Why Eve?

This morning, I was doubly blessed to find not just one but TWO questions.  I’ll see if I can get to both of them today.

The first question comes from Olivia.  “Pastor Craig: In the Garden of Eden, why do you think the serpent chose to tempt Eve, rather than Adam? I have often wondered about this.”

I have two thoughts about this.  Both are a little outside of the box – so hang in there with me.

One of the things I’ve worked on over the years is to read the familiar stories of Scripture with brand new eyes.  As if reading them for the first time.  This may sound like an easy thing to do, but believe me when you’ve spent 3 years in seminary and 14 years reading biblical commentary, it is incredibly different to step out of the well warn readings and encounter the stories with a certain freshness.

With that said, here are two things that occurred to me in regard to your questions.

First, perhaps the servant chose Eve rather than Adam simply because she happened to come into proximity with the snake first.  I know Genesis 1:6 says that Adam was with her that fateful day – but if Eve was anything like my mother, her quick strides very well could have put her at least a couple feet ahead of Adam as they walked 🙂

Second, perhaps the servant chose Eve because he sensed that she was strong enough (perhaps even stronger than Adam?) to deal with all of the challenges that would result from the potential outcomes of the circumstance.

I like to consider those possibilities because they take us away from the traditional uses of the story that often use the Scripture to belittle women or justify views that are less than satisfying – for both women and the men who care about them.

So how about you?  What do you think?

About Pastor Craig

I'm a 54-year-old who lives in Los Angeles, CA with his black Labrador Retriever named Max. I'm an ordained clergy person in the United Church of Christ. My passions include spirituality, politics, and sports (Go Houston teams, go!). I use my blog to start conversations rather than merely spout my perspectives and opinions. I hope you'll post a question, comment, or observation for me to respond - so we can get the conversation started!
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3 Responses to Why Eve?

  1. sandi says:

    Enjoyed reading your ‘freudian slip’ Serpent became servant, and gave me a new meaning for this story!

  2. Beverly Marshall Saling says:

    I think it’s significant that the thing the serpent tempted Eve with wasn’t wealth, beauty, power, wishes, or any of the other things normally offered up as great treasures in myths and fairy tales. It was knowledge—and specifically the knowledge of right and wrong, which we often call wisdom. In the ancient world wisdom was often seen as a female-sphere thing because the point of it was essentially domestic: to help people get along and live good, meaningful lives. We can still see evidence of this stereotype in our culture today, with men frequently being depicted as the more logical and intelligent heads of the household and women as the more intuitive and wise hearts of the home. So it would have felt right to the ancient listeners of this story to have the one most tempted by the gift of wisdom be the woman.

    I also think that the true message of this story often gets lost in the overemphasis on the obedience vs. disobedience part. The real core of the story is about coming of age: Adam and Eve going from a state of childlike innocence in which God provides all the physical comforts and knowledge they need without them having to work at all, to a state of adult responsibility in which they have to provide for their own needs and wants and suffer the consequences when they make bad choices. The point is that God understands that in order for humans to have a mature relationship with him—one freely chosen rather than merely born into—people need the ability to question and rebel. And while rebellion comes with consequences, it is survivable and can bring people closer to God as they experience for themselves why God made the rules the way he did.

  3. Lila says:

    I like your version but I think that this legend was written by men in a paternalistic society who of course would blame the woman as weak and easily tempted. Sigh.

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