The first words of the Bible record, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Of all God created, only people did the Lord make “in His own image” (Gen. 1:27). The first human being was a man; his name was Adam, meaning “man” or “from the red earth.”
God placed Adam in a beautiful setting, a garden brimming with plant and animal life (see v. 2:8). Here Adam was to engage in productive work (see vv. 15,19-20). God also gave the man human companionship in the form of a woman, whom Adam called Eve (see vv. 18-25; 3:20).
It’s clear from the Genesis account that God’s creation was “good” for Adam and Eve. This is important because it demonstrated that God could be trusted to provide what was good for humanity. From the very beginning, God wanted His relationship with people to be based on their faith in His gracious character.
As good as this environment was, however, Adam also was given the opportunity to disobey God. Trusting the Lord (faith) is always a choice. The Lord gave clear instructions to the first man regarding what he could eat; God made available to him the fruit of every tree in the garden except one (see vv. 2:16-17). This is, again, a demonstration of the abundance God provided and His trustworthiness.
Adam could freely choose to trust, love and obey God only if he had the opportunity to doubt and disobey Him, as well. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve doubted God’s goodness and chose to disobey the Lord. Adam took some of the forbidden fruit offered to him by Eve and ate of it (see v. 3:6). Eve had eaten of the fruit, as well; so both sinned—yet while Eve had been deceived, Adam was not (see vv. 13; 1 Tim. 2:13-14). Their doubt and disobedience brought sin into the world, which involved guilt before God, alienation from Him (see Gen. 3:6-13) and ultimately brought death to the human race (see Rom. 6:23).
Despite sin’s effects, God continued to love Adam and Eve and their descendants. The Lord pursued them, longing to bless them and fellowship with them. Furthermore, He promised a “seed” would come through Eve to reverse the impact of sin and renew creation (see Gen. 3:15). Jesus was the seed referred to in Genesis 3:15. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul contrasted Adam to Christ, showing that the work of Christ reverses the effects of Adam’s sin (see Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:45-47).
Adam fathered numerous children and was 930 years old when he died (see Gen. 4:1-2; 5:3-5).