The Fall of Eve
Virtually everyone is familiar with the story of the Garden of Eden.
impressed on us in Sunday school, celebrated in art and song, and has been re-told,
elaborated, and interpreted in countless ways over the millennia.
Man is created to tend
the garden of God, home to the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and bad,
and is told that he will die if he eats from the tree of knowledge.
To keep the man
company, God creates animals and birds, but no fitting partner for the man emerges from
So God removes one of Adam‟s ribs and creates woman.
naked and innocent until the serpent, shrewdest of all the animals, tells the woman that
eating from the tree of knowledge of good and bad will not lead to death, but rather to a
state of divinity.
She eats the fruit of the forbidden tree, shares it with Adam, and their
eyes are opened.
They use leaves to cover their nudity.
God discovers their
transgression and punishes the serpent, the woman, and Adam.
Adam names his wife
Eve, and God makes clothes for them and then expels them from his garden.
This is a story about primary relationships: between man and woman, between
God and humanity.
It is a story about the creation of humankind and our appropriation of
the divine power of wisdom.
It is about the dawn of morality and our loss of innocence.
It gives a reason for mortality.
It explains why snakes don‟t have legs, why women have
pain in childbirth and are to be subordinated to their husbands, and why men have to
work to bring food from the ground.
This story has been interpreted in countless ways.
In Christian theology, the story
is about the Devil, disguised as a serpent, who tempts humans to disobey their Creator.
In contrast, the Gnostics thought that the Creator-god who forbad humans the acquisition
of knowledge was the evil one.
Bible scholars have interpreted this story as everything