How did it all start is the one question that has persisted for ages.
Now many of us have our own answer or theory for this question and many of us don’t have any. But regardless of having a different opinions, what we all share is the fact that we all have heard the biblical story of the first humans, the Adam and Eve story.
Adam and Eve were the first man and the first woman, as per the creation myths.
Adam and Eve story serves as the foundation for the idea that they are the original parents and all human race are descended from a single family. They also serve as a basis for the crucial Christian ideas of original sin and the fall of man.
1. How God Created Everything
In the bible, the Book of Genesis from the Old Testament, mentions the tale of the creation of the universe and the first humans, the man Adam and the woman Eve.
Genesis speaks of the Adam and Eve story, the story that tells us about the love that God had for Adam and Eve, the beautiful paradise he made for them, and the tale of the ‘Original Sin’.
The original sin refers to Adam and Eve’s disobedience. This deed enraged God, who exiled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
The word Genesis means “Origin.” The creation of the world as we know it, the history of humanity, the emergence of sin and sorrow, and the relationship of god and people are all recounted in the book of Genesis.
1.1 The Week of Creation
As mentioned in the Book of Genesis, in six days, God created the universe and the creation story describes the works of God on each day.
1.1.1. First Day
The earth was shapeless and barren in the beginning. Everything was covered in ocean, and it was pitch black. When the god spoke, “Let there be light,” light emerged. He differentiated between light and darkness, naming light as ‘day’ and the darkness as ‘night’. And the first day ended.
1.1.2. Second Day
On the second day, god made a dome to separate and preserve the water in two different regions. When the dome was created, the waters beneath the dome and the waters above the dome were divided. God called the dome ‘sky’.
1.1.3. Third Day
On the third day, God divided land and water by gathering water into one place. He named the land ‘earth’ and the water ‘seas’.
God said, satisfied with what he observed, he commanded for the earth to produce a wide variety of plants, bearing both fruit and grain and as per his command, the earth produced so.
1.1.4. Fourth Day
On the fourth day, God divided the lights in the sky to differentiate the day from night. God put together the ‘Moon’ to rule the night and the stars, and the ‘Sun’ to rule the day. They were placed in the sky by God to provide light for the earth, to control day and night, and to distinguish between light and darkness. With that, the fourth day came to an end.
1.1.5. Fifth Day
God wished for the rivers be full of living creature and sky full of flying birds. And therefore, God made the enormous sea monsters, every aquatic animal, and all varieties of birds. God granted them blessings and commanded all living things to procreate and multiply.
1.1.6. Sixth Day
God then created all kinds of living things, both domestic and wild, big and small.
He also wished to create humankind according to his own image, and who would rule over all other animals, large and small, domestic and wild, as well as the fish in the sea. This wish of God was the beginning of the Adam and Eve story.
A male and a female human being, just like his own image, were created on the sixth day. God blessed them, telling them to have many children so that their offspring would populate the entire earth and keep in order.
Pleased with his creation, on the seventh day, when everything was finished and God had stopped working, God’s creation, ‘the universe’ was blessed.
1.2 God Created Adam
The Adam and Eve story began in the end phase of creation when God formed Adam. God created Adam from soil of the ground. He fashioned a man that looked like him, gave him life-giving breath in his nostrils, and the man started to breathe on his own.
Adam was god’s special creation. Adam was created by God just like him, with the purpose of ruling the universe and every other animal created by God.
God cursed Adam when he ended up losing his innocence as penance for his disobedience.
Disobedience of God’s command, as we learn from the Adam and Eve story, is the reason to why Adam and all of humanity are condemned to pass away and return to the earth (or ground), that they were created from.
1.3 God Makes Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden is the place where the Adam and Eve story took place. God made the Garden of Eden for Adam, a paradise where he could live forever. In a place, which was filled with lovely trees that bore tasty fruit. In the center of the garden was the forbidden tree that gave life and knowledge of what is good and evil .
Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden to tend to and watch over it. He was free to eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except the fruit from the forbidden tree that bears the knowledge of what is good and evil.
1.4 Creation of Eve
God wanted to make Adam a suitable companion, as he disliked the fact that Adam was alone. He then created all the animals and birds using soil. He introduced them all to Adam and enquired as to their names. Every creature had a name thanks to Adam, who gave them their names. But God saw that none of the creatures would be a suitable companion for Adam.
He then put Adam to deep sleep and while he slept, removed one of Adam’s ribs, and from the rib, created a woman, we know as Eve. He presented the woman to Adam and informed him that she belonged to his own kind.
As one flesh, Adam and Eve made. With this, the first man and the first woman were created and the Adam and Eve story began.
2. The Forbidden Tree and The First Sin
Adam and Eve, the first humans, were placed in the Garden of Eden, where they coexisted peacefully and harmoniously with all other animals.
Adam and Eve were both naked, but they never felt embarrassed. The garden of Eden was a beautiful paradise, full of trees that bore delicious fruits. All of the tree’s fruits were allowed for them to consume, with the exception of one, ‘the forbidden fruit’ from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
One day Satan showed up as a snake and with the intention of tricking Eve into eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge.
The serpent persuaded Eve to eat the fruit, by claiming that if she did, she would become like God, but Eve refused and told the serpent that God had forbidden them to eat the fruit and that they would perish if they did so.
Eve ate the fruit after falling for the deception. She then offered some to Adam to eat.
