Would you Adam and Eve it? #E100
Great word, “crafty”. That’s the word used in my translation to describe the serpent. He plants a seed of doubt in the woman’s mind and tries to destabilize her worldview by challenging the very few assumptions with which she is working.
Yesterday I was wondering why the trees weren’t just called the tree of life and the tree of death – and the same distinction is brought up here. The serpent explains that it’s not the tree of death – just the tree of the knowledge of good and evil- so she needn’t worry…
Tempted by the wisdom that would surely come from the experience, she takes some fruit and eats it. Swayed by the opinion of the serpent, she puts experience over faith and the whole thing kicks off.
Then there’s that awkward moment when the man and the woman realize they are naked and they start to make clothes. Embarrassment and loss of innocence.
God here seems to be in some kind of human-like form – “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” and asks for and receives an explanation.
There are several punishments for this incidents: the snake will be cursed; the woman will suffer in childbirth; the man will have to work hard to survive and becomes mortal.
Interestingly, after the announcements of these punishments, the Lord God gives them some practical help – he replaces their home-made fig-leaf clothes, with “garments of skin”.
There’s then a shift back into the plural notion of God: “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” I am reminded of the Creation narrative now when “And God saw that it was good.” This certainty about good and evil is God’s prerogative.
Man is then not allowed to be immortal and is banished from the Garden of Eden to begin his life of toil.
The last verse is bizarre – like a vision or a scene from a fantasy movie – with an Indiana Jones-esque obstacle placed in the way of immortality:
“…he placed on the east side of the Garden Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life”
Where Indiana Jones might have a go at beating the flashing sword, Adam and Eve take “their solitary way” off to settle the world.
Apart from Paradise Lost, the other poem that comes to mind is”Unrelated Incidents (2)” by Tom Leonard. Here’s the snippet:
a doant kerr
fyi caw it
an aippl –