Some branches of Christianity fully accept the tradition of Adam and Eve as portrayed in the Bible, and although some hold various views expressed in the Pseudepigrapha, they do not accept the later Jewish Midrash.
The story of Adam and Eve forms the basis for the doctrine of original sin, a doctrine that is held as true by many branches of Christianity, but is not shared by the Orthodox or Congregationalist churches, nor by Judaism nor The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned,” said St Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, writing in Greek about 58 AD. St Paul was not being true to the Hebrew of Genesis, which nowhere mentions the words “sin” and which does not say that Adam was punished with death. (Adam’s transgression in Genesis 3 is disobedience, not sin, and he is expelled from Eden not in order to die, but so that he may not eat of the Tree of Life and become immortal). St Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), working with a Latin mistranslation of the epistle, understood Paul to have said that Adam’s sin was hereditary: “Death passed upon (i.e. spread to) all men because of Adam, [in whom] all sinned”. Original sin, the concept that man is born in a condition of sinfulness and must await redemption, while founded on a forced reading of Genesis followed by an exegesis based on a mistranslation, nevertheless became a cornerstone of Christian theological tradition, primarily in Western-rite churches.
Over the centuries, a system of uniquely Christian beliefs has developed from the Adam and Eve story. Baptism, which predates Christianity has become understood as a means of washing away the stain of hereditary sin. Additionally, the serpent that tempted Eve was interpreted by some to have been Satan, although there is no mention of this identification in the Torah. In fact, Genesis does not even hint at any of these readings, and their observance by many Christians has marked the religion’s radical break from its parent.
Because Eve had tempted Adam to eat of the fatal fruit, some early Fathers of the Church held her and all subsequent women to be the first sinners, and especially responsible for the Fall. “You are the devil’s gateway,” Tertullian told his female listeners in the early 2nd century, and went on the explain that they were responsible for the death of Christ: “On account of your desert – that is, death – even the Son of God had to die.”
In 1486 the Dominicans Kramer and Sprengler used similar tracts to justify the Malleus Maleficarum (“Hammer of the Witches”) that led to three centuries of persecution of “witches”.
Eastern Orthodox tradition holds that the sword placed at the entrance to Paradise to prevent humankind from returning to the Garden was removed once Jesus was born.