After Adam and Eve ate the fruit, both of them realized of their own nakedness and put on fig leaves to cover up. Knowing they had sinned, both Adam and Eve instantly felt guilty for disobeying god and made an effort to hide from God.
Adam and Eve were condemned by God, as they had disobeyed him. Adam was punished to a lifetime of toil followed by death, while Eve was sentenced to the agony of childbirth and to submission to her husband.
The snake was cursed by God, to lie on his belly and experience the hostility of both man and woman.
God created mankind immortal. God condemned the man and woman, as well as all of their offspring, to physical death as punishment for disobeying him.
3. Life Beyond the Garden of Eden
Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden because they defied God.
Cain and Abel both went on to become farmers and shepherd as adults. Later, the two brothers each gave a sacrifice to God, Abel offered a sacrifice from his sheep, while Cain brought an offering of his crops. While God accepted the offering of Abel, the offering made by Cain where rejected. This led to Cain’s discouragement.
Cain was questioned by God about his rage and promised that if he performed properly, he too would be acceptable. Cain, however, did not alter his viewpoint. Instead, he killed Abel after luring him into the field.
Cain was both the first human born and the first murderer, on earth, according to Genesis.
4. The Purpose of the Tree of Knowledge
The “Forbidden Tree,” also known as the ” Tree of Knowledge “, was positioned in the middle of Garden of Eden.
The Tree of Knowledge was created with the purpose of giving man a choice, between loving and obeying god’s instruction or rejecting the command of god.
The Tree of Knowledge of good and evil was just a representation. It was not the tree but the man who was the cause of sin.
The commandment from God to man was quite simple. He was told not to eat the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, if done so, he will definitely die.
Though Adam and Eve did not physically perish, it was their innocence that died the moment they consumed the forbidden fruit.
It shows that the issue was with mankind, not the tree. How do humans hold the power to understand and control their acts?
In Adam and Eve story, the tree just represented free will and aside from giving a man a choice between doing what was right and what was wrong, the tree truly had no influence on the man’s sinfulness.
5. Jesus Christ: The New Adam
According to Christian doctrine, Jesus Christ’s birth and atoning work for sins is a link to the Original Sin made by Adam and Eve. According to the New Testament, Jesus is the second Adam who was born to give Christians a new life. As per Saint Paul, the first man, Adam, was a living being created from earth, whereas the last Adam was a life-giving spirit that descended from heaven.
The Adam and Eve story represents disobedience as well as submitting to temptation and as the second Adam, Jesus Christ filled the void left by the first Adam. As a result, Jesus restored Adam’s disobedience of the command of the Lord God, by being obedient to the lord’s command of sacrificing his life through dying on the cross.
Jesus as the second Adam, conquered Adam’s temptation to eat the forbidden fruit and Satan himself, during his forty days on the Mount of Temptation.
In some Protestant and Catholic doctrines, baptism is seen as a way to wash away Original Sin and the Catholic sacrament of marriage is seen as a way of restoring chastity.
6. Alternatives to the Adam and Eve Narrative
Different religions have different versions of the Adam and Eve story, the first man and the first woman to be created, and the concept of original sin.
In Islam, Adam is viewed as the ‘father of humanity’ and Eve as the ‘mother of humanity.’
The Quran claims that both Adam and Eve consumed the forbidding fruit. They were both sent to Earth as God’s messengers as a result.
According to Islamic narrative of the Adam and Eve story, Adam cried for 40 days until he atoned, at which point God sent the Black Stone, instructing him on the Hajj.
When Adam and Eve reconciled, together they produced two sons named Qabil and Habil. A legend states that Rocail, their younger son, is said to have built a palace and a tomb, where autonomous statues carried out men’s lives so convincingly that many believed the statues had souls.
As per the Swahili literature, Eve was expelled after eating from the forbidden tree after succumbing to Iblis’s temptation. Adam then bravely follows Eve and defends her on earth by eating from the forbidden fruit.
In Islam, the Adam and Eve story does not recognize the idea of “original sin” because, in its view, God pardoned Adam and Eve.
6.2. Gnostic Beliefs
According to the Gnostic Christian belief, in their version of Adam and Eve story, both Adam and Eve were conceived to defeat Satan.
This tale claims that Satan, out of pride, refused to bow to Adam, similar to the Islamic narrative of the Adam and Eve story. Satan said that because he was made of fire whereas Adam was made of clay, he was superior to Adam.
Due to this defiance, Satan fell, as depicted in books like the Book of Enoch.
As per ancient Judaism, there is the existence of two unique origins to the Adam and Eve story. While the second story claims that Eve was formed after Adam, the first account implies that males and females were created simultaneously.
Some also claim that Eve and the woman in the Adam and Eve story were two different people, with the first one being known as Lilith, a figure who is also known as a night demon in other texts.
Conclusion: Learnings from the Story of Adam and Eve
The Adam and Eve story, a tale of the first man and woman, will continue to live on forever as the roots of the human race.
Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, we now understand the difference between good and evil, and what is right and wrong.
What we learn from the Adam and Eve story is that, though we may be aware of what is right and evil, occasionally, we sometimes succumb to temptation and try to convince ourselves that doing wrong is fruitful. Like Adam and Eve, we frequently discover that doing wrong puts us in danger and has other negative effects.
Their deeds simply show us that while everyone has the right to freely choose their acts, they are also accountable for the results of it.
The main lesson from the Adam and Eve story is that we can only improve as people, when we acknowledge our mistakes, accept the consequences of our actions and work to learn from them.