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In Genesis, God fashions Adam from dust and places him in the Garden of Eden, where he is to have dominion over the plants and animals. Eve is later created to be his companion. God places a tree in the garden which he prohibits Adam and Eve from eating. However, a serpent tricks them into eating from it, and they are subsequently expelled from the garden for disobeying God, who visits upon them and their progeny numerous hardships as punishment.
Interpretations and beliefs regarding Adam and Eve and the story revolving around them vary across religions and sects.
Yahweh fashions a man (Heb. adam, "man" or "mankind") from the dust (Heb. adamah) and blows the breath of life into his nostrils, then plants a garden (the Garden of Eden) and causes to grow in the middle of the garden the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the Tree of life. God sets the man in the garden "to work it and watch over it," permitting him to eat from all the trees in the garden except the Tree of Knowledge, "for on the day you eat of it you shall surely die."
God brings the animals to the man for him to name. None of them are found to be a suitable companion for the man, so God causes the man to sleep and creates a woman from a part of his body (English-language tradition describes the part as a rib, but the Hebrew word tsela, from which this interpretation is derived, has multiple meanings; see the Textual Note, below). Describing her as "bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh," the man calls his new help-mate "woman" (Heb. ishshah), "for this one was taken from a man" (Heb. ish). This sundering, a making of two from one, predicates reunification in marriage, in which two will be made one: "On account of this a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his woman." The chapter ends by establishing the state of primeval innocence, noting that the man and woman were naked and not ashamed, and so provides the departure point for the subsequent narrative in which wisdom is gained through disobedience at severe cost.
The serpent, "more wise than any beast of the field," tempts the woman to eat "of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden", telling her that "Ye shall not surely die" and it will make her to be as god, knowing good and evil. After some thought about "the tree to be desired to make wise", the woman took of the fruit and did eat. She then gives the fruit to the man, who eats also, "and the eyes of the two of them were opened." Aware now of their nakedness, they make coverings of fig leaves and hide from the sight of God.
God asked them what they have done, and man and woman defer responsibility. The man blames the woman for giving him the fruit, but implies a sentiment that God is also at fault for making the woman in the first place ("The woman Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I ate"), while the woman blames the serpent for seducing her to disobedience ("The serpent beguiled me and I ate"). God curses the serpent "above all animals," causing it to lose its legs and to become an eternal enemy of the human race. God then passes judgment for the disobedience of the man and woman, condemning the man to sustain life through hard labor and the woman to create new life through painful childbirth.
Adam named his wife Eve (Heb. hawwah) "because she was the mother of all living" and Adam receives his name "the man", changing from "eth-ha'adham", before the fall to "ha'Adham"(with article/command), to Adam after the fall(disobedience). Eve/woman is also established as subordinate to Adam/man. Then Yahweh banished "the man" from the Garden and posted two cherubs, with flaming swords, at the entrance to the Garden of Eden in order to block the way to the Tree of life, "lest he put out his hand ... and eat, and live forever."
Genesis four tells of the birth of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve's first children, while Genesis 5 gives Adam's genealogy past that. Adam and Eve are listed as having three children, Cain, Abel and Seth, then "other sons and daughters".
Even in ancient times, the presence of two distinct accounts of the creation of the first man (or couple) was noted. The first account says "male and female [God] created them", implying simultaneous creation, whereas the second account states that God created Eve subsequent to the creation of Adam. The Midrash Rabbah - Genesis VIII:1 reconciled the two by stating that Genesis 1, "male and female He created them", indicates that God originally created Adam as a hermaphrodite, bodily and spiritually both male and female, before creating the separate beings of Adam and Eve. Other rabbis suggested that Eve and the woman of the first account were two separate individuals, the first being identified as Lilith, a figure elsewhere described as a night demon.
Genesis does not tell how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, but the 2nd century BC Book of Jubilees provides more specific information. It states (ch3 v17) that the serpent convinced Eve to eat the fruit on the 17th day of the 2nd month in the 8th year after Adam's creation. It also states that they were removed from the Garden on the new moon of the fourth month of that year (ch3 v33).
