After answering a recent question, it occurred to me to ask: Is there any biblical evidence regarding whether Adam and Eve have been redeemed in some fashion (and are thus going to Heaven/the New Earth)? (Someone to tweak the tags to fit better would be welcome!)
According to Genesis 3:21, God made the very first animal sacrifice to provide a covering for Adam and Eve.
Genesis 3:21. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
According to Hebrews 9:22 and Hebrews 10:10, the Old Testament animal sacrifice was a prefigure of the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross "once for all".
Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
So yes, Adam and Eve's sin of unbelief was covered (literally in this case, because they wore the animal skins to cover their nakedness) by an atoning sacrifice.
Unfortunately, the Genesis narrative is pretty sketchy about Adam and Eve after they were cast out of Eden, focusing more on their descendants. We do know, however, that Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God. It's reasonable to suppose that they were taught to do so by their parents, indicating a general attitude of piety. Whether or not they actually repented and obtained forgiveness is left unclear.
I do remember reading the Apocrypha one time, and one of the books (I can't find it right now, does anyone have the reference?) contains a list of Old Testament characters and commentary on them, and it refers to Adam as "the greatest of all," alongside the great prophets and patriarchs. While the Apocrypha is not generally considered canonical or authoritative, it's informative at least...
Here's a good homily regarding Jesus meeting Adam when he descends to the dead, like a son meets a delinquent father. There's no evidence in the homily to support Adam being saved.
But, Catholics at least believe, that the righteous of the OT did indeed "get saved" when Jesus descended to the dead. There's no evidence that Adam or Eve did any more wicked stuff after leaving the Garden.
Here's some bible exegesis I just thought up. You'll just have to read the first few chapters of Genesis to follow along.
- God establishes the very first covenant with Adam and Eve (the protoevangelium, a promise of a redeemer)
- If Adam and Eve had not passed their belief in God down to Seth, they would not have been a righteous; they would not have Seth "Invoke the LORD by name".
- The world does indeed turn wicked between the time of Adam and Eve and the time of Noah, but Enoch is clearly a righteous man (he walked with God) and there is no reason to suppose that God established another covenant with him.
So, in summary, if the covenant passed successfully between generations down to Noah (and us), then there must be some semblance of righteousness between each generation and that righteousness (and faith) would hopefully save someone who doesn't know Jesus from the fires of Hell.
(full disclosure: I edit these homilies and upload them for the priest involved. I'm not spamming for the site, just thought it might be interesting to listen to - it's a good thing to meditate on and something I'd never thought about before)
It seems like Adam and Eve both expressed faith in God's promise. They were brought back into fellowship with him, even though they were kept from partaking of the tree of life. God provided the atonement (covering) via animal skins, and thus, a dead animal.
My only question is why this incident is not mentioned in Hebrews 11. The first person mentioned there as having faith was Abel. Then follows Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc. Why didn't the author mention Adam? Maybe that's a question for another thread...