David Levin on the Nature of Adam and Eve

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The Nature of Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve were flesh and blood creatures of free moral agency who had a change of experience, but not of essential nature.

OFTEN THE FIRST issue raised when people discuss the nature of Adam and Eve is their "very good" status. This is unfortunate, for it inserts an unnecessary and misleading complication. The "very good" phrase occurs only once, in Genesis 1:31, where God sees all that he created and declares it "very good." This could not describe an initial moral state, because it calls everything (serpents included) very good. Rather, the phrase describes the harmonious interworking of the physical creation and has no bearing on a discussion of human nature.

Adam and Eve did not have some sort of semi-mortal "very good" status. Before their transgression, Adam and Eve did not live under a sentence of death, but that is a far different matter than not being truly mortal. Let's list what we do know about the physical and mental constitution of Adam and Eve as they were created, before they transgress:

  • They are made [from] dust of the earth (2:7).
  • They have independent moral agency—the capability to follow or disobey God's instruction (2:16-17)
  • They have the capability of understanding death (2:17)
  • Adam and Eve are of one flesh and bone (2:23)
  • Eve (at least) has the capability of being deceived (Genesis 3:13)
  • They have the capability of distorting God's word (3:3)
  • They have the capacity for lust of the eyes (3:6)
  • They have the capacity for desires of the flesh (3:6)
  • They have the capacity for desiring to be like God (3:6)

Every one of these points is established and evidenced before their transgression. The popular idea that "very good" has a moral application is inconsistent with the above facts. Adam and Eve clearly have human nature from their creation. There is nothing unique about them. They are people who can be tempted and deceived.

— Bro David P. Levin, The Creation Text p.221