No. Adam and Eve were not the first humans

I think that my post #17 interacted pretty extensively with the text.

Edit: Perhaps you could share with us the exegesis of some major commentaries on Genesis that come to the same conclusion as you on Gen. 2:5-7 and Adam’s role in the garden. It shouldn’t be too difficult, if the text is as explicit on this point as you claim.

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I have presented a biblical argument for evolution and Genesis being compatible (Genesis and Evolution (Larkin)) as I believe the accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 are sequential. Throughout the book of Genesis, the “generations” of the line not leading to Jesus are always given first (Cain before Seth, the generations of Japheth and of Ham are given before the generations of Shem, and so on.
I believe that the creation described in Chapter 1 is consistent with this approach, describes the line not leading to Jesus (and the “daughters of men” in Chapter 6), and the creation describe from Chapter 2 on describes the generations leading to Christ (the “sons of God” in Chapter 6, consistent with the rest of Genesis (more detail in the book).

Given:is you reject any of these “givens” then let’s start another post so we don’t stray from the point
G1 - the Bible is the word of God (the current 66 books)
G2 - any scripture must be interpreted in light of all scripture, no scripture may be “privately interpreted”

E1: The creation in chapter1 describes the creation of the universe from the Big Bang (let there be light - initially photons only existed prior to even atoms) the creation of the universe, the creation of the stars, earth moon, sea life, plants, animals and humans.
E2: Creation of Chapter 2 describes the creation of Adam, the Garden and the animals.
E3: Throughout the book Genesis, the geneology of the line not leading to Jesus is always given first. This is consistent throughout the book including Seth, Shem, Isaac, Jacob, etc.
E4:In Genesis 6, it states the “sons of God” saw the “daughters of men” and saw that they were fair and took them as wives, but Noah was perfect in his generations.
E5: In 1 Cor and in Romans, Paul states we are born in “corruptible seed” through Adam and sown in incorruptible seed through the second Adam, Jesus.
E6: All mean and women alive today are descended from a common most recent ancestor who was alive when other men and women were alive (Nature 6Aug13 among many other sources)
E7: The are many occurrences in the Bible where the same story is retold from a different perspective (Kings and Chronicles) or to a different audience (the four Gospels)
E8: A lack of archaeological evidence does not prove that something did not exist (e.g. both King David and the city of Troy were thought to be myths until evidence of their existence was uncovered)
D1: The purpose of Genesis 1 is consistent with the rest of Genesis in that the line not leading to the Messiah is given before the line leading to the Messiah.
D2: The men and women of Genesis 1 are consistent with the “daughters of men” described in Chapter 6
D3: The creation described in Genesis 1 is not contradictory to our understanding of the evolutionary process.
D4: Noah was described as being “perfect in his generations” which means he was a direct descendent of Adam and Eve, and I assume his family was a well.
D5: Through Noah, we are all descended from Adam.
D6: The creation events in Genesis 1 and 2 are very different in order of creation, in what had already existed and even in the reason for creation of men and women (Genesis 1 - let’s make man in Our image", Genesis 2 - "there was no one to till the ground"
C1 The Creation accounts Genesis 1 and 2 are sequential, which is consistent with the genealogies in the book of Genesis and with Genesis 6.
C2 The account in Genesis 1 is not inconsistent with science, having Adam and the garden created after other men and women eliminates the conflict with evolution (men and women in chapter 1 followed the evolutionary process as is consistent with the order).
C3 We are all descended from Adam through Noah as he was “perfect in his generations”, so this is consistent to the references to Adam in the New Testament.

Tom, you and the other responders to this thread have studied the Old Testament much more thoroughly than I have, and this critical, in-depth examination must have rewarded you with a stronger Faith in Jesus as our Savior or you would not have continued it. In my case, it was the opposite. As I became more critical in my examination of the OT, I felt it was leading AWAY from understanding Jesus’ role as Christ, our Savior. Of course there are uplifting passages in the OT, and I am grateful for them; e.g. Gen. 2:24 lifting the animal sexual act to one of love (“and the two shall become one flesh”); and the Psalms, especially the 23rd (“lead me into verdant pastures”) and 139th.(“Oh God, You search me”). But when reading about the efforts to trace Jesus’ biological lineage back to David or to Adam, it is tempting to toss out 'the baby with the bathwater" In my mind, it clouds–rather than clarifies–the mystery of the Incarnation.

