I am an atheist with no fondness for doctrines of any sort but somehow, I have developed an affection for the Bible’s first lady, Eve. She had the guts to pursue knowledge instead of timidly obeying God. But to hear Christians tell it, Eve ruined everything.
To illustrate, the following two lists show God’s actions before Eve disobeys and how the world became after she disobeys:
- He created a diverse and exciting paradise for them to live in. (Gen 1:14-25)
- He gave them meaningful work to do. (Taming & ruling over creation & reproducing) (Gen 1:26;28)
- He gave them all they needed to thrive (Gen 1:29)
- He made their home beautiful, protected, and pristine (Gen 2:8-9)
- He visited them daily to give them guidance (Gen 3:8)
- Relationship between God & mankind is damaged (Genesis 3:10)
- Pain in childbearing increased (Gen 3:16)
- Human romantic relationships become a power struggle (Gen 3:16)
- Work becomes painful (Gen 3:17)
- Work becomes monotonous & drudgery (3:17)
- Work becomes difficult (Gen 3:18)
- We die (Gen 3:19)
- We cannot eat from the tree of life and live forever (Gen 3:22)
As a woman I find the misogyny inherent in the blaming of Eve for all our suffering rather insulting. Men in Western culture have used this story for millennia to explain and justify the subservient position of females in society. They have claimed that
women, like Eve, are easily duped into committing wrongful acts and should
therefore be under tight control of their husbands or fathers. Many also view
women as dangerous temptresses who will lead men into wrongdoing.
And what’s to be made of the incredibly harsh sentencing of mankind? After all, the blame must be shared by God himself for putting the temptation in front of her, for imbuing human beings with curiosity, and for giving them consciousness with its accompanying powers of discernment.
My conclusion is that the story of Eve exposes God as cruel and perverse; as a being who enjoys watching his creations suffer.