This is a post I’ve started before and never finished. You see with all this Bible study, I find myself having the most interesting thoughts. One thought that has captivated me is Eve and her motivations in the Garden of Eden.
It all started with a conversation I was having with myself as I walked (you know you all do this – don’t deny it). As a feminist, I have spent a lot of energy reading and studying women’s roles in religion. It, truly, bothers me that men use the Bible to justify abuse to women.
In college, I learned a lot about Eve and how she is the reason why women are inferior and evil. The whole inquisition came about as a way to rid the world of evil women – especially those who wanted to be educated and be like a man. I read the Malleus Maleficarum. Anyone who tells you they read it and it’s awesome is lying unless they really hate women. It’s not a great witchcraft book or the bible for witches. It is page after page of ways to determine a women is a witch and ways to torture them. The reasoning in the MM is that since women, Eve, came from Adam’s rib bone, she is chronically bent thus easy to be manipulated by the devil. That is why Eve ate the fruit.
It’s hard to dispute that Eve was tempted. She was and she ate of the fruit first. But then I got to thinking – what was she really tempted by? We have no idea how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden nor do we know how long the serpent talked with her. The tree was a tree of knowledge – was she tempted by wanting more than the simple life she had in the garden? Was she dissatisfied? I could put myself in her shoes and understand that craving.
While in the Garden of Eden, Eve would have been unable to have children. That is not disputed. Did she crave having her own children? Did she want to explore what was outside of the Garden? And what was Adam doing during all of this? I don’t believe Adam was more faithful or more obedient that the serpent didn’t feel he could be tempted. I believe that the serpent knew Eve could because she was already asking the questions.
This past Sunday, in Sunday School, we were talking about Adam and Eve. It was in God’s plan for Adam and Eve to eventually leave the Garden so they could go forth and have children. We were meant to leave the Garden of Eden so we could do more and be more.
I love this passage from the BOM 2 Nephi 2:23 “And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.”
So while the Garden of Eden was a wonderful place, they would never really know true joy or do real good because they had nothing to balance it.
I believe that God had every intention to tempt Adam and Eve so that his plan could move forward. Yes, we have free will – Eve could have said no. But she didn’t because God knew her heart just as he knows all our hearts.
You see, I don’t see Eve as evil or weak. I never did. I see her as a woman who wasn’t living in her version of paradise. I believe women were designed to survive. How could she shine without adversity? What challenges did she have in a land of perfection?
I don’t see Eve’s choice to eat the fruit as banishing us from God. I see her giving us a chance to be so much more. She gave us pain so we could be strong. She gave us opportunities to be creative, to be smart, to be inventive. Things we would not have had if she remained in the garden.
As part of my quest to be as Christ-like as possible, I would like to say “thank you” to Eve. Without her, my life wouldn’t be this way. While I suffer, I have gratitude. I have tasks that stretch my imagination and my ability. I get to grow and remold my being into something greater. I am blessed with the ability to ease the suffering of others. To better the world I live in. To me, that is worth more than paradise.