Adam & Eve Weren’t the First Humans, According to the Bible.

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1. Genesis in a nutshell.

It is important to realize that although the book of Genesis does read as history it also implements elements of allegory, metaphor, and symbolism. A reading of Genesis might suggest that Adam and Eve were historical people, that the Garden of Eden was a location, and that God really created the universe via physical forces, and that Cain, should we assume the trustworthiness of the tradition, really mercilessly murdered his brother Abel in the farm fields. But because of this meshing of history, symbolism, and myth there was always bound to be much debate and disagreement concerning the details. Many scholars, for instance, doubt that Adam & Eve were actual historical people, or that there ever really was an Eden. Most scholars don’t actually believe Moses penned the book of Genesis. Again, it is difficult to box scholars as the boundaries are never so clearly cut.

However, we can agree that the author of Genesis clearly used symbolism. We see within the Garden of Eden where Satan is represented as as a snake (Gen. 3:1-2) which probably symbolizes the seductive and narcissistic behavior of sin as well as Satan’s cunning prowess. The tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17) was probably not a literal tree as a tree cannot be good and evil. Eve being created from the rib of Adam (Gen. 2:22) is probably symbolic of woman being made for man and man being made for woman, and perhaps a message telling us that man and woman are complimentary in nature. In Genesis 2:7 we read of God forming man from the dust, obviously this is not intended to be literal. We are not told how God actually formed man or beast. Even the name Eve means “The source of life” or “Mother of All Living”, and Adam simply means “man”.

The point being that the early Genesis creation narrative is rife with symbolism. To this end it is not always so easy to determine what constitutes history and what doesn’t. This is why so much debate exists in the first place.

2. Where some probably get it wrong.

The Young Earth Creationist (those who view the Earth as roughly 6000 – 10 000 years old) argues that Adam and Eve’s descendants married their brothers and sisters since this was their only choice. No-one else existed for them to choose from. In other words incest was committed. The general response is that Adam and Eve, and their early descendants, were genetically pure as God made them that way. Therefore, any imperfections or harmful genetic mutations manifested only later. Is this possible? Could God have somehow made the first humans genetically pure even though they would go on to interbreed? Sure, I don’t suppose that it would be impossible for God, but here lies the problem: nowhere does the biblical record actually suggest, or imply that this is what actually occurred. Nowhere does it mention that Adam’s descendants intermarried. It is therefore an effort on the part of some Christians to fit the narrative into a young Earth reading. Later we find out that the Bible condemns incest in Leviticus 20:17. This Christian will go on to say that only later did God deem incest wrong.

When engaging in exegesis one needs to avoid reading what they already believe into the text. One needs to let the text speak for itself, and I think Young Earth Creationists are guilty of failing to do this.

3. Cain’s worry.

According to Genesis 4:1-15, Eve give birth to Cain and Abel. This, according to some Christians, implies that there were only four family members on Earth at that time. Now, after Cain had killed Abel there were only three people. But after Cain had slain his brother God appears to him and kicks him out of the Garden of Eden as punishment. Cain then moves to the land of Nod, which is East of Eden, but what Cain then says to God is quite revealing. He tells God that he was worried of being killed by other people who would find him (Genesis 4:15). Then God replies, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” (Genesis 4:15) God and Cain both imply that there are other humans besides Adam and Eve. If there were no other people, God would not have had to give him a mark in the first place, and Cain would not have had anything to fear.

4. Cain’s wife.

In Genesis 4:16, Cain goes out from God’s presence and finds a wife, and impregnates her: “Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.”

Cain had to find his wife, an act that could only happen if there were people to choose from. Assuming that we can trust this tradition it is way more likely that Cain came upon a town or some settlement that already existed. We then read that Cain was himself “building a city,” which would probably be a small settlement of sorts. But then why would Cain build a settlement if it was only him, his wife, and son? The text itself implies that many people inhabited the area. Thus Cain’s narrative suggests that Adam and Eve were not the only humans alive at the time.

5. Be Fruitful.

In Genesis 1:28 God tells Adam and Eve to: “Be fruitful and multiply, and Replenish the earth.” The word replenish means “to fill”, and one cannot replenish something, in this case the Earth (which would indicate a local area according to an ancient), if it was not plenished (filled) to some degree before God’s command was issued. If Adam and Eve were the only two humans then this would make God’s instruction fruitless, instead God could have said, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the whole (tebel – which indicates global, not local) earth.”

