Eve: Not The Woman That People Are Taught Essay Examples
Myths, legends and religious tales are huge contributors to the shared beliefs, hopes, and attitudes about people, places and things. It is as simple as that. However, while, most often, well-intended, religions work to spread ethics, morality and community. However, sometimes it is religious ideologies that can lead to injustice and abuses of religious authority. For example, the Crusades had Christians killing those that would not convert and can lead zealots, like the modern Muslim extremist who have hijacked a religion to further their cause. That said, the power of religion may also dictate societal norms and truths. We see these very phenomena when discussing gender inequality. There is no doubt, by modern estimations, that women in general have been or still are subjugated and oppressed by patriarchal ideologies by cultures all across the globe, in one way or another. Women have been relegated as secondary to men, to be less intelligent, less capable and less competent in comparison to their male counterparts for centuries. Even in this modern era, even in progressive and liberal countries like the United States, women still struggle to achieve true and complete equality with men. The shedding the inequality of the genders may be so difficult because it is so deeply rooted into history , right down to the very core origins of the human species, according to the Biblical explanation from the Garden of Eden. However the interpretation of the subservient place of women to men, Eve to Adam, may have more to do with culture than faith. The Eve in Genesis is different from the Eve that the public is taught. Eve’s subservience may have less to do with divine intention, but a fabrication of patriarchal influences and cultural imperatives that forced women into a secondary role.
The story that has been established, as told in the Holy Bible, is that after God made the Earth and beasts that live upon it, he then made Adam, the first man and appointed caretaker of Eden. So that Adam would not be lonely, he eventually created Eve from Adam’s rib, while he slept. Eve became Adam’s partner and mate. The couple freely lived in Eden in a state of purity and innocence; completely free of sin. The one day, Eve is approached by the snake, the serpentine representation of the Devil, who tempts Eve to take fruit from and eat from one specific tree; the one tree they were forbade by God from touching. Yes she is tricked by the serpent and she in turn tempts and convinces Adam to do the same. When God returns to the Garden he finds Adam and Eve different. They were more aware; they felt embarrassment and shame for their nakedness. In anger, God, expels them from the Garden of Eden, with the punishment of painful childbirth for Eve and hard physical labors for Adam (Trible 1). All of which has traditionally been blamed on Eve. It was she that caused the expulsion from Eden, she brought sin to mankind and could not be trusted and had poor judgment was poor. Eve is, in fact, been falsely presented in history a secondary to men, more because of patriarchal societal constructs that divine design.
With closer analysis, the assumptions concerning Eve do not seem to be directly inferring what has been the standard interpretation of the events. A closer reading concludes that Eve was not presented as an inferior to Adam, she was not alone in the sin that expelled them and she may have been misrepresented by misogynistic cultural imperatives that have been damaged the true Eve of God’s Eden (Pardes 1). Firstly, God presented Eve to Adam as his companion. In Genesis: 2.23 it says, “she shall be called ‘woman,” for she was taken out of man “It does not say that as “woman” she was less intelligent, in any way inferior, subservient to man. Additionally, it does not say that man should take advantage of his “position” to oppress and diminish an entire gender. Eve was new to Eden, with much to learn, but that does not negate the value of her gender
We have often been told that when Eve was approached by the serpent, when she was all alone. In her vulnerable state, without Adam, she was easily coerced and tempted by the serpent. In Genesis: 3.6-3.7, we read that Eve was walking through the Garden, Also, it states then when she ate the forbidden fruit she offered it Adam and he ate it.” Together, they realized they were naked and fashioned fig leaves to cover themselves. Adam, according to the Bible, was present when the serpent spoke to Eve, he knew the rules of Eden, even more so than Eve, and yet he still he ate the fruit. Eve’s sin is no greater or lesser than Adam’s. Their punishment was equal in their expulsion from the Garden (Campbell 1). If Eve was nothing more than a troublesome, simple-minded companion for Adam, that proved to be such a negative influence, then why not simply, eliminate her. Instead, he warns of painful childbirth as a price of their sin. If she was so unimportant then why give to Eve such an essential role in the perpetuation of mankind (Bohlin 1).
