Did Adam and Eve Actually Live?

Did Adam and Eve Actually Live?

Richard Hollerman

Some of our readers may think that asking this question is entirely unnecessary. If you have this thought, I commend you—for you are taking God’s Word seriously and rightly concluding that if the Bible says something, it must be true. I totally agree with you.

However, not all people would concur. While claiming to be Christians, they deny that these two Biblical personalities were actual historical characters. Instead, they think that the Bible’s reference to Adam and Eve is false, that these two names were made up to refer to unknown persons of the past. But Adam and Eve never existed. This denial of Adam and Eve may be part of an evolutionary perspective, for those who would hold to this false view would say that men arose from the gradual development of non-human ancestors. Thus, they would say that it is absurd to think that God created and communicating with two persons in the Garden as Genesis depicts this.

Others are not as crude as this, for they think that man arose from non-human ancestors, akin to apes, and a point in time, tens of thousands of years ago God miraculously placed a soul or spirit within two of these ape-like creatures, thus they were made in God’s image. Preposterous—if we take God’s Word seriously!

Since so many denominations, particularly mainstream liberal ones, deny the full inspiration and authority of Scripture, we can see how they can also reject a literal Adam and Eve as our first parents. But let no one deny this first pair in God’s creation while at the same time claim to accept Christ and the New Testament. Of course, Adam and Eve are mentioned in the Old Testament (besides Genesis 1-5, see 1 Chronicles 1:1; Job 31:33; Hosea 6:7), but they are also found in God’s new covenant revelation, known as the New Testament. Let’s notice these references.

Luke records the ancestry of the Lord Jesus, from Joseph, through Eli, and on back to Seth, and then Adam, “the son of God” (Luke 3:38). Therefore Luke, the Gospel writer, testifies that Adam was an historical personality.

The Lord Jesus also claimed that Adam and Eve were historical personalities. When in conflict with the Pharisees, He said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6; cf. Mark 10:6-8). Jesus is referring to the creation of the first man and woman in Genesis 1 and 2, an obvious reference to Adam and Eve. If we accept Jesus as Lord and God (John 20:28), we should be willing to accept Him as authority in matters of history such as this.

Let’s consider the remainder of the New Testament writings. In Romans 5:12, Paul says, “Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” The “one man” here obviously is Adam. The apostle goes on to reason, “Death reigned from Adam until Moses” (v. 14a). Adam was just as much an historical character as was Moses. In v. 15, Paul says that “by the transgression of the one the many died,” another reference to Adam, the one who first sinned (described in Genesis 3). Notice also vv. 16, 17, 18, 19. Thus we see that sin and death were introduced through the real man, Adam.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul offers several reasons for the Christian woman to wear a covering or veiling while praying or prophesying (cf. vv. 4-7, 13). As part of his argument, Paul refers to the creation of man and woman: “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake” (vv. 8-9). This explanation rests on the truthfulness of Genesis 2, and the fact that Adam (the man) was first created, then Eve (the first woman) was made from the body of Adam. Further, Eve (and woman in general) was made for the benefit and “help” of the first man, Adam (and woman was made as a help to man in general). Here again we have a clear reference to Adam and Eve.

The great resurrection chapter is 1 Corinthians 15. Here Paul writes, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (v. 22). Because Adam sinned in the beginning (Genesis 3:1-6), we all die as a consequence. God pronounced the death sentence: “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (v. 19b). Then, in verse 45, Paul writes: “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Clearly we see that the very first human being was Adam. He dates from the sixth day of the creation week (Genesis 1:26-27). And Adam was just as real, true, and actual as was Jesus. Both were historical personalities.

In one of his last letters, Paul issues instructions for both men and woman. Some would say that this pertains especially to the assembly, but there are principles that are applicable to all situations.  After instructing that men (males) are to pray “in every place” (1 Timothy 2:8), and commanding women to clothe themselves modestly (vv. 9-10), then saying that women should receive instruction and not give instruction to men or have authority of the man (vv. 11-12), the apostle gives reasons for his restrictions: “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression (vv. `13-14). Here Paul goes back to Genesis again. Adam had priority in creation for he was created first. And the woman had priority in being deceived for she sinned first. This would again be a reference to Genesis 1-3. The apostle clearly believed in the historicity of both Adam and Eve.

In Jude 14, the writer says that Enoch was “in the seventh generation from Adam.” This inspired writer obviously believed that Adam was an historical personality.

We know that some liberal scholars, pastors, preachers, and professors deny that Genesis (especially chapters 1-11) is an historical record of actual people and events. Many of these deniers are “theistic evolutionists,” believing in the theory of evolution but claiming that God directed this process. They would deny the inspiration of Scripture and contend that there are numerous mistakes in the early chapters of Genesis as well as many other places through the Old and New Testaments.

A number of crucial beliefs depend on the reality of Adam and Eve. In rejecting the historicity of Adam and Eve, we find key doctrines of Scripture at stake. The first sin came through this first pair (Genesis 3:1-6) as did the fact of death (2:17; 3:19). Notice how clear Paul makes this: “Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). The origin of sin—the great human “problem”—came through Adam, and death itself had its origin through Adam, the first sinner. This shows the reason for Christ’s death—to deal with the sin that Adam introduced into the world.

The apostle explained further in this way: “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Again we see that sin entered the human race through Adam, the first man, and Christ came to remedy the tragedy that Adam brought. All of this means that Christ’s death and resurrection (the very heart of the gospel) are firmly rooted in the historical events of Genesis 1-3. Adam and Eve’s existence, the first sin, and the origin of death are all foundational to understanding Christ’s atoning death and life-giving resurrection. Those churches and denominations that deny Adam and Eve (and the truthfulness of Genesis 1-11) are rejecting Christ Himself and His saving work!

We must reckon with this fact: Jesus accepted Genesis as historical. He believed that Adam was an actual personality. We know that the Lord Jesus created all things (John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2-3), thus He should know what He did and whom He created in the beginning! Furthermore, Paul (and Jude) also believed that Adam and Eve were historical persons and not merely symbolic characters. Will we rebel against the truthfulness of God’s Word and contend that these historical persons were not real but fiction? We come to this conclusion at our own peril. It is a tragic and perilous thing to reject the truthfulness of God’s inspired Word and instead side with unbelievers!









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