Adam and Eve Story – Summary, Interpretations and Origin

We explain what the story of Adam and Eve is, where it is related and what secular and religious interpretations have been given to it.

Adam and Eve story
The story of Adam and Eve is the beginning of Jewish, Christian and Islamic mythology.

The story of Adam and Eve

According to the Islamic and Judeo-Christian tradition, Adam and Eve were the first human beings to exist. They are the protagonists of the biblical and Koranic account of the origin of humanity, as told in the first book of the Old Testament (called Genesis, that is, origin) and the Koran.

In addition, its importance also lies in the fact that They are the ones who committed the Original Sin of humanity, that is to say, those who caused the mortal and laborious existence that from then on all human beings know.

That of Adam and Eve is one of the best-known cosmogonic tales of antiquity. It is the point of origin of Jewish mythology later inherited by Christianity and Islam.

It is a story of guilt and punishment, which for centuries was interpreted in the West more or less literally, but whose cultural and symbolic value is extremely important, since a moral and religious discourse regarding sexuality and the roles assigned to men and women was built on it..

According to tradition, the first humans were created by God on the sixth day of creation, from clay (Adam) and from a rib of Adam (Eve), and placed in the Garden of Eden: a paradisiacal site in the that they could live in perfect harmony with the rest of the animals and with the world itself, since they were God’s favorite creatures.

In that place they had almost everything allowed and could feed on any available tree, except one that God, to prove their fidelity and obedience, had strictly forbidden to them: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Although God had warned them that tasting the fruits of that tree would cause their death, the story goes that a serpent manipulated Eve and not only made her taste the forbidden fruit, but also offer it to Adam. Thus, they both acquired an awareness of good and evil.

Then, just as God had warned them, Adam and Eve were expelled from paradise and condemned by divine will with death, work, pain and shame.

To Adam, God said: “By the sweat of your face you will earn bread until you return to earth, because from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will turn ”(Genesis 3:19). To Eva he said: “I will greatly multiply your pains and your pregnancies; in pain you will give birth to children; and your wish will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. “

Then Adam and Eve had to learn to live on their own, and they brought into the world three children: Cain, Abel and Set, thus giving rise to the entire humanity.

Interpretations of the myth

The myth of Adam and Eve has been the subject of many interpretations, versions and artistic, theological or literary compositions. For centuries it was the subject of debate among Christian theologians and scholars, who debated the correct way to interpret the allegories of the story and often drew conclusions from them that shaped society in the West.

For example, the fact that it was Eve who gave Adam the fruit to eat, was often read as proof enough of the sinful nature of women, in general, and that it occupied a subordinate place in society throughout history.

Similarly, the different Christian churches assumed the obligation to free their followers from Original Sin, that is, of the sin of Adam and Eve that is transmitted and inherited throughout the generations. For this, for example, the rite of baptism was applied, since children, innocent from any other point of view, carry that ancient sin with them.

There have also been numerous lay interpretations of the Adam and Eve myth, which have seen the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as a metaphor for human knowledge, of human reason and inventiveness, with which human beings can try to be, in some way, gods as well, changing the nature of the world at will.

Other readings more oriented towards the psychoanalytic, on the other hand, emphasize that after eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve “realized their nakedness and felt ashamed”, which suggests that Original Sin has to do with sexuality, doing it of the fruit and the serpent little more than erotic metaphors. If so, God’s punishment would be given because he was no longer the only one capable of “making” human beings.

In any case, the History of Adam and Eve continues to this day and is represented in an infinity of paintings, photographs, literary stories, musical pieces and works of art in general, especially during the centuries of strong Christian influence on art. western.