. It is too much to say with Hommel that "Adapa is the archetype of the Johannine Logos." 8 Jastrow, op. cit. p. 474 ff.; Jensen, Keil. Bibl. vi. 120 ff.

9 Jastrow, p. 522 f.; Jensen, vi. 112 ff.

man (with horns) and perhaps a woman, both clothed, on either side of a fruit-tree, towards which they stretch out their hands.' For the meaning of this is extremely problematical. Some better monumental illustration may some day be found, for it is clear that the Babylonian sacred literature had much to tell of offences against the gods in the primeval age.

The student may naturally ask, Whence did the Israelites (a comparatively young people) obtain the original myth ? It is most probable that they obtained it through the mediation either of the Canaanites or of the North Arabians. Babylonian influence, as is now well known, was strongly felt for many centuries in Canaan, and even the cuneiform script was in common use among the high officials of the country. When the Israelites entered Canaan, they would learn myths partly of Babylonian origin. North Arabian influence must also have been strong among the Israelites, at least while they sojourned in North Arabia. From the Kenites, at any rate, they may have received, not only a strong religious impulse, but a store of tales of the primitive age, and these stories too may have been partly influenced by Babylonian traditions. We must allow for stages of development both among the Israelites and among their tutors.

9. Biblical References to the Adam-story.-It is remarkable how little influence the Adam-story has had on the earlier parts of the Old Testament. The garden of Eden is referred to in Isa. li. 3, Ezek. xxxvi. 35, Joel ii. 5; cp. Ezek. xxviii. 1 3, xxxi. 8, 9, 16, 18, all of which are later. And it is mostly in the "humanistic" book of Proverbs that we find allusions to the "tree of life" (Prov. iii. 18, xi. 30, xiii. 12, xv. 4), and to the "fountain of life"-perhaps (see � 4) an omitted portion of the old Paradisestory (Prov. x. II, xiii. 14, xiv. 27, xvi. 22),-the only other Biblical reference (apart from Rev. xxi. 6) being in that exquisite passage, Ps. xxxvi. 9. One can hardly be surprised at this. The Adam-story is plainly of foreign origin, and could not please the greater pre-exilic prophets. In late post-exilic times, however, foreign tales, even if of mythical origin, naturally came into favour, especially as religious symbols. If even now philosophers and theologians cannot resist the temptation to allegorize, how inevitable was it that this course should be pursued by early Jewish theologians!

To. Incipient Reflexion on the Story.-Let us give some instances of this. In Enoch lxix. 6 we find the story of Eve's temptation read in the light of that of the fallen angels (Gen. vi. 1, 2, 4) who conveyed an evil knowledge to men, and so subjected mankind to mortality. Evidently the writer fears culture. Elsewhere eating the fruit of the "tree of wisdom" is given as the cause of the expulsion of the human pair. In the Wisdom of Solomon (x. I, 2) we find another view. Here, as in Ezekiel, the first man is pre-eminently wise and strong; though he transgressed, wisdom rescued him, i.e. taught him repentance (cp. Life of Adam and Eve, �� 1-8). Elsewhere (ii. 24; cp. Jos. Ant. i. I, 4) death is traced to the envy of the devil, still implying an exalted view of Adam. It is held that, but for his sin, Adam would have been immortal. Clearly the Jewish mind is exposed to some fresh foreign influences. As in the Talmud and the Jerusalem Targum, the serpent has even become the devil, i.e. Satan. The period of syncretism has fully come, and Zoroastrianism in particular, more indirectly than directly, is exercising an attractive power upon the Jews. For all that, the theological thinking is characteristically Jewish, and such guidance as Jewish thinkers required was mainly given by Greek culture. On this subject see further EVE, � 5.

I I. Growth of a Theology.-Let us now turn to the Apocalypses of Baruch and of Ezra (both about 70 A.D.). Different views are here expressed. According to one (xvii. 3, xix. 8, xxiii. 4) the sin of Adam was the cause of physical death; according to another (liv. 15, lvi. 6), only of premature physical death, while according to a third (xlviii. 42, 43) it is spiritual death which is to be laid to his account. Of these three views, it is only the ' See Smith and Sayce, Chaldaean Genesis, p. 88; Delitzsch, Wo lag das Paradies ? p. 90; Babel and Bible, Eng. trans., p. 56, with note on pp. 114 -118; Zimmern, Die Keilinschr. and das A.T., ed. 3, p. 5 2 9; Jeremias, Das Alte Test. im Lichte d. Alien Orient. pp. 104 -106.

second which harmonizes with Gen. ii.-iii. In one of the two passages which express it we are also told that each member of the human race is "the Adam of his own soul." Adam, like Satan in Ecclus. xxi. 27, has become a psychological symbol. Truly, a worthy development of the seed-thoughts of the original narrator, and (must we not add ?) entirely opposed to any doctrine of Original Sin.

In 4 Ezra, too, we find no real endorsement of such a doctrine. It is true, not only physical death (iii. 7), but spiritual, is traced to the act of Adam (iii. 21, 22, IV. 30, 31, vii. 118 -121). But two modifying facts should be noticed. One is that Adam is said to have had from the first a wicked heart, owing to which he fell, and his posterity likewise, into sin and guilt. All men have the same seed of evil in them that Adam had; they sin and die, like him. The other is that, according to iii. 7-12, there are at least two ages of the world. The first ended with the Flood, so that any consequences of Adam's sin were, strictly speaking, of limited duration. The second began with righteous Noah and his household, "of whom came all righteous men." It was the descendants of these who "began again to do ungodliness more than the former ones." Doubtless the problem of evil is most imperfectly treated, even from the writer's point of view. But it would be cruel to pick holes in a writer whose thinking, like that of St Paul, is coloured by emotion.

At this point we might well make more than a passing reference to St Paul (Rom. V. 14; I Cor. XV. 22, 45, 47), whose doctrine of sin is evidently of mixed origin. But we cannot find space for this here. In compensation let it be mentioned that in Rev. xii. 9 (cp. xx. 2) the "great dragon," who persecuted the woman "clothed with the sun," is identified with "the old serpent, that is called the Devil and Satan." The identification is incorrect. But it may be noticed here that the phrase "the old serpent" sheds some light on the Pauline phrases "the first man Adam" and "the last Adam" (1 Cor. xv. 45, 47). The underlying idea is that the new age (that of the new heaven and earth) will be opened by events parallel to those which opened the first age. As the old serpent deceived man of old, so shall it be again. And as at the head of the first age stands the first Adam, whose doings affected all his descendants to their harm, so at the head of the second shall stand the second Adam, whose actions shall be potent for good. There is reason to suspect that the expression "the second Adam" is the coinage either of St Paul or of some one closely connected with him (as Prof. G. F. Moore has shown), for there is no proof that such terms as "the last," or "the second Adam," were generally current among the Jews.

