Can You Adam and Eve It?

I don’t remember exactly when it was, but at some point in a lesson, someone asked the question about how did Adam and Eve’s sons have children when there were no other references to women being created after Eve? Not an unreasonable question to ask and certainly one that children will zone in on sooner or later.

People tend to only remember Cain and Abel, but the Bible does specifically mention that Adam and Eve had more children, including daughters. The answer given at the time was that the only possible solution is that Adam and Eves sons must have married their sisters. Cue sounds of ‘ewww’ from the assembled class.

If someone believes in the literal seven day creation and that all of mankind is descended from Adam and Eve, then there really is the one conclusion to come to. That first family had no option but to engage in incest. A titbit I would repeat years later as a leader on a Christian summer camp when faced with the same question, provoking the same ‘ewww’ response.

What about the ribs!

The knowledgeable will know that Eve supposedly came from Adams rib. This was used to confirm the fact that men have an extra rib on one side of their body; or rather a missing rib on one side of their body.

Firstly, why should Adam having his rib removed to create Eve mean that all his descendents will also have one rib missing? People who have parts of their body removed do not produce offspring with that same part missing. The assumption that God removing Adams rib means that all men will have a missing rib has no basis in Biblical teaching or logical thought.

As a child I accepted the fact without question. Even if the Genesis account of Adam and Eve was true, there is no reason at all, anywhere, that equates to all descended men having a missing rib.

As it happens, men do not have a missing rib. It proves nothing on its own, but it’s a daft thing to believe anyway.

Critical Questions

Reading those first few chapters of Genesis with a critical eye brings up many questions. Why put a mark on Cain when everyone one around would have been related to him anyway and so know what he did? Why would Cain have to build a city when there would not yet have been enough people about to justify a city? Did he build the city single handed? How long did that take? So many questions.

Not to be taken literally

Now would be a good point to bring in the fact that serious scholars do not consider that the beginning of Genesis was written to be a literal account. It is meant as an indication that God created everything and that sin is a human thing and that God reserves the right to punish his creation. That’s very simplistic, but the main point I want to make here is that to the early writers and those who would read this years later; this is not meant to be a description of what God did, merely a setting up of what we see is God’s creation.

The literal interpretation is a much more modern thing.

Still, as a young child with no reason to question this further, I didn’t. So the seed that was to become an adult creationist was sown.

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5 thoughts on “Can You Adam and Eve It?

  1. A very nice description of the difference between an literal and a allegorical interpretation of Genesis. The allegorical interpretation seems such a natural fit for the text that it is amazing that conservative Christians would insist on the literal one.

    • Thanks for the comment. The question of allegorical vs litteral is one that I have faced many times and is something I intend to follow up on in greater detail in future posts.

      For me personally, facing this question honestly and critically was the start of my movement from Young Earth Creationist, to old earth believer and then eventually to atheism. So its an important part of my story.

  2. Over the last few weeks I have been rewriting my blog.
    LAC picked up on something I had written and that took me to her blog and a link to D’Ma. I’ve only read a few of their posts and noticed one of yours that referred to not coming out to your wife.
    When I find a new blog I almost always look back to the beginning to get an idea of what is prompting the blog.

    I’ve been outside the walls of traditional Christianity for some 40 years and seem to have developed a bit of a reputation for asking the awkward questions to which there are no easy answers.

    I have come to the conclusion that there is an enormous difference between the Christian RELIGION and the Christian FAITH.

    Although I have no doubt that God exists I do sometimes wonder whether I should stop calling myself a Christian (a believer in Christendom).

    Would you be interested in sharing something of your story?

  3. Hi Peter,

    Thank you for the comment and my apologies for taking my time in approving your comment, I have been away and only just had the chance to catch up on my ‘internet commitments’.

    In answer to your question about my story, its a journey from devout faith to reasoned denial. This blog is tells that story as best I can recall and I am trying to keep it chronological. The best I can suggest to you is that you start at the beginning and work through. Of course I will be happy to answer any specific questions.

  4. Pingback: The Problem of Adam and Eve « Confessions Of A YEC

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