We all know the story: In the beginning there was man and woman, Adam and Eve. God told them they were free to do WHATEVER they wanted except eat of the forbidden tree. Were they to do so, they would be cast from their beautiful garden home and into the darkness of the world. Of course, poor, weak Eve couldn’t resist. She is only woman after all and Snake tricked her- she wasn’t clever enough. And woman is bad, so she used her temptress powers to lure Adam away from his God and while it’s Eve’s fault for being tricked by Snake, it’s not Adam’s fault for being tricked by Eve. No, that’s on her as well.
I always felt sorry for Eve. I remember feeling like she’d been horribly misjudged. After all, snakes are gross and scary and how can you not do what they tell you to? (I misjudged Snake it turns out). Maybe it hypnotized her. Maybe she was really really hungry and there was no where else in the whole garden to get an Apple. She’d never had an Apple before after all and it must have looked absolutely delight-full.
Of course, most of us recognize this version of the story as an excuse to persecute women in general but we tend to miss the overwhelming fact that Eve, is a total badass. She’s humanity’s first rebel and she had a cause. It is said that the tree from which Eve ate is the Tree of Knowledge. Can you imagine if she hadn’t taken that yummy bite? What if she hadn’t had the overwhelming desire to be just a little bad? Really, where would we be? She was brave when everyone else was afraid. Afraid of a piece of fruit; afraid of knowledge and possibilities. Throughout human history, the world is made up of rebels, now recognized as heros, without whom we’d never have moved along.
Sure, her little act of defiance got us cast from the garden but with that one little bite, we were also granted true free will. That free will we had before, remember the one where we could do whatever we wanted EXCEPT- was not truth. It was far too conditional to be free.
Of course there were consequences to her ‘badness’ but she took it in stride. She and Adam did just fine outside the garden and oh the adventures we’ve had as a result! While frolicking naked and carefree, through a lush green garden, for all of eternity seems wildly appealing most of the time, let’s be truly honest, we’d be bored out of our minds. Literally, without the tasty fruit of knowledge she granted us, we wouldn’t stand a chance beyond superficial happiness or have the opportunity to attain evolution of any sort. You can argue we wouldn’t need all this were we still in the garden but then what would the purpose of this big beautiful life be? What would make us different from the other animals? And don’t try to argue we were made in God’s image and that makes us different, because we’ve never seen God and if he truly did create the world, then all of creation is somehow made in his very image. This makes us alarmingly ordinary.
I think this whole Apple fiasco was a good lesson for God as well (I can just imagine him shaking his head at me right now). There was disappointment in being disobeyed but that’s just ego and like all good parents (s)he quickly came to realize the depth of her love for us. It became less conditional. Even after we’d fallen and were no longer perfect, he continued to love us and care for us. Sure, like the parents of many a rebellious teenager, he kicked us out of the house but who wants to live with mom and dad forever anyways? Those 40 somethings that never left home are super weird (not in the good way) and kind of creepy. Thank you Eve for saving us from an awkward mid-life existence!
Let us get to know the characters of this story a little better:
Apple, where it all began. Temptation just sitting there looking all tasty and all. Promising to placate the hunger we felt from the moment of our creation. I believe it held up it’s end of the bargain. We’ve been chasing Apple ever since.
Snake, who in the story is depicted as Lucifer, the fallen angel, or Devil, is considered God’s enemy. Apart from offering Eve another perspective though what did he really do wrong? He did not shove Apple down Eve’s throat but simply gave her more options. That’s what makes free will so fun. You get to choose. Without Snake, there wouldn’t be a choice and free will wouldn’t exist. In more modern times, snake medicine represents ‘Transmutation’. It is continuously shedding its skin, thus forever being ‘reborn’. It transforms poison into healing energy. It connects us to the knowledge that all is equal within creation and we have the power within ourselves to transform and heal ourselves. No wonder God (and the church) had such a hard time with Snake.
God(dess), as we already reviewed, takes on a parental figure here and throughout the Bible. Sometimes wrathful, occasionally gentle but always doing her best. We were brand new to him at the time of this story, first born-newborns in fact. There’d never been another us and just like us, he too was learning. God was probably freaking out a little. Maybe that’s why the God of the New Testament seems to have a better sense of humour than that of the Old. It’s the difference between being a first-time parent and an experienced grandparent. As many can attest to, parenting isn’t easy and through this little incident, Goddess too had the opportunity to transmute and evolve.
Eve, is the declared guilty party of this story, but more accurately, she is our liberator. She was brave when Adam was not. True, she was also wildly naive taking food from a stranger but we can’t be too hard on her there, as she hadn’t yet had a taste of knowledge. She had no instincts yet because there hadn’t been an opportunity to explore them. She’d been under lock and key up to that point and while she knew better because she’d been told so, she really didn’t know better.
Now there’s a character in this story who’s often overlooked. He’s tends to be granted a sort of free pass as an innocent victim and bystander but of course, the story is not complete without Adam. What we tend to miss is the fact that Adam also ate Apple. Yes, Eve did first but as we now see, it’s because she’s a badass and paver of the future. She’s a heroine. She did in fact offer him Apple but like Snake, Eve did not force him to eat of it. You can argue that he did it because he loved her and that’s a fine argument, but he was supposed to love his God more, so should have been able to say no to this inferior being.
Because Adam is man according to man, he is supposed to be stronger, better, and superior. Why then did he so miserably fail poor Eve? He was standing right there beside her while Snake taunted her and he did nothing to assist his love. He didn’t launch Snake across the garden or go tell dad. He didn’t reason with Eve and tell her the risk wasn’t worth whatever the creepy crawler was offering. No, he stood back and watched. He made no move to protect her and in my mind this makes him far more guilty than she. If eating Apple is to condemn us to an eternity of pain and suffering then surely, the greater sin is to stand by and do nothing. He wanted to see what would happen. He wanted Apple just as badly as she, he just didn’t have the ovaries to take the first bite.
Revisit the story. It doesn’t say: Then Eve bite into Apple, packed it up, and travelled across the garden where she finally found Adam and presented it to him, along with convincing arguments as to why he should eat of it, while threatening to withhold vagina hugs forever and ever should he refuse.
No, she took a bite, turned to him, and said, “Oh hey Adam, didn’t notice you there, you being so passive, out of the way and all, would you like a bite? It’s really quite juicy.” And of course, he did, because that’s what he’d been waiting for. He just needed someone with whom he could play the blame game is all.
Now, I suppose I’m being a little hard on Adam and I suppose I’m feeling protective of poor Eve after centuries of misrepresentation. More likely however, it’s because all too often, or perhaps, not often enough, I’m so interchangeably Apple, Eve, and Snake, making it nearly impossible for me to relate to a character like Adam.
Maybe, just like Eve, I just wanna be a little bad. Shake things up and see what happens. After all, the worst is rarely as terrible as we expect and the intrigue too unsettling to ignore. And where would we be without the Eves of the world? We spend so much time in excitement and preparation for them: New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve, Evening…I certainly couldn’t begin to imagine life without her and I, have quite the imagination.
From my heart to yours, Jenn