12. Jewish Legends.-The parallelism between the first and second Adam in 1 Cor. xv. 45 is a parallelism of contrast. Jewish legends, however, suggest another sort of parallelism. The Haggadah gives the most extravagant descriptions of the glory of Adam before his fall. The most prominent idea is that being in the image of God-the God whose essence is light-he must have had a luminous body (like the angels). "I made thee of the light," says God in the Book of Adam and Eve (Malan, p. 16), "and I willed to bring children of light from thee." Similarly in Baba batra, 58a, we read, "he was of extraordinary beauty and sun-like brightness." So glorious was he that even the angels were commanded through Michael to pay homage to Adam. Satan, disobeying, was cast out of heaven; hence his ill-will towards Adam (Life of Adam and Eve, �� 13 -17; cp. Koran, xvii. 63, xx. 115, xxxviii. 74).

It only remains to give due honour to one of the most beautiful of legends, that of the deliverance of Adam's spirit from the nether world by the Christ, the earliest form of which is a Christian interpolation inA poc. Moses, � 42 (cp. Malan, Adam and Eve, iv. 15, end). We may compare a partly parallel passage in � 37, where the agent is Michael, and notice that such legendary developments were equally popular among Jews and Christians.

Authorities. -On the apocryphal Books of Adam, see Hort, Diet. of Chr. Biography, i. 37 ff. In English we have Malan's translation of the Ethiopic Book of Adam (1882), and Issaverden's translation of another Book of Adam from the Armenian (Venice, 1901). In German, see Fuchs's translations in Kautzsch's Die Apokryphen, ii. 506 ff. For full bibliography see Schtirer, Gesch. des jisd. Volkes, ed. 3, iii. 288 f. On Jewish and Mahommedan legends, see Jewish Cyclopaedia, " Adam." On the belief in the Fall, see Tennant, The Sources of the Doctrine of the Fall and Original Sin (1903). (T. K. C.)

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also adam, and Ádám



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown) < אדמה (adamah) 'red earth', 'ground'.

Proper noun




  1. The first man in the Bible and the Qur'an, said to be the progenitor of the human race.
  2. A male given name.
  3. (figuratively) Original sin or human frailty.


  • 1611King James Version of the Bible, Genesis 3:20
    And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
  • 1667John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book VII
    Say Goddess, what ensu’d when Raphael,
    The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarn'd
    Adam by dire example to beware
  • 1739Charles Wesley, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
    Second Adam from above,
    Reinstate us in thy love.
  • 1859George Eliot, Adam Bede, ch 1
    Adam Bede was a Saxon, and justified his name; but the jet-black hair, made the more noticeable by its contrast with the light paper cap, and the keen glance of the dark eyes that shone from under strongly marked, prominent and mobile eyebrows, indicated a mixture of Celtic blood.
  • 1904Mark Twain, Extracts from Adam's Diary
    Since then I have deciphered some more of Adam’s hieroglyphics, and think he has now become sufficiently important as a public character to justify this publication.
  • 1933 Eleanor Farjeon, Over the Garden Wall,Faber and Faber 1933, page 90 ("Boys' Names")
    What splendid names for boys there are! / There's Carol like a rolling car, / And Martin like a flying bird, / And Adam like the Lord's First Word,

Derived terms

  • Adam's needle
  • Adam's Peak
  • Adam's wine
  • apple of Adam
  • as old as Adam, old as Adam
  • co-Adamite
  • not to know someone from Adam
  • Old Adam
  • pre-Adamite
  • since Adam was a boy


See also



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun


  1. A male given name. Catalan equivalent of Adam.


Czech Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia cs


From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun

Adam m.

  1. A male given name, cognate to Adam.

Related terms



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun


  1. (Biblical) Adam.
  2. A male given name.



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun


  1. (Biblical) Adam.
  2. A male given name.

See also



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).


Proper noun


  1. (Biblical) Adam.
  2. A male given name.

Related terms



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun


  1. (Biblical) Adam.
  2. A male given name. Pet form: Adi



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun

Adam m. (Adam-s, -)

  1. (Biblical) Adam
  2. A male given name

Derived terms

See also


  • Anagrams of aadm
  • dama



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun


  1. (Biblical) Adam.
  2. A male given name.



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun

Adam m.

  1. A male given name


Singular Plural
Nominative Adam Adamowie
Genitive Adama Adamów
Dative Adamowi Adamom
Accusative Adama Adamów
Instrumental Adamem Adamami
Locative Adamie Adamach
Vocative Adamie Adamowie

Derived terms



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun

Adam m. (Cyrillic spelling Адам)

  1. (Biblical) Adam.
  2. A male given name.




From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun

Adam m.

  1. (Biblical) Adam


  • 1602La Santa Biblia (antigua versión de Casiodoro de Reina), rev., Génesis 2:20
    Y puso Adam nombres á toda bestia y ave de los cielos y á todoanimal del campo.



From Hebrew אָדָם (adam), earth, man, soil, light brown).

Proper noun


  1. (Biblical) Adam.
  2. A male given name. Pet form: Adde.


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to William Adam article)

From Wikispecies

Belgian malacologist (1909-1988)

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Meaning: Red; to blush or turn rosy

A Babylonian word, the generic name for man, having the same meaning in the Hebrew and the Assyrian languages. It was the name given to the first man, whose creation, fall, and subsequent history and that of his descendants are detailed in the first book of Moses (Gen 1:27). "God created man [Heb., Adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Adam was absolutely the first man whom God created. He was formed out of the dust of the earth (and hence his name), and God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and gave him dominion over all the lower creatures (Gen 1:26; Gen 2:7). He was placed after his creation 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. Thus man fell, and brought upon himself and his posterity all the sad consequences of his transgression. The narrative of the Fall comprehends in it the great promise of a Deliverer (Gen 3:15), the "first gospel" message to man. 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). 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). He died aged 930 years.

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. The investigations of science, altogether independent of historical evidence, lead to the conclusion that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26. Comp. Rom 5:12; 1Cor 15:22).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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The first man and the father of the human race.