6. Paul on the first man.

Paul writes in Romans 5:12: “Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned”

Here, one may argue, death refers to spiritual death and not to physical death. So Adam, perhaps being the first man to be made in the image of God, would be the first human to break God’s trust. There are a variety interpretations of what it means to be made in the image of God but I take it to be humankind’s separation from the animal kingdom. This may include the abilities of advanced communication and rationality which are likewise present in animals on a much more basic level. Many have argued that it is our commission to represent God’s kingdom on Earth, as well as have a relationship with the one true God. In other words, God endowed man with a spiritual dimension and a soul.

7. Paul’s literal view of Adam being the first man:

Paul writes: “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.” (2 Timothy 2:11-14) And: “For indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” (1 Corinthians 11:9)

Paul clearly implies that mankind came from a single pair of humans, Adam and Eve. Christian biblical scholar Peter Enns argues that Paul assumed that mankind came from Adam and Eve, and that Paul is expressing his own view, as he does throughout his letters. Enns explains that “Paul certainly assumed that Adam was a person and the progenitor of the human race, and I would expect nothing less from Paul being a 1st Century man. And again, God speaks in ways and uses categories that are available to human beings at that time. I don’t expect Paul to have had a conversation with Francis Collins (a leading geneticist, and biologist) about the Genome Project, and how common descent is essential. Technically I don’t expect him to understand that.” Enns goes on to say that “How Paul handles Adam does not determine modern scientific discoveries about the origin of humanity.”

However, Enns’ view is not the only one out there and many Christian scholars would strongly counter his view. Some Christians would argue that to claim that Paul assumed that Adam and Eve were literal historical people is to undermine the very basis upon which he argues and constructs his theological views.

8. Conclusion.

The Bible itself implies that God did create other people alongside and before Adam & Eve. By piecing it all together we find that:

1. Adam & Eve had their first child, Cain (Gen. 4:1).
2. Cain was exiled by God for murdering Abel (Gen 14:6).
3. While exiled Cain worries that he will be killed by strangers; strangers being people other than Adam & Eve).
3. Soon Cain finds a wife & builds a settlement. This implies people existed to inhabit the settlement.
4. Other people existed outside of the Garden at this time.
5. Adam & Eve were not the first humans God by created, or the only humans to exist at that time.

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155 responses to “Adam & Eve Weren’t the First Humans, According to the Bible.

  1. This article should be called James Bishop’s theological idiocy in his assumptions behind genesis 101.

    • I couldn’t have said it better, this writer is obviously confused with scripture, spreading his false doctrine, this is a good example of why everybody should read the Bible themselves instead of relying on others to decipher it for us.

      • I can’t speak to what someone else “thinks”, but I do know that the words in the bible (KJV) certainly say these things and I have long wondered about it myself because of what I read for myself. If you educate yourself to even a small part of scientific research and the findings of bones similar to ours as opposed to animals, pottery, scrolls, tablets, tools, and other items of various civilization that is common to man throughout the world, then you would also pull your head out of the mud. If you can read and comprehend basic language of actually reading the bible yourself, you would come to the same conclusion that some form of people existed way prior to Adam and Eve. It would seem to me that the comments made here by some, are the very people, who don’t read the bible for themselves, but instead believe what others tell them.

        I believe you should read the Bible, the Quran, and the Jewish Tanakh/Written Torah, the Talmud/Oral Torah (which explains the written), and other Jewish writings. If at all possible, learn Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic so you can determine the differences in translations as there have been significant difference in the meaning of words. Some Latin, and Greek might be of use also to follow the translation from Hebrew/Aramaic through to English King James version. Personally, I try to stay away from the hundreds, thousands of other Bible versions where someone has further determined what they think the bible says, and their combination of verses that maybe should not be combined. There is enough issue with language meaning from Hebrew, to Greek, and then to English by various scribes and committees without then adding in 1000s of other people doing their own rendition of what they think the Bible should be. Just getting to the KJV, there are added verses, words, and stories not part of original scrolls. As I understand it – a very simple mis-translation is the Hebrew word “almah,” in reference to the birth of the Messiah. In English we have taken it to mean virgin. In Hebrew, it means young woman, nothing about her sexual status yet the English scribes determined it was virgin. However, as most young Hebrew women were suppose to be virgins, it is not far astray. As more diggings and discoveries have been made, we learn, confirm, or deny various documents. Only once you have read all 3 religious writings in a version as close to the first English translation or the original language of the document – can you determine what was the same or different. By adding in scientific documentation, you can further understand. We have to stay open if we truly want to know what is real, imagined, or just a “passing down” of what someone else thought.

