Adam and Eve (Myths and Legends of the World)
The mythologies of many cultures include stories of a first couple, a man and woman who were the parents of the entire human race. In the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious traditions, these first parents were Adam and Eve.
The Story of Adam and Eve. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, contains two accounts of how Adam and Eve came into being. The first version, which most likely dates from between 600 and 400 B.C., says that God created all living thingsncluding a man and woman "in his own image"n the sixth day of creation. According to the second version, which is longer and probably several centuries older, God (here named Yahweh) made Adam from dust and breathed "the breath of life" into his nostrils. God then created animals so that Adam would not be alone. However, God saw that Adam needed a human partner, so he put Adam to sleep, took a rib from his side, and created Eve from it.
Adam and Eve lived in a garden called Eden, from which four rivers flowed out into the world. Like other earthly paradises in mythologies of the arid Near East, Eden was a well-watered, fertile place that satisfied all of the needs of Adam and Eve. God imposed only one restriction on life in this paradise: not to eat the fruit of a certain treehe tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A sly serpent in the garden persuaded Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and Adam tasted the fruit as well. The two lost their innocence immediately. Ashamed of their nakedness, they covered themselves with leaves. God saw that they had disobeyed him and drove them from the Garden of Eden.
When Adam and Eve left Eden, human history began. The two worked long and hard to wrest a living from the earth. Eventually, they grew old and died, but not before they had borne children. The first two were their sons, Cain and Abel. According to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition, all the people of the world are descended from the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.
Christian Interpretations. The Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions each have their own versions of the story of Adam and Eve as well as their own interpretations of its meaning. In Christian thought and belief, three important aspects of the story are the serpent, the Fall, and the doctrineset of principles or beliefs accepted by a group...
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