There is not a little divergence of opinion among Semitic scholars when they attempt to explain the etymological signification of the Hebrew word adam (which in all probability was originally used as a common rather than a proper name), and so far no theory appears to be fully satisfactory. One cause of uncertainty in the matter is the fact that the root adam as signifying "man" or "mankind" is not common to all the Semitic tongues, though of course the name is adopted by them in translations of the Old Testament. As an indigenous term with the above signification, it occurs only in Phoenician and Sabean, and probably also in Assyrian. In Gen 2:7, the name seems to be connected with the word ha-adamah ("the ground"), in which case the value of the term would be to represent man (ratione materiæ) as earthborn, much the same as in Latin, where the word homo is supposed to be kindred with humus. It is a generally recognized fact that the etymologies proposed in the narratives which make up the Book of Genesis are often divergent and not always philologically correct, and though the theory (founded on Gen 2:7) that connects adam with adamah has been defended by some scholars, it is at present generally abandoned. Others explain the term as signifying "to be red", a sense which the root bears in various passages of the Old Testament (e.g. Gen 25:50), as also in Arabic and Ethiopic. In this hypothesis the name would seem to have been originally applied to a distinctively red or ruddy race. In this connection Gesenius (Thesaurus, s.v., p. 25) remarks that on the ancient monuments of Egypt the human figures representing Egyptians are constantly depicted in red, while those standing for other races are black or of some other colour. Something analogous to this explanation is revealed in the Assyrian expression çalmât qaqqadi, i.e. "the black-headed", which is often used to denote men in general. (Cf. Delitsch, Assyr. Handwörterbuch, Leipzig, 1896, p. 25.) Some writers combine this explanation with the preceding one, and assign to the word adam the twofold signification of "red earth", thus adding to the notion of man's material origin a connotation of the color of the ground from which he was formed. A third theory, which seems to be the prevailing one at present (cf. Pinches, The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia, 1903, pp. 78, 793), explains the root adam as signifying "to make", "to produce", connecting it with the Assyrian adamu, the meaning of which is probably "to build", "to construct", whence adam would signify "man" either in the passive sense, as made, produced, created, or in the active sense, as a producer.

In the Old Testament the word is used both as a common and a proper noun, and in the former acceptation it has different meanings. Thus in Genesis ii, 5, it is employed to signify a human being, man or woman; rarely, as in Gen 2:22, it signifies man as opposed to woman, and, finally, it sometimes stands for mankind collectively, as in Gen 1:26. The use of the term, as a proper as well as a common noun, is common to both the sources designated in critical circles as P and J. Thus in the first narrative of the Creation (P) the word is used with reference to the production of mankind in both sexes, but in Gen 5:14, which belongs to the same source, it is also taken as a proper name. In like manner the second account of the creation (J) speaks of "the man" (ha-adam), but later on (Gen 4:25) the same document employs the word as a proper name without the article.


Practically all the Old Testament information concerning Adam and the beginnings of the human race is contained in the opening chapters of Genesis. To what extent these chapters should be considered as strictly historical is a much disputed question, the discussion of which does not come within the scope of the present article. Attention, however, must be called to the fact that the story of the Creation is told twice, viz. in the first chapter and in the second, and that while there is a substantial agreement between the two accounts there is, nevertheless, a considerable divergence as regards the setting of the narrative and the details. It has been the custom of writers who were loath to recognize the presence of independent sources or documents in the Pentateuch to explain the fact of this twofold narrative by saying that the sacred writer, having set forth systematically in the first chapter the successive phases of the Creation, returns to the same topic in the second chapter in order to add some further special details with regard to the origin of man. It must be granted, however, that very few scholars of the present day, even among Catholics, are satisfied with this explanation, and that among critics of every school there is a strong preponderance of opinion to the effect that we are here in presence of a phenomenon common enough in Oriental historical compositions, viz. the combination or juxtaposition of two or more independent documents more or less closely welded together by the historiographer, who among the Semites is essentially a compiler. (See Guidi, L'historiographie chez les Sémites in the Revue biblique, October, 1906.) The reasons on which this view is based, as well as the arguments of those who oppose it, may be found in Dr. Gigot's Special Introduction to the Study of the Old Testament, Pt. I. Suffice it to mention here that a similar repetition of the principal events narrated is plainly discernible throughout all the historic portions of the Pentateuch, and even of the later books, such as Samuel and Kings, and that the inference drawn from this constant phenomenon is confirmed not only by the difference of style and viewpoint characteristic of the duplicate narratives, but also by the divergences and antinomies which they generally exhibit. Be that as it may, it will be pertinent to the purpose of the present article to examine the main features of the twofold Creation narrative with special reference to the origin of man.

In the first account (Ch. i, ii, 4a) Elohim is represented as creating different categories of beings on successive days. Thus the vegetable kingdom is produced on the third day, and, having set the sun and moon in the firmament of heaven on the fourth, God on the fifth day creates the living things of the water and the fowls of the air which receive a special blessing, with the command to increase and multiply. On the sixth day Elohim creates, first, all the living creatures and beasts of the earth; then, in the words of the sacred narrative,
he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
Then follows the blessing accompanied by the command to increase and fill the earth, and finally the vegetable kingdom is assigned to them for food. Considered independently, this account of the Creation would leave room for doubt as to whether the word adam, "man", here employed was understood by the writer as designating an individual or the species. Certain indications would seem to favour the latter, e.g. the context, since the creations previously recorded refer doubtless to the production not of an individual or of a pair, but of vast numbers of individuals pertaining to the various species, and the same in case of man might further be inferred from the expression, "male and female he created them." However, another passage (Gen 5:15), which belongs to the same source as this first narrative and in part repeats it, supplements the information contained in the latter and affords a key to its interpretation. In this passage which contains the last reference of the so-called priestly document to Adam, we read that God
created them male and female . . . and called their name adam, in the day when they were created.
And the writer continues:
And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begot a son to his own image and likeness, and called his name Seth. And the days of Adam, after he begot Seth, were eight hundred years and he begot sons and daughters. And all the time that Adam lived came to nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.
Here evidently the adam or man of the Creation narrative is identified with a particular individual, and consequently the plural forms which might otherwise cause doubt are to be understood with reference to the first pair of human beings.

In Genesis, ii, 4b-25 we have what is apparently a new and independent narrative of the Creation, not a mere amplification of the account already given. The writer indeed, without seeming to presuppose anything previously recorded, goes back to the time when there was yet no rain, no plant or beast of the field; and, while the earth is still a barren, lifeless waste, man is formed from the dust by Yahweh, who animates him by breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. How far these terms are to be interpreted literally or figuratively, and whether the Creation of the first man was direct or indirect, see GENESIS, CREATION, MAN. Thus the creation of man, instead of occupying the last place, as it does in the ascending scale of the first account, is placed before the creation of the plants and animals, and these are represented as having been produced subsequently in order to satisfy man's needs. Man is not commissioned to dominate the whole earth, as in the first narrative, but is set to take care of the Garden of Eden with permission to eat of its fruit, except that of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the formation of woman as a helpmeet for man is represented as an afterthought on the part of Yahweh in recognition of man's inability to find suitable companionship in the brute creation. In the preceding account, after each progressive step "God saw that it was good", but here Yahweh perceives, as it were, that it is not good for man to be alone, and he proceeds to supply the deficiency by fashioning the woman Eve from the rib of the man while he is in a deep sleep. According to the same narrative, they live in childlike innocence until Eve is tempted by the serpent, and they both partake of the forbidden fruit. They thereby become conscious of sin, incur the displeasure of Yahweh, and lest they should eat of the tree of life and become immortal, they are expelled from the garden of Eden. Henceforth their lot is to be one of pain and hardship, and man is condemned to the toilsome task of winning his sustenance from a soil which on his account has been cursed with barrenness. The same document gives us a few details connected with our first parents after the Fall, viz.: the birth of Cain and Abel the fratricide, and the birth of Seth. The other narrative, which seems to know nothing of Cain or Abel, mentions Seth (Chap. v, 3) as if he were the first born, and adds that during the eight hundred years following the birth of Seth Adam begat sons and daughters.

Notwithstanding the differences and discrepancies noticeable in the two accounts of the origin of, mankind, the narratives are nevertheless in substantial agreement, and in the esteem of the majority of scholars they are easiest explained and reconciled if considered as representing two varying traditions among the Hebrews -- traditions which in different form and setting embodied the selfsame central historic facts, together with a presentation more or less symbolical of certain moral and religious truths. Thus in both accounts man is clearly distinguished from, and made dependent upon, God the Creator; yet he is directly connected with Him through the creative act, to the exclusion of all intermediary beings or demigods such as are found in the various heathen mythologies. That man beyond all the other creatures partakes of the perfection of God is made manifest in the first narrative, in that he is created in the, image of God, to which corresponds in the other account the equally significant figure of man receiving his life from the breath of Yahweh. That man on the other hand has something in common with the animals is implied in the one case in his creation on the same day, and in the other by his attempt, though ineffectual, to find among them a suitable companion. He is the lord and the crown of creation, as is clearly expressed in the first account, where the creation of man is the climax of God's successive works, and where his supremacy is explicitly stated, but the same is implied no less clearly in the second narrative. Such indeed may be the significance of placing man's creation before that of the animals and plants, but, however that may be, the animals and plants are plainly created for his utility and benefit. Woman is introduced as secondary and subordinate to man, though identical with him in nature, and the formation of a single woman for a single man implies the doctrine of monogamy. Moreover, man was created innocent and good; sin came to him from without, and it was quickly followed by a severe punishment affecting not only the guilty pair, but their descendants and other beings as well. (Cf. Bennett in Hastings, Dict. of the Bible, s.v.) The two accounts, therefore, are practically at one with regard to didactic purpose and illustration, and it is doubtless to this feature that we should attach their chief significance. It is hardly necessary to remark in passing that the loftiness of the doctrinal and ethical truths here set forth place the biblical narrative immeasurably above the extravagant Creation stories current among the pagan nations of antiquity, though some of these, particularly the Babylonian, bear a more or less striking resemblance to it in form. In the light of this doctrinal and moral excellence, the question of the strict historical character of the narrative, as regards the framework and details, becomes of relatively slight importance, especially when we recall that in history as conceived by the other biblical authors, as well as by Semitic writers generally, the presentation and arrangement of facts -- and indeed their entire role -- is habitually made subordinate to the exigencies of a didactic preoccupation.

As regards extra-biblical sources which throw light upon the Old Testament narrative, it is well known that the Hebrew account of the Creation finds a parallel in the Babylonian tradition as revealed by the cuneiform writings. It is beyond the scope of the present article to discuss the relations of historical dependence generally admitted to exist between the two cosmogonies. Suffice it to say with regard to the origin of man, that though the fragment of the "Creation Epic", which is supposed to contain it, has not been found, there are nevertheless good independent grounds for assuming that it belonged originally to the tradition embodied in the poem, and that it must have occupied a place in the latter just after the account given of the production of the plants and the animals, as in the first chapter of Genesis. Among the reasons for this assumption are:

  • the Divine admonitions addressed to men after their creation, towards the end of the poem;
  • the account of Berosus, who mentions the creation of man by one of the gods, who mixed with clay the blood which flowed from the severed head of Tiamat;
  • a non-Semitic (or pre-Semitic) account translated by Pinches from a bilingual text, and in which Marduk is said to have made mankind, with the cooperation of the goddess Aruru. (Cf. Encyclopedia Biblica, art. "Creation", also Davis, Genesis and Semitic Tradition, pp. 36-47.) As regards the creation of Eve, no parallel has so far been discovered among the fragmentary records of the Babylonian creation story. That the account, as it stands in Genesis, is not to be taken literally as descriptive of historic fact was the opinion of Origen, of Cajetan, and it is now maintained by such scholars as Hoberg (Die Genesis, Freiburg, 1899, p. 36) and von Hummelauer (Comm. in Genesim, pp. 149 sqq.). These and other writers see in this narrative the record of a vision symbolical of the future and analogous to the one vouchsafed to Abraham (Gen 15:12 sqq.), and to St. Peter in Joppe (Acts 10:10 sqq.). (See Gigot, Special Introduction to the Study of the Old Testament, pt. I, p. 165, sqq.)

References to Adam as an individual in the later Old Testament books are very few, and they add nothing to the information contained in Genesis. Thus the name stands without comment at the head of the genealogies at the beginning of I Paralipomenon; it is mentioned likewise in Tobias, viii, 8; Osee, vi, 7; Sir 35:24, etc. The Hebrew word adam occurs in various other passages, but in the sense of man or mankind. The mention of Adam in Zacharias, xiii, 5, according to the Douay version and the Vulgate, is due to a mistranslation of the original.


In the New Testament references to Adam as an historical personage occur only in a few passages. Thus in the third chapter of St. Luke's Gospel the genealogy of the Saviour is traced back to "Adam who was of God". This prolongation of the earthly lineage of [[Jesus Christ (Catholic Encyclopedia)|Jesus]] beyond Abraham, who forms the starting point in St. Matthew, is doubtless due to the more universal spirit and sympathy characteristic of our third Evangelist, who writes not so much from the viewpoint of Jewish prophecy and expectation as for the instruction of the Gentile recruits to Christianity. Another mention of the historic father of the race is found in the Epistle of Jude (verse 14), where a quotation is inserted from the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which, rather strange to say, is attributed to the antediluvian patriarch of that name, "the seventh from Adam." But the most important references to Adam are found in the Epistles of St. Paul. Thus in 1 Tim 2:11-14, the Apostle, after laying down certain practical rules referring to the conduct of women, particularly as regards public worship, and inculcating the duty of subordination to the other sex, makes use of an argument the weight of which rests more upon the logical methods current at the time than upon its intrinsic value as appreciated by the modern mind:
For Adam was first formed; then Eve. And Adam was not seduced; but the woman being seduced, was in the transgression.
A similar line of argument is pursued in 1Cor 11:8, 9. More important is the theological doctrine formulated by St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans, v, 12-21, and in 1Cor 15:22-45. In the latter passage [[Jesus Christ (Catholic Encyclopedia)|Jesus Christ]] is called by analogy and contrast the new or "last Adam." This is understood in the sense that as the original Adam was the head of all mankind, the father of all according to the flesh, so also [[Jesus Christ (Catholic Encyclopedia)|Jesus Christ]] was constituted chief and head of the spiritual family of the elect, and potentially of all mankind, since all are invited to partake of His salvation. Thus the first Adam is a type of the second, but while the former transmits to his progeny a legacy of death, the latter, on the contrary, becomes the vivifying principle of restored righteousness. Christ is the "last Adam" inasmuch as "there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12); no other chief or father of the race is to be expected. Both the first and the second Adam occupy the position of head with regard to humanity, but whereas the first through his disobedience vitiated, as it were, in himself the stirps of the entire race, and left to his posterity an inheritance of death, sin, and misery, the other through his obedience merits for all those who become his members a new life of holiness and an everlasting reward. It may be said that the contrast thus formulated expresses a fundamental tenet of the Christian religion and embodies in a nutshell the entire doctrine of the economy of salvation. It is principally on these and passages of similar import (e.g. Mt 18:11) that is based the fundamental doctrine that our first parents were raised by the Creator to a state of supernatural righteousness, the restoration of which was the object of the Incarnation. It need hardly be said that the fact of this elevation could not be so clearly inferred from the Old Testament account taken independently.


