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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, and God the figure on the right.

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Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם‎, Arabic: آدم‎) is a prominent figure in Abrahamic religions. He is the first man created by God in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Adam appears originally in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Genesis and is referenced throughout the Qur'an. His wife was Eve. In the Quran, his wife was Hawa.[1]

Individual/humanity and etymologyEdit

Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם‎, Arabic: آدم‎) 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 generic, while in Genesis 2 and Genesis 3 the generic and personal usages are mixed.[2]

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

Christianity and JudaismEdit

Hebrew BibleEdit

Main article: Adam in rabbinic literature

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 might 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.

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Main article: Genesis creation narrative

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]


Main article: Lilith

In Jewish folklore, Lilith is the name of Adam's first wife, who was created at the same time and from the same earth as Adam. She left Adam after she refused to become subservient to Adam and then would not return to the Garden of Eden after she mated with archangel Samael.[7] Her story was greatly developed, during the Middle Ages, in the tradition of Aggadic midrashim, the Zohar and Jewish mysticism.[8] The resulting Lilith legend is still commonly used as source material in modern culture, literature, occultism, fantasy and horror.


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

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

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


After his expulsion from Eden, Adam was forced to work hard for his food for the first time. According to the Book of Genesis, he bore three children with Eve named as Cain, Abel, and Seth. The Book of Jubilees, a second century BC text which is not considered canonical by most Abrahamic faiths, gives Adam the daughters Azura and Awan, who married Seth and Cain, respectively, in incestuous unions.

According to the Genealogies of Genesis, Adam died at the age of 930. With such numbers, calculations such as those of Archbishop Ussher would suggest that Adam would have died only about 127 years before the birth of Noah, nine generations after Adam. In other words, Adam's lifespan would have overlapped that of Lamech (father of Noah), at least fifty years. Ussher and a group of theologians and scholars in 1630 performed calculations and created a study that reported the creation of Adam on October 23, 4004 BC at 9:00 am and lived until 3074 BC. There was controversy over the fact that Ussher believed the whole creation process occurred on that day.

Although the Book of Joshua mentions a "City of Adam" at the time that the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on entering Canaan, it doesn't suggest any relationship between this city and the first man of Genesis. Traditional Jewish belief, on the other hand, says that following his death, Adam was buried in the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron.

He appears to an extent in both Eastern and Western Christian liturgies.[9]

The New TestamentEdit

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.

Jehovah's WitnessesEdit

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

Eve's sin is counted as deliberate disobedience, as she did know that Jehovah had commanded them not to eat, but she is held to have been deceived by the Serpent. (She was deceived only about the effect of their disobedience, not about the will of God on the matter.) Adam's sin is considered even more reproachable, as he had not been deceived. Rather, when confronted with his sin, he attempted to blame both his wife Eve, and Jehovah himself. Genesis 3:12 NWT - "The woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and so I ate.".[10] By his sin, he forfeited human perfection and was therefore unable to pass it on to his offspring.

Latter Day Saint (LDS) viewEdit

Main article: Adam and Eve (LDS Church)

The Latter Day Saint movement holds that Adam and Michael the archangel are the same individual.[11] Michael the archangel fought against and cast out Lucifer (who became Satan) and his followers at the conclusion of the War of Heaven during the 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. Brigham Young and other early leaders spoke favorably about the Adam–God theory, the idea that Adam and God the Father were the same person, but it did not become church doctrine and has since been repudiated by the church.

The Latter Day Saints hold the belief that the "Fall" was not a tragedy, but a necessary part of God's plan. They believe that Adam and Eve had to partake of the forbidden fruit in order to fulfill God's will, and that it is good that they did so.[12]

Seventh-day Adventist viewEdit

Seventh-day Adventist believe that the importance of the literal creation time-line is pivotal to the story of humanity, their relationship to God, and the plan of salvation and atonement for Adam and Eve’s transgression (fall), by which all their descendants are under subjugation. The Bible states, “Since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Jesus the Christ) came also the resurrection... (I Cor. 15:21).” To disavow a literal creation and our first parents (Adam and Eve) nearly 6,000 years ago negates a fundamental, orthodox doctrine and the supremacy of the Holy Bible that the sovereign, triune God --“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,” (Genesis 1:26 NASB)—according to His own purpose and counsel and for His own glory, created humanity in the Biblical/Torah account.[13]

Islamic viewEdit

Main article: Islamic view of Adam

In Islam, Adam is considered the first Prophet of God (Allah) and the husband of Eve (arabic - Hawa, pronounced Hauwwa) who was also created by the will of God. Allah created Adam from dust (arabic - turaab). Allah commanded "Be" and he was. Satan (The Devil) had lured Adam and Eve/Hawa 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. According to the Qur'an, Adam and Eve/Hawa 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 forgiven by God after much repentance.[Qur'an 2:37]

Bahá'í viewEdit

In the Bahá'í view, Adam was the first Manifestation of God in recorded history.[14] He is believed by Bahá'ís to have started the Adamic cycle 6000 years ago, which has culminated with Bahá'u'lláh.[15][16] 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.[16]

Druze religionEdit

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.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Adam and Eve." Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. 2.0 2.1 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 978-0-310-93896-5. 
  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. Samael & Lilith
  8. Tree of souls: the mythology of Judaism, By Howard Schwartz, page 218
  9. Adam in Early Christian Liturgy and Literature - Catholic Encyclopedia article
  10. "What was the Original Sin?". Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  11. Millet, Robert L.. "The Man Adam". Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  12. LDS Church (1997). “Chapter 6: The Fall of Adam and Eve,” Gospel Principles (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church).
  13. "Adventist Church Official Web Site". Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  14. Taherzadeh, Adib (1992). The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 32. ISBN 0-85398-344-5. 
  15. 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. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 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. 
  17. "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." 


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