Genesis records that Adam had only one wife, Eve.  Some confuse the two accounts of the creation of man (Genesis 1 and Genesis 2) as different creations of different people. However, Genesis 1 simply gives a general overview of man’s creation. Genesis 2 offers a detailed account of the creation of Adam and then of Eve.

A look at chapter 2 in context shows that it details specific aspects of the Genesis 1 creative process. It is a kind of flashback scenario where Adam’s creation is progressively outlined and then Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib is described. Additionally, information about tending the plants and animals in the Garden of Eden is supplied.

There is no reference to anyone taking more than one wife for several generations until after man’s creation. Then, one of Cain’s descendants married two women. Genesis 4:19 reads, “ And Lamech took unto him two wives… the one was Adah, and … the other Zillah.”  

Genesis 4:25, goes back to Adam and says, “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” There was no mention of a different wife’s name so it must still be Eve, especially since it references the child that couple lost together.

Adam and Eve are the example of the marriage ideal from God’s standpoint. For a time, God did permit a man to have more than one wife. But God did not originate the practice of polygamy. He provided only one wife for Adam. Jesus, God’s son, also reiterated his Father’s original standard of monogamy. When asked about marriage, Jesus said: “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh,’”  Matthew 19:4,5.

The Apostle Paul was also inspired by God to write in 1 Corinthians 7:2, “Let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband.” The importance of monogamy is further verified in 1 Timothy 3:2,12. These verses explain that any married man in the Christian congregation who is given special responsibilities (elders and deacons) must be “a husband of one wife.”