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If you belong to a religion that believes something about Eve (as in, Adam and Eve), can you answer some questions about your beliefs about her, or from the perspective of a religion/denomination that you’re very familiar with? I’m Mormon myself so I have that one covered, but I’d like to hear from anyone else. You can answer any or all of these questions. I’ve read a lot about Eve from different viewpoints but I can’t possibly cover every perspective so I’d appreciate any help you can give.

 

1. Do you generally have a positive or negative view of Eve? How might you describe her?

 

2. Do you think she was a historical or mythical figure? Or something else?

 

3. If you had to give a really short summary of Eve’s role in your belief system, what would you say?

 

4. Anything else you want to say about her?

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1. I have a somewhat neutral view of Eve because she and Adam both represent what humans with free will do.  I think positively about the fact that God says she was NEEDED and necessary.

 

2. The jury is still out for me on the historicity of Adam and Eve; but that doesn't affect that I believe God created the world and all of its inhabitants at some point.  I think it's possible that there was a first couple that had the intellectual capacity to recognize a Creator and respond to Him in whatever way they could.  I lean toward there being a historical first couple BUT the Genesis account being a story to explain much more about humanity and its relationship to God than those two specifically.  Not sure.

 

3. Eve is the mother of humanity, the first wife (such as it was...I think of it more as partner and "strong ally" which is how the word for "helper" (ezer) is interpreted), first companion and friend, and the first human with the free will and intellectual agency to sin (go against God's directives for human flourishing--that term sort of bugs me but it works, lol).

 

4. Not really except to say that I believe any interpretations that conclude women are sinful in a specific way due to BEING a woman (and like Eve) are stupid and wrong.  I think that there are some consequences of the Fall that apply to men and women, predicted in Scripture as how sin will play out in the world and in relationships between men and women.  But I believe gender roles are given by God in accordance to *strengths* not sins, and they are meant for harmony in marriage and family life AND in the pursuit of the mission that God's children are expected to pursue.  I think Eve has been used maliciously as an excuse to treat women as less intelligent, less powerful, less capable of good, etc.and that it damages the image of God we are meant to portray when we buy into that nonsense.

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Hawwa In AQ

 

She is not mentioned by name at any point in the Quran. Adam is "fashioned out of clay" and then a female was made as well. Adam is considered a prophet and many add peace be upon her for Eve as they do for Adam. They both did something forbidden, then were given guidance and forgiven. The angels were told to bow before Adam, but Eve was not. 

 

There is a Hadith that follows the biblical tact that Eve was created OUT of Adam, but again, not everyone believes in that since it is not in AQ.

 

I think she is a useful archetype, and I am open to her having been a walking, talking, moving all around human being but she (and Adam) are so far removed from the present, and from the overall guidance of AQ, that she still slips into archetypal status for me, so it's an academic question that I personally don't worry about. 

 

I  have a positive view of her. I believe the biblical Eve was, as they say, framed :-)

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we take her literally.

She is perfect for Adam in the way that great marriages are of people who are perfect for each other.

They are called to work and to have children during the pre-Fall period, so those are good things, not curses.

All humanity are descended from them.

Theologically the Fall is placed on his shoulders more so than hers.  That's a bit surprising since she does the deed first.  Explanations for this are a bit debatable.  The best one that I have heard says that he should have prevented her from listening to the serpent as he was right there.  This is a fairly recent view in my experience.  The way I had always pictured this was that Adam was off doing something else during the serpent/Eve temptation.

 

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I view Eve as being the earthly counterpart of Sophia (the feminine face of God) and the essential precursor of Mary. Sophia being our spiritual mother, Eve being our earthly mother and Mary being the mother of God. The roles of these mothers are vital and interconnected. Each needed the others to fulfill their purpose. I'm not sure we can fully understand Eve without also understanding these other women.

Edited by Learning fun
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1. Mixed positive and negative: she initiates sin, but in that she is simply acting like all of humanity. She's just doing it first. She is also the mother of all people, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God to deeply represent the glory of God.

 

2. Historical or mythical: it's inconclusive. There's no reason to believe she *wasn't* historical, but her story is definitely told in the genre of "an epic".