It is a well-known fact that, partly from a desire to satisfy pious curiosity by adding details to the too meagre biblical accounts, and partly with ethical intent, there grew up in later Jewish as well as in early Christian and Mohammedan tradition a luxuriant crop of legendary lore around the names of all the important personages of the Old Testament. It was therefore only natural that the story of Adam and Eve should receive special attention and be largely developed by this process of embellishment. These additions, some of which are extravagant and puerile, are chiefly imaginary, or at best based on a fanciful understanding of some slight detail of the sacred narrative. Needless to say that they do not embody any real historic information, and their chief utility is to afford an example of the pious popular credulity of the times as well as of the slight value to be attached to the so-called Jewish traditions when they are invoked as an argument in critical discussion. Many rabbinical legends concerning our first parents are found in the Talmud, and many others were contained in the apocryphal Book of Adam now lost, but of which extracts have come down to us in other works of a similar character (see MAN). The most important of these legends, which it is not the scope of the present article to reproduce, may be found in the Jewish Encyclopedia, I, art. "Adam", and as regards the Christian legends, in Smith and Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography, s.v.

Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.

==Biblical Data==

The Hebrew and Biblical name for man, and also for the progenitor of the human race. In the account of the Creation given in Gen. i. man was brought into being at the close of the sixth creative day, "made in the image of God," and invested with dominion over the rest of the animate world. Man was thus created, male and female, charged to replenish the earth with his own kind and to subdue it to his own uses. In Gen.ii. a more particular account of man's creation is given. The scene is in Babylonia, near the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, in the country of Eden. After the soil had been prepared by moisture "God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen 2:7). He was then placed in a garden planted for him in Eden, to "till and tend it." Of all that grew in the garden he was permitted to eat freely, except "the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Man next made the acquaintance of all the lower animals, learning their qualities, and giving them names. But among these he found no fit companion. Hence God, by express creative act, made for him a mate, by taking a rib from his side and constructing it into a woman.

Curse of Disobedience.

In Gen. iii. the first chapter in the moral history of mankind is given. The woman was tempted by the serpent, who told her that if she and her husband would partake of the forbidden fruit their eyes would be opened, and they "would be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5). She ate of the fruit, and gave to her husband, who also ate of it. This act of disobedience was followed by a divine judgment. The serpent was cursed because he had tempted the woman, and between his and her descendants there was to be perpetual enmity. The woman was condemned to the pangs of child-bearing and to subjection to her husband. As a punishment for the man the ground was cursed: thorns and thistles were to spring up; hard labor would be needed to insure the production of human food; and toil would be the lot of man from childhood to the grave. Finally, the man and his wife were expelled from the garden "to till the ground from which he was taken." Of Adam and his wife, now called "Eve" (hebrew) because she was the mother of all living (hebrew) it is only known that after their exile from the garden they had children born to them (see Gen 5:3, 4).

—In Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature:

While the generic character that the name of Adam has in the older parts of Scripture, where it appears with the article ("the man"), was gradually lost sight of, his typical character as the representative of the unity of mankind was constantly emphasized (compare Sanh. iv. 5; the correct reading in Tosef., Sanh. viii. 4-9):

"Why was only a single specimen of man created first? To teach us that he who destroys a single soul destroys a whole world and that he who saves a single soul saves a whole world; furthermore, in order that no race or class may claim a nobler ancestry, saying, 'Our father was born first'; and, finally, to give testimony to the greatness of the Lord, who caused the wonderful diversity of mankind to emanate from one type. And why was Adam created last of all beings? To teach him humility; for if he be overbearing, let him remember that the little fly preceded him in the order of creation."

In a dispute, therefore, as to which Biblical verse expresses the fundamental principle of the Law, Simon ben 'Azkai maintained against R. Akiba—who, following Hillel, had singled out the Golden Rule (Lev 19:18)—that the principle of love must have as its basis Gen 5:1, which teaches that all men are the offspring of him who was made in the image of God (Sifra, Ḳedoshim, iv.; Yer. Ned. ix. 41c; Gen. R. 24). This idea, expressed also by Paul in his speech at Athens, "[God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26), found expression in many characteristic forms. According to Targ. Yer. to Gen 2:7, God took dust from the holy place (as "the center of the earth"; compare Pirḳe R. Eliezer xi., xx.) and the four parts of the world, mingling it with the water of all the seas, and made him red, black, and white (probably more correctly Pirḳe R. El. xi. and Chronicle of Jerahmeel, vi. 7: "White, black, red, and green—bones and sinews white; intestines black; blood red; skin of body or liver green"); compare Philo, "Creation of the World," xlvii.; Abulfeda, "Historia Ante-Islámica." The Sibylline Oracles (iii. 24-26) and, following the same, the Slavonian Book of Enoch find the cosmopolitan nature of Adam, his origin from the four regions of the earth, expressed in the four letters of his name: Anatole (East), Dysis (West), Arktos (North), and Mesembria (South). R. Johanan interprets as being an acrostic of (ashes), (blood), and (gall; see Soṭah, 5a). But this interpretation seems to have originated in other circles; for we find Isidor of Seville ("De Natura Rerum," ix.) declare that Adam was made of blood (sanguis), gall (cholē), black gall (melancholia), and phlegm: the four parts constituting the temperaments, which correspond to the four elements of nature, as does the microcosm to the macrocosm (see Piper, "Symbolik der Christlichen Kirche," 90, 469). R. Meir (second century) has the tradition that God made Adam of the dust gathered from the whole world; and Rab (third century) says: "His head was made of earth from the Holy Land; his main body, from Babylonia; and the various members from different lands" (Sanh. 38a et seq.; compare Gen. R. viii.; Midr. Teh. cxxxix. 5; and Tan., Peḳude, 3, end).

