Hebrew for ‘man’; and the first of his kind according to the OT. There are two accounts of the creation in Genesis. In the first (1: 1–2: 4a, P), man and woman are created in the image of God, which means that human beings (Adam in Hebrew is a collective noun, meaning ‘humanity’) have a responsibility before God, unlike the animals: men and women are created together (1: 27) and are complementary to each other, and each have a freedom to obey or disobey God's will. In the second story (2: 4b–25, J), ‘Adam’ as a personal name is regarded as the chief of all created beings by being placed first in order; woman is created later, for man is incomplete without her.

All is peace in the garden until Adam and Eve disobey God's command, and then begin pain and toil and death, and the original relationship with God is broken. The myth of Gen. 3 is known as the Fall.

In the NT Adam is accepted as an historical person; but, more importantly, he is a symbol for understanding Christ. While the genealogy of Jesus is traced back to Adam by Luke (3: 38), Paul (Rom. 5: 12ff.) contrasts the first Adam of Genesis, who was disobedient, with the ‘last Adam’, Christ, who was obedient. All mankind, who are in solidarity with Adam, are corrupt and sinful; but through faith in Christ they receive life and grace and the hope of resurrection (1 Cor. 15: 21–2). In Paul's argument the human experience of new life has been made possible by the events of recent history, namely the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.