 

3. Together with Adam, Eve was made by God as one of representatives / rulers on earth, and as one of his loved ones. In this role she had great responsibility and honour. When confronted with the temptation to end her dependency on God and abdicate her responsibility towards him, she willingly chose an act of symbolic rebellion. (This opportunity to disobey God at any time was intentionally and permanently placed, so that her obedience -- while it lasted -- was a free choice, because there was 'another option' other than obedience always at hand.)

 

As a result, God might have respected her choice to stop depending on him and end her relationship with her creator -- which (as she had been warned) would have been immediately fatal. Instead God postponed that consequence and continued to provide life for her. This was, in a manner of speaking "against her wishes" and, as such, it is temporary. She became mortal. She and Adam reproduced, giving "mortal life" to children, all down the line to our current generation.

 

Her descendants are redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus: who is (in divine irony) one of her own descendants, born of Mary (a daughter of Eve) who made a choice of faithfulness when rebellion was an option. Eternal life comes to people when they consent to entrust themselves to Jesus for salvation. His death and ressurection are trusted to take care of our own mortal condition.

 

In this way Eve's action (which made her and her offspring mortal) is reversed (to immortality) by consent-based faith and the resumption of a unflawed relationship with God.

 

4. She is frequently referred to in the New Testament as the early church wrestled with women's issues. A good understanding of Eve helps prevent us from misreading certain "clobber passages" that appear to assert that women have rightfully subordinate roles. A poor understanding around Eve can tend to support those particular misreadings.

Edited by bolt.
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I view Eve as being the earthly counterpart of Sophia (the feminine face of God) and the essential precursor of Mary. Sophia being our spiritual mother, Eve being our earthly mother and Mary being the mother of God. The roles of these mothers are vital and interconnected. Each needed the others to fulfill their purpose. I'm not sure we can fully understand Eve without also understanding these other women.

What faith tradition does Sophia come from?

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What faith tradition does Sophia come from?

"Sophia" is the Greek word for wisdom. It functions both as a normal noun (describing the concept) and as a proper noun (as personification, or as a reference to an intangible being, or as an aspect of the Trinity, or as an aspect of one of the persons of the Trinity).

 

As such "Sophia" has been in and out of the Christian tradition (in various forms) for the majority of Christian history. It is possible that there is contact with traditions within second temple Judaism (Greek speaking).

Edited by bolt.
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"Sophia" is the Greek word for wisdom. It functions both as a normal noun (describing the concept) and as a proper noun (as personification, or as a reference to an intangible being, or as an aspect of the Trinity, or as an aspect of one of the persons of the Trinity).

 

As such "Sophia" has been in and out of the Christian tradition (in various forms) for the majority of Christian history. It is possible that there is contact with traditions within second temple Judaism (Greek speaking).

Thanks bolt. I was thinking of Sophia (as mentioned above) as akin to Lilith as a personality - stemming from Judaism, I think - and wondered if she were (as mentioned above with a capital S) a similar character.

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"Sophia" is the Greek word for wisdom. It functions both as a normal noun (describing the concept) and as a proper noun (as personification, or as a reference to an intangible being, or as an aspect of the Trinity, or as an aspect of one of the persons of the Trinity).

 

As such "Sophia" has been in and out of the Christian tradition (in various forms) for the majority of Christian history. It is possible that there is contact with traditions within second temple Judaism (Greek speaking).

Thanks Bolt! That was the perfectly put :)

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If you belong to a religion that believes something about Eve (as in, Adam and Eve), can you answer some questions about your beliefs about her, or from the perspective of a religion/denomination that you’re very familiar with? I’m Mormon myself so I have that one covered, but I’d like to hear from anyone else. You can answer any or all of these questions. I’ve read a lot about Eve from different viewpoints but I can’t possibly cover every perspective so I’d appreciate any help you can give.

 

1. Do you generally have a positive or negative view of Eve? How might you describe her?  Negative

 

2. Do you think she was a historical or mythical figure? Or something else? Historical

 

3. If you had to give a really short summary of Eve’s role in your belief system, what would you say? She was the only perfect woman to ever live and she chose to reject the rulership of God and thus she (and Adam) spread sin and imperfection on to all their offspring.

