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Biblical People

Biblical People: Adam

The first person we encounter in the Bible is Adam. And the first couple we see is Adam and Eve. Though we usually think of them as a pair, let’s for a moment look at just Adam.

In the beginning, God creates us in his image, male and female. This means that Adam, as the first person, exists in God’s image. So do we. Think about that.

God places Adam in the garden of Eden. It’s an idyllic paradise, yet it’s not an idle existence. That would be boring. Instead, God gives Adam work to do. He’s to care for God’s garden. By extension, we, too, should care for God’s garden—his creation—today.

Yet Adam is also alone. 

God, who exists in community—as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—knows the importance of Adam having someone to spend time with, someone to journey with through life. So God creates Eve—also made in his image—as a counterpart to Adam. 

Though many versions of the Bible refer to Eve as Adam’s helper, I appreciate the translations which use words such as “partner,” “companion,” “complement,” and “counterpart.” In these we see a matched pair, equal to each other.

God gives Adam and Eve one rule: to not eat from one tree. All the rest of the garden’s produce is for them to enjoy, all except for this one plant. This is because its fruit contains special power. It possesses the ability for the people who eat it to know right from wrong, to discern between good and evil. 

One simple rule.

Yet Adam and Eve do the one thing God told them not to do. Enticed by the crafty serpent, they eat from the one tree—the only tree—God instructed them to not touch. Yet the ripened produce looks so good. Eve picks some and eats it. She gives some to Adam. They both eat the forbidden fruit.

When God confronts Adam, he blames Eve. Eve in turn blames the serpent. Yet each played a role, and God punishes all three. 

Scripture later holds Adam accountable—mostly. It is through him that sin entered our world. It’s because of him that we face death.

And this is where Jesus comes in. Because of Adam’s sin we will die. Because of Jesus’s sacrifice we can live.

Who do we blame more in this story, Adam, Eve, or the serpent? Does it matter whose fault it is?

Do you believe you can live because of Jesus? Do you have eternal life through him? (See John 3:14–17 for details.)

[Read Adam’s story in Genesis 2–3. Discover more in 1 Corinthians 15:22.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.