Friday, 15 August 2014

Can We Stop Blaming Eve?

Imagine you have just started a job. The manager has given you the express 5-minute tour and told you a few rules. Later, when working with Greg he tells you it is OK to take the rejects home. You don't want to appear greedy so only put a couple in your bag. As you are leaving the manager stops you to ask how your first day went and notices the rejects sticking out of your bag. He accuses you of theft and says he won't call the police but fires you.

Was it your fault? Some may say if you wasn't sure then you should have asked and not just took Greg's word for it. Others may say it was Greg's fault as you didn't know he would lie. A very few may say it is the fault of the manager for not explaining everything.

So what has this imaginary manager, job, and Greg got to do with Eve? God is the manager, Greg is the serpent, and you are Eve.

You want to read the Bible at this point. Well not all of it but the first three chapters of Genesis (You can skip most of the first chapter, and half of the second chapter as well if you want).

Now you have read that (or just carried on reading pretending you did) time to put the events in order.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." (Gen 1:27-29, KJV)

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen 2:7, KJV)

"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Gen 2:16-17, KJV)

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." (Gen 2:18-20, KJV)

"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Gen 2:21-23, KJV)

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Gen 3:1-6, KJV)

If you read the creation story in chapter 1 it says God creates man and woman (Adam and Eve) at the same time and gives them 'every tree'. No mention of not eating any particular tree.

Reading the creation story in chapter 2 it says God created man (Adam), told him about the tree of knowledge, got man (Adam) to name all the animals and then created woman (Eve) from a rib of Adam while he slept. No mention of the tree to the woman (Eve).

It may be presumptuous to think that everything should be mentioned in the Bible but at the same time if it is important to mention that God told Adam about the tree of Knowledge; surely if he had said something similar to Eve it would have been squeezed in to Chapter 2 of Genesis somewhere.

So when Eve tells the serpent that God said if they eat or touch the the fruit of the tree of Knowledge they will die what she really means is that Adam said God said - the first example of hearsay in the history of Christianity.

So should Eve be blamed for the demise of mankind? No. On one hand you have a talking snake saying it is OK to eat the fruit and on the other hand you have Adam saying that God said. If it was such an important rule then maybe the fault lies with God for not saying something to Eve himself. After all he told Adam about the tree, then got him to name the animals, and then created Eve. Adam's mind was elsewhere you cannot be expecting him to remember something about a tree after naming all the animals and then waking up to a wife.

Eve is off the hook because the 'manager' never told her himself. Adam is off the hook because God put too much on his plate at once. The blame for the downfall of mankind lies clearly, and squarely, with God.

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