Fact: the Book of Genesis did not write itself.
A writer can call the inspiration that motivates them to pick up their pen whatever they like. They can call it madness, they can call it the “divine”. It’s still just their own personal brain chemistry at work. The idea to write this blog post popped into my head the same way “In the beginning…” did to the scribe who sat down and “cut & pasted” the first chapters of Genesis from his brain to the papyrus on which he was physically writing it.
Bet the ranch: that scribe was male. This is from the Encyclopaedia Britannica —
Scholars have identified three literary traditions in Genesis, as in Deuteronomy, usually identified as the Yahwist, Elohist, and Priestly strains. The Yahwist strain, so called because it used the name Yahweh (Jehovah) for God, is a Judaean rendition of the sacred story, perhaps written as early as 950 BCE. The Elohist strain, which designates God as Elohim, is traceable to the northern kingdom of Israel and was written 900–700 BCE. The Priestly strain, so called because of its cultic interests and regulations for priests, is usually dated in the 5th century BCE…Encyclopaedia Britannica, Genesis
So, roughly three thousand years ago — with zero science in hand and a desert environment all around (remember: Genesis’s author probably never strayed more than 50 miles from where he was born; his world was teeny tiny compared to ours), a male writer sits down to spell out how he thinks the world works — how it started and who started it. And most importantly, why.
He composes a story — pulled from other stories he’s heard but mostly from inside his own head, using his own experiences to guide him. Keep that in mind as he picks up his stylus. He imagines a happy Yahweh, letting there be light and water and trees and animals and everything a man could want (except internet porn cos neither the internet nor porn has been invented yet).
Ah, but Adam is lonely all by himself. Yahweh didn’t think to give him company? All the other animals get mates. Why not Adam? This Yahweh character does sloppy work. But, finally, Yahweh gets hip. He creates Eve out of Adam.
Can I digress here for a second because this makes zero sense. How does Yahweh suddenly have supply issues where he can’t get ribs delivered? Didn’t he just finish providing ribs for virtually every creature with an internal skeleton? Why does he have to create Eve out of Adam? That’s completely ludicrous since men are not nor never have been the source of human life.
The guy who first wrote Genesis makes Adam virtually blameless for he and Eve getting chucked out of Eden. Adam doesn’t listen to the talking serpent, but Eve does.
Adam doesn’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, but Eve does.
Yahweh made every creature there. Adam, don’t forget, is created in God’s “image”. Is that as far as our similarities go? Just the image? What about Adam’s mind — wasn’t that created in Yahweh’s image too? If it was, wouldn’t Eve’s image and brain reflect the continuing similarities to Yahweh? Hey — I’m just working the Genesis writer’s story logic the same way I would my own.
Eve colors outside the lines. Yahweh via Adam draws a line in the sand and dares Eve to cross it, knowing he hasn’t yet and won’t. The whole conceit seems built to entrap Eve, knowing that, unlike Adam, she’ll ask (if only internally) “Why not?”
Why not eat from that particular tree? Is the “Knowledge of Good & Evil” too much for humans to understand? Why does Eve want to taste that knowledge while Adam doesn’t? Clearly we’re supposed to see Adam as the good guy taken down by Eve the bad guy. Because he didn’t say anything, Yahweh condemns Adam to a lifetime of hard work and sweat. Oh, so that’s why the man owns us all,
He condemns Eve to painful childbirth and having to listen to what men say from now on.
Some Christian theologians will play the “But God gave Adam free will” card. Excuse me — but free will is free will. Free will with one exception is not “free will”. Just my opinion but the overwhelming majority of Christian theologians are better at masturbating than they are at thinking.
Even the guy who wrote Genesis got it that Eve had more going for her than Adam did. Eve was too much for either Adam OR Yahweh to handle. She was certainly more than the guy writing Genesis could deal with. He looked at her dynamism and ambition as a threat.
That’s what Eve had that Adam lacked: ambition.
That’s what Yahweh wanted to punish her for — wanting something beyond what Yahweh provided. Eve wanted to know — and that threatened everyone.
If the guy who wrote Genesis had had a sense of humor, he might have sketched out the Garden Of Eden scenes a bit more like this —
Alas, Genesis’ author had no sense of humor and he was angry at women. Can we please stop paying for his mistake?
Better yet — can we please stop punishing women for being smarter than men? Can we reward their ambitions instead of condemning them? Can we, at least, stop seeing the world through the angry, confused, uninformed eyes of some Iron Age dude whose wife put him in his place?