adam and eve

Cultural Dictionary

Adam and Eve definition


In the Bible, the first man and the first woman. The Book of Genesis tells that God created Adam by breathing life into “the dust of the ground.” Later, God created Eve from Adam's rib. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, telling them that they could eat the fruit of all the trees in the garden except the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They lived happily until the serpent (Satan) tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. She ate, and gave the fruit to Adam, who also ate; they immediately became aware and ashamed of their nakedness. Because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, God drove them from the garden into the world outside, where Eve would suffer in childbirth and Adam would have to earn his livelihood by the sweat of his brow. The direst consequence of Adam and Eve's disobedience was death: “ Dust thou art,” said God, “and unto dust shalt thou return.” After their expulsion, Eve gave birth to sons, first Cain and Abel and then Seth, and thus Adam and Eve became the parents of humankind. Adam and Eve's sin and their consequent loss of God's grace and the enjoyment of paradise are referred to as the Fall of Man or simply “the Fall.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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