I am a Daughter of Eve, And I am Proud of My Mother.
On this Mother’s Day, I had a few thoughts about the first mother that ever was.
Genesis is that tale of beginnings, endings and beginning again. We were made, we lost it all and we started over on our own terms. Humanity lost its status as a sequestered pet and stepped out to enjoy the benefits and pitfalls of free will.
And to whom shall we give our thanks for that gift of freedom and the right to choose? Why, the person who first seized that right and took it for themselves:
In ancient Greek myths, Prometheus stole fire and knowledge from the Gods in order to give humanity a fighting chance. For this he was imprisoned and tortured by Zeus, but deeply honored by the humans that benefitted from his actions.
In the Biblical myth, Eve plucked the fruit that would give her the knowledge to discern good and evil, ate of it and gave it to her mate to improve his cognitive skills as well. God was angry, paradise was lost, men don’t seem to be too bright and women are in league with the forces of evil. That just about sums up the story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit.
The reaction of God was to curse Eve with labor pains. (Get off it: Push a nine-pound baby through a tunnel the size of a tube of toothpaste and tell me it isn’t going to hurt. That’s a major design flaw, as far as I’m concerned.) Adam, since he had merely gone along with the little woman, just had to work hard to keep his family fed.
There are a few holes in this story. If God didn’t want us to try things, why give us free will? Why mention the fruit at all? Certainly he could have put the tree some place where they wouldn’t have found it. In fact, why make the tree at all if it wasn’t to be used? Or are theologians so accepting of the idea that an omnipotent deity had no idea that his creation would want a taste?
“It was a test and Eve failed,” is the answer I was given in my childhood, “and now all women have to suffer because of her sin.”
Hmm. I don’t think so. Since I am flying in the face of several thousand years of cultural tradition, I will add a slap:
Eve did the right thing.
If you believe the myth as written in Genesis, then all of humanity sprang from those two, but they were still two individuals who made their own choices. They took the hit for it, too. I see no reason for me to take the heat for something I didn’t do, in spite of the opinions of scholars and priests of many religious sects. Get over it, guys. Eve was the First Woman, but she was not ALL women. That is not a mantle I am willing to assume and there isn’t a thing you can say that will convince me otherwise.
As for my opinion that she was right, let me put it this way: without her fit of the munchies, humanity would still be ignorant, naked, uncivilized and nothing more than pampered livestock in some sacred enclosure. There would be no music, no science, no curiosity, literature, art, architecture, or understanding of the world around us. We would be nothing to write home about, that’s for certain.
Yes, we would be nice obedient little monkeys, but that is all we would be.
Sure the snake told her what was up, but to follow through was her decision. She chose to be more and dragged her complacent mate along with her. Apparently she had a better opinion of her mate than he did, as is often typical of females.
Eve was not just the Mother of All; she was the Mother of Choice and the Mother of Learning. She was our Prometheus, the giver of that internal fire that drives us to become so much more than we could have been if we had been ‘obedient’.
She was brave, too. It takes some courage to disobey a God and we have never given her credit for that, either. She was the instigator of culture and we have never given her the kudos deserved.
And so on this Mother’s Day, I say “Thanks, Mom. Thanks for making me a thinking being that can look at things with a clear eye. It may not always turn out the way I want, but I learn from it, and thanks for that as well. Happy Mother’s Day, Eve.”
A Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there as well. Call your Mom, she misses you.