Definition: Adam was the first human creature. The Hebrew term ’a·dhamʹ is also properly translated “man,” “earthling man,” and “mankind.” Eve, the first woman, was Adam’s wife.
Were Adam and Eve merely allegorical (fictional) persons?
Is it unreasonable to believe that all of us descended from the same original parents?
“Science now corroborates what most great religions have long been preaching: Human beings of all races are . . . descended from the same first man.”—Heredity in Humans (Philadelphia and New York, 1972), Amram Scheinfeld, p. 238.
“The Bible story of Adam and Eve, father and mother of the whole human race, told centuries ago the same truth that science has shown today: that all the peoples of the earth are a single family and have a common origin.”—The Races of Mankind (New York, 1978), Ruth Benedict and Gene Weltfish, p. 3.
Acts 17:26: “[God] made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.”
Does the Bible present Adam simply as an allegorical character representing all early mankind?
Jude 14: “The seventh one in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied.” (Enoch was not the seventh in line from all early mankind.)
Luke 3:23-38: “Jesus himself, when he commenced his work, was about thirty years old, being the . . . son of David . . . son of Abraham . . . son of Adam.” (David and Abraham are well-known historical persons. So is it not reasonable to conclude that Adam was a real person?)
Gen. 5:3: “Adam lived on for a hundred and thirty years. Then he became father to a son in his likeness, in his image, and called his name Seth.” (Seth certainly was not fathered by all early men, nor did all early men father sons at 130 years of age.)
Does the statement that a serpent spoke to Eve require that the account be allegorical?
Gen. 3:1-4: “Now the serpent proved to be the most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it began to say to the woman: ‘Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?’ At this the woman said to the serpent: ‘ . . . God has said, “You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that you do not die.”’ At this the serpent said to the woman: ‘You positively will not die.’”
John 8:44: “[Jesus said:] The Devil . . . is a liar and the father of the lie.” (So the Devil was the source of the first lie, spoken in Eden. He used the serpent as a visible mouthpiece. The Genesis account is not using fictional creatures to teach a lesson. See also Revelation 12:9.)
Illustration: It is not unusual for a ventriloquist to make it appear that his voice comes from another source. Compare Numbers 22:26-31, which tells that Jehovah caused Balaam’s she-ass to speak.
If “the first man Adam” was simply allegorical, what about “the last Adam,” Jesus Christ?
1 Cor. 15:45, 47: “It is even so written: ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. The first man is out of the earth and made of dust; the second man is out of heaven.” (Thus denial that Adam was a real person who sinned against God implies doubt as to the identity of Jesus Christ. Such denial leads to rejection of the reason it was necessary for Jesus to give his life for mankind. Rejection of that means repudiation of the Christian faith.)
How did Jesus himself view the Genesis account?
Matt. 19:4, 5: “[Jesus] said: ‘Did you not read [at Genesis 1:27; 2:24] that he who created them [Adam and Eve] from the beginning made them male and female and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh”?’” (Since Jesus believed the Genesis account to be factual, should we not believe it too?)
If Someone Says—
‘Adam’s sin was God’s will, God’s plan.’
You might reply: ‘Many people have said that. But if I were to do something that you wanted me to do, would you condemn me for it? . . . Then, if Adam’s sin was God’s will, why was Adam driven out of Eden as a sinner? (Gen. 3:17-19, 23, 24)’
Or you could say: ‘That’s an interesting point, and the answer really involves the kind of person God is. Would it be just or loving to condemn a person for doing something that you yourself planned for him to do?’ Then perhaps add: (1) ‘Jehovah is a God of love. (1 John 4:8) All his ways are just. (Ps. 37:28; Deut. 32:4) It was not God’s will for Adam to sin; he warned Adam against it. (Gen. 2:17)’ (2) ‘God did allow Adam, as he does us, the freedom to choose what he would do. Perfection did not rule out the exercise of free will to disobey. Adam chose to rebel against God, despite the warning that death would result.’ (See also page 142.)