Adam and Eve Icon: Biblical Story and Features
The Orthodox iconography does not feature Adam and Eve frequently. However, the biblical story of the first people’s fall is one of the central scenes in Christian history. It continues to be displayed in religious fine art, literature, and cinematography. Check out this blog post to learn more about Adam and Eve icon and its significance for Orthodox Christians.
Adam and Eve: the biblical story
In Christianity, Adam is the first man and the father of the human race. The word “Adam” also denotes humanity as a whole. Eve is the foremother of all humans and Adam’s wife. According to tradition, she was created from his rib.
The book of Genesis contains the story of Adam and Eve’s Fall. Eve was seduced by the serpent and tasted the fruit that grew on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Eve found that nothing bad had happened, she offered the fruit to Adam. After that, their eyes became open, and they learned about shame. God punished Eve by requiring her to obey the husband and have painful childbirth. Adam was next punished by working hard for food instead of getting it from the Garden of Eden.
As a result, God banished Adam and Eve from Eden, proclaiming that people would now be mortal, and set a cherub to guard the entrance to Eden with a flaming sword.
The Adam and Eve icon: the main features
Adam and Eve icon most often depicts them standing near the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They are naked, with only leaves covering their genitals, as they have already experienced shame. Icons describing the story of the expulsion from Eden appeared in the 6th century.
Adam may also be depicted in Orthodox icons of the Crucifixion. His bones and skull are seen at the bottom of the cross on which Christ was crucified. The Savior’s blood drips on the skull, symbolizing the redemption of human nature violated by sin.
Byzantine iconography features a scene of Adam and Eve rising from their coffins. These images are placed to the sides of Christ’s crucifixion scene.
Overall, Adam and Eve icon symbolizes the Fall redeemed by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Do not miss our new blog posts to learn more about the biblical history and meaning of other Orthodox icons.