adam



adam defined in 1939 year

adam - Adam;
adam - Biblical figure, the reputed progenitor of the human race. According to the Creation narrative in the first chapter of Genesis, on the sixth day " God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them" (v 27). In the second chapter a similar account, though with some variations, is given. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul" (v. 7).

According to the second narrative Adam was created first and Eve afterwards, because "it is not good that the man should be alone." They were placed in the Garden of Eden and given dominion over the rest of the animal creation. They were allowed to eat of the fruit of all the trees in Eden except the tree of knowledge, which they were forbidden to touch. The serpent, however, tempted them, and Eve succumbed, and afterwards induced her husband to partake of the forbidden fruit. For this act of disobedience they were driven out of Paradise and a curse was laid upon them.

The literal truth of this narrative, long accepted, has been questioned by modern criticism as irreconcilable with the facts of science, especially with 19th century developments in geology and biology. The story itself comes from two sources—the first chapter is taken from the Priestly Code, which dates from the 5th century b.c., the second chapter from the Jahvist document, which is usually assigned to the 8th century b.c. Many modern scholars regard the story as an allegory. Others think the writer is making use of ancient myths as a vehicle for conveying religious truth. On this theory, as Cheyne says, " It is not the mythic basis, but the infused idealism of the Eden story that constitutes its abiding interest for religious men." Similar narratives are found in most mythologies, and some remarkable parallels have been discovered in the legends of Babylonia, Persia, and even Greece.

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