We all know the story. God created Adam and Eve and told them they could eat of everything except from one tree. The tree of “the Knowledge of Good and Evil” (Genesis 2:17). The serpent came and deceived Eve, resulting in both her and Adam eating of the forbidden fruit. This is supposedly why there is sin in the world today. But is this story even true? Did Adam and Eve actually exist? And if so, is it to be taken symbolically or literally?
THE CURSES SUPPORT THE STORY
Adam and Eve had to have existed because it perfectly explains why we possess a sinful nature. Since God wouldn’t have created anything with evil in it, we have to have a reason for why mankind fell into sin. We have pain in childbirth (Genesis 3:16a), thorns and thistles (Genesis 3:17), hard labour (Genesis 3:19a), and death (Genesis 3:19b). All the curses God gave Adam and Eve, we still have today. Moreover, if we can’t believe the creation account, then there is little reason to believe the rest of Scripture.
THE STORY IS TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY
1. Literal Adam and Eve explain our sinful state:
Like what was explained earlier, we can’t have symbolic people bring about literal consequences. There is a common argument saying Jesus often spoke in parables, and that Adam and Eve were nothing more than such. However, this is clearly false. Though it is true Jesus often spoke in parables, He did it for different reasons. Jesus spoke in parables so that those who wanted to hear would understand. Those who didn’t actually desire to understand Jesus, therefore would not grasp the meaning of the parables. Jesus’ desire for the ones who “had ears to hear” (Matthew 11:15) was for them to cling to His words and produce a plentiful harvest (Luke 8:15). Those who were “spiritually blind” wouldn’t understand the spiritual meaning behind the parables.
In regards to the creation account, it makes no sense whatsoever for it to simply be a parable. There needs to be an explanation as to how everything came into existence. Though there are often spiritual truths in many biblical accounts such as Jonah and the whale, Abraham offering up his son Isaac, manna from heaven symbolic of Jesus, and so on… This still doesn’t mean any of these accounts never actually, literally happened. The account of Adam and Eve is no different.
Also, if Adam and Eve were merely symbolic, then this would, therefore, mean Satan is figurative as well. We know Satan was the serpent in the Garden because Ezekiel 28:13 says as much. The Bible makes it quite clear Satan is not a figurative enemy (Acts 26:16-18; 1 Peter 5:8). If Satan, Adam and Eve, and the Fall into sin is all real, then we know why we’re in the sinful state we’re in. Only a literal Adam can represent literal mankind and sin on behalf of all of us.
2. Genealogies are always taken literally:
There are many things that are difficult on this earth, one of them being mythical people giving birth to real people. If Adam and Even were symbolic, then at what point do we say the people mentioned in the genealogies start becoming actual humans (Luke 3:23-38)? Were Cain and Abel also mythical? What about Noah and his family? Or better yet, how about Jesus Himself? There’s really no getting around this. They’re all real or else the Bible is a lie.
3. Literal Adam and Eve were made in the image of God:
Something else that must be considered is the image of God. If Adam and Eve were symbolic and also made in the image of God, then that would make us literal people not made in the image of God. This, of course, is false according to Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9. It would take away the reason why God came down to die for us and save us.
4. Literal Adam and Eve point to Jesus:
In order to have a literal “second Adam” (Jesus), there needs to be a literal first Adam. It’s the only way it makes any sense. If this were not so, then the Apostle Paul wrote a lie in Scripture saying sin came through one man (Romans 5:12). Furthermore, Jesus would also be wrong in His beliefs saying “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female'” (Mark 10:6). He made reference to Adam and Eve’s son Abel as well (Luke 11:51). This can’t be any further from the truth since all Scripture is God-breathed and God cannot lie (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hebrews 6:18; Psalm 89:35).
WHY THIS MATTERS
If we can’t believe certain parts of the Bible, then we might as well reject the entire thing. When we say Adam and Eve are merely mythical characters in the Bible, we are saying Luke’s account of the genealogy is wrong, Paul is wrong, Jesus is wrong, along with the very foundation of the Scriptures. Additionally, the Bible teaches;
“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
A literal Adam rebelled against God, bringing separation from God, and death to everyone. Since all of us are related to Adam, we are therefore sinners who will die. A literal Saviour was needed in order to rescue us from our hopeless state. Only God was qualified to be the sacrifice needed to restore our relationship with Him since He is both eternal (1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 1:8) and sinless (1 John 3:5). We needed a literal death, burial, and resurrection to atone for our literal sin that came through a literal Adam. All those who accept God’s gift of grace through His Son Jesus, through faith in Him, are guaranteed to receive salvation (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8).
If you haven’t made the decision to follow Jesus, and would like to know how to do so, then read “How do I become a Christian?”