Were Adam and Eve real people?
For this blog I thought I would give some of my answers to questions about the story of Adam and Eve. I think the story is familiar to almost everybody, but if not, it can be found in Genesis 2-4.
Didn’t Eve deceive Adam? — Before Eve, “the Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord commanded the man, ‘you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die.’” (Genesis 2: 15-17) When the serpent deceived Eve, “…she also gave some (fruit from the tree) to her husband who was with her and he ate it.” (Genesis 3: 6) Adam was not deceived, he knew exactly what he was doing.
Doesn’t the punishment seem pretty harsh? –Adam and Eve did more than just eat some fruit. They rejected God as their source for what is right and true. They had a choice to make: to believe that God was good and acting in their best interest, or He was acting selfishly, keeping something good from them. Doesn’t that still ring true today? How many people think of God’s good instruction in the Bible as just a way of keeping us from having a ‘good time’? By sinning, they disrupted their relationship with a perfect and Holy God.
Doesn’t the account suggest Eve is less than Adam? –First of all, we should note that Eve was made from the exact same stuff as Adam. She was every bit a perfect creation as the man, and every bit as patterned after God’s image and likeness. In Genesis 2: 20, Eve is referred to as a “suitable helper”. The Hebrew word for helper here is not synonymous with assistant, subordinate or servant. It refers to powerful aid and support. “O house of Israel, trust in the Lord—He is their help and shield.” (Psalms 115: 9) “…My father’s God was my helper, He save me from the sword of Pharaoh.” (Exodus 18: 4) etc. The word ‘suitable’ means more than just fit, it also means opposite or contrasting. This implies the two beings were designed to work and fit together perfectly in all ways. The Hebrew word for rib, tsela, is also found in Daniel 7: 5. A variant of the word is used in Exodus 25, 27, and 35, as well as II Samuel 16: 13. It is possible that the better translation is ‘side’. But either way, Eve was formed from Adam’s rib or side. She is not above him nor is she below him.
Were Adam and Eve real people? –YES. They are presented as actual people, and give birth to children that do the same. The phrase, “this is the account of…” that is used for Adam and Eve (Genesis 5: 1) is the same phrase used for future people in the Bible. (Genesis 6: 9, 10: 1, 11: 10, etc.) Old Testament chronologies include Adam. (see I Chronicles 1: 1) Through Adam, sin entered the world. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man…” (Romans 5: 12) Jesus mentions Adam’s son. (Luke 11: 51) Luke also includes Adam in the chronology of Christ. (Luke 3: 38) Jesus refers to them as the first male and female, making their physical union a basis for marriage. (Matthew 19: 4-5, (quoting Genesis 2: 24)). Paul refers to them as actual people. (I Timothy 2: 13-14) Remember all scripture is God breathed (II Timothy 3: 16-17), and God cannot lie.
God said eating of the fruit would cause death, yet Adam lived to be 930. –Adam began to die physically the moment he ate the fruit. (Romans 5: 12) Sin brings spiritual death. (Ephesians 2: 1)
I Corinthians 15: 45-49 –Paul is talking about two different kinds of bodies, the natural and the spiritual. Adam was made from the dust of the ground and given breath by God. All who come after share this. Just as Adam was the first of the human race, Jesus is the first of those who will be raised from the dead to eternal life. Just as Adam’s body was suitable for his earthly life, Jesus’ new glorified body is suitable for His spiritual life. When believers are resurrected, they will be given transformed, eternal bodies suited for eternal life. People will have natural bodies first. It is from this natural life that we come to spiritual life. While it is true that Christ came as a human baby with a body like other humans, He did not originate from the dust as Adam did, but He ‘came from heaven’. As humans we will have an earthly body, like Adam, but believers can be assured that they will have a heavenly body, like Jesus. (Philippians 3: 21, I John 3: 2)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.