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Genesis 1:27:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

It seems like Adam was created with both genders. Some Jewish traditions propose this interpretation as well. Are there any Christian traditions that hold the belief that Adam was created with both genders?

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I have edited the question in an attempt to make it within scope for this site, and not asking for general opinions. I hope you don't mind. –  Flimzy Jun 26 '13 at 23:56

7 Answers 7

God created mankind. In that creation, He created one male and one female. Adam is the Hebrew word for man or human. The first man was named with the word for "man". Genesis 1 records the creation of the all things. Genesis 2 zooms in on the creation of mankind in particular and reveals that the man was created first and then the woman. However, both the male and the female were created in the image of God.

So, the best interpretation is that God created a man and a woman--not one human with both genders.

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Yes but Eve came from Adam's rib. That means Adam had both genders. –  Didier Jun 26 '13 at 22:30
@Didier The ribs of men and women are not really male or female. They are just ribs. Adam certainly would have had both an x and a y chromosome. –  Narnian Jun 26 '13 at 22:32
@Didier: The Hebrew word literally means "side" and is quite non-specific - some translations mis-translate it as "rib". That still doesn't mean Eve's sexuality was removed from an androgynous Adam, only that the essence of Eve came from Adam such that she was of the same "stuff" as him, with the symbolism of "side" denoting equality with Adam. –  Lawrence Dol Jan 23 '14 at 21:38

The short answer


The long(er) answer

This is an instance where source criticism is helpful. The passage you quoted:

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. - Gen 1.27

It is widely accepted that this section comes from the so-called P source (P for 'Priestly') which gives one (rather late, probably exilic or post-exilic) account of creation which shows some affinity with the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish.

The second section of the Genesis account that you allude to (the more "close-up" account beginning in Gen 2:4) is generally said to be from the J source (J for J/Yawist) which hails from (perhaps) as early as the 10th century BCE. The tension between the two accounts (e.g. "when no plant of the field was yet in the earth . . ." yet plants were created before people) has long been observed and harmonized by pious scribes and scholars, as you allude to.

In other words, you are comparing an apple to an orange—the accounts are related thematically, but from a literary point of view you are—to use a Tolkien analogy—comparing the LOTR to the Hobbit. You expect some overlap, and most of the facts line up, but they are very different and don't always agree.

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You haven't established that there is even a conflict here. You say "thension between the two accounts has long been observed" but you haven't noted what the supposed tension even is. –  Caleb Jun 27 '13 at 9:32
"It seems like Adam was created with both genders." Sounds like tension to me. –  jackweinbender Jun 27 '13 at 12:36
That the Documentary Hypothesis is "widely accepted" might be an overstatement, depending on which pool of Biblical "scholars" you wish to draw from. There are many dissenters. –  mojo Jan 23 '14 at 21:19
At best the Documentary Hypothesis is widely accepted among liberal theologians only. It is not the historical Christian view, and it's certainly not widely accepted among Christendom as a whole. –  Lawrence Dol Jan 23 '14 at 21:34

I think your interpretation depends on the translation that you are using. According to the New Revised Standard Version of Genesis 1:27,

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

In the annotations, "humankind" is translated from the Hebrew word adam, and "them" is translated from the Hebrew word him. In the NRSV, it uses gender-neutral language. In your version, it does not use gender-neutral language. I think the NRSV takes the assumption that the gender-neutral language is what the original authors had in mind - humanity as a whole, and not just for men.

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Genesis One is an introductory paragraph. Genesis 2 goes into the specifics on the creation of Adam and Eve. Genesis 5:1-3 ties the wording of the two chapters together and shows that they are one account, not two separate imaginary sources.

Eve was made from Adam's rib, not cloned from Adam's rib. The Y-chromosome was either altered into another X, dismantled, or simply not included in the Eve model. There is no record of modification of Adam to go from androgynous to male; only the removal of a rib and the closing up of the flesh where it was removed. In Genesis 2:18 he is referred to as "the man"; if he were androgynous and not in need of a corresponding gender there would be no point in creating such a being for him.

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Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

The Jews have an Orthopraxic religion they do not condemn wrong beliefs and what we call heart sins as much as much as they condemn wrong action. The teachings recorded in the extra-scriptural sources are insightful into judaism not necessarily Christianity. The word and the original language is insightful into what we should believe but here it isn't very important.

Genesis 1:27 select words

God ,‏אֱלֹהִים‎‎2.1 ,ʾĕlōhîm ,‏אֱלֹהִים‎ ,ʾĕlōhîm


man ,‏אָדָם‎‎4.2 ,ʾādām ,‏אָדָם‎ ,ʾādām


(HCSB Reverse Interlinear)

However in this instance I would agree there is scriptural basis for adam being created masculine and feminine because God is plural as it always is but what is translated as man really is the word adam and while masculine it is singular.

him ,‏ֹו‎‎9.2 ,ōw ,‏ֹו‎ ,ōw


-Stem:Hifil Stem


-Person:3rd Person




(HCSB Reverse Interlinear)

Again the word him used in the first part of the verse also is singular but is feminine instead of masculine it should be her.

This mixed with the "male and female" part of the verse does give the idea that Adam was created in the image of God in a way that made him both male and female. Whether this made him both genders is not told to us. And yes I have heard that adam was created with male and female part the female were removed to create eve in Word of Faith circles but I do not know how widely it is believed. Some believe this is referring to the adam and eve expressly. You could however reject both of those ideas and choose to believe something else like Lilith like some other jews do. Its not going to affect your salvation in any meaningful way.

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just a thought, you post this same reference quite a bit. It would really help folks if you'd like to the actual page where they can examine the reference themselves (or an amazon link if it's a physical book). And linking to your bible references would be an awesome touch as well. –  wax eagle Jun 27 '13 at 2:33
@waxeagle i'm sorry i don't understand this is the first time i've quoted the HCSB reverse interlinear which reference are you saying i use repeatedly? I don't mind citing it whatever it is. –  user4060 Jun 27 '13 at 2:38
Ah, I missed the reference there. I was thinking it was strong's again. I love that you're referencing the outside source. Just asking if you could link them up. –  wax eagle Jun 27 '13 at 2:39
Link added but its expensive @waxeagle –  user4060 Jun 27 '13 at 2:44
@caseyr547 The print may be expensive but the translation itself (including the interliner stuff you're referencing) is available online for free. I have updated your link to the passage in question. Hover over words to get the original language morophology stuff. (Also note: to get links to verses from that site HIGHLIGHT the verse and use the popup. This wasn't obvious to me.) –  Caleb Jun 27 '13 at 8:57

If the original Adam were androgynous, he would hardly be the same man as the one who emerged from his sleep to find his wife. There would then arise the question of whether he was responsible to keep the commands given to the previous Adam. Anyway he has the same name, and he has only had a piece taken out of him, so why should he be different. It may be that he was changed by the experience - wounded and healed..

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In 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 Paul is clearly talking about persons (men) of male gender and persons (women) of female gender. So when he says 'For not is man of woman but woman of man' (verse 8) this statement loses its point if 'man' in this statement is androgynous.

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I think you may have missed the point of this question. Obviously men and women today are not androgynous. The question here is not about Paul's use or gender pronouns but an odd turn of phrase in Genesis. As such your answer doesn't even seem to touch on the issue. –  Caleb Jan 23 '14 at 20:25

protected by Caleb Jan 23 '14 at 20:18

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