      • In that logic, you subscibe to the John Swanson’s idiocy in his assumptions of how the bible should be interpreted.

  2. EIther Cain married some one outside his own genetics, or we should assume that all Jews, Christians and Muslims are living in eternal sin, by marrying their own sisters and daughters

    • Adam, Eve and their son Cain lived centuries before Jews came into existence with the traveling out of Iraq of Abraham and Jacob’s name was changed to Israel… centuries thereafter the Romans crucified Jesus Christ, then the Christian Movement became a reality. Mohamed was trying to understand the essence of the Gospel of Christ, but those tasked with spreading the Word didn’t bother to answer and explain. Read the Quran and the Bible side by side and you’ll discover the confusion and/or delusion. Example: Both books have the story about the virgins. Now, which one reads more realistic and sensible to you?

    • Beligere, you assume that Jews, Christians and Muslims are the only people who ever lived. When Adam and Eve’s children married, it was a different environment then. The blood, genes and chromosomes were so fresh and new and not recycled that it was not incest. THAT explanation was given by a former evolution professor-turned-Creation Scientist.

  3. Sir,
    What are your thoughts re 15% of the world’s population being RH- (circa 2015), which means that the 15% did not descend from the first man with advanced communication abilities and advanced rationality (designated as Adam).
    Thank you.
    Douglas “Ting” Anama
    tingpepay@yahoo.com

  4. I can’t agree that Paul taught that Adam was the progenitor of the whole human race just from 1 Cor. 11:9. Paul wrote elsewhere that Adam was the first man in the way that Christ was the second man. That is, Adam was a shadow of Christ. Adam was a pattern Son, as is Christ. So when Paul used Adam coming before Eve as an example it does not demand that he meant that Adam was the progenitor of our race, but an example for it. Adam was an actual historical figure, but more likely 13,000 years ago rather than the Usshurian figure. But I agree with your title, Adam was not the first man (except in the way that Christ is the last man). https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRLDYJB

  5. I think that Dr. Charles Panati has the most logical explanation on how humans evolved in his book, the beginnings of everything.

  6. With all due respect, you do add (eisigesis) to the text. For example, the text never says that Cain is the first child. You assume that because Cain is the first child to be named. But nowhere does the text say that Cain is their first child. Cain is indeed exiled by God but nowere does the text say how old Cain was when he murdered Abel; he could have been in his 20s or 30s or 40s etc, the text does not say. The text also does not say, how long after the murder of Abel was Cain exiled by God. So yes, Cain indeed was afraid of being killed. We have to assume that enough time had passed and there were other kinfolk who would kill Cain for murdering their brother (the blood feud). Nowhere does the text say that there were other human beings apart from the offspring of Adam and Eve. [The word stranger is never used in the text as you suggest]. You assume that Cain found a wife in the land of Nod; the text does not remotely state that. It simply reads that Cain had sex (knew) his wife, not that he found a woman, married her and then had sex. Also, Adam and Eve had already been expelled by God and were no longer in the Garden. All of these events occurred outside the Garden. One last point, did incest occur? No, the concept of incest being a sinful act in the eyes of God with this early creation did not become unlawful until Moses at Mt Sinai where the Law [Torah] is given to Israel and there incest is indeed unlawful and a sin. In reading your article, you assume too much and add your ideas and opinions (eisigesis) into the text.

    • Rachel I hope that you are not talking to me but I cannot be sure. How is it that I am the one adding to the text when you are the one assuming children PRIOR to Cain that the text never mentions?

      Secondly, you claim that the text says nothing about other human beings besides the offspring of Adam and Eve. That is not so. The text does say, or at least strongly implies, that there were other human beings besides the family of Adam. For example Genesis 2:1 says “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” Look up what the word “host” means in Hebrew. Its not a couple. Nor do the instructions Elohim gives to the host on earth in Genesis chapter one seem a reasonable task for one man and one woman. Nor do those instructions sound anything like God’s later interaction with Adam. In the first instance, reproduction is an immediate mandate, in the second, its almost an afterthought post-fall.

      Your third complaint is that the word “stranger” is never used in the text. Well, not that word, but by description. Yahweh tells Cain that if whoever he is worried about kills him then Yahweh will avenge seven-fold. Seven of them for Cain! Sounds like even Cain was still one of His favorites. A bit further one Lamech says “I have killed a man for wounding me.” He was a son of Cain. If you killed your cousin would you describe it as “a man”?

