First man and woman created by God from whom all other people are descended.

Old Testament The name Eve is related to the Hebrew word for “living,” but it occurs only as the name of the first woman.

Adam means “man,” and in many places the Hebrew word refers to mankind in general.

Genesis 1:27, for example, says, “So God created man [adam] in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female” (HCSB; see also Gen. 5:2; 6:1).

Adam is also used of the first man, either with the article as “the man” (Gen. 2:15–16) or as the name “Adam” (Gen. 4:1, 25; 5:3–4). Finally, the term can refer to a member of the human race, “a man” (e.g., Gen. 2:5, “there was no man to work the ground”).

New Testament The name Adam also occurs in the NT in reference to the first man. Luke traces Jesus’ genealogy back to Adam (Luke 3:38), and Paul refers to Jesus typologically as the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45).

As Adam was the beginning and representative head of humanity, Christ was the beginning and representative head of a new humanity.

Eve is mentioned two times in the NT. In 2 Cor. 11:3 she is used as an example of being lured away from the truth by Satan.

In 1 Tim. 2:11–15 women are urged to devote themselves to learning in quiet submission rather than pressing for authoritative teaching roles in the church.

The reason given is that Adam was created before Eve and that Eve was deceived into sinning. The deception that occurred in the garden that opened the door to sin, death, and corruption was caused in part by Adam passively letting Eve handle Satan by herself rather than his taking his appropriate role according to the created order and dealing with Satan on their behalf.

Whether Adam would have been more successful we do not know. We do know that he failed in his responsibility as head of the family and head of the human race, bringing us down with him.

So Paul instructs churches not to follow Adam’s fatal example by placing women in the front lines in the role of teaching and exercising authority over men.

Theological Concerns The Apostle Paul in his Athens oration based his conviction regarding the unity of the human race on our relation to Adam: “From one man He has made every nation of men to live all over the earth” (Acts 17:26, HCSB).

Although much about the first man and woman was unique, the nature of sin has not changed (see Isa. 53:6), and the goals and strategies of the evil one are essentially the same (see 2 Cor. 11:3).

Eve’s temptation may be understood as a paradigm of our own, and the sinful corruption that permeates our world and our lives is the direct result of Adam’s decision to disobey God.

But Adam and Eve were also the first to learn that God had a plan of redemption by which one of their descendants would remove evil from the world (Gen. 3:15).
As the serpent claimed, sin did open their eyes (Gen. 3:5, 7), but all that they saw was their own nakedness and alienation from each other.

Shame and fear had displaced their innocence, and their first impulse was to cover themselves and hide (v. 10). The second immediate result of their sin was that the man and his wife could no longer walk with God (cp. Lev. 26:12; Ps. 89:15; Mic. 6:8).

God’s question directed to the man, whom He held primarily responsible, drove this point home. In effect, God asked (Gen. 3:9), “Why are you not walking with Me?”
The penalty suffered by the woman was to be twofold

First, there would be pain, anxiety, and trouble associated with bearing children. Second, there would be marital conflict.
Adam’s sin was not that he listened to his wife but that he listened to her rather than to God (3:17).

Like the woman’s, the man’s penalty would be twofold. First, as the serpent would have conflict with the woman, and the woman with the man, the man would have conflict with the ground, which would produce food for him only through pain, anxiety, and trouble.

Second, he would eventually die and return to the dust (3:19), no longer having access to the tree of life (3:22). Although the woman would also die, the penalty was announced to the man because as the representative of the race he was the one responsible (Gen. 2:16–17; Ps. 90:3).

Paul explained in Rom. 5:12, “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin.” Furthermore, “through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone” (3:18). So in Gen. 5 the death knell of “then he died” is sounded eight times.

Eve, on the other hand, would be the source of life as the one who would produce the deliverer (3:15). As Paul declared in Rom. 5:15, “If by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift overflowed to the many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ” (also 1 Cor. 15:22).
The consequences of Adam’s sin fell not merely on the first family but on all mankind, and even the earth (Gen. 3:17; Rom. 8:19–21).

Descent from Adam has resulted not only in physical death but in spiritual and moral corruption—“dead in your trespasses and sins”—and “by nature … children of wrath” (Eph. 2:1, 3).

Apart from Christ everyone is “darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts” (Eph. 4:18). This can ultimately be traced to Adam from whom all men have inherited a nature inclined toward sin.

E. Ray Clendenen