Two Natures in Adam.

There are, however, two points of view regarding man's nature presented in the two Biblical stories of man's creation; and they are brought out more forcibly in the Haggadah, and still more so in the older Hellenistic literature. "Both worlds, heaven and earth, were to have a share in man's creation; hence the host of angels were consulted by the Lord when He said, 'Let us make man'" (Gen 1:26, Gen. R. viii.). But the old haggadists loved especially to dwell on the glory of God's first-created before his fall. He was "like one of the angels" (Slavonic Book of Enoch 3011; compare Christian Book of Adam, i. 10; also Papias in Gen. R. xxi.; Pirḳe R. El. xii.; Ex. R. xxxii.; Targ. Yer. Gen 3:22). "His body reached from earth to heaven [or from one end of the world to the other] before sin caused him to sink" (Ḥag. 12a, Sanh. 38b; compare also Philo, "Creation of the World," ed. Mangey, i. 33, 47). "He was of extreme beauty and sunlike brightness" (B. B. 58a). "His skin was a bright garment, shining like his nails; when he sinned this brightness vanished, and he appeared naked" (Targ. Yer. Gen 3:7; Gen. R. xi.; Adam and Eve, xxxvii.). When God said: "Let us make man in our image," the angels in heaven, filled with jealousy, said: "What is man that Thou thinkest of him? A creature full of falsehood, hatred, and strife!" But Love pleaded in his favor; and the Lord spoke: "Let truth spring forth from the earth!" (Gen. R. viii.; Midr. Teh. viii.). Far older, and blended with Babylonian mythology (Isa 14:12), is the story preserved in Adam and Eve, the Slavonic Book of Enoch 313-6 (compare Bereshit Rabbati, ed. Epstein, p. 17; Pirḳe R. El. xiii.; Chronicle of Jerahmeel, xxii.; and Koran, sura ii. 34; xv. 30), according to which all the angels were commanded by Michael the archangel to pay homage to the image of God; whereupon all bowed before Adam except Satan, who, in punishment for his rebelliousness, was hurled from his heavenly heights to the depth of the abyss, while his vacant throne was reserved for Adam, to be given to him at the time of the future resurrection. Henceforth, Satan became the enemy of man, appearing to him in the guise of an angel of light to seduce him (compare 2Cor 11:14). A somewhat modified midrashic legend (Gen. R. viii.) relates that the angels were so filled with wonder and awe at the sight of Adam, the image of God, that they wanted to pay homage to him and cry "Holy!" But the Lord caused sleep to fall upon him so that he lay like a corpse, and the Lord said: "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" (Isa 2:22). Another version (Pirḳe R. El. xi.; Tan., Peḳude, 3) is that all other creatures, marveling at Adam's greatness, prostrated themselves before him, taking him to be their creator; whereon he pointed upward to God, exclaiming: "The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty!" (Ps 931). Still, the Book of Wisdom (ii. 23, 24) seems to allude to the older legend when saying, "God created man for immortality, but through the envy of Satan death entered the world" (compare Josephus, "Ant." i. 1, § 4; Ab. R. N. i.; Gen. R. xviii., where the serpent is represented as moved by jealousy).

=== The Fall. === Adam in paradise had angels (agathodæmons or serpents) to wait upon and dance before him (Sanh. 59b, B. B. 75a, Pirḳe R. El. xii.). He ate "angel's bread" (compare Ps 7326; Yoma, 75b; Vita Adæ et Evæ, § 4). All creation bowed before him in awe. He was the light of the world (Yer. Shab. ii. 5b); but sin deprived him of all glory. The earth and the heavenly bodies lost their brightness, which will come back only in the Messianic time (Gen. R. xii.; Vita Adæ et Evæ, § 21; Philo, "Creation of the World," p. 60; Zohar, iii. 83b). Death came upon Adam and all creation. God's day being a thousand years (Ps 904), Adam was permitted to live 930 years—threescore and ten less than one thousand (Book of Jubilees, iv. 28, and Gen. R. xix.), so that the statement "in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die" might be fulfilled. The brutes no longer stood in awe of man as their ruler; instead, they attacked him. But while sin was of fatal consequence, and the effect of the poison of the serpent is still felt by all following generations, unless they should be released from it by the covenant of Sinai ('Ab. Zarah, 22b; IV Book of Esdras; Apoc. Mosis, xx.; see articles Sin and Fall), the Jewish haggadists emphasize one point not mentioned in the Bible, but of great doctrinal importance in comparison with the teachings of Paul and his followers. The deadly effect of sin can be removed by repentance. Hence, Adam is represented as a type of a penitent sinner. Thus, he is described in Vita Adæ et Evæ, as well as by the rabbis of the second century ('Er. 18b; 'Ab. Zarah, 8a; Ab. R. N. i.; Pirḳe R. El.), as undergoing a terrible ordeal while fasting, praying, and bathing in the river for seven and forty days (seven weeks, Pirḳe R. El.), or twice seven weeks—the shortening of the days after Tishri being taken by Adam as a sign of God's wrath, until after the winter solstice the days again grew longer, when he brought a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Another view is that when the sun rose the following morning he offered his thanksgiving, in which the angels joined him, singing the Sabbath Psalm (Ps. xcii.). About Adam and the one-horned ox (the Persian gaiomarth), see Kohut, in "Z. D. M. G." xxv. 78, n. 6.

On account of the Sabbath the sun retained its brightness for the day; but as darkness set in Adam was seized with fear, thinking of his sin. Then the Lord taught him how to make fire by striking stones together. Thenceforth the fire is greeted with a blessing at the close of each Sabbath day (Pesiḳ. R. xxiii.; Pirḳe R. El. xx.; similarly, Pes. 54a).

When Adam heard the curse, "Thou shalt eat of the herbs of the earth," he staggered, saying: "O Lord, must I and my ass eat out of the same manger?" Then the voice of God came reassuringly: "With the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread!" There is comfort in work. The angels taught Adam the work of agriculture, all the trades, and also how to work in iron (Book of Jubilees, iii. 12; Gen. R. xxiv.; Pes. 54a). The invention of writing was ascribed to Adam.

Adam in the Future World.

On the day Adam covered his naked body for the first time, he beheld in clothing a mark of human dignity, and offered God a thanksgiving of incense (Book of Jubilees, iii. 22). The garments made by God were not of skin, but of light (Gen. R. xx.), and robes of glory were made of the serpent's skin (Targ. Yer. Gen 3:21).

Adam, "the first to enter Hades" (Sibylline Oracles, i. 81), was also the first to receive the promise ofresurrection (Gen. R. xxi. 7, after Ps 1715). According to the Testament of Abraham, Adam sits at the gates, watching with tears the multitude of souls passing through the wide gate to meet their punishment, and with joy the few entering the narrow gate to receive their reward.