      In addition I would say that Genesis 1:26 and 1:27 are not being read in the light of the rest of Genesis chapter one and that if they are then verse 27 also implies other humans. There is just a huge amount of theology in early Genesis which is not in the Bible. Anyone who wants to know the truth of early Genesis, instead of the theology which is not in the Bible that is being taught in most churches today…. https://www.amazon.com/Early-Genesis-Cosmology-Mark-Moore/dp/0996239014/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506626838&sr=8-1&keywords=Early+Genesis%2C+The+Revealed+Cosmology

  7. Rachel in reading your article you abandon all logic to allow a shaky story to stand. We are at all times human like in our timing and response to events. Our past if anything shows we repeat are all governed by our desires and that only the spiritually aware are able to over come. The genisis is a poorly written history book that fails on many fronts to accurately address dates, names also fact and folk lore. This leads to misinterpretation

  8. Yes, Adam is not the first men. Many people misunderstood that Genesis about God’s creation on humanity. But God has been using parables since Genesis.
    So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will uter things hidden since the creation of the world” – Mt 13:35

    If you carefully read the bible, the bible actually contain a lot of spiritual meanings, which you cant read it in literal meanings.
    – “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” Gen1:2
    If the Earth was formless and empty, how did Spirit of God hover over waters?
    – “Let there be light” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he seperated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night”, and there was evening and there wS morning marking the first day. Gen1:3-5
    however, if you read Gen1:14-16, “God said, Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to seperate day and night” and later it was said in God create two great lights.
    If you think about this, does this mean God create light on the first day and on the third day. What is the two great lights that govern the day and the night? It is the sun and the moon. So what was the light that God create in Gen1:3? Refer to John1:1-8. When you read John, light actually refers to Jesus.

    There are other verses that proves God speaks in parables. God created plants bearing seed and trees in Gen1:11-13, but God only created two great lights in Gen1:14. Now lets think about this, how can plants survive without sun when God only creates sun later after he created the plants?
    This means that plants and trees has other meanings as he later mentioned ahout trees of knowledge of good and evil.

    These are just a few points that causes science and religion to argue about the Bible, because they think that verses in the Bible contradict themselves.
    However, the more scientist study about the nature, and the higher study they had, the more they cant deny about God, because God is the Creator in which he create all things.

    Bible is not just a book about teachings, instructions and prophecies that God gave to his people, but Bible is divided into two: Old and New Testament. God created the New Covenant through Jesus blood, and Bible is actually about a book of God’s covenant TO HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE. Thus, yes, I agree with your thoughts that Adam is not the first of humanity, Adam is not the first Human that God created, but he is the first human that God chose.

    Let me know what you think.
    email: tracy_allison@hotmail.com

  9. I cannot believe pre-adamic race. Not because I cannot find adequate evidence… But if that would be true the whole being of God and His characters would be so fictitious. Even Jesus Christ and all his disciples including all the historians of the world be in subjection into nothingness. If we are to condemn the whole history….. I think that would not make good sense for anyone…..

  10. Why did you say Cain was kick out of the Garden of Eden, We all know that after Adam & Eve disobeyed God not to eat the fruit in the tree of Good & Evil. God already send them away from the garden of Eden & God Burn the garden.

  11. Thanks for such elucidation. I only have to comment on “let US make man in our image…”. That refers to a suggestion by a conglomerate “GOD”; that in other to solve the problematic self-aggrandizement, hatred and feuding among the body of first intelligent beings – Titans – gods need to be created as Man, with all the characters and traits of all the gods. They will then live in more free will, and learn love, patience and tolerance for one another.
    We have seen that even Jehovah, passing through various incarnations (as Adam, Enoch, Noah, Moses and even Jesus Christ) has greatly developed from ‘caveman’, killer-god of Israel, hater of pagans, and to ‘man of sorrows’ who had to latter (as almighty) ‘so love the world’!
    The idea of having to go through various rebirths (Christ called it ‘recreation’) angered the normal other balancing conglomerate ‘SATAN’ – the oposition. It would have loved the quick access to perfection through ‘the fruit of knowledge’ – eating wisdom and forbearance instead of learning through suffering.
    Changing the primitive savagery of the gods was the very reason Man came here. And it has borne positive results. Howelse could there be men and women who risk their lives in UN setups around the world; not to talk of those silent donors who give without asking for rewards? Creating Man, and the positive outcome of rebirths of millions of humanity who come back to polish their ‘image’ is the greatest indicator of divine wisdom. Those who teach of ‘hellfire’, though did so during their crude stages of knowledge (including Christ in the 1st Century A.D.), and any continuation of such dogma rather lowers Christianism behind Hinduism; and paint the GOD-Head in negativity.
    I have more of these clarifications, including how ‘Life’ began before the first gods could exist, in my unpublished 700-page book – IN THE AUDACITY OF TRUTH.