.[quote="TGLarkin, post:22, [quote=“TGLarkin, post:22, topic:36569”]
Through Noah, we are all descended from Adam.

Even though geneticists postulate a “bottleneck” in the genetic history of Homo sapiens, relating this to Noah and the Flood is totally unacceptable to anyone claiming to be a scientist. But why would anyone want to insist that the Flood be an absolute essential dogma?? It certainly gives powerful ammunition to the New Atheists in their efforts to win over a new crop of thoughtful students. Well, time will tell if Ham’s Ark replica will turn out to be a financial success. It would not be the first time that financial and spiritual objectives overlapped.
Al Leo

Certainly, it is the fear of retribution that is the heart of Cain’s complaint “Anyone who finds me will kill me.” Whom he feared has perplexed commentators, since according to the Genesis account there was no one else around but his parents.

This may indicate that the story of Cain and Abel was originally independent of the stories in chaps. 2 and 3. Most probably he envisaged other descendants of Adam seeking to avenge Abel’s death.

So the question is if they are not descendants of Adam - then they are God-directed evolved humans. So which one is it?

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Genesis does not give additional information - probably because the writer may have thought nothing was required. This “perplexed” outlook is recent and has little to do with Genesis, and a lot to do with trying to squeeze in evolutionary notions into the Bible.


This is not my area of expertise, but I read years ago that the existence of cities and other people has indeed been of perplexing interest for millenia. Augustine, if I recall, had an elaborate view of what it all meant. None of the perplexed-ness had anything to do with evolution, and that should be obvious since the problem (existence of cities and of people coming to avenge Abel) has nothing to do with evolution at all.


Or, there is the third possibility: they are not literal individuals, but characters in a story.


Yes, Jay313 that is possible that both Adam and Eve were not literal individuals. Anything is possible. Yet Jesus and the Apostle Paul refer to Adam as a person. I noted that several authors (holding the God directed evolution) in " How I changed my mind about evolution - Evangelicals Reflect on Faith and Science (2016) - all struggle with their worldview and how it works with Romans 5.

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GJDS, yes that is very possible.

We were talking about who were these people in Genesis 4:14? Does this show that the Biblical genealogies are selective? Are these other people examples of God directed evolution? Either way - he has fear of something genuine.

Whom he feared has perplexed commentators, since according to the Genesis account there was no one else around but his parents. This may indicate that the story of Cain and Abel was originally independent of the stories in chaps. 2 and 3. However, it is unlikely that the editor was unaware of the problem created by juxtaposing chaps. 3 and 4 in this way (see Westermann, Gunkel). Most probably he envisaged other descendants of Adam seeking to avenge Abel’s death.

Another commentator says: Cain’s fear of retaliation for the murder of Abel is understandable. Adam fathered many children during his 930 years (5:4–5), producing future generations that could exact revenge.

In so far as their origin, not only do I not believe such is the case, the physical evidence suggests and weight of scholarly opinion is just the opposite. For example, just to cite two scholars: Kugel (pp. 52-54) and Bandstra (see his chapter titled “Spoken Word to Written Text”) point out that the second creation story was written approximately 300 to 500 years prior to the first. Here’s a quote from Wikiwand to which both Bandstra, Kugel, among others contributed:

> A common hypothesis among biblical scholars today is that the first major comprehensive draft of the Pentateuch was composed in the late 7th or the 6th century BCE (the Jahwist source), and that this was later expanded by the addition of various narratives and laws (the Priestly source) into a work very like the one existing today. The two sources appear in reverse chronological order: Genesis 1:1–2:3 is Priestly and Genesis 2:4 is Jahwistic

In other words, the Priestly creation story (Genesis I) came after the Jahwistic creation story (Genesis II). To this end, Genesis I has been firmly identified as post exilic, while Genesis II is pre-exhilic. Indeed, some scholars place Genesis II as far back as 1100 to 1300 BCE.

