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Monday, November 16, 2015

M3 Bible: Eden: Eve's Choice

            It’s clear that Eve is soaking this up. But then, why wouldn’t she? Eve is not a rube. She’s not completely clueless. She’s intelligent, but unexperienced. This can lead people into thinking that she’s naïve, and well, in a way, she is. But, factually, she’s never had any dealings with someone of a duplicitous nature. There’s no reason for Eve not to believe the serpent. She’s spoken to God and she’s spoken to Adam, and neither of them have been duplicitous for any reason, so she has no way to gauge that.
            But she also doesn’t surrender her judgement to the Serpent. She evaluates the fruit on its own, finding it pleasing. She also has a noble aspiration to be like God. And once the serpent removes the threat of death from the equation, what reason is there for her to not eat the fruit?
            Yes, God’s command that they shouldn’t, and the prohibition that if they did, they would die. That is a big deal, no mistake. So those are the pros and cons laid out before us. The Serpent neatly disarmed the idea of dying with what appeared to be a fully rational argument, as far as Eve could understand the argument. Remember, she’s not clueless, simply uninformed as to good and evil. She has no experience with evil and deception.
            We already know the choice she made. She ate the fruit. But I like to believe that she did so for the deceptive argument that the serpent gave: to become like God. This is a noble purpose. Children often aspire to be like their parents, and that was Eve’s desire as well.
            Unfortunately, understanding good and evil also led her to understand the full ramifications of her choice.
            There is some confusion about how this bit of the story unfolds, though. Eve is first by herself, then the Serpent talks to her, and then when she takes form the fruit, Adam is here. It’s possible that Adam could have been there the whole time, but this seems unlikely. Why didn’t he speak up? Why didn’t the Serpent address him? Why wasn’t he mentioned sooner? Speaking with the Serpent and partaking of the fruit seem to be two different events. After speaking with the Serpent, Eve got Adam, and then went to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It could have even be three separate events: Eve spoke to the Serpent, then partook of the Fruit, then went and got Adam and explained what happened.
            We don’t know the answers as to which is the right scenario. The story simply doesn’t give us enough information to be able to say. Like most of Genesis, the storytelling is very bare bones. It only mentions important details, but does not give us any sense of time or pacing. Adam was said to live over 900 years, but we don’t know how many of those years were spent in the Garden with Eve prior to eating of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It could have been days, it could have been centuries.

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