  12. “because He is God, He can change His mind. He can do whatever He wants with His Law”.

    So…. on Monday He said “incest is OK”, then of course He can change it on Tuesday to “incest is not OK” … and why not it’s possible that He change it back on Wednesday to “incest is OK”. 🙂

    • Because the flood was not global, yet it Noah and those with him had not been preserved then it would have caused the whole earth to perish. That sounds at first like a contradictory statement, because people come in with misunderstandings about what Early Genesis is really saying. I will try to explain briefly but I can’t begin to demonstrate why it is true here, that takes a 348 page book..

      Adam was not the only human being created, nor even the first. The only place it says he was the first man it also says that Christ is the second man. Adam was created as a figure of Christ long after man had gone astray. The events of Early Genesis concern his descendants and the other nations of the world are only referred to in passing.

      Genesis Chapter 1 describes the creation of the whole world by Elohim, chapter two is a different but related story in which only Adam and Eve and a few kinds of animals ripe for domestication are made by Yahweh Elohim. When Yahweh decides to destroy what HE has made, it is the much more limited set of things from Genesis chapter two, the Adamic race and those domsticatable animals made to help him turn mankind from savage hunter-gatherers to civilized people with crops and livestock. Yet Elohim had ordained that the world would be saved through the Seed of the Adamic race, so if that race perished the whole world would be separated from God forever.

      So it was a local flood with global implications. The text does not read like that in common translations, but if you look at it from the right perspective- that it all points to Christ, and investigate the original language it does.

      So the table of nations is not saying that the nations were descended only from those off the Ark. It is saying that those men DIVIDED the nations. They became a natural nobility like Esau who could gather 400 men to fight for him, or Isaac, whom the King begged to leave because he was more powerful in his personal household than they were. The people of the land who attached themselves to the households of Noah’s grandsons and great-grandsons formed the core of what would become nations.

      I have barely scratched the surface here, and made many assertions that it would take tens of thousands of words to validate. If you care to know it…. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRLDYJB

  13. No, James, either the Bible is true, or it is a fable of Man. I believe that the Bible is of God. In the beginning, there had to be interaction between god,and Man, and much of that had to be teaching. Some could be man watching the animals who know what to do by instinct. Other was by God’s teaching.If this is true,Why would God not tell us what people did. This is what so, and so did, and this is how it was handled.

  14. Nothing should be changed or re-written from the Bible. We are to believe in every word by faith. God can do all things and all things were done in His time. We are not to question the word of God. God Bless you all.

    • I laughed out loud when I read this. The bible was created for us to have challenges and to question things. God wants that. Look at all the different translations that have been created, are you saying only one version is correct? Jesus invites us into questioning and digging deeper into our faith. Don’t just sit back and nod like a “yes man,” be curious and grow in faith.

  15. perhaps when God chased Adem and Eve, God created humans and place them around the whole that was Adams punishment also, God works in a different way

  16. The other inhabitants Cain was afraid of could possibly have been Satan and his demons,that were cast out of heaven to earth. Also animals inhabited the world and most certainly could have killed Cain if he was unprotected. So no the Bible does not imply other people at all, this is an assumption by you. As for where did Cain get a wife, it’s not proven but read the book of Adam and Eve written sometime hundreds of years before Christ Jesus was born.

    • TIm, Cain said “whoever finds me”, those would be “whatevers” not “whoever”. Plus look at Yahweh’s response, it only makes sense as a threat of retaliation to another tribe. Demons can’t be killed like Cain could and animals don’t fit with the “whoever” or the nature of the protective threat. And you don’t just have to explain Cain’s wife, but that he built a CITY. The Bible teaches that there were other people around and not just Adam and Eve. The Bible DOES NOT teach that Adam was the male progenitor of the whole human race. THAT is an assumption, and incorrect one.

  17. I just read “The 12th Planet” based on some older clay tablets accounts. It seems the things that do not add up in the Genesis account are covered up by man’s mental creations about those events. Humans struggle to understand the difference between Beliefs and Historical Facts. All understand the Genesis account is by nature akin to the Greeks creation accounts. The repeated use of the term gods coming down from heaven on their own or by force use to bother me but after I learned humans refer non earth beings as gods then it became clearer in my mind. Humans were explaining the unknown the best way they could within their own language limitations.

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