When reading this essay, make no assumptions: the second paragraph
pulls the ground right out from under you.
My Dearest Husband,
You look at me with cold fury. You fault my wayward act for costing us our luxuriant lifestyle. How many days now I have longed for your touch, the scent of your torso, your muscular arms; how I long to riffle my finger through your hair. But you pace ahead of me, mouth set in a bitter line, eyes downcast in shame, unwilling to abandon me, unwilling to reconcile.
I write this letter in the year 450,000 B.C. as we regroup outside the gates of Eden. You, Adam, and I, Eve, represent the dawn of the species Homo Sapiens. We have just been evicted from paradise.
Genesis records it thus: Out of the ground in Eden, the Lord made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. In the midst of the garden was planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And the Lord commanded: Of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge thou shouldst not eat.
Gamboling in our chirping, moist jungle, we stumbled each day across this central, plumply laden tree. Each day, we paused a little longer to wonder what it meant.
Finally, impulsively, I stood on tiptoe just so, plucked a dappled red globe, held it to heart for a moment, then crunched my teeth deep to taste its sweetness. I shared the second bite with you.
Now, departing in shock from Eden, we both have no choice but to obey our new commands: You, Adam, to till the soil; I, Eve, to populate the Earth.
Soften your despairing heart, Adam. You do not yet understand.
Our descendant in the twentieth century, Albert Einstein, will offer words which span the mists of time: “The Lord God is subtle, but malicious He is not.” One surety is symmetry between God and the meritorious qualities in mankind. Logic and vision find a place on that roster; truculence and ineptitude do not.
You, Adam, and I, Eve, were artless children, babes really, in the Garden of Eden. Ask yourself: What is an uncontested way to get a toddler to touch something? You install the object center stage; draw the youngster’s attention by pointing out its importance; tell him or her NOT to touch it; then turn your back.
“But to what purpose?” you stonily argue.
This murky conundrum fulfills its answer as I watch the furry lemur and simian colonies that we pass by. The beasts’ hormones rage with survival instinct. And primal neurons organize a crueler instinct of pecking order. Species Homo Sapiens shall be no different, yet with our brain …
What chance for mankind to subsist prudently without discernment? What chance for mankind to flourish? Why, it must have been imperative to God to force mankind to take an intense interest in good and evil.
The Lord shall greatly multiply thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. This pronouncement I heard when our half-eaten apple was discovered, brown-rimmed, on the ground. These words I can’t forget. Each day you spit their echo from your lead on the dusty road we journey east of Eden.
Shed your heart’s shame, Adam. You still don’t understand.
The womb, and its concomitants of childbirth and other women’s pain, is not my punishment for ‘disobeying’ God’s command in Eden. The womb is an endowment, a gift from God for having an unquenchable thirst for comprehension in matters sensitive to conscience.
Since the dawn of our species, it will be the female who gestates and gives birth; the mother who bonds most closely with formative youth; the mother who is earliest discharged with reproducing values.
Turn and face me, Adam! Look at how I glow. Soon, I will grow heavy with your child.
Goose-bumps stampede my arms when I meditate on the promised pain of childbirth.
“Serves you right,” you mutter, hovering nearby.
But Adam … this, neither, is punishment, nor even a primary choice in our design. It is, rather, a secondary effect of mankind’s potential dowry, the brain. The human brain is large, its size set before birth. Even our infant’s bony skull will be rotund relative to other species, yet must still negotiate the birth canal.
I am only a little afraid. The Lord God is subtle, but malicious He is not. And have we not also been granted a mantle of heart and sinew to sustain our inheritance.
Tuum Est - It Is Up To You
Archeology site where Ardipithecus Ramidus fossils found (carbon-dated 4.2 million years)
That's always our difficulty, of course; we have to apply human standards of values — or of justice and injustice — to God. We haven't, can't have, the faintest knowledge of what God really requires from man, except that it seems highly probable that God requires man to become something that he could be, but hasn't thought of being yet.
The Burden by Agatha Christie,
under pen name Mary Westmacott
Though written by ancient scribes, the Bible remains relevant as a moral guide and book of inspiration for Western Christendom. But as thousands of years rolled onward, the science concepts conveyed in the Bible had to make a transition from ‘authority’ to metaphor.
Along the way, society matured: Ancestral chauvinism gave way to western balance. A grasp of human rights, along with scientific literacy, are two strong keys needed to unlock biblical metaphor in the modern world.
The essay at left, First Seed, is Georgena Sil's interpretation of Genesis, chapter 2 (verses 9, 16, 17) and chapter 3 (verses 16, 23).
First Seed was originally published in Daily Meditation.
Copyright © 2008-2019 Georgena Sil. All Rights Reserved.