To advance a time-ordered rationale based on Genesis I having been created prior to Genesis II is simply not supported - in the scholarly community anyway.

Finally, you might want to reread my original post and examine (and respond to) the proposition that the creation of Adam as the first human is not warranted by a straightforward reading of the text. Indeed, the grammar alone (i.e., the use of the definite article) suggests otherwise.

Thanks for the comments,



James L. Kugel, "How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now"
Barry L Bandstra, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible

That God intended for man to be a drudge was the author’s words, not mine. To put this another way, to conclude that God created “the man” to work in the garden is a straightforward translation of the text. You are reading your own presumptions into the story.



Nowhere does the text imply that man would be a “drudge,” which implies being forced to do hard and menial work.

cosmicscotus goes on to explain,

Rather God shares the divine love for the garden with humanity and gives them some authority in what they do in it and to grow the fruits for their bodily needs. They are to enjoy all that is in the garden and have fellowship with creatures Adam has been able to name. In the first instance the toil is not burdensome it is a shared joy with God.

And indeed, tending a garden is usually a joy!

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Please reread my original post. The text is actually quite explicit. The sole purpose for which the man was created (Gen 2:5-6) was to manage the Garden - which in the ANE meant irrigation: digging ditches, cleaning ditches, etc. Luckly, God had already planted the trees so that bit of work wasn’t required.

Your view is what is called eisegesis. If tending a backyard flower garden is a joy, then, of course, digging ditches in Eden must also be a joy.



What evidence do we have that Jesus, entombed in a body of mortal flesh , knew which stories his parents taught him were True vs. Just Stories?

If Jesus was infallible about his opinions regarding historical legends, why did he have to be taught anything?

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Reading Gen 4:3-15 shows us the major topic is how the two brothers approached God via their sacrifices; Heb 11:4, 1John 3:12, and Jude 11 all comment on the faith of Abel and the unrighteous character of Cain. This is what I mean by “the writer may not have considered other matters all that relevant”.

If I may generalise, Genesis is mainly concerned with the genealogies that commence with, and then to, Abraham and David; the Gospel shows this reaches Christ. The rest of Genesis (as a general statement), outlines the continuation of sinful humanity.

We may infer various other matters, but I think only within the context of the major teachings of Genesis.

Those who have grown a garden and tended it may understand and appreciate the joy and health that comes with this.


How many theologians think that the sole purpose of man was to farm and dig irrigation ditches? Is that what you do?

Ahhh, the theologian word. I have no idea how many theologians would agree with me. I don’t often read theologians, but I do read and study the findings of Bible scholars - the two are very different. Now, most (all?) of the Bible scholars who publish in peer-reviewed, recognized academic journals hold the opinion that a faithful reading of the text limits Adam’s role to the task of working within an enclosure (e.g., like the thorn walls the ANE farmers erected around their vineyards).

ASIDE: It is true that a significant number of Bible scholars cite 2:15 as a proof text for a secondary role as defender of the garden from outsiders. This is not without merit, but somewhat controversial.

So, let me just recapitulate what God inspired the author of Genesis II to write:

  • Gen 2:5 presents a single purpose for the creation of the man - to la’avohd the ground. I’ll grant you that 2:15 does add a second function to Adam’s work - guarding the trees from outsiders.

What does la’avohd mean? La’avohd translates as “to work” or “to slave” (in this case, to work or slave over the ground). Note that its noun form, eved, means slave or servant.

