The First Book of Adam and Eve (Librivox)

July 22, 2015

Most people are familiar with the account of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis; it’s fairly brief. And there is more: if you read Milton‘s Paradise Lost, for instance, there is a lot more detail to their story both before and after the Fall, bringing the characters to life, developing their motives and arguments, as well as those of God and Satan.

The First Book of Adam and Eve dates from the fifth or sixth century, and comes from the Egyptian or Coptic tradition; it was translated some eighty or ninety years ago and appears in the Librivox collection. What happened to Adam and Eve once they were expelled from the Garden of Eden?

They moan and complain an incredible amount to God about the harshness of their situation. He listens and replies. They have to learn to cope with a much more difficult existence, coming to understand such things as darkness, rain, the need to eat and drink. Satan continues to visit and confuse and waylay them even further, even though this is strictly unnecessary, as he has already achieved his primary purpose. Through various accidents, they die several times, but as their time is not yet accomplished, God brings them back to life again; similarly, when they despair and contemplate suicide, they are not allowed to succeed.

The promise of future redemption is, of course, heavily underlined and further explained to them. And we learn of the birth of their children – not just Cain and Abel but also twin daughters, which is how the entire human race was meant to develop…

It’s an interesting text, and I can see its origins in people wanting more detail than the bald account in the Bible: more information, which doesn’t contradict the Bible, more information which elaborates on God’s future plans, which reassures believers…

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