Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:1-13, NIV Version.

The Fall. We know the story: God says, “don’t eat the fruit from this special tree”. Crafty serpent tells Eve, “eat, eat, eat”. Eve eats fruit. Eve shares fruit with Adam. Adam eats fruit. God angry. God kick Eve and Adam out of the Garden of Eden.

Because Eve and Adam tasted the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they know evil. (Which begs the question, did they know good before? If yes, does that mean they knew only good but not evil? Or were they just empty vessels with no concept of good and evil? Maybe there was no concept of good and evil- but that doesn’t fly either, because the serpent existed, and the serpent was allegedly evil.)

Sin entered the world, presumably because… they disobeyed God? Or is it because they now recognise evil? This part is a little fuzzy for me. But all we need to know now is that sin exist because Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit. Allegedly.

Since she was the first to chomp down the fibre, Eve is often blamed for the entrance of sin into this world. Her actions are often used as an excuse to degrade and subjugate women, to portray women as the weaker sex.

Eve is always perceived as the villain of the story.

This is inaccurate and very unfair. Eve is not the villain. Instead, she should be celebrated as the hero. Here are six reasons why:

1) FIRSTLY, I THINK WE SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BOTH EVE AND ADAM WERE SET UP TO FAIL.

Let’s look at the premise. God obviously created Eve and Adam with a thirst for wisdom, otherwise the temptation to taste the fruit won’t even be a point of contention. Then God, in their omniscient wisdom, put the forbidden tree right in the middle of the garden, easily accessible to Eve and Adam, despite full knowledge that the temptation will be too much to resist.

Then, God’s omnipotent self allows the serpent to chant “eat! eat! eat!” as Eve raises the juicy fruit towards her eager lips. There was no angelic counterpart to prevent her actions. Nope, only one talking reptile urging her towards the “dark side”.

I don’t know, but this sounds suspiciously like a set up. The system is rigged. Sounds almost as if God wanted Eve and Adam to eat the fruit.

2) EVE USHERED KNOWLEDGE INTO THE WORLD.

The tempter evidently had a profound knowledge of human nature, and saw at a glance the high character of the person he met by chance in his walks in the garden. He did not try to tempt her from the path of duty by brilliant jewels, rich dresses, worldly luxuries or pleasures, but with the promise of knowledge, with the wisdoms of Gods. – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Woman’s Bible

Talking to Adam all day quickly became boring. Eve wanted more. She craved more. She thirsted for that mystical something to fill her deep well of not-knowing.

And along came this slim scaly creature, promising her this irresistible shinny thing called knowledge.

She has an insatiable hunger for learning. For knowing. So of course she said yes. The alternative would’ve been to reject knowledge.

Would you teach your children to reject knowledge? I really hope not. (Gentle warning: primary school education is compulsory in Malaysia)

If learning is good, then why do we fault Eve’s reach for knowledge?

The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. -Proverbs 15:14

Picture credit: Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library

3) EVE WAS CHARGED WITH TWO CONFLICTING COMMANDS. SO SHE STEPPED UP AND MADE A DECISIVE CHOICE.

… eating from the tree of knowledge could be interpreted as an act of free will, courage, and necessity. This is how members of the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter-day Saints read the story. Eve was faced with two commandments: be fruitful and multiply, and do not eat form the tree of knowledge. She chose to disobey the second mandate in order to obey the first, since it was only with knowledge that the first couple perceived their nakedness. -Rebecca Moore, Women in Christian Traditions, p25.

There is a codependence between desire and nakedness. I use “nakedness” for lack of a better word. Maybe I should say “forfeit of modesty”. It is the state of being exposed, not necessarily literally. Desire is the disclosure of the inner self. To desire is allow a peek behind an iron curtain of mindless armour.

Sex is an act wholly dependant on desire, may it be desire for intimacy, desire for procreation, or desire for pleasure. Without the concept of nakedness, is there a basis for desire? Is there a premise for sex?

God instructed Eve and Adam to “go forth and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). But then there’s that indictment to hands off the fruit. However, only with the fruit do they know nakedness. If nakedness is necessary for reproduction, how to reproduce without nakedness? How to know nakedness without the fruit? So, how to “multiply” without the fruit?

Somebody with courage had to choose.

4) OF ADAM AND EVE, EVE HAD MORE BANDWIDTH FOR INTELLIGENCE.

A popular opinion is that the serpent targeted Eve because she was the more vulnerable of the two. The more easily deceived. I beg to differ. I think it’s more likely that Eve was the one with more hunger for wisdom. Remember, the bait was knowledge.

If you sell encyclopedias, who would you approach? The nerd with straight A1s and a subscription to Sam Harris’ Making Sense podcast, or the Malaysian bimbo who thinks Johor is an independent country?

Of course you choose the individual with more penchant for intellect, right?

That’s why the serpent chose Eve over Adam.

5) EVE WAS THE ONLY ONE WITH GUTS.

When a pissed off God confronts Eve and Adam for their “disobedience”, Adam chickens out big time. He hides behind Eve, the lovely creature he so adores for all her curves and company.

“The woman made me do it!” he screams, quivering with fear. He’s completely losing his shit. His balls are shrinking at an impressive rate.

Eve sent him a side glance and rolled her eyes (or so I believe she did).

She immediately owns up. “The serpent deceived me and I ate,” she tells God. She immediately takes responsibility for her actions. Unlike Adam, there is class. There is guts.

I echo Elizabeth Stanton’s sentiments when she said “again we are amazed that upon such a story men have built up a theory of their superiority!”

6) EVE WAS THE LEADER.

I’m sorry, but Adam reeks of an 80s Disney prince. Placid, bland, with zero personality. And as for the episode with the fruit, Eve was clearly the leader, Adam the follower. Eve sought for betterment with knowledge. Eve interpreted God’s command. Eve made a decisive choice. Eve took responsibility for her actions. Eve led her partner forward.

I really like this passage shared with me by a good friend, Captain Sudanand:

“… The Garden of Eden is a childish illusion – a home that seemed to magically appear to the childish humans as if no one had done anything to cultivate it and take care of it, much as we view our childhood homes without realizing all that our parents had to do to make that roof over our heads a reality.

There’s no way Adam could become an adult in the real world without acquiring knowledge, and it was Eve who pushed him to reach his full potential by encouraging him to do so. Sure, he was exiled from the Garden, but that was going to happen anyway. The idea that they could live in such ignorant bliss was always an illusion – at some point we must learn all of the good and unpleasant things about the world if we are going to become the ones capable of growing and maintaining future gardens. And it was thanks to Eve that Adam had that encouraging push necessary to leave childhood and set mankind on its path of journeying to the stars, all thanks to daring to leave the childish protection of the Garden and set off on the glorious pursuit of knowledge.”

I think it’s naive to assume that God’s perfect plan for humanity is us lazing around in flower leis talking to gazelles. The future was inevitable. Changes were going to happen, like it or not. Somebody had to take charge.

Eve was that somebody.

Cartoon credit: www.mortimeriadas.com