Eve as the Pioneer of Adam’s Salvation
Looking at the responses to this question here in Quora, you can notice that this reading of Gen 2–3 is not supported by the text:
- Traditional theology speaks of Eve as being deceived by the devil who was bent upon the destruction of Adam. The "serpent" described in the text, however, is never associated with the "devil" within the entire book of Genesis. So something is wrong here.
- When examined more closely, the "serpent" functions as a spirit-guide within ancient Middle Eastern culture. Far from deceiving Eve, this "serpent" is assuredly a truth-teller: "You will not die [when you eat this fruit]; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5-6). And, according to the text, this is exactly what happens.
- Adam, meanwhile, has been telling Eve that God said, "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die" (Gen 3:3). When Eve touches the fruit, however, nothing happens. Adam clearly is mistaken. So, she eats it. And the eating has wondrous effects. Thus, Eve, with the help of the serpent, exposes the errors of Adam on both counts.
- Eve and Adam are expelled from the Garden. According to the prevailing theology of the churches, this expulsion takes place due to God abhorrence of their grave sin [the "original sin"]. The text itself provides quite another explanation: "The LORD God said, 'See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever,' therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden" (Gen 3:22-23).
- In the Garden, God has planted not one but two empowering trees: "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" and "the tree of life." God intended his children to be mortal. The text specifies this intention clearly, "You are [made out of] dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen 3:19). Hence, God expels his children from the Garden, not due to some supposed “sin” but in order to insure that the “tree of life” remains out-of-reach.
- The text says that God assigns to a "cherubim" the task of "guard[ing] the way to the tree of life" (Gen 3:24). Here again the text indicates clearly that "sin" was not an issue here; rather, protection of the "tree of life" was God's primary concern.
- It is instructive that Eve and Adam lived nearly a thousand years. If we trust the bible when it teaches us that a long life is a sign of God's blessing, then we have to conclude that Eve and Adam were wondrously blessed with long lives. In fact, just before leaving Eden, God gave both his children a very important gift. Maybe you know what that gift might be. Take a guess.
- Why do Adam and Eve suddenly become aware that they are naked after eating the fruit of the first tree? Why do they hide from God? The answer to this key question will amaze you. Do you already have a hunch?
Here is what Deb said to me:
"Dr. Milavec, you are the first person who has allowed me to discover the 'good news' about Eve in the bible. Essentially, Eve is the explorer and the innovator--just exactly the sort of helpmate that Adam so desperately needed. In my church where only men are trusted to be ordained, this original 'good news' about Eve is just what the Catholic Church needs to shake off its ugly, prejudicial bias against women."
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Peace and joy in learning and in-depth understanding,
Aaron Milavec, BS physics, STB, ThD, theologian, poet, advocate, public speaker