The Jewish view concerning Adam's sin is best expressed by Ammi (Shab. 55a, based upon Ezek 18:20): "No man dies without a sin of his own. Accordingly, all the pious, being permitted to behold the Shekinah (glory of God) before their death, reproach Adam (as they pass him by at the gate) for having brought death upon them; to which he replies: 'I died with but one sin, but you have committed many: on account of these you have died; not on my account'" (Tan., Ḥuḳḳat, 16).

To Adam are ascribed Ps. v., xix., xxiv., and xcii. (Midr. Teh. v. 3; Gen. R. xxii., end; Pesiḳ. R. xlvi.; see Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." ii. 337 et seq.). His body, made an object of worship by some semi-pagan Melchisedician sect, according to the Christian Book of Adam, was shown in Talmudic times at Hebron, in the cave of Machpelah (B. B. 58a, Gen. R. lviii.), while Christian tradition placed it in Golgotha near Jerusalem (Origen, tract 35 in Matt., and article Golgotha). It is a beautiful and certainly an original idea of the rabbis that "Adam was created from the dust of the place where the sanctuary was to rise for the atonement of all human sin," so that sin should never be a permanent or inherent part of man's nature (Gen. R. xiv., Yer. Naz. vii. 56b). The corresponding Christian legend of Golgotha was formed after the Jewish one.


  • Ginzberg, Die Haggada bei den Kirchenvätern, in Monatsschrift, 1899;
  • Kohut, in Z. D. M. G. xxv. 59-94;
  • Grünbaum, Neue Beiträge zur Semitischen Sagenkunde, pp. 54,79;
  • Dillman, Das Christliche Adambuch;
  • Malan, Book of Adam and Eve, 1882;
  • Bezold, Die Schatzhöhle, 1883, 1888;
  • Siegfried, Philo von Alexandrien.
  • For further bibliographical references see Schürer, Geschichte, 3d ed. iii. 288-289.

In Mohammedan Literature:

No mention is made of Adam in the early suras of the Koran. Though Mohammed speaks of the creation of man in general from a "clot of blood" or a "drop of water" (suras lxxv. 34, lxxvii. 20, xcvi. 1), it is only in the later Meccan suras that the original creation of man is connected with a particular individual. But in these suras the theory is already developed that Satan's designs against man are consequent upon the expulsion of the former from paradise at the time of man's creation. Geiger has incorrectly remarked ("Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume Aufgenommen?" p. 100) that this is not a Jewish idea (see Vita Adæ et Evæ, § 16). It belongs also to the cycle of the Christian-Syriac Midrash (see Budge, "The Book of the Bee," p. 21, trans.; Bezold, "Die Schatzhöhle," pp. 5, 6, trans.). In the earliest account the name Adam does not occur; nor does Iblis vow vengeance upon a single individual, but rather upon the whole race of mankind:

Iblis, the Devil, Respited.

"When thy Lord said to the angels, 'Verily, I am about to create a mortal out of clay; and when I have fashioned him, and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall ye down before him adoring.' And the angels adored, all of them save Iblis, who was too big with pride, and was of the misbelievers. Said He, 'O Iblis! what prevents thee from adoring what I have created with My two hands? Art thou too big with pride? or art thou amongst the exalted?' Said he, 'I am better than he; Thou hast created me from fire, and him Thou hast created from clay.' Said He, 'Then go forth therefrom; for verily thou art pelted, and verily upon thee is My curse unto the day of judgment.' Said he, 'My Lord! then respite me until the day when they are raised.' Said He, 'Then thou art amongst the respited until the day of the stated time.' Said he, 'Then, by Thy might, I will surely seduce them all together, except Thy servants amongst them who are sincere!' Said He, 'It is the truth, and the truth I speak; I will surely fill hell with thee and with those who follow thee amongst them all together'" (sura xxxviii. 70-85).

At a later period Mohammed develops the personal character of the first man and his direct relationship to God, whose vicegerent (khalifah, calif) he is to be on earth. At the same time Satan is represented as being the one who drove Adam from paradise:

Adam as Vicegerent of God.

"And when thy Lord said unto the angels, 'I am about to place a vicegerent in the earth,' they said, 'Wilt Thou place therein one who will do evil therein and shed blood? We celebrate Thy praise and hallow Thee.' Said [the Lord], 'I know what ye know not.' And He taught Adam the names, all of them; then He propounded them to the angels and said, 'Declare to Me the names of these, if ye are truthful.' They said, 'Glory be to Thee! no knowledge is ours but what Thou Thyself hast taught us; verily, Thou art the knowing, the wise.' Said the Lord, 'O Adam, declare to them their names'; and when he had declared to them their names He said, 'Did I not say to you, I know the secrets of the heavens and of the earth, and I know what ye show and what ye are hiding?' And when He said to the angels, 'Adore Adam,' they adored him save only Iblis, who refused and was too proud, and became one of the misbelievers.

"And He said, 'O Adam, dwell, thou and thy wife, in paradise, and eat therefrom amply as you wish; but do not draw near this tree or ye will be of the transgressors.' And Satan made them backslide therefrom, and drove them out from what they were in, and He said, 'Go down, one of you the enemy of the other; and in the earth there are an abode and a provision for a time.' And Adam caught certain words from his Lord, and He turned toward him; for He is the Compassionate One easily turned. He said, 'Go down therefrom altogether, and haply there may come from Me a guidance, and whoso follows My guidance no fear is theirs, nor shall they grieve'" (sura ii. 29-36).

In sura vii. 10 et seq. the same story is repeated, though with several additions. In particular, Mohammed has now learned the manner in which Satan tempted Adam:

Satan Beguiles Adam.

"But Satan whispered to them to display to them what was kept back from them of their shame, and he said, 'Your Lord has only forbidden you this tree lest ye should be twain angels or should become of the immortals'; and he swore to them both, 'Verily, I am unto you a sincere adviser'; and he beguiled them by deceit, and when they twain tasted of the tree their shame was shown them, and they began to stitch upon themselves the leaves of the garden. And their Lord called unto them, 'Did I not forbid you from that tree there, and say to you, Verily, Satan is to you an open foe?' They said, 'O our Lord, we have wronged ourselves—and if Thou dost not forgive us and have mercy on us, we shall surely be of those who are lost!' He said, 'Go ye down, one of you to the other a foe; but for you in the earth there are an abode and a provision for a season.' He said, 'Therein shall ye live and therein shall ye die; from it shall ye be brought forth'" (sura vii. 19-24).In suras xvii. 63, xviii. 48, references are also made to the refusal of Iblis to worship Adam. The latter was created from earth (iii. 51) or from clay (xxxii. 5).

