The majority view among scholars is that the book of Genesis dates from the Persian Empire (the 5th and 4th centuries BCE), but the absence from the rest of the Hebrew Bible of all the other characters and incidents mentioned in chapters 1-11 of Genesis, (Adam appears only in chapters 1-5, with the exception of a mention at the beginning of the Books of Chronicles where, as in Genesis, he heads the list of Israel's ancestors) has led a sizable minority to the conclusion that Genesis 1-11 was composed much later, possibly in the 3rd century BCE.
The Bible uses the word אָדָם ( 'adam ) in all of its senses: collectively ("mankind", 1:27), individually (a "man", 2:7), gender nonspecific ("man and woman", 5:1,2), and male (2:23-24). In Genesis 1:27 "adam" is used in the collective sense, and the interplay between the individual "Adam" and the collective "humankind" is a main literary component to the events that occur in the Garden of Eden, the ambiguous meanings embedded throughout the moral, sexual, and spiritual terms of the narrative reflecting the complexity of the human condition. Genesis 2:7 is the first verse where "Adam" takes on the sense of an individual man (the first man), and the context of sex and gender is absent; the gender distinction of "adam" is then reiterated in Genesis 5:1–2 by defining "male and female".
A recurring literary motif is the bond between Adam and the earth (adamah): God creates Adam by molding him out of clay in the final stages of the creation narrative. After the loss of innocence, God curses Adam and the earth as punishment for his disobedience. Adam and humanity is cursed to die and return to the earth (or ground) from which he was formed. This "earthly" aspect is a component of Adam's identity, and Adam's curse of estrangement from the earth seems to describe humankind's divided nature of being earthly yet separated from nature. God himself who took of the dust from all four corners of the earth with each color (red, black, white, and green) then created Adam therewith, where the soul of Adam is the image of God.
Genesis 1 tells of God's creation of the world and its creatures, with humankind as the last of his creatures: "Male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam ..." (Genesis 5:2). God blesses mankind, commands them to "be fruitful and multiply," and gives them "dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Genesis 1.26-27).
In Genesis 2, God forms "Adam", this time meaning a single male human, out of "the dust of the ground" and "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" (Genesis 2:7). God then places this first man in the Garden of Eden, telling him that "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17). God notes that "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18) and brings the animals to Adam, who gives them their names, but among all the animals there was not found a companion for him (Genesis 2:20). God causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and forms a woman (Genesis 2:21-22), and Adam awakes and greets her as his helpmate.
Genesis 3, the story of the Fall: A serpent persuades the woman to disobey God's command and eat of the tree of knowledge, which gives wisdom. Woman convinces Adam to do likewise, whereupon they become conscious of their nakedness, cover themselves, and hide from the sight of God. God questions Adam, who blames the woman. God passes judgment, first upon the serpent, condemned to go on his belly, then the woman, condemned to pain in childbirth and subordination to her husband, and finally Adam, who is condemned to labour on the earth for his food and to return to it on his death. God then expels the man and woman from the garden, lest they eat of the Tree of Life and become immortal.