About Eve, Part 1 of 2

Subtitle: It’s all about equality

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The serpent, craftier than all the wild animals God had made, said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” She answered, “Of the trees, we may eat, but not of the one in the middle of the garden, lest we die.” The serpent said, “You will not die, for God knows when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Seeing the tree as good for food, a delight to the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; giving some to her husband, who also ate (Genesis 3,1-6; my adaptation).

Eve, as first woman, the metaphorical mother of humankind, bears the mark of guilt for committing the first sin. A troika of errors: falling prey to temptation, disobeying God, and seducing Adam into sharing her betrayal.

Nearly 2200 years ago, ben Sira wrote: “From a woman sin had its beginning and because of her we all die.”[1]

Centuries later, the Apostle Paul added his disapprobation: “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”[2]

These views, over time, illumined and magnified in the teaching and preaching of the church, have been used…misused to substantiate the idea of the inferiority of Eve to Adam and, by extension, women to men.[3] This unjustly perceived inherent inferiority has contributed to the stubbornly prevalent societal assessment and treatment of women as subordinates to men.

A closer examination of the Genesis story reveals something more, something else…

© 2022 PRA


[1] Ecclesiasticus (or The Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Eleazar, Son of Sirach or Sirach, for short) 25.24

[2] 1 Timothy 2.12-14

[3] In this regard, I think that the traditional church teaching about Mary as perpetually virginally pure and wholly virtuous in her obedience to the will of God that she become Theotokos, God-bearer, is intended not only to make a statement about who Jesus is as God’s Son, but also to redeem the image of Eve.

Illustration: The Fall and Expulsion from the Garden (1508-1512), Michelangelo (1475-1564), Sistine Chapel, Rome. Note: In The Fall (the left side of the panel), Michelangelo depicts the serpent (following medieval custom, portrayed as a woman; thus, amplifying the woman-as-temptress theme) handing a piece of the fruit from the tree to Eve, and, notwithstanding the Apostle Paul’s declaration that “Adam was not deceived” (1 Timothy 2.14), Adam, not waiting for Eve to offer the fruit to him, reaches for his own!

1 thought on “About Eve, Part 1 of 2

  1. Ohhhh I can’t wait for Part 2 Paul!! thank you for this!! Misused is right, will women ever recover and be treated equally??

    Love!

    Like

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