Thursday, April 2, 2015

What About Eve?

Did Eve really cause it? This is holy week. Tomorrow is Good Friday, when Christians remember the death of Jesus. Jesus came to make right a world that had gone wrong, allegedly because Eve listened to a serpent in the Garden of Eden, and she and her husband Adam chose to disobey God by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, a forbidden tree. Then God reportedly evicted Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and gave them a lecture and some punishment. Adam was to toil by his hands and Eve was to have pain in childbirth. This was the notorious Fall of Man, when sin entered the world and it was all downhill until Jesus arrived to save everyone. It’s all in the Bible and in Christian interpretations.

It appears to me that Eve is a minor player in the overall story of Adam and Eve. In one of the Genesis stories God created her from a rib of Adam, who was already present, and he was very happy to have her as a companion. They and God seemed to have a close relationship until the serpent appeared and told them that knowledge is a good thing and they would be like God if they ate the fruit of the tree. So they found it good and they ate. This was an act they did together. It wasn’t just Eve. Good-bye paradise; hello sin. Adam and Eve represented the entire human race (population 2). They were infected.

After a long time of much more sin-infected disobedience to God’s commands, about which we can read in the Old Testament, we are told that God came back into the world as Jesus Christ. I see a theological connection here that starts with Eve and continues with the new Eve, who is Mary the mother of Jesus, and continues again with Jesus and Good Friday and Easter, the day of Resurrection.

Eve is barely mentioned in Genesis, but she has received plenty of blame for listening to a snake. St. Augustine formalized the doctrine of Original Sin in the fifth century, which is about the human race being infected with consequences of the Fall. Christians are baptized to remove it. And sin still exists, individual, social, corporate.

I say don’t blame Eve. The chosen people entered into the arrangement with God over many years. It’s their fault too, and ours, while evil exists all around the world. God gave everyone the capability of choosing. Being the first (Eve) isn’t being the only one.

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