It is historical, not symbolic, for several reasons:
The story is treated as a straightforward, literal account in Genesis, and acknowledged in the epistles, such as here: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Timothy 2:13-14).
Real consequences (sin) came from the interaction of Adam and Eve with the Tempter.
Real offspring with stories of their own came from Adam and Eve.
Adam’s name is part of Jesus’ genealogy in Luke 3:38.
In every case, Adam and Eve are treated as real people who knew God, received instruction from him, disobeyed him, and suffered the consequences of their sin – bringing death into the world. Through their story we understand that God gave them dominion over the earth and the free will to accept his rule over their lives or reject it. Because of their fall, God gave a beautiful promise of salvation through the offspring of Eve (Genesis 3:15). The rest of the Old Testament follows her offspring, the lineage that leads to the promised deliverer, Jesus Christ.
What Do You Think?
a. Just as some people believe Adam is a mythical person with an existence having no basis in fact, some people believe the same for Santa Claus. The Saint Nicholas figure who actually formed the basis for the symbol we revere is little known. Can you believe there are other symbols whose origins are now obscure, but were based on fact?
b. Even now scientists and nutritionists are trying to figure out why we all can’t live twice as long. Death seems to be alien. Did you know that because of Adam’s sin, we all die? Jesus came as the second Adam, so that through his death and resurrection, we who believe may all be made alive.