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How Long Was Adam in the Garden?

Bible Mysteries

by Erin Benziger on July 1, 2014; last featured May 31, 2015
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The Bible is full of historical accounts, but they leave out fascinating details that we’d love to know more about. Is it okay to look further?

Curiosity is an unavoidable temptation. Even those who affirm the authority and sufficiency of the Bible occasionally wonder, “What if . . . ?” or “What about . . . ?” One question often pondered is the amount of time that passed between Adam’s creation and his fall into sin. Ultimately Scripture is not explicit on this issue, so no conclusion should be dogmatic. Still, it is profitable to examine what God’s Word does reveal for our edification.

Ultimately Scripture is not explicit on this issue, so no conclusion should be dogmatic.

Genesis 1 describes the first six days of this world’s existence. In that time God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He brought forth vegetation, animals, and finally, man and woman (Genesis 1:26). On the sixth day God saw that all He had made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31), and on the seventh day He rested “from all His work” and “blessed and sanctified it” (Genesis 2:2–3).

These verses allow a couple of conclusions: Adam could not have sinned on the sixth day because God declared all things good. Nor is it likely that the Fall occurred on Day Seven, for this day was consecrated. How long, then? For several reasons, it seems likely that only a short time passed.

God created the man and woman with perfect bodies before the Fall. Some argue that this perfect state would have allowed conception to occur quickly and without hindrance, yet Eve’s conception and birth of her first child, Cain, is not described until after the Fall (Genesis 4:1). One may speculate that, had much time elapsed between Creation and the Fall, the woman would have conceived children before falling victim to Satan’s devices.

Surely Satan sought to undermine God’s work as early as possible, before man had time to grow in trust and obedience toward God.

Based on his pattern elsewhere, we would expect that the Great Deceiver probably wasted little time before seizing an opportunity to question and distort God’s words. Since God declared all things good in Genesis 1:31, Satan’s rebellion probably occurred after the sixth day and certainly before the events of Genesis 3. Just as he challenged God’s authority in heaven, he also challenged the authority of God’s words on earth, and led the woman to doubt and disobey her Creator. Surely Satan sought to undermine God’s work as early as possible, before man had time to grow in trust and obedience toward God.

While the Bible allows for some plausible conclusions on the matter, we must be careful with speculation. Rather than dwelling on those details God chose not to reveal, a Christian’s time is better spent learning the deep truths of Scripture that are revealed for our growth and God’s glory (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Erin Benziger holds a BA in Religion from Pepperdine University. She currently is pursuing a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA.

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