The story of Adam and Eve forms the basis for the Christian doctrine of original sin: "Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned," said Paul of Tarsus in his Epistle to the Romans, although Chapter 3 of Genesis does not use the word "sin" and Genesis 3:24 makes clear that the couple are expelled "lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever". St Augustine of Hippo (354–430), working with a Latin translation of the epistle, understood Paul to have said that Adam's sin was hereditary: "Death passed upon (i.e. spread to) all men because of Adam, [in whom] all sinned". Original sin, the concept that man is born in a condition of sinfulness and must await redemption, thus became a cornerstone of Western Christian theological tradition; the belief is not shared by Judaism or the Orthodox churches, and has been dropped by some post-Reformation churches such as the Congregationalists and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Because Eve tempted Adam to eat of the fatal fruit, some early Fathers of the Church held her and all subsequent women to be the first sinners, and especially responsible for the Fall. "You are the devil's gateway," Tertullian told his female listeners in the early 2nd century, and went on to explain that they were responsible for the death of Christ: "On account of your desert (i.e. punishment for sin), that is, death, even the Son of God had to die." In 1486 the Dominicans Kramer and Sprengler used similar tracts in Malleus Maleficarum ("Hammer of Witches") to justify the persecution of "witches".
Over the centuries, a system of uniquely Christian beliefs has developed from the Adam and Eve story. Baptism has become understood as a washing away of the stain of hereditary sin in many churches, although its original symbolism was apparently rebirth. Additionally, the serpent that tempted Eve was interpreted to have been Satan, or that Satan was using a serpent as a mouthpiece, although there is no mention of this identification in the Torah and it is not held in Judaism.
Gnostic Christianity discussed Adam and Eve in two known surviving texts, namely the "Apocalypse of Adam" found in the Nag Hammadi documents and the "Testament of Adam". The creation of Adam as Protanthropos, the original man, is the focal concept of these writings.
Another Gnostic tradition held that Adam and Eve were created to help defeat Satan. The serpent, instead of being identified with Satan, is seen as a hero by the Ophites. Still other Gnostics believed that Satan's fall, however, came after the creation of humanity. As in Islamic tradition, this story says that Satan refused to bow to Adam due to pride. Satan said that Adam was inferior to him as he was made of fire, whereas Adam was made of clay. This refusal led to the fall of Satan recorded in works such as the Book of Enoch.
In Islam, Adam (Adem; Arabic: آدم ), whose role is being the father of mankind, is looked upon by Muslims with reverence. Eve (Hawwāʾ; Arabic: حواء ) is the "mother of mankind". Eve is referred to in the Quran as Adam's spouse (Qur'an surah 4: Surah An-Nisa' 1).
In Al-Qummi's tafsir of Eden, such place was not entirely earthly. According to the Quran, both Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in a Heavenly Eden (See also Jannah). As a result, they were both sent down to Earth as God's representatives. Each person was sent to a mountain peak; Adam on Al-Safa, and Eve on Al-Marwa. In this Islamic tradition, Adam wept 40 days until he repented, after which God sent down the Black Stone, teaching him the hajj. According to a prophetic hadith, Adam and Eve reunited in the plain of 'Arafat, near Mecca. They had two sons together, Qabil and Habil.
The concept of original sin does not exist in Islam because Adam and Eve were forgiven by God. When God orders the angels to bow to Adam, ʾIblīs questioned, "why should I bow to man, I am made of pure fire and he is made of soil". The Liberal movements within Islam have viewed God's commanding the angels to bow before Adam as an exaltation of humanity, and as a means of supporting human rights, others view it as an act of showing Adam that the biggest enemy of humans on earth will be their ego.
Adam and Eve were used by early Renaissance artists as a theme to represent female and male nudes. Later, the nudity was objected to by more modest elements, and fig leaves were added to the older pictures and sculptures, covering their genitals. The choice of the fig was a result of Mediterranean traditions identifying the unnamed Tree of knowledge as a fig tree, and since fig leaves were actually mentioned in Genesis as being used to cover Adam and Eve's nudity.
Treating the concept of Adam and Eve as the historical truth introduces some logical dilemmas. One such dilemma is whether they should be depicted with navels (the Omphalos theory). Since they were created fully grown, and did not develop in a uterus, they would not have been connected to an umbilical cord as were all born humans. Paintings without navels looked unnatural and some artists obscure that area of their bodies, sometimes by depicting them covering up that area of their body with their hand or some other intervening object.
Mark Twain wrote humorous and satirical diaries of Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve by Titian.
Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Adam and Eve from a copy of the Falnama (Book of Omens) ascribed to Ja´far al-Sadiq, ca. 1550, Safavid dynasty, Iran.
Some Christians believe all humans did not descend from a historical Adam and Eve, saying that the field of human genetics indicates this concept is impossible. Genetic evidence indicates humans descended from a group of at least 10,000 people due to the amount of human genetic variation. If all humans descended from two individuals several thousand years ago, it would require an impossibly high mutation rate to account for the observed variation. This has caused some literalists to move away from a literal interpretation and belief in creation myth, while others continue to believe in what they see as a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith.
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