Adam and Eve
In the second creation story in the Bible, in Genesis 2:4-25 through Genesis 3 , God plants a garden "east of Eden", and creates the first man, Adam, there. He tells Adam that he may eat from any tree in the garden except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil, or else Adam will die.
God then creates birds and animals as companions for Adam, but none is suitable. God then puts Adam to sleep, removes one of his ribs, and creates a woman, Eve, from the rib.
One day, the serpent tells Eve that contrary to what God has said, she and Adam will not die from eating the forbidden fruit, but rather that they will know good and evil, just like God.
Eve eats the fruit and gives some to Adam as well. After eating, they realize that they are naked and fashion clothes for themselves from fig leaves. Their sudden shame of nudity arouses God's suspicions, and they eventually confess that they have eaten the forbidden fruit.
God curses the serpent, saying that henceforth it will crawl on the ground, and that there will be enmity between its offspring and Eve's. He curses Eve with painful childbirth, and condemns her to be ruled over by her husband. He curses Adam, saying that he will now have to work the land for food.
Finally, God realizes that Adam might also eat the fruit of the tree of life and live forever. To prevent this, he banishes the two humans from the garden and places a guard to prevent them reentering it.
Adam and Eve proceed to have children and become the ancestors of all humans.
In all likelihood, the myth created around Adam and Eve relied on earlier religious traditions of the ancient Middle East.
The Sumerian narrative of the deities Enki and Ninhursag illustrate several plot lines that resemble the account in Genesis. Their story unfolds in a sacred place called Dilmun, where disease and old age are absent. The evil god Enki disguises as a gardener and seduces the female Uttu with fruits, thereby commiting incestuous rape.
In the following events Enki - lusting after knowledge from trees - is cursed by the goddess Ninhursag, resulting in bodily ailments. Later, Ninhursag reluctantly redeems Enki by creating eight minor deities; among others, healing comes in form of Ninti, the "Lady of the Rips".
This story is the origin of the phrase "forbidden fruit".
Although the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is often depicted as an apple, this is never specified in the text.
Although it is common to associate the serpent with Satan, the text says no such thing.
Contrary to popular belief, the serpent in the story never lies: Adam and Eve do not die from eating the fruit, as God had said: Adam is said to live 930 years (Genesis 5:5 ). And just as the serpent said, they learn what good and evil are, thus becoming a little bit more like God.
Genesis 3:22-24 makes it clear that Adam and Eve are not banished for disobeying God, but rather because God fears that Adam might become immortal.
It seems unjust for God to punish Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit: before they learned what good and evil were, how were they to know that disobeying God was wrong?
If God is all-knowing then he knew before he even created the garden that it would fail. He also knew before creating the serpent that it would cause Adam and Eve to sin, yet he created both. This combined with the previously stated fact that before eating the apple Adam and Eve had no concept of right and wrong shows that the blame lies not with them for falling for the trap, but with God for setting it.
Depiction of Adam and Eve
Although Adam is said to have been created from the dust of the ground, and Eve from his rib, they are for the most part depicted with navels ("belly buttons"), which would imply that they were born with umbilical cords. There is a parallel in the way Western art depicts Jesus wrongly.
- Dickson, Keith, Enki and Ninhursag: The Trickster in Paradise, in: Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol 66, No 1, 2007