How Many Children Did Adam And Eve Really Have?

In the Old Testament's account of the creation story, the first humans are identified as Adam and Eve, as recounted in Genesis 1. Of course, as BBC News notes, whether or not this particular Biblical account and others like it are to be taken literally is a matter of dispute. In fact, most world religions reject the idea of an actual first man and woman from whom all other humans who have ever lived are descended. Most of the world's Bible adherents, save for a small handful of fundamentalists who take every word literally, believe that the scientific explanation for humanity (that we evolved from a common ancestor to apes) and the Biblical account must each be understood within their own contexts.

Of course, if the creation account is to be taken literally, then it presents a few problems, not the least of which is that all of humanity would have been descended from siblings — Adam and Eve's children. The narrative also leaves open the possibility of pairings between close relatives.

Cain, Abel, Seth, 'other sons and daughters'

The Bible only mentions three children of Adam and Eve by name: Cain, Abel, and Seth. All are sons, and the first wound up murdering the second (as depicted in the image above). However, in Genesis 5, the text notes that Adam and Eve had "other sons and daughters," bringing the total minimum number of children to seven. As Bible Study Tools notes, however, even if Adam and Eve did have daughters, if they are indeed the true "parents" of all humans, then the couple's sons and daughters would have had to produce children with one another. Further, since the narrative of Adam and Eve and their children takes place over centuries, the possibility remains that Adam and Eve's children produced children with their cousins or nieces or nephews — if the account is to be taken literally, that is. 

Bible Study Tools notes that this type of procreation is absolutely forbidden just a few chapters later in the Old Testament, opening the door to one of two possibilities: God created extra humans besides Adam and Eve, and Adam and Eve's children procreated with them and/or their descendants; or humanity was so pure at the time that things like genetic mutations caused by procreating with close relations were not problems, and God allowed it.