How many children did Adam and Eve have?

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How Many Children Did Adam and Eve Have?

The Bible does not specify how many children Adam and Eve had. But it does tell us about 3 of their sons. The first was Cain, then Abel, and then Seth. However, the Bible states that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters according to Genesis 5:4. After all, it was God’s commission to be “fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).

After Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, the woman gave birth to two children, Cain, and then Abel. “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then, she bore again, this time his brother Abel” (Genesis 4:1-2).

As the two boys grew, they were vastly different. Abel followed the Lord God and Cain followed his own evil heart. Eventually their differences lead Cain to kill Abel (Genesis 4:8). Cain’s “works were evil and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12). So, God cursed Cain for killing his innocent brother (Genesis 4:11,12). Later, Cain married and begat his own nation (see Where did Cain’s wife come from?).

After the death of Abel, the Bible says, “Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth. And she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him” (Genesis 4:25). The name Seth means the “appointed one,” the “compensation” or “substitute” for Abel.

Eve, knowing that her godly son was killed and seeing that God’s words concerning the promised seed could not find their fulfillment in the cursed Cain, showed her faith that the promised Deliverer would come through Seth. And her faith was rewarded, for Seth was the one through whom the godly line was to be perpetuated.

The scriptures states, “After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. So, all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died” (Genesis 5:4,5). However, there is no mention of the exact number of Adam and Eve’s children, only the name of their first 3 sons Cain, Abel, and Seth was given.

A Tradition

Bible scholars assume that the first man and woman had a large family that consisted of many boys and girls. This assumption is based on the Bible telling us that Adam lived to be 930 years old (Genesis 5:5). This age is about ten times longer than most people live today.

Pre-flood people would live at least 800 years after the birth of their first child due to the original vitality given at creation, the effect of the fruit of the tree of life, the superior quality of food, piety, and the divine grace in delaying the judgement of the penalty of sin.

Thus, Adam lived to see eight future generations. His life stretched more than half the time to the Flood. And many of his children were able to hear from his own lips the story of God’s creation, of Eden, of the fall, and of God’s plan of salvation as it had been shown to him (Genesis 3:15). In fact, Adam lived long enough to meet Noah’s father, and his son long enough to meet Noah. If we look at Bible genealogy, we see that Noah lived long enough to meet Abraham.

It was sometime after the flood when people’s age dramatically decreased. This happened during Peleg’s lifetime, where interestingly enough the Bible in Genesis 10:25 tells us the earth was divided (see How was the Earth divided in the Days of Peleg?). People ate the flesh of animals which led to the shortening of life (Genesis 9:3). But everyone else pre-flood lived longer.

If we scale today’s fertility to the antediluvian time, it would be about 350 years. If we suppose that Adam and Eve had just one child every seven years of her fertility, then they would have had 50 children. This is just a conservative estimate, as it is likely that they obeyed God’s first commission to: “be fruitful and multiply.”

It is interesting to note that there is a tradition outside the Scripture in The Works of Josephus as a footnote which states: “The number of Adam’s children, as says the old tradition, was 33 sons and 23 daughters” – https://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/complete.ii.ii.ii.html

The Take Home Message

God created Adam and Eve to be fruitful upon this earth. We are all the descendants of Adam and Eve but let us strive to be more than just physical descendants of the first couple. While we do not know the exact number of children Adam and Eve had, it is important to note that their son Seth was born “in his own likeness, and after his image” (Genesis 5:3). This means he was of the same character. We notice that it was not as important to the Bible author to note the quantity of the children as it was the quality of their character.

May we strive to be among those who are renewed in knowledge after the image of Jesus Christ. “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:10-11). As Christ is the express image of His Father (Hebrews 1:3), so the Christian is to grow “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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