About Eve, Part 2 of 2

Subtitle: It’s all about equality

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The Genesis story of the first sin is mythological. Not false, but rather ahistorical. In a word, it didn’t happen, yet it expresses a number of truths about life.

Among them:

We (women and men, equally) are endowed with knowledge of right and wrong,[1] and…

In the circumstances and chances of our daily living, we are called to choose between the two (always being mindful that life is laden with ambiguity), and…

When we choose rightly (wisely), there are blessings and consequences for our choosing wrongly and…

In choosing wrongly, we (women and men, equally) are subject to the temptation of disavowing personal responsibility and casting blame on someone or something else.[2]

Thus, what needs rehabilitation is not Eve’s image, but rather the restoration of humankind’s…mankind’s view of women as equal.

For so it was in the Garden of Eden…before The Fall.[3]

© 2022 PRA

Illustration: Adam and Eve in Paradise, Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678). The artist depicts the perfection in beauty and harmony, diversity and equality of life in the Garden of Eden.


[1] From what sources and by whatever means, e.g., civil code, natural law, religious ethical instruction.

[2] God called to the man, saying, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard you in the garden, I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.” God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit, and I ate.” God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3.9-13; my adaptation with emphases mine).

[3] “The Fall” is that biblical, theological term referencing humankind’s disobedience to and rejection of the Divine ordering and perfection in peace of Creation; a disobedience and rejection that continues throughout human history.

4 thoughts on “About Eve, Part 2 of 2

  1. Thank you Paul!! Well I wasn’t sure where Part 2 would go, but it went to a good place… Love that Eve’s image doesn’t need to be rehabilitated, our overall thinking and acting needs to be changed to where we all see women and men as equals!! That works for me. Not sure that will happen in our lifetime but I’d be thrilled if it did!

    Love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My beloved Loretta and Karen, as always, always I say: Thank you. For God graces me with honor and humility whenever you, each and both, read, reflect, and then respond to anything I write. And your commentaries here, particularly, are compelling (spiritually nourishing) for me…

      Loretta, in your, for me, telling wonderment as to whether we will behold equality between and among women and men in our lifetime. I, too, fear that we will not see it. Indeed, I have come to believe, and then to think, at least, some of the time, that the evidences of our human sinful brokenness — in defiance and denial of the Edenic vision of wholeness, oneness with the Creator, and compatibility with and compassion for all living things — will continue to prevail. That the universal “-isms” involving the denigration of persons for sake of color and gender will prevail. That the destruction of the Earth for sake of economic benefit for the few will prevail. That we humanoids, whether as individuals, families, clans, communities, regions, or nations, will continue to labor daily to destroy ourselves. In truth, I believe these things to be true. For I behold little proof or testimony to the contrary. NEVERTHELESS, I have one life that I have been given. And I choose, daily, in my small world and in my small ways to love (to be consciously, actively benevolent, willing and working to be and to do the best of others, all others, even and especially those who are unlike me and those whom I do not like) and to be just (to think and to feel, to intend and to act equitably toward others; all others). Do I fail? Yes. Daily. For I, opinionated and subject to make critical judgments of others, do not trust my inner resources. Yet I also trust God — whatever or whomever I believe God to be (whether that greater, higher power that creates all things or that vision of love and loveliness, grace and mercy of which the scriptures speak as manifested, incarnationally in Jesus of Nazareth) — and in this trust, this faith, this confidence I rely. For as that olden philosopher spake (which for me hath become a daily guidepost): “Always look up, let you believe that you are the highest point.” Hence, I look up and beyond my narrow self to behold a vision of beauty, which I, then, seek to embody. That vision is love and justice.

