Were Adam And Eve Our Original Parents?

Q. First, thank you so much for all the added insight to scripture, tradition and other resources; it has been very helpful.

My question is whether or not Adam and Eve were the literal first two people created who then went on to populate the earth, if they were two of a tribe of people or if they were symbolic of the human race in its creation.

Two women in my Sunday school class from different backgrounds both stated that they had been taught that Adam and Eve were two of a large tribe created all at once. When I asked them how then the entire human species was then judged because of Adams sin they replied because Adam had some kind of special anointing that made the curse of sin not only pass downward among his generations, but also laterally among the rest of mankind.

I have a hard time believing this. The only argument they presented that I was unable to flat out refute was after Cain murdered Abel he pleaded with God not to send him away in fear of the other people who would seek and kill him. Seeing as at the time Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel were the only people alive the only people he would have been in fear of would now have only been his parents. I took the stance that he is foreseeing a future clan of kinsman seeking retribution, but I didn’t know if you had any more insight or if you’ve ever been confronted with this line of teaching. Thanks again for all of your help.

A. Your two friends have read a great deal into the creation account. Their explanation of how all mankind became estranged from God because of Adam’s sin not only defies logic but also violates the character of God, who cannot judge the innocent with the guilty. Abraham’s plea with God to spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah makes this clear (Genesis 18:16-33) as does Peter’s statement that God knows how to rescue godly men from trials while holding the unrighteous for the day of judgment (2 Peter 3:9). The explanation they gave you is pure fabrication on someone’s part.

As for the people Cain would fear, remember that in those days people lived for 800 years or more. A husband and wife would have had several hundred years of child bearing life together. Genesis 5 recounts that each of the ten patriarchs had other sons and daughters beside those named. That includes Adam and Eve. Don’t be fooled into thinking of families as they are today with a mom and dad and two kids. If on average they only bore children during 200 years of their lives together and only had one child every 5 years they would have died with over 2 million descendants each. Multiply that by just the number of people the Bible names and you have a huge population. Remember, they were told to be fruitful and fill the earth.

Altogether, from the time of Adam to the Great Flood 1656 years had passed. Just where along that time line Cain was banished we’re not told, but you don’t have to make up stories to come up with a substantial population on Earth pretty quickly. It’s reasonable therefore to believe the Bible just as it was written, with Adam and Eve being our sole original parents.

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