Adam, according to Judeo-Christian tradition was the first human being. In the biblical version of creation, on the final day of creation, Adam was created in the image of God So God created man in how own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female created them. (Genesis 1:27) It said the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7). And God placed the man that he had formed in a garden eastward in Eden, in which God grew every tree pleasant to see, and good for food; the tree of life grew in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:8-9) The God commanded that the man to keep the garden; telling him that he could eat freely of every tree, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he should not eat, because the die that you do eat of it, you shall die. (Genesis 2:15-17)
Situated here (Genesis 2:18-22) is what might be called a biblical flashback, or a second creation story. The God said that it was not good that man should be alone; He would man a help for him. And, out of the ground God formed every beast of the field and fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them. Whatever Adam called them was their name. Some believe God placed Adam in the garden, giving him domination over the animal kingdom so he could name them, to develop his intellectual capacity. Adam named them all but he found no help (or mate) for himself. So God caused a deep sleep to come over Adam; he then took out a rib, and closed the flesh; and from the rib he formed a woman, and brought her unto the man.
When seeing her Adam said, this is bones of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, for she came from Man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and hey were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:23-25)
Now in the garden came a serpent, said to be the subtlest of all creatures, who told the woman that she may eat the fruit of every tree. And she replied that God had forbid them from eating of the tree in the midst of the garden, lest they would die, which was what her husband had told her. The serpent told her that you shall not die; and God said that because he knew that the day you eat of the tree your eyes shall be open and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
The woman, then seeing the tree saw the fruit was good for food, and pleasing to the eye, and was to be desired to make one wise, took thereof and ate, and then gave to her husband, with her, who also ate. (Genesis 3:1-6)
Immediately there eyes were opened; they acknowledged their nakedness, and covered themselves with fig leaves. They hid themselves when hearing the presence of God in the garden. God called to Adam and asked where he was. Adam answered that when he heard God he hid himself because he knew that he was naked. God then asked him, how did he know he was naked, had he eaten of the tree that he had been told not to eat of. (Genesis 3:8-13) Then the man blamed the woman, and she blamed the serpent; the first example of human irresponsibility.
Those believing this biblical scripture as well as those not believing it know the change, or havoc, it has caused within the world, especially among Christians. Their doctrine of original sin is the direct result of Adam’s sin in the garden, or the fall. Following this sin of Adam God told the woman that he would increase her suffering in bearing children; that she should desire her husband who would rule over her. And, to Adam God said, for you have eaten of the tree, and for this, your sake, the ground is cursed. It shall bring forth thorns and thistles, and you will eat herbs of the field. By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread for all of your days until you return to the ground; for out of it you were taken; you are dust; and unto dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:16-19)
Adam then called his wife’s name Eve; for she would be the mother of all living. And God made them coats of skin, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:20-21)
God then said, Behold, the man has became one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever. God then sent man from Eden, the ground from which he was taken, and blocked his return with cher’ubim, or death, and a flaming sword to guard the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22-24)
However, the gravity of the fall is where the Hebrews and Christians, as well as others differ. The Hebrews acknowledge the fall, or sin, of Adam, and they tell God they are sorry Adam did it, but, unlike the Christians, they do not assume personal responsibility for it. This is the reason that they did not accept Christ as the second Adam, as the Christians do, who came to forgive the fault of the fall and reunite man with God. The Christians assumed the sin of Adam, original sin, was inherited and only Christ could remove its penalty from them.
Some Hebrews, past and current, as well as others see the fall not in a downward direction, but as upwards. The feeling is that after leaving the garden opportunities of action and knowledge opened to man, or humankind. The aggadists described Adam as more beautiful than the sun, for “Adam was created for the service of the Holy One and the orb of the sun for the service of humanity,” but after his disobedience he is thought to have lost his radiance. (from L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews) In medieval philosophy Adam is regarded as the prototype man, Adam Kadmon, and the concept that he was made in the image of God is much discussed.
See Islam version of Adam and Eve, Adam and Hawa.
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 16
Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, pp. 19-12, 329