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Scripture is not clear on how exactly Adam was created, however I find it a bit odd that most movies would portray him as a shaved man with long hair in his mid 30s.

Where does the assumption that Adam was created as a grown man come from? I am aware that after God creates man and woman in Genesis 1:27, then in the next verse he speaks to them and blesses them. However, this is not an argument that Adam was created middle aged man...

Furthermore if Psalm 139:15 is considered as referring to Adam, it seams to me as God used the earth as a womb for him.

"My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth." AKJV

I don't want to speculate, so my question is: is there a place in Scripture from which we can draw a dogmatic conclusion as to whether Adam was created as a fully developed man, or as a new born baby?

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3 Answers 3

Good question. While no state of maturity for Adam and Eve at creation is ever explicitly stated in the Bible, there are some texts where we can infer something about their state.

  1. Adam is created to work the garden and care for it (Genesis 2:15). He then names the animals (Genesis 2:19, 20). This is not something that an infant could do.
  2. Adam and Eve are to "rule over" the earth (Genesis 1:28, 29). Such responsibility implies maturity.
  3. Eve is presented to Adam as a wife (Genesis 2:24). They are to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). For them to consummate their marriage and have children would require both of them to be in their age of physical maturity. At the very least, this means what the modern world would call "adolescents." However, in ancient times, if you were old enough to have children, you were old enough to get married.
  4. Adam is instructed not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16, 17). Either God then instructed Eve or Adam passed this on to Eve because she knows it in chapter 3 (and expands it).1 When they eat from the forbidden tree, they are treated as accountable for their actions (Genesis 3:7-24). While the age of accountability varies from person to person, teens and adolescents are usually seen as accountable.

From such, we can logically conclude that Adam and Eve were created as adults. While the specifics may be what the modern world calls "adolescents" or "teens," in the ancient world, this was still a adult. At the same time, they might have been in their twenties. While we can't know for sure, they would not have been infants or children.


1Even though Eve states "God said..." this does not rule out Adam telling her. Passing on a message comes through with the same authority. We see this in Luke 7:6 where the centurion sends friends with a message. However, the parallel in Matthew 8:5 puts the words in the mouth of the centurion himself.

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May I suggest that you replace "age of majority" (which is a legal concept) by "age of physical maturity" (which is a biological concept)? –  fdb Aug 18 at 15:18
    
@fdb, thank you. I went through several variations on that phrase trying to avoid the legal wording and came up with nothing better. –  Frank Luke Aug 18 at 15:46
    
Re point #1, Jesus was born to die; but that doesn't imply he was born as an adult. Purpose does not imply maturity. Also, an adult could not name all the animals, either. (In fact, all the adults in all of history have not been able to yet name all of the animals... but I digress...) –  Flimzy Aug 18 at 20:33
    
Everything in your answer, Frank Luke, seems supported by Scripture except the line that Adam "passes this on to Eve . . ." The Bible does not state that Adam told Eve about the command concerning the forbidden fruit. When Eve quotes the command to the serpent, the Bible tells us that she quoted God; it does not say that she quoted Adam (Gen. 3:2-3). She does not say, “Adam told me . . . ” She says, “God said . . .” (Gen. 3:3). God spoke to the woman in Genesis 3:13 and 16; He could also have spoken to her many times before. –  Marg Mowczko Aug 19 at 11:24

My question is: Is there a place in Scripture from which we can draw a dogmatic conclusion as to whether Adam was created as a fully developed man, or as a new born babe?

Based on the nature of the literary genre of Genesis, and comparisons of Gen.1-3 with other origin stories of ancient near eastern literature I would say the answer to your question is no. No, the Bible does not lead us to, or even want us to, draw a dogmatic conclusion as to whether Adam was created fully developed man, or as a new born babe. It seems that question stems from a more modern scientific mind which seeks to understand the rational and surface level understanding of the events described in Genesis. I think the nature of Gen.1-3 and other creation stories of ancient near eastern literature is meant to answer questions of a teleological, theological and moral nature that does not touch the same plane of questions like “how old was Adam when formed”. I believe it is possible to form conjectures about these types of things from the text, but would not say it is a place for dogmatic conclusions.

So what is Gen.1-3 a place for, what was it originally meant to do? I think it was meant to provide a basic worldview for the Israelites. Showing them who God was, what the nature of the world was and what Man was meant to be in relation to both God and the world. See Rikk Watt’s (professor at Regent Seminary in Canada)paper titled “Making Sense of Genesis 1". Watt’s understanding of Genesis 1 coincides with John Walton’s (Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College) book “the Lost World of Genesis One". Both Watts and Walton, and many others today, present the view of seeing Eden and Adam as Temple and priest, as a story meant to give purpose to the world and man in the world. It is this amazing truth that often can get trampled on or overlooked when we substitute it for questions about Adam’s age, origin and language.

