Have you ever noticed there are two different stories of God making people in the Bible? Adam and Eve weren’t the first humans. They were the first humans who were truly alive. There is a difference.
On the sixth day, God created humankind. This is in Genesis 1:26-27 (all translations are from the NIV)
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
On the seventh day, God rested. The first chapter of Genesis ends with this. It is in chapter two that God makes Adam, which means, of the earth. According to the Bible Gateway website, “The Hebrew for man (adam) sounds like and may be related to the Hebrew for ground (adamah); it is also the name Adam.”
Now, it reads as if God is creating the world all over again. In Genesis 2:5, we read that there was no vegetation yet. We learned in Genesis 1:11-12 that God created vegetation on the third day. If this story is sequential, then we are going backwards. Or God is creating the world all over again. This is a bit confusing. I think the most interesting part is that it appears that God created humans twice.
7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
This is important that the man is created separately, and is described as a living being. In the first creation story, men and women are created at the same time, and they are not described as “living beings”. They are alive, certainly, but not truly living in any real sense. They are like animals. Adam is different. Adam has a soul.
God had created a garden, Eden, and he put Adam there to tend it. The garden has food to feed him.
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)
God thinks that Adam needs a helper. God creates animals, but they won’t do the trick.
On the fifth day, God created the water animals and the birds, in Genesis 1:20-21. On the sixth day, God creates land animals, in Genesis 1:24-25. But in Genesis 2:19-20, God creates the land animals and all the birds, right after creating Adam.
18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
God had to do something else.
“…But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:20-22)
Interestingly, God creates Eve from Adam, rather than from the ground like God created everything else.
Adam had named all the animals that God created in Genesis 2, so he got to name Eve.
20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all the living. (Genesis 3:20)
I think this is significant. Not just humans, but the living.
Remember the Jewish exclamation “L’chaim”? It means “To life”. What if it refers to the fact that the Jews are the only living people?
Then we get to Genesis 4:16-17 Cain has killed Abel, and is banished from Eden.
16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod,[f] east of Eden. 17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.
Who is this wife? Where did she come from?
I propose that she is one of the humans that were created. She wasn’t one of the “living” – she was a human, but not special.
Then Adam and Eve went on to have another child, named Seth.
25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth,[h] saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. (Genesis 4:25-26)
Then who did Seth marry, in order to have Enosh? I propose it was yet another human, again, not “living” that God made in Genesis 1.
I propose that “living” means called by God. Adam was made differently from all the other people. From him and Eve, all living people came. Otherwise, people are just animals in human shape.