Adam and Eve

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Christ is depicted raising Adam and Eve from the grave in this icon of the Resurrection.

Adam and Eve were, according to the Book of Genesis, the first-created man and woman. In the Septuagint (though not in liturgical texts or icons), Adam's wife is identified with the name Zoe ("life").

Adam and Eve are primarily remembered in the context of the Fall. They are remembered for the suffering which they share together because of their sin: eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam is traditionally identified as the one ultimately responsible for the introduction of sin into humanity, but in the creation accounts of Genesis, both Adam and Eve are listed as having been created without any sense of subordination of one to the other. Thus, Adam's place is not as a lord over Eve, but rather as the representative of the family. As such, he is her equal, but the introduction of human sin is placed at his feet.

In terms of their place in theology, Adam and Eve are the starting point for anthropology, which is the doctrine of the nature of mankind. Additionally, in terms of soteriology, Adam and Eve are seen as types of Christ and of his mother, the Theotokos, who are the New Adam and the New Eve, respectively.

Though the couple are remembered most for their sin, many icons of the Resurrection depict Christ raising Adam and Eve out of their tombs. In many icons of the All Saints type, they are depicted as worshiping at the throne of God, and the traditional nimbus (halo), signifying holiness, is around each of their heads. There are also many liturgical references to Christ's redemption of "the first-created." Therefore, the Church's tradition could be taken literally to indicate that they are among the saved. However, Adam and Eve are also quite often used to indicate fallen humanity collectively, especially in contrast to Jesus Christ, the new Adam. This figurative use leads many to see them as literary devices to describe a reality lost in prehistory but essential to the self-revelation of God in Christ.

The Orthodox Church also remembers Adam and Eve and the expulsion from Paradise, on Forgiveness Sunday, the final day of pre-Lent. This is for the faithful to consider the benefits of fasting, the consequences of disobedience, and to recall man's fallen state.

See also