Population of Eden?

 How many people lived in the Garden of Eden?

God created the Garden of Eden on the sixth day as a place for Adam and Eve to live. The garden had everything they needed to survive and live a full and enjoyable life. It also contained the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, whose fruit was forbidden. Eventually mankind gave into temptation and ate the forbidden fruit. This resulted in their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Most of us know this story very well, but when mankind was expelled from the Garden and forbidden to ever return, just how many people had to leave? The quick answer is two, just Adam and Eve, but is this the correct answer? Just how many people lived in the garden with Adam and Eve? Scriptures doesn't give us an exact number, but they do indicate Adam and Eve were not alone.

Book of Genesis

God created the first man, Adam, and then Eve to be his partner and companion. They were created in the image and likeness of God and were perfect. Early in the Book of Genesis God gives them instructions to have children and fill the earth. 

God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it: and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and every other living thing that moves on the earth." - Genesis 1:28

However, the first mention of a child being born is much later in chapter four. This passage tells of the birth of Cain who of course was instrumental in the story of Cain and Able which immediately follows this passage.

"Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain." - Genesis 4:1 

Was Cain the first born to Adam and Eve, or was his birth only mentioned here because it was relevant to the story the writer was about to tell? The Bible very rarely tells everything in an exact chronological order and often leaves huge gaps of information missing. In regards to the children of Adam and Eve, the Bible is very vague and only mentions names when they pertain to a story or event that is to be explained in further detail. This is evident in Chapter 5

"Then the days of Adam after he fathered Seth were eight hundred years, and he fathered other sons and daughters." - Genesis 5:4

Here the Bible tells us they had other sons and daughters, but does not give us any names or even a specific number of children. Interestingly, Jewish tradition tells that Adam and Eve had 56 children. I am uncertain exactly how they arrived at this number, but obviously tradition tells us they had many more children than are directly told about in scripture.

While we know Adam and Eve had children, the question remains, did Adam and Eve have children before they were cast out of the garden? Obviously if they followed God's instructions to be fruitful and multiple, they did have children. Is this another case of the Bible not telling things in an exact chronological order? Were Adam and Eve not fruitful until after their fall from grace and the expulsion form the garden?  We are given a strong indication of the truth in the words of God to Eve as he expelled them from the garden.

"To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, In pain you will deliver children." - Genesis 3:16

In this passage God says He will greatly multiply Eve's pain during childbirth. The obvious implication is that Eve had already given birth to multiple children. After all, how can you multiple something, such as the pain of childbirth, if it has not yet happened. While the Bible is not always told in an exact chronological or historical order, this passage can be placed at a specific time in history. This punishment was being handed down as God expelled man from the garden, before the birth of Cain. If this is an accurate reading of scripture, and I feel it is, then Adam and Eve had children while living in the Garden of Eden and Cain was not their first born.

Knowing Adam and Eve had children, is there any way to determine how many people lived in the garden, or perhaps the earth, at the time of their fall from grace? Unfortunately the answer is no, there is no way of knowing this information. There is simply too much missing information to come to any logical conclusion. The key piece of data we do not know is how long did Adam and Eve live in the garden before they gave into temptation? Did Satan begin his deception right away? How long were they able to fend off temptation and tell Satan no? Did they last a day, a month, a year, thousands of years? We must remember, they had everything they needed in the garden, life was good, they had very little need for any physical possession so it may have been possible for them to resist Satan's empty promises for an extended period of time. 

If they were able to resist temptation for a prolonged period of time, how many children could they have had? How many grandchildren, great grandchildren? Yes, for this to happen there would have been siblings having children together. This is seen and incestuous and even unhealthy today, but regardless of the timing, if you believe the earth began with just Adam and Eve, then there were sibling unions that took place. After a time these unions would have been between more distant relatives. It is also unknown how often women would have children. How long would they wait between one child and the next.

Where did Cain's Wife Come From?

The concept of there being children born to Adam and Eve while still in the garden also helps resolve other questions some have about certain passages. If we say Cain was the first born, followed by Able, then they were the only two children and the population of the earth was just four people. If this were true, then whom did Cain fear would kill him when God cast him out after Cain murdered his brother? It would seem Cain had a great many people to fear which is why God put a mark on Cain so no one would harm him.

"Behold you have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and I will be hidden from Your face, and I will be a wanderer and a drifter on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." - Genesis 4:14

Also, after leaving Adam and Eve who would have been alone now, Cain was able to find a wife. If there were no children born that were not recorded in the Bible, where did Cain's wife come from? It seems obvious Adam and Eve had obeyed God and had been fruitful and filled the earth.

"Then Cain left the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived." Genesis 4:16-17 

Given the scriptures it seems very obvious there were a large number of children born to Adam and Eve prior to the fall from grace. This allows for other passages such as who wanted to kill Cain and where Cain's wife came from to be easily explained and any supposed contradiction resolved. 

How Long Did Adam Live?

Some will point out a potential major flaw to this train of thought. The Bible clearly tells us how long Adam lived. In Genesis 5:5 the Bible tells us Adam lived 930 years, and then he died. Furthermore, a time line is given for the birth of many of his children. Doesn't this give us a somewhat exact timeline for when the fall from grace took place? Not exactly.

If I were to ask you how old was Jesus when He was crucified the normal answer would be 33. Some scholars say he was 30, but regardless, he was in his early 30's when he was crucified. But wait, does that mean Jesus did not exist before that time? I have always been taught Jesus was present at the creation of the heavens and the earth.

"Then God said, "Let us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness," - Genesis 1-26

If God is not referring to Jesus in this statement, then why does He refer to Himself in the plural tense? The reason we give Jesus an age of 30 -to- 33 at the time of His crucifixion is because when He was born He stepped out of eternity to become man. That is when His earthly age began and continued for the next 30-33 years until He returned to His eternal state of/life. In much the same way, Adam was eternal prior to his fall from grace. He had no age before this because there was no sin and thus no death, age was totally irrelevant, just as it will be for us in heaven. I believe the clock on Adam's age began when he and the rest of mankind were expelled from the Garden of Eden. It was at this point his 930 year 'earthly' lifespan began.

For these reasons I believe the Garden of Eden had a far greater population. The number of people being expelled from the garden could have bene enormous, all having to pay for the sins of Adam and Eve. After the first sin and the fall from grace evil quickly escalated into jealousy and even murder. This expansion of evil would continue until God could take no more and He would eventually destroy the earth by way of a massive flood, but that is another story.

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