Sunday, December 19, 2004

Adam and Eve

God formed Adam out of earth ("adama"), and set him in the Garden of Eden, to watch over it. Adam is allowed to eat of all the fruit within it, except that of the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil." God then brings all the animals to Adam, to serve as company for him. Adam gives names to all the animals, but finds no comfort in his loneliness. God then puts him into a deep sleep, takes a rib from his side, and from it forms a woman (called later "Eve"), to be a companion.
Eve is convinced by a talking serpent to eat of the forbidden fruit. Eve wisely questions the serpent and hesitates to take a bite. But after she finds it pleasant, Eve offers the fruit to Adam to eat it as well (the "original sin"). Adam asks no questions. He immediately takes a bite. As punishment the ground is cursed, the death sentence is imposed (although it takes some time to be fulfilled), and Adam and Eve are driven out of the garden. The entrance to the garden is then guarded by cherubim with a flaming sword.
Adam and Eve initially have two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain grows envious of the favor found by his brother before God, and slays him. The first murder is that of a brother. Cain is sentenced to wander over the earth as a fugitive. He finally settles in the land of Nod.
Enoch, one of Cain's sons, builds the first city. Another descendant, Lamech, takes two wives. Lamech's sons are the first dwellers in tents and owners of herds, and they are the earliest inventors of musical instruments and workers in brass and iron. Cain's descendants know nothing about God.
Another son, Seth, has in the meantime been born to Adam and Eve in place of the slain Abel. Seth's descendants never lose thought of God. The tenth in regular descent is Noah. Adam and Eve also have other sons and daughters. In line with most of the other biblical characters born before the flood whose ages are provided, Adam lived until the age of 930.
Note: the stories of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel also appear in the Qur'an (see Similarities between the Bible and the Qur'an).

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