Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ode To Eve

"If Eve were here right now I'd smack her in the face." These words were spoken by my sweet southern aunt to comfort my mother while she was in the throws and woes of labor. I suspect Christian women for generations have cursed Eve's name for those special once a month occasions and, obviously, for the thrill er...chill of giving birth. I must confess during the delivery of my second child that I visualized a grandiose and violent dog pile of screaming females exhausted and furious crushing Eve beneath them. Then the epidural man came in to rescue me and life was ...let's friend described it as "smooth as butter". I think I may have offered to kiss the epidural man at least once much to my husband's dismay.

I read the creation story this week and I read it with eyes anew. I don't know why some things came to light this time that had not in the past, but I thought I would share them.

Eve's intentions are never clearly spelled out in the account of "the fall". ("The fall" meaning when she ate from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden after God instructed them not to.) In fact, if Eve's intentions were to become like God as the serpent had described, I don't really blame her. God is awesome. She walked among His first fruits...the awe inspiring artwork from the perfect creator. Who wouldn't want to be that? Who wouldn't want to be able to create? Her intentions could have just been to think beauty into reality and I can't really hold that against her. She also would have been completely innocent of knowing evil. So how could she have known why it was significant that she flee from it...except that God told her to. She may have had good intentions, indeed.

At the same time, how often have I had good intentions and yet been so off base that I miss the mark entirely. I think it is a special gift that women have to be able to create "good" intentions in order to achieve their objectives. I often find myself justifying my actions so as to feel less guilty.

The second piece of this story that jumped out at me was this...Adam was WITH Eve when she chose to eat the fruit. He was right there. Throughout all of history...even in the Pauline letters..Eve carries the blame for this whole incident. No one ever points out the fact that Adam stood right there with his wife, watched her take a bite and did not say one word. He just opened his mouth to eat. I don't know about you...but that really ticks me off. In fact the poor guy loses more respect from me later when confronted by God. Adam's explanation as to why he ate the fruit..."Uh...the woman you created made me do it." This line is plagiarized by my children on a daily basis. Everyone wants to blame someone. No one takes personal responsibility. It is important to note here that Eve does the exact same thing. She blamed the serpent for her fateful snack.

Finally, when God punishes Eve he punishes her for her sin. I don't believe He punishes all of womankind because of Eve's sin. I think at this point we must look at the scripture figuratively and accept that Eve symbolizes all women. We all sin. We are all guilty of our own personal errors not that of Eve's or anyone else...our own. When we finally meet Jesus at the end of all things He will not say, "Well you did great, but that Eve really messed this gig up for you". Nope, we will be judged on our own merits, not our mom's, dad's, husband's nor Eve's...our own.

So from here on...lay off poor Eve. She, after all, represents the reason why we each need Christ. He came to right our "good intentions". He came to rectify our eaten apples. He came to lift us up from our fall. I am so glad He did.

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