"Eve and Adam Set Free"
June 10, 2018
This week the Revised Common Lectionary invites us to consider the wild relationships that tied God, Eve and Adam together.
The two humans disobeyed God and ate from the forbidden tree. When confronted, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the snake.
And (Who expected this?!?) God repented of the consequence promised for disobedience and did not put the two to death. (3:3) There were consequences but they were not fatal. (3:8-24)
For a time after Eve and Adam were expelled from Eden they considered trying to sneak back in. But the gate looked forbidding and the angel with the flaming sword incorruptible. So, with many a backward glance, the two began their journey over the face of the earth, looking for a place to dwell.
Some lands were too hot, others too cold. This place was a death place – a swamp. A few that looked just right proved to be populated by large carnivores whose urgent appetites threatened life and limb. Their long days of searching dragged into years.
Finally, Eve and Adam came to a large, fertile valley. Sweet grasses grew abundantly and a sparkling stream ran through it. Far up one of the valley walls was a clean, dry cave with an apron that caught the first rays of the dawn. Here the two settled down.
And things went well. They tilled the ground. They became parents.
To be sure, it wasn’t Eden. The day a skunk got into the butter crock, they wept and remembered the garden. The day the plow broke on a large rock, they cursed and blamed each other.
But then, one night in spring, when the air was soft and fragrant with the scent of new growth, the two lay on the apron of the cave, unable to sleep. The sky above them was splashed with stars. Every muscle in their bodies ached from the labors of the day.
Suddenly, Eve turned to Adam:
“Adam, God was wrong! This is what we were meant for!
To till the ground and raise our grain, to hunt and fish for meat.
To work all day in the hot sun and feel the sweat drying
on our bodies in the cool of the evening.
To try something and fail and try it again and fail
and keep on trying until it works.
To struggle to understand things that make us fear.
To feel hunger and thirst and pain – and hope!
THIS IS BETTER THAN EDEN, ADAM.
THIS IS WHAT WE WERE MEANT FOR.
GOD WAS WRONG, ADAM, GOD WAS WRONG!”
And God heard these defiant words flung into the deep well of space.
And hearing, God smiled.**
And God still smiles on people who are not quiet and submissive but creative, fierce, stubborn and full of life. After all, we are created in the Holy One’s image, are we not?
**Thanks to William Muehl for retelling this old rabbinic tale.