      Karen, I thank you for sharing the testimonies of Cole Arthur Riley and Christina Cleveland. I was not familiar with either of them. Yet they testify to — what for me is and long hath been — a truth. A reality rooted, for me, in my belief that One God created and creates all things. A reality testified in the core witness of the Book of Genesis. That all things that God hath made are good. Hence, any images that historically, culturally/societally are and have been defined as “good” or “lovely” or “beautiful” or “desirable and to be desired by all” necessarily are false. For all are/is good…

      And, my dear Karen, regarding the “synchronicity (that) brings important ideas and expressions together in one time and place”, aye, amen! For so I, too, believe. Your testimony stirs another word to mind: synchroneity, which, for me, speaks to the simultaneity of one thought stirring another thought or an action so instantaneously that the discernment of where and when the precipitating influence begins and ends from the response is nearly impossible to discern. Thus, for me, because of you, each of you, Loretta and Karen, how oft it hath been that your responses immediately stir another thought or feeling or, even more, even deeper, another/a new sense of myself (my self) as a thinker, a writer, aye, as a person that I sense that I (or, perhaps, a part of me) hath been remade, reborn, made more whole. And that, dearest Karen, is GRACE.

      You, each and both, bless me.

      I love you,
      Paul

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  2. Dear Paul and Loretta,

    I appreciate these thoughts so much. The demonization of the female body and psyche is such a powerful and dangerous theological and cultural theme down through Judeo-Christian as well as Islamic history and remains menacingly active in the present day. I believe at base the fear and outright hatred of the feminine drives a great deal of our country’s and our world’s current chaos.

    Paul, I recognized a meaningful echo and elaboration of your thoughts and words in today’s meditation from Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation, who quotes writer Cole Arthur Riley. Although the theme of his meditation and her words is embodiment, the sex/gender issue is strikingly present:

    “For me, the story of God becoming body is only matched by God’s submission to the body of a woman. That the creator of the cosmos would choose to rely on an embodied creation. To be grown, fed, delivered—God put faith in a body. In Mary’s muscles and hormones, bowels and breasts. And when Christ’s body is broken and blood shed, we should hold in mystery that first a woman’s body was broken, her blood shed, in order to deliver the hope of the world into the world…”

    Rohr then moves on to offer some additional quotes from Christina Cleveland, which I also love:

    “The Sacred Black Feminine . . . helped me choose to embrace my body despite what society said about it. As I began to turn to images of the Black Madonna to guide me, I noticed they are not small women. They look like they have never fasted a day in their life. They look like they eat more than my boarding school staples of plain bagels, honeydew melon, and nonfat cottage cheese. They proudly take up space. . . .

    The four-hundred-fifty plus Black Madonnas around the world encompass a wide range of skin colors, hair textures, body sizes, and ages. Some are pregnant. Some are breastfeeding with proudly exposed breasts. Some are gender nonconforming. The one thing they all have in common is that they are Black and they are holy. Seeing these diverse liberating images of the Sacred Black Feminine helped me relax into my body because I was able to relax into Her diverse and inclusive body. [2]”

    I have for a very long time been in deepest awe and reverence toward the Black Madonna figures and images that appear in various places across the world. I credit them, and those who have called attention to them (for me, most especially Sue Monk Kidd), as powerful impetus and support for the transformation of my life and my faith over the past 30 or so years. Without the idea and and the images of the sacred feminine, and, most particularly, everything that the sacred Black feminine stands for, I’m very afraid my life would have remained stuck in religious and cultural belief that possesses very little power and very little living, breathing spirit, and that was and remains to this day, I believe, ultimately damaging, divisive, and destructive to human beings.

    I so love when synchronicity brings important ideas and expressions together in one time and place. I have learned to take it as Grace at work in the world on this particular day. Thank you, Paul and Loretta, for participating so beautifully in that Grace in my life this morning.

    Much love and gratitude for and to both of you. I’m so glad you are in my life!

    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just a quick note to let you know that I mistyped Christena Cleveland’s name. I know better, but my too-eager fingers obliterated her first name’s unusual spelling. Sorry about that!

    Karen

    Like

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