Answer by John Mackay
It’s true that some old earthers do argue that since we are not told how many days or weeks Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, this leaves the door open to allow the possibility of an old earth. However, here is one aspect that most people do not think about – the names Adam gave to his wife! Surprisingly the sequence of naming events in Genesis 2 and 3, provide interesting insights into how short a time they spent in Eden’s Garden.
Genesis 1 and 2 inform us that on the sixth day mankind was made, that both male and the female were made, and God blessed them both and commanded them to multiply and fill the earth. In Genesis chapter 2 we get more details of the sequence of events. Adam was made from the dust of the ground, then commanded to name the animals, but none were found that were suitable mates for him, so God put him to sleep, made a woman from tissue taken from his side, and brought her to Adam to be his wife. That is when Adam gave the woman a first name with the generic statement “she should be called woman“. This is the first tick of the time clock on how long the man and the woman were in the garden.
At this point the name Eve hasn’t appeared, and we are still on the sixth day.
Genesis chapter 3 then covers the temptation of Eve, the sin of Adam, and God’s judgement. It was only after these events the name Eve was given to the woman who was Adam’s wife. (Genesis 3:20)
So, note carefully the second tick of the clock: Eve receives her name only after sin is judged by God, when He had pronounced the death penalty on them, but at the same time revealed the first hope of a future male descendent of the woman who will come and save them from sin, death and hell. It is only after that, and in the in the light of that hope, that Adam names the woman who is his wife Eve! Her name means ‘life’. Few people also appreciate that this naming right is also an authority issue relating to male headship, as well as an obligation to care and take responsibility for her.
Now consider this question: for those who want Adam and Eve to have been in the garden for years or centuries – can you imagine a sinless Adam, the only human male ever to have been capable of having the best sinless love life that could ever be possible, to have gone round for years or even weeks calling out, “Hey you!” or “Wifey come here!” or even worse, “Thingy … get over here!” Doesn’t sound quite right does it?
Yes, in today’s world it is possible for a long married couple to frequently call one another by general terms of endearment, such as ‘Darling’, or sometimes even use humorous nicknames such as ‘Pussycat’ or ‘Topdog’, without using a personal birth name given by their parents. But the history of such secondary names, reveals they are never used at the start of any relationship, and always require much time to gain use, and neither ‘Woman’ nor ‘Eve’ fit that category.
So, hidden in this naming event is another clue to the fact that Adam and Eve did not spend very long in the garden at all. We can dismiss as foolhardy, any concept that the first man and woman lived in such impersonal Edenic perfection for eons, merely to falsely justify acceptance of pagan old earth views, and dismiss the obvious reality of the Bibles short time span. At best it only makes your evolutionist old-earth colleagues think the Bible is a meaningless book that allows you to give it any meaning you want.
LIVING IN EDEN: Do we know how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden? Answer here.
ADAM & EVE: Who were Adam and Eve? Answer here.
MAN FROM DUST? My sceptical friends say it is impossible for God to create Adam as a living adult from non-living dust. Answer here.
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