Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Eve: A Desire for Knowledge

Eve is the most notorious woman in the Bible. Think about it for a moment. The centuries that women have been labelled as "temptresses" or poor decision makers aren't because of the prostitutes of the Bible or the few non-intelligent women of the Bible. No, it's because of Eve and her disastrous mistake.

Because you know us woman. We're all sultry temptresses with no desire other than to bring down the men around us. (*rolls eyes*)

So let's take a closer look at Eve's story and see if she deserves this label she's been given.

In my New American Standard Version of the Bible the versus about Eve's temptation read as follows (the break up between the versus is my own):
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not east from any tree of the garden'?"

The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'"

The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

When the woman saw the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. (Gensis 3: 1-7)
Now, looking at these versus there are a couple of things that stand out to me, but let's just focus on one for the sake of brevity. How did the serpent tempt Eve?

What did he say that he knew would push her over the edge to disobey God? Was it things that might be viewed as stereotypical of a woman? No. He didn't say, "Look how pretty the tree is." Or "the fruit will make you thin and beautiful" or "the fruit will make Adam like you better."

Eve was a woman in her purist, most innocent form--the ultimate woman--and what did the snake offer her that put her over the edge? Look at it again. He says "your eyes will be opened" and "you will be like God, knowing good and evil." The snake offered her to be like God, and the aspect of God he harped on was his knowledge.

He offered woman knowledge, and that was the temptation that put her over the edge. Eve wanted knowledge.

A desire to learn, a desire for knowledge is not considered a stereotype of women. Women have, if anything, been considered stupid and without a desire or a need to learn for the past several centuries. In past centuries, people have uttered phrases like "it's useless to educate women" or "women have no use for education." But the temptation that led Eve to disobey God was not beauty or music or pleasing someone. It was a desire for knowledge.

I think this is fascinating. I think this says something about women. I'm not condoning Eve's disobedience of God at all. She should not have taken the apple. But I think its a fascinating story that the first woman ever created desired knowledge so much that she disobeyed God.

I must say the desire to know is something that definitely drives me. I'm an engineer, and you don't become an engineer without a desire to know how things work, how they operate. The world has always tried to make me feel that this is a weird desire for a girl to have, but here in the very first story in the Bible about a woman I learn otherwise. If anything, it seems to be a woman's most basic desire.

And I think there is a lesson in this. We cannot let our desire to know to overcome our faith, our following of God. We don't always need to know why He tells us to do the things he does. We must trust. We must understand that our desire to know needs to take a backseat to what God desires. We must obey him.

But we also shouldn't let people tell us it's not womanly to know or learn, that knowledge is someone not a part of who we are. Clearly it is. We just need to learn to harness it for the good side of the Force, for God's will.

Are you a woman reading this? What do you think?

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