Now, please, please note that God did not inspire the author to write “work or slave over the plants and trees”. Nowhere does the author write anything along the lines of “sow seeds” or “harvest the crops”. To this end, the author does not picture the man as a gardener in the sense of working to grow plants for food. In the problem statement of 2:5, God is quoted as saying, “and no man existed to {till, work, slave} the ground” (my translation). It is the ground (adamah) that is in view here and it is the ground that needs water and it is the water than the man was created to provide.

That his role is not as a producer of food should not be surprising since God has provided the fruit of all the trees within the garden for him (2:16). His sole purpose in life is to keep the water flowing.

To claim that the man was created for any other purpose is to ignore what God inspired the author to write by, instead, reading your own biases (e.g., gardening is such a joy) into the text.

  • Now, let’s examine your understanding of the Hebrew word, often translated as ‘garden’. That word is ‘gan’.

Gan literally translates to ‘enclosure’. Its translation as garden is metaphorical because gan is most frequently found enclosing vineyards and other plots of land. More importantly, ‘gan’ derives from the verb, ‘ganan’, meaning defend, shield, or protect.

As for ‘gan’ itself, here’s the definition of ‘gan’ from the TWOT: “a plot of ground protected by a wall or a hedge … that is often irrigated.” The key word here is ‘protected’, a meaning arising from the notion that ‘gan’ is not any old plot of land to be worked. It is a plot of land to be tilled that is SURROUNDED by a protective border.

Here’s a more contemporary example: my wife and I have a cabin in the mountains of Montana at which we have two apple trees, a pie-cherry tree, and three raised beds of veggies. This plot of land is surrounded by an 8’ tall fence to keep the deer and other animals out. This is a ‘gan’ in the truest biblical sense.

By contrast, we have a small garden here at home (in the middle of the city) that is not surrounded by a fence. Here we also grow veggies along with some flowers. This is a garden, to be sure, but it is NOT a gan!!!



. Anyway, originally you claimed that God created man to be a “drudge,” which implies being forced to do hard and menial work. Are you moving the goalposts now? I will check this with an OT scholar I know.

Nope. I stick with the idea of drudgery. Why? Because God set the conditions by which he must live his life. He is forced to do God’s bidding, i.e., bring water to the trees of Eden. God created Adam for this ex[ress purpose, God has given him no choice but to slave away in the garden.

But, God also created him with free will and moral autonomy. Which he subsequently exercises against God’s express will and is then rightfully expelled. See the metaphor? Adam (and Eve) freely choose to rebel against God and suffers the consequences. God doesn’t punish the couple directly. Rather, He insists that they suffer the consequences of their choices. The story of the Garden of Eden is that mankind is willful, but has the God given right to exercise that will in ways of his choosing. Nevertheless, the humans bear the consequences of their choices.

Why is this a signifcant understanding? Because the Eden story flies in the face of the pagan understanding of sin and free will. In their religions, evil deeds and unfortunate events like floods and storms are caused by capricious gods. Every decision man makes, whether good or bad, are caused by the gods. Thus, when something goes awry, it is the god’s fault and it is the gods that must be appeased.

But in the Garden of Eden story all that changes. For the first time in written history, a story is told in which humans, not the gods, are the moral agents responsible for their actions. In effect, the author (under the inspiration of God) elevates moral autonomy from nature (i.e., in the ANE the gods are of nature) to the metaphysical plane. Unlike their pagan contemporaries the ancient Hebrews are not able to sacrifice to the gods of nature in hopes of getting favor. In the emerging Yawist religion, grace (favor) is freely given, untethered to mortal deeds or earnest supplication.

And, in part, the initial drudgery of Adam’s work is part of the foundation for the metaphor of the Garden story because it sets the stage for man’s rebellion against God; his willingness to ignore God’s warning and put the words of his wife and the serpent above those of God’s.

But I seek clarity here. I have no desire to persuade you that my view is correct, so much as I seek to understand YOUR view and how your view is based in the Holy Scripture. Sadly, as I understand it, your view is that the Garden of Eden is a delightful place because gardening brings joy to many people. I await, however, the scriptural witness testifying to this view.

I look forward to what your OT Scholar as to say.



“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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