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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

08 May 2009

Wife or Wives for Adam?

Q: Did Adam have a wife before Eve? Genesis 1: 26-27 says that God created man and woman at the same time. In Genesis 2:21-23, Eve was created from the rib of Adam.

Adam and EveA: Adam had one wife. The confusion stems from the two different accounts. The difference is that in Genesis 1, we’re reading a summary of each of the six days of Creation while Genesis 2 focuses on the special relationship between the Lord and mankind.

In Genesis 1:26-27, we read, “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image....’ So God created man in his own image ... male and female he created them.” This doesn’t say that He made man and woman “at the same time,” just that He made them both at some time on the Sixth Day.

Genesis 2 informs us that first, “the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (v. 7)” After the Lord brought the animals into his presence so he could name them, Adam realized that unlike the earth’s other living creatures, he had no female companion. As verse 20 says, “There was not found a helper fit for him.”

Once He made His point, the Lord got on with putting Adam to sleep in order to build a mate for him. We might say that God took man apart in order to complete putting him together, since after the woman was made, we are told that man and woman united make “one flesh. (v. 24)”

Speculation about our first parents has gone in other directions, as in the case of Lilith. This creation of misguided people from bygone years is but one example of those who seek to find ways in which God “goofs up.”

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author of the book What Do Lutherans Believe, and writer of numerous published devotions, prayers, and sermons.

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Newspaper column #580:2


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