Was the story of Adam and Eve meant as a parable for the dawn of civilization after human species evolved for millennia or is Adam and Eve to be literally read as the first humans to ever be created.

  • 1
    possible dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/64380/759
    – Double AA
    Dec 9, 2015 at 16:13
  • Hi anon. Welcome to Mi Yodeya! To improve your post, please edit in motivation for asking this question, as right now I'm having a hard time seeing why it matters which of your options is correct. Consider also registering your account to fully access this site's features. Hope to see you around.
    – Double AA
    Dec 9, 2015 at 16:14
  • Please clarify your question. There is much to the "story" of Adam and Eve which includes their time in the Garden of Eden, having children, etc. Or, are you curious simply if they were actually the first humans, physically. What would make you think otherwise? I.e., how would humanity exist without a first husband / wife team, and why wouldn't it be specifically these two people?
    – DanF
    Dec 9, 2015 at 16:22
  • There are those who treat it as meanining they were the first "animals" to be ensouled or be capable of prophesy. Others that they were the created body and soul as one. In any case it was a "miracle" and can be understood in either of those circumstances Dec 9, 2015 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


I think the answer is both. Ramban (Nachmanides) writes in the beginning of commentary on the Chumash, that the Genesis story, from the beginning through the Tower of Babel, is a deep secret part of the Torah which cannot be understood from a simple or literal meaning of the words.

מפני שמעשה בראשית – סוד עמוק, אינו מובן מן המקראות, ולא יוודע על בוריו אלא מפי הקבלה עד משה רבינו מפי הגבורה, ויודעיו חייבין להסתיר אותו. לכך אמר רבי יצחק שאין להתחלת התורה צורך ב"בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא", והסיפור במה שנברא ביום ראשון ומה נעשה ביום שני ושאר הימים, והאריכות ביצירת אדם וחוה, וחטאם ועונשם, וסיפור גן עדן וגירוש אדם ממנו, כי כל זה לא יובן בינה שלימה מן הכתובים. וכל שכן ספור דור המבול והפלגה, שאין הצורך בהם גדול. ויספיק לאנשי התורה בלעדי הכתובים האלה, ויאמינו בכלל בנזכר להם בעשרת הדברות (שמות כ י): "כִּי שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים עָשָׂה ה' אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ אֶת הַיָּם וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר בָּם וַיָּנַח בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי", ותישאר הידיעה ליחידים שבהם הלכה למשה מסיני, עם התורה שבעל פה

Rather, Nachmanides undertsands that the simple meaning of the words are only to be parable or metaphor for the consequences of sin.

On the other hand, the geneologies supplied by the Torah, with exact ages and key children from Adam to Noach and Noach to Avram, don't appear poetic or parable-like. And Nachmanides, in his commentary to Genesis 5:4 seems to take these geneological lists at face value. It seems to me, therefore, that there was an Adam and Eve and they are our ancestors, but the details of the story of their creation, sin, and expulsion from Eden are not literal but a parable (at least according to Ramban).

  • Perhaps you'd like to contribute to the question @DoubleAA linked above?
    – DonielF
    Jun 21, 2017 at 4:49
  • @DonielF I put in a comment citing the same Ramban Jun 21, 2017 at 23:58

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