The Eve of the Bible, simply, does not read as foolish or unintelligent. It does not show Adam treating her harshly or oppressively, per say, but he is quick to “throw Eve under the bus” when God asked what had happened. In Genesis: 3.12, Adam blames Eve, “she gave it to me and I ate it.”However, she did not force him or twist his arm. As part of her punishment, God says of her husband, “he will rule over you” (Genesis: 3.16). However, God did not specify or infer that this was the intention for all male/female relationships for all women, for all time. That said Eve’s punishment for her crime did not seem to be any worse than Adam’s. After all, there could be many interpretations about these passages, some more patriarchal than others (Whitcombe 1).
Ultimately, it is cultural and social aspects that have worked to turn the Eve in the bible into the Eve that is taught to believers. There is little doubt that there are many misogynistic perspectives that have inundated Christianity; due largely to the ideals of those who participated in the Church’s founding (Bohlin 1). Both disciples, Peter and Paul, are huge contributors to the beliefs, traditions and Church doctrine that would become the foundation of their new religion. Neither Peter, nor Paul, was, particularly, fond of the idea of women holding any sway or power in the faith. They worked hard to endorse a divine absolute that women were subservient to men (Trible 2).
Despite what many people think, there have been many versions of the Bible; some having very different gospels and teachings. It was not until years later that a single “Bible” was agreed upon. However, this left many documents eliminated or dismissed; not for lacking in validity or content, but in an effort to whittle the bible down to a reasonable length. Unfortunately, those decisions included an elimination of relevant female figures in Christianity and their contributions to the early faith. After all, Mary Magdalene, or rather Mary of Magdalene, for centuries was taught to have been a prostitute when she was, in fact, a wealthy woman from a prominent family (Bohlin 1). Men, of course, made these decisions and perpetuated their own personal and cultural beliefs in gender on their divine ideologies; ideals that became common and traditional over the passing years.
Eve is the first woman. She was made from the first man; God’s perfect creation. How is she less perfect than her origin? This is one of the many double standards regarding Eve that have been identified (Campbell 1). The Eve in Genesis admitted that she had been tricked by the serpent; she did not blame Adam as Adam had blamed her. However, they were not expelled solely for their crime of disobedience in the Garden. They were also expelled because if they were to eat from the forbidden tree a second time, they would become immortal and this was, apparently, a chance that God was not willing to risk. Yet, he also fashioned proper clothes from fur for them both before they left the safety and confines of the Garden of Eden (Genesis: 3.21). It seems unlikely with such an equilateral judgments and punishment that God did not seem to hold Eve that much more responsible than Adam, yet religious history would prefer we see it differently, in a way that has benefitted patriarchal societies for generations (Whitcombe 1).
Religion is an incredibly powerful presence and influential force, which can impact individual lives and the course of civilizations. The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden has been used time and time again to prove that all women, like Eve, are subservient to men, because that is how God made them. Children are born of man and woman, without one the other would cease to exist; both genders are necessary. That said it is time for this modern generation of believers and scholars to continue to reexamine the biblical interpretations of the Genesis story. In the end, it is likely it will prove that the inequality of Eve is not an element of the Bible, but a creation of male dominant cultures and societal structures. Religion was intended as a unifying force and means of creating ethical and moral conduct that allows larger groups of people to attempt to live in peace together. In the case of Eve, we see the unjust outcome when the tenants of faith are manipulated and misused to oppress one group within that society, whether it is based on race, creed or gender. Eve is not the submissive, simple-minded woman she is often presented to be, she was much, much more; a reality that modern women continue to prove every single day.
Bohlin, S.. "Christianity: The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Women." Bible Organization. Bible Organization, n.d. Web. 13 Feb 2015. <https://bible.org/article/christianity-best-thing-ever-happened-women>.
Campbell, J.. "Chapter 6: THE CREATOR DESTROYED." Trans. Array The Christian Gallery. Online, 1. Web. 13 Feb. 2015. <http://www.christiangallery.com/Campbell/campbell8.htm>.
Pardes, I. "Creation According to Eve: Beyond Genesis 3." Jewish Women's archive Encyclopedia. Jewish Women's Archive: 2009. <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/creation-according-to-eve-beyond-genesis-3>.
Trible, Phyllis. “Feminist Scholar reinterprets Adam and Eve Story in Genesis.” 15th Annual Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture. Taking Back the Bible. Greenville. 1-5. 2 Oct. 2006. Reading
Whitcombe, Christopher L.C.E. "Eve and the Idetity of Women: Eve in Genesis." Sweet Briar4 College. 2. (2009): 1. Web. 13 Feb. 2015. <http://witcombe.sbc.edu/eve-women/2evegenesis.html>.