In summary, the Bible has no place for dogmatic conclusions about Adam’s age. However it does have a place for presenting an understanding of the world as Yahweh’s temple. I think the greater questions to ask is: was Adam historical, was their only one man, did the writer of Genesis view Adam as the first and only being or as a representative head for humanity? See References below for some help on journeying through those questions.

References and Recommended Books:

Rick Watts: Making sense of Genesis One

Biologos: The First Humans

Lost World of Genesis one by John Walton

Four Views of Historical Adam

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+1 for "No, the Bible does not lead us to, or even want us to, draw a dogmatic conclusion..." –  Flimzy Aug 18 at 20:35

Assuming a literal reading of the text (which is how the hermeneutic I hold takes Genesis), then in one 24 hour period, the 6th day of creation, Adam (and by extension on some of the points, Eve) was:1

  1. Made fully capable of understanding language, as God spoke to them (Gen 1:28; cf. Gen 2:15-17)
  2. Made fully capable of sexual reproduction to multiply on the earth (Gen 1:28)
  3. Made fully capable of immediately beginning to have dominion over the animals (Gen 1:28)
  4. Made fully capable of harvesting and eating from the plants (Gen 1:29)
  5. Made fully capable of tending to the garden in Eden (Gen 2:15)
  6. Made fully capable of being responsible for his actions (Gen 2:16-17)
  7. Made fully capable of cognitive thought in naming animals (Gen 2:19-20)
  8. Made fully capable of understanding the special relation he had to the woman (Gen 2:23)

These demonstrate Adam is not in a "babe" status during the first day of mankind's being on earth. Physical, mental, emotional, moral, and social aspects were fully in place. In God making everything "good" by the end of each day of creation, that part of creation was at a place of fully functioning perfection (only at the end of the day, for in the midst of day six, during the process of creation, not all was good and perfect yet; see for example Gen 2:18).

This need not conflict with your reading of Ps 139:15 (note: I am not necessarily agreeing with your connection of that to Adam's creation)2 since Adam was formed of the dust of the earth (Gen 2:7), in a figurative sense one could call that the "womb" he was made in/from as poetically displayed in the Psalm. But such a womb would not necessitate a "babe" form emerging, since it is obviously a different womb than that of a woman and different creation process than normal reproduction.

However, the points made above do not necessarily pinpoint Adam as a "middle aged man," but does offer much testimony that he was in the perfected state of man that God intended for all the duties He intended Adam for.

Whether this was at a physical state of what to us would seem to be 20, 30, or 40 years old, there is nothing by which to form such an exact "dogmatic conclusion." Strong, healthy (mind and body), and "fully developed" can be dogmatically asserted from the points above, but of his exact appearance in physique, Scripture is silent on.


NOTES

1 For this answer, a literal six consecutive days of creation at the beginning of history is assumed, with Genesis 2 expanding upon details of the creation account in Genesis 1, as my hermeneutic holds. A defense of that is beyond the scope of this question, but foundational to understanding the answer as it is presented here.

2 I would tend to view the Ps 139:15 reference to be the opposite symbolism as you are taking it, that "lower parts of the earth" is a reference to the female womb, and David speaking of his own conception. This is because (1) Psalms is a poetic genre and far more prone to symbolism than Genesis (which is historical narrative), and (2) we know that David was born of a woman (Ruth 4:16).

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How can you apply a literal hermeneutic to the Genesis text, but not to the Psalms text? I respect that there may be reasons to apply a literal or figurative interpretations to either or both texts, but it seems a bit schizophrenic to state that your definition of hermaneutics implies/demands a literal interpretation... except when it doesn't. –  Flimzy Aug 18 at 20:13
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@Flimzy: It is a common misconception that a literal hermeneutic denies figurative language (it does not). Rather, it only moves to a figurative understanding based on context and after evaluating the text as a factual statement in its own right as a possible literal rendering. The Psalm passage, besides being in the Psalms (which as a genre uses much figurative language), is from David, which Scripture declares was born of a woman, so there is much more evidence it is to be taken figuratively. I cannot expound further in a comment, but that is the short answer to your question. –  ScottS Aug 18 at 20:36
    
I don't take issue with the content of your answer, only with your opening sentence that Assuming a literal reading of the text (which is what I hold to as a hermeneutic) ... And now your explanation (which is nothing new to me) also contradicts that. Perhaps you have just erred in over-simplifying your view of what a "hermaneutic" is, and that's what's bugging me... Any way, carry on. –  Flimzy Aug 18 at 20:39
    
@Flimzy: I could word that better, thanks for pointing that out. –  ScottS Aug 19 at 15:37

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