Adam - red, a Babylonian word, the generic name for man, having the same meaning in the Hebrew and the Assyrian languages. It was the name given to the first man, whose creation, fall, and subsequent history and that of his descendants are detailed in the first book of Moses (Gen. 1:27-ch. 5). "God created man [Hebrew: adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
Adam was absolutely the first man whom God created. He was formed out of the dust of the earth (and hence his name), and God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and gave him dominion over all the lower creatures (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). He was placed after his creation in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate it, and to enjoy its fruits under this one prohibition: "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
The first recorded act of Adam was his giving names to the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, which God brought to him for this end. Thereafter the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon him, and while in an unconscious state took one of his ribs, and closed up his flesh again; and of this rib he made a woman, whom he presented to him when he awoke. Adam received her as his wife, and said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." He called her Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
Being induced by the tempter in the form of a serpent to eat the forbidden fruit, Eve persuaded Adam, and he also did eat. Thus man fell, and brought upon himself and his posterity all the sad consequences of his transgression. The narrative of the Fall comprehends in it the great promise of a Deliverer (Gen. 3:15), the "first gospel" message to man. They were expelled from Eden, and at the east of the garden God placed a flame, which turned every way, to prevent access to the tree of life (Gen. 3). How long they were in Paradise is matter of mere conjecture.
Shortly after their expulsion Eve brought forth her first-born, and called him Cain. Although we have the names of only three of Adam's sons, viz., Cain, Abel, and Seth, yet it is obvious that he had several sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). He died aged 930 years.
Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the whole human race. Evidences of varied kinds are abundant in proving the unity of the human race. The investigations of science, altogether independent of historical evidence, lead to the conclusion that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26. Comp. Rom. 5:12-12; 1 Cor. 15:22-49).
Previous topic: Adah
Next topic: Adamah
Return to Bible Dictionary Main Index
Additional essential Bible study tools: