According to the creation tradition of Abrahamic religions Adam was the first human.
Created in God's Image
In the Genesis creation narratives, Adam was created by the Lord God.
"then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
Furthermore, God created humankind in his image.
"So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them..” (Genesis 1:27)
After their creation, God blesses the couple: "God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth" (Gen. 1:28) God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." (Genesis 1:29-31)
The Garden of Eden
God created a garden for the humans, a safe environment in which to live and grow and realize God's blessing and called it Eden. The Garden was placed on good land where there was food and water as well as gold and precious stone. In the garden along with Adam and Eve were angels, placed there for their protection.
"And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food,.."(Genesis 2:8)
"A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there." (Genesis 2:10-12)
The Wives of Adam
God brought to Adam a wife and her name was Eve. In Abrahamic religions Eve is said to be the first woman created by Yahweh, the God of Israel. However, according to various Jewish apocryphal  texts Eve was considered to be Adam's "second wife." A woman named Lilleth was his first. Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel, the first a tiller of the ground, the second a keeper of sheep. After the death of Abel, Eve gave birth to a third son, Seth, from whom Noah (and thus the whole of modern humanity) is descended. According to the Bible, Eve states "God hath given me another seed, for Abel whom Cain slew" (Genesis 4:25).
The Bible refers to other sons and daughters of Adam[Notes 1], but they are not named. Post-biblical texts sought to remedy this lack. The Book of Jubilees, a pseudepigraphic text from the second century B.C.E., names two daughters: Azûrâ and Awân, plus nine other sons, making 12 sons and two daughters in all. Jubilees goes on to state that Cain later married Awân, and Seth married Azûrâ. According to other Jewish traditions, Cain had a twin sister named Lebuda, and Abel had a twin sister named Qelimath. In the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, Cain's twin sister is named Luluwa, and Abel's twin sister is named Aklia.
There are two accounts of the creation narrative in Genesis. The first account says "male and female He created them," whereas in the second account God created Adam first and later brought Eve forth from Adam's body, forming her from his rib, because Adam was lonely. Some rabbis suggested that chapter one's "woman" and chapter two's "Eve" were two separate individuals.
Lilith appears prominently in the Babylonian Talmud and her story was likely influenced by Mesopotamian texts about demons and demonology. The legend of Lilith was further developed during the Middle Ages, in the tradition of Aggadic midrashim, the Zohar[Notes 2], and Jewish mysticism. In the 13th century writings of Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob ha-Cohen, for example, Lilith left Adam after she refused to become subservient to him and then would not return to the Garden of Eden after she mated with the archangel Samael. Elements of the Lilith story indicate she may have been the wife of Samael, leader of the angels who fell during the time of Jared and who pledged together at Mt. Hermon to take human wives. This same Lileth may have been Adam's first wife and possibly had a child with him.
Lilith's sinister legend has taken many forms in many cultures. For the sake of this examination, it is fair to say there may have been another woman who played an important role, for better or worse, during the life of Adam.
Angels in the Garden of Eden
In the garden along with Adam and Eve were angels, placed there for their protection. The Genesis account mentions a "serpent" who speaks with Eve and misleads and tempts her. In all the Abrahamic faiths, the serpent is linked with the figure of Satan, as in this New Testament verse: "That ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world…" (Revelation 12:9). According to Divine Principle,[Notes 3] Satan is the name given to the Archangel Lucifer after he fell. Also, in the apocryphal book The Life of Adam and Eve is written "then Satan was wroth and transformed himself into the brightness of angels."
Once Adam was placed in the Garden the Lord God gave him a commandment:
"The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Genesis 1:15-17)
The Lord God blessed Adam and Eve to 'be fruitful,' that is, to grow to maturity, spiritual and emotional maturity. To 'multiply,' that is, bear children and "fill the earth." Finally, "have dominion," over all things.
Among all the creatures, only Adam was given a commandment. All of creation was given to him except for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
"...then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)
Thus Adam was created from two materials, dust and the "breath of God." In ancient Greek, the word for breath has also the meaning of spirit and most often, soul. This text can be taken to mean the first man was created from earth or earthly materials like the other creatures but then the Lord God breathed His spirit into the man and he became a "living soul." The soul, or 'breath of God' is what makes man unique among the creation. Adam's mission was to protect and nurture the soul within (be fruitful) and transmit it to his descendants (multiply) who would "cover the earth and subdue it" (take dominion).
The Commandment not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil indicates that this "tree" was poisonous to the soul that God had placed inside Adam. It is clear that it was not an ordinary fruit but symbolized something else. What was it?
The Trees in the Garden
According to Genesis 2:9, there stood in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve the "Tree of Life" and the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." Adam and Eve, the ancestors of humankind, were told by God not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil lest they would die. After their fall, God placed an angel with a flaming sword blocking Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life.
Clearly, these were not ordinary trees but symbolized something more. As with most biblical symbols there are wide and varying interpretations. For the purpose of this article, I will briefly examine a few that seem relevant to me.