That Adam is the first of the prophets is only hinted at in the Koran. In the passage (ii. 35) cited above, "And Adam caught certain words [kalimat] from his Lord," the reference may be to a supposed revelation to Adam. For this reason, in iii. 30, Mohammed says, "Verily, God has chosen Adam, and Noah, and Abraham's people, and Imram's people [the Christians]"; making Adam the representative of the antediluvian period.

Adam's Creation.

To these somewhat meager accounts later Arabic writers and commentators have added various details which find their parallel in the Jewish and Christian Midrash. Ḥamzah al-Ispahani expressly says that a Jewish rabbi in Bagdad, Zedekiah by name, told him, among other things, that Adam was created in the third hour of the sixth day, and Eve in the sixth hour; that they were made to dwell in Gan-Eden, from which they were expelled after the ninth hour; that God sent an angel to them, who taught Adam how to sow and to perform all the other work connected with agriculture. The same angel instructed Eve how to perform all manner of household duties. The historians Tabari, Masudi, Al-Athir, etc., have evidently culled from similar sources. They tell us that when God wished to form Adam He sent first Gabriel, then Michael, to fetch soil for that purpose. The earth, however, refused to give the soil, and yielded only to the Angel of Death, who brought three kinds of soil, black, white, and red. Adam's descendants, therefore, belong either to the white, the black, or the red race.

The soul of Adam had been created thousands of years previously, and at first refused to enter the body of clay. God forced it violently through Adam's nose, which caused him to sneeze. As it descended into his mouth, he commenced to utter the praises of God. He tried to rise; but the soul had not yet descended into his feet. When he did stand upright, he reached from earth up to the throne of God, and had to shade his eyes with his hand because of the brilliancy of God's throne. His height was gradually diminished, partly as a punishment for his sin, and partly through grieving at the death of Abel.

The Future Unveiled to Him.

Adam wished to see the generations which were to come from him. God drew them all from out of his back; they stood in two rows—one of the righteous, the other of the sinners. When God told Adam the span of life given to each, he was surprised to find that only a small number of years had been allotted to David, and made him a present of forty years; of which present, says the Mohammedan Midrash, a formal document was drawn up and signed.

When Adam was driven from paradise, he first alighted on the island of Sarandib (Ceylon). Here his footprint (seventy ells long) is still to be seen, as is that of Abraham in Mecca. From Ceylon Adam journeyed to the holy city in Arabia, where he built the Kaaba, having through fasting and silence gained the partial forgiveness of God.

Another legend connects the building of the Kaaba with Abraham. When the time came for Adam to die, he had forgotten the gift of forty years to David, and had to be reminded of it by the Angel of Death. He is said to have been buried in the "Cave of Treasures"—a Christian, rather than a Jewish, idea. Several of these peculiar features are found again in the Pirḳe de-Rabbi Eliezer, a work that was compiled under Arabic influence (Zunz, "G. V." 2d ed., pp. 289 et seq.).


  • Koran, suras xxxviii. 71-86. ii. 28-32, vii. 10-18, xv. 28-44, xvii. 63-68, xviii. 48, xx. 115, and the commentaries on these passages;
  • Gottwaldt, HamzœIspahanensis Annalium Libri x. pp. 84 et seq.;
  • Tabari, Annales, ii. 115 et seq.;
  • Ibn al-Athir, Chronicon, ed. Tornberg, i. 19 et seq.;
  • Al-Nawawi, Biographical Dict. of Illustrious Men, ed. Wüstenfeld, pp. 123 et seq.;
  • Yakut, Geographisches Wörterbuch, ed. Wüstenfeld, vi. 255 (index). Compare Geiger, Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume Aufgenommen ? pp. 100 et seq.;
  • Weil, Biblische Legenden der Muselmänner, pp. 12 et seq.;
  • Grünbaum, Neue Beiträge zur Semitischen Sagenkunde, pp. 54 et seq., where a large number of rabbinical parallels will be found.G.

Critical View:

According to modern critics, the story of the creation of man is presented in two sources. One of these forms the beginning of the document known as the Priestly Code (P), and the other is written by the so-called Jahvist (J). The former makes the Creation to be the first of a series of stages in the development of the history of Israel and the theocracy, which is the great end of the divine government. Each event is to man a gradation leading up to a final act of Providence. This first stage fitly ends with the making of man in the image of God, which follows upon the creation of light, the sky, the earth, and the sea; of plants, and of animals of the water, the air, and the land. This narrative as found in the final form of the Hexateuch is interrupted in Gen 2:4 by the second narrator, and is not resumed till Gen 5:1, where the second stage begins with the "generations [toledot] of Adam."

The second narrative (Gen 2:4-iv.) is the beginning of a history written much earlier than the priestly document. Its interest centers in Adam not as the first link in the chain of the history of Israel, but as the founder of the human race. The descriptions are naive and anthropomorphic, telling of man's home in Eden, his divinely given mate, his progress in knowledge, his sin, his banishment from paradise, and the fate of his children.

Etymology of "Adam."

The etymology of the word "Adam" is of importance. The writer of Gen 2:7 gives his own explanation when he says: "God formed man of dust of the ground." That is to say, the man was called "Man" or "Adam" because he was formed from the ground (adamah). Compare Gen 3:19. This association of ideas is more than an explanation of the word: it is also suggestive of the primitive conception of human life. According to the oldest Semitic notions, all nature was instinct with life; so that men not only came from and returned to the earth, but actually partook of its substance. The same notion declares itself in the Latin homo and humanus, as compared with humus and the Greek χαμαί, in the German gam (in Bräutigam), and the English groom; also in the Greek έπιχθόνιος and similar expressions. Modern critics are the less inclined to ridicule this as a mere barbaric fancy now that the doctrine of evolution has made them familiar with the unity of nature. This view of the word implies that it was originally not a proper name; for names of persons (for which fanciful etymologies are often given by the sacred writers) are not made up after such a fashion.

A closer examination of the narrative will show that the word is primarily used in a generic sense, and not as the name of an individual. 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 4:25 (J) and v. 3 (P). 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, where, however, a vowel has probably been dropped from the text. The explanation of the variation of usage apparently is that, as in the case of most of the early stories of Genesis, the material of popular tradition, which started with the forming of man out of the earth, was taken up and worked over for higher religious uses by thinkers of the prophetic school. Adam is not referred to in the later Old Testament books, except in the genealogy of I Chron.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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Sex: Male
Birth: 4004 BC
Death: 3074 BC
Father: God
Spouse: Eve (4004 BC-?)
Marriage: Garden of Eden, Eden, Mesopotamia
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Offspring of Adam (4004 BC-3074 BC) and Eve (4004 BC-?)
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Abel (?-bef3630 BC) ,
Seth (3630 BC-2718 BC) 3630 BC,
2718 BC
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Awan (?-?) ,
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