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
According to Genesis, in the Garden both Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. I have already mentioned that the serpent represented one of the angels placed in the Garden to protect Adam and Eve. The serpent challenged Eve about God's commandment:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
After Eve ate, she gave the "fruit" to Adam at which point, their eyes were opened and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and covered their sexual organs. Their reaction indicates that the fruit was symbolic of conjugal love of which they were unaware beforehand.
The Fall of Man
The doctrine of a 'fall of man' supposes an ideal state of human perfection that was frustrated in the family of the first humans. In Genesis is written that man was created in God's image, after His likeness. Legends of a "fall" indicate that the first humans were obstructed from realizing their original nature. In place of an original or divine nature, humans developed a 'fallen nature,' a deformed image inclined toward evil instead of goodness. Human history is an unending record of cruelties, wars and conflicts between nations, tribes and clans. Modern culture deplores selfishness that threatens to destroy all life on earth. World religions almost universally agree that something went wrong at the beginning of human history and that humanity, to this day, continues to suffer the consequences.
Ancient religious texts propose a number of theories as to what happened that caused humans to separate from the Creator. The Genesis account describes a "serpent" who tempts the first woman to disobey God's commandment. On discovering their sin, the Lord God expells the first couple from Eden and blocks their way back with armed angels. The apocryphal Book of Enoch describes in detail an event known as "the fall of the angels," whereby angels, whose duty it was to protect humans, instead coveted the women and together take an oath to unite against the commandment of the Lord God and take wives.
Both tales of the fall entail interference in the humans lives by angels through abuse of free will. Soon after the fall, God walked through the Garden looking for Adam and Eve but he could not find them because they were hiding. When God asked Adam what he had done, Adam did not take responsibility for his action and put the blame on Eve. When God asked Eve, she too failed to take responsibility and blamed the serpent. Since freedom and responsibility go hand in hand, when Adam and Eve denied they were responsible for their own actions, they denied that they were free beings. In this way they indicated that they were under the domination of Satan (the serpent).
A modern critical view
- This section was adopted in part from 'Adam and Eve' — New World Encyclopedia
Adam and Eve are considered in traditional Christianity and Orthodox Judaism as real historical people. Genesis 5:4 records Adam within a genealogy, and in the New Testament, the Gospel of Luke (chapter 3) traces Jesus' lineage back to Adam. Thus, in the biblical tradition, all human beings are descended from Adam and Eve.
In modern times the theory of evolution has challenged the Christian belief in the historicity of Adam and Eve. Biblical scholars who add the dates to the lineages described in the Bible put Adam and Eve at about 4,000 B.C.E. However, anthropologists have found human remains of much earlier homo sapiens, dating to around 130,000 B.C.E. for modern humans and much earlier than that for more primitive hominids. Further, some interpret Genesis as speaking of other people living at the time of Adam and Eve. For instance, Cain is worried that people who will kill him when he is sent away. He flees to the land of Nod, where he takes a wife and has children. While biblical literalists insist that this woman must have been his sister, others are led to conclude that in ancient times Adam and Eve were the special forebears of a special tribe or race who intermarried with other early humans. Many denominations no longer insist that Adam and Eve were the literal parents of humankind.
Some see a confirmation of the biblical account in the recent identification by geneticists of prehistoric individuals dubbed "Y-chromosomal Adam" and "Mitochondrial Eve." However, there is no evidence that these two individuals were contemporaries.
Thus, many moderns consider the story of Adam and Eve as a myth, whose importance is in the lessons it conveys rather than the historical reality it supposedly describes. As a myth it is rich with metaphor and symbolism which can be understood at many different levels and many different ways. It expresses in narrative form a type of theology that touches on the deepest human questions. As a narrative type of theodicy it tries to explain how it is possible to still believe in the goodness of God despite the human experience of evil and suffering because it is not God's fault that there is evil and suffering. It does this by telling a story in which the first two human beings are responsible, by freely choosing to disobey God and creating an abusive and dysfunctional family tradition that was passed on to succeeding generations.
Death and Burial
A traditional Jewish belief is that after Adam died, he was buried in the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron According to tradition that has been associated with both the Book of Genesis and the Quran, the cave and adjoining field were purchased by Abraham, and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah, considered the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people, are all believed to be buried there. The only matriarch missing is Rachel, who is believed to be buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth. According to the Midrash, the Patriarchs were buried in the cave because the cave is the threshold to the Garden of Eden.
- The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years; and he had other sons and daughters. (Gen. 5:4)
- foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah
- Exposition of the Divine Principle, Ch.2 The Human Fall, p. 59
- Book of Adam
- Jewish apocrypha
- Book of Jubilees
- texts whose claimed author is not the true author, or a work whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past.
- Life of Adam and Eve
- Babylonian Talmud
- Lilith: Seductress, Heroine or Murderer?
- Book of Adam
- Fall of Man - New World Encyclopedia
- Cave of the Patriarchs