 

4. Anything else you want to say about her?  I don't believe woman some how 'less' than men because of Eve....no more than men are 'less' than women because of Adam.  They both used their free will badly and brought a lot of heartache to humankind.

 

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If you belong to a religion that believes something about Eve (as in, Adam and Eve), can you answer some questions about your beliefs about her, or from the perspective of a religion/denomination that you’re very familiar with? I’m Mormon myself so I have that one covered, but I’d like to hear from anyone else. You can answer any or all of these questions. I’ve read a lot about Eve from different viewpoints but I can’t possibly cover every perspective so I’d appreciate any help you can give.

 

1. Do you generally have a positive or negative view of Eve? How might you describe her?

 

2. Do you think she was a historical or mythical figure? Or something else?

 

3. If you had to give a really short summary of Eve’s role in your belief system, what would you say?

 

4. Anything else you want to say about her?

 

I am Jewish.

 

1.  Neutral, with some sympathy.  How awful to have one of your children murder another.

 

2  Mythical.

 

3.  As with all Torah stories, there are countless interpretations of the story of Adam and Eve.  Some commentators have argued that because they gained a knowledge of good and evil from eating the fruit, they could not have known before and cannot be held accountable for their actions.  On this theory, the expulsion is not really a punishment but more of an inevitability -- Adam and Eve were innocent children but now they are adults who have to know right from wrong and are responsible for their actions.  Other commentators strongly disagree and maintain the expulsion is very much a punishment for disobeying G-d's will.  Along similar lines, many have historically seen the serpent as representing the "yetzer hara," our innate inclinations towards selfishness,  that is perpetually in conflict with our "yetzer hatov," or our innate good inclinations.  (One support for this theory is the fact that the serpent can speak, suggesting that it represents something within the human soul.) Other argue that the serpent is actually a Divine agent, forcing Adam and Eve to move beyond their animal natures and become fully human.  

 

It is worth emphasizing that the idea of free will is paramount in Judaism -- human beings have the ability to choose between good and evil and are morally responsible for the consequences of those choices -- and the story of Adam and Eve very much connects up with that.  Judaism does not have the idea of original sin.  

 

4.  There is an interesting discussion in the Talmud where the rabbis try to reconcile the two different account of Eve's creation -- the first in which Adam and Eve are created simultaneously and the second in which Eve is created second.  

Edited by JennyD
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1. Do you generally have a positive or negative view of Eve? How might you describe her?
 
Sympathetic view.  She is all of us. She makes the mistakes that we all make -- not really trusting that what God says is best for us, wanting to make our own rules and then shifting blame when things go south.

2. Do you think she was a historical or mythical figure? Or something else?
 
Historical.

3. If you had to give a really short summary of Eve’s role in your belief system, what would you say?
 
See #1

4. Anything else you want to say about her? 
 
Historically, people have placed the "blame" on Eve, but that is not accurate, although she was certainly responsible for her actions. The Bible states that Adam was with her when she was tempted.  It also says that Adam "was not deceived".  This means that Adam knew what the serpent was doing and was supposed to protect Eve, but he threw her under the bus because he wanted to see what would happen.  
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From the Eastern Orthodox perspective:

 

1. Do you generally have a positive or negative view of Eve? How might you describe her? 

 

As above, sympathetic and not negative (who am I to judge?). 

2. Do you think she was a historical or mythical figure? Or something else? 

 

Historical as well as symbolic.

3. If you had to give a really short summary of Eve’s role in your belief system, what would you say? 

 

Adam and Eve are the starting point for humankind. He is a type of Christ and she is a type of the Mother of God (who are known in Orthodox theology, among other things, as The New Adam and The New Eve). While they are guilty of their sin, only they are guilty of the sin of breaking the prescribed fast in the garden. Humankind suffers the consequence of that sin (death), but it does not share in the guilt.  There is no original sin in Orthodoxy, instead, each human is guilty of their own sin.  But in the Orthodox phronema, more than being remembered as the first humans to sin, Adam and Eve are remembered as the first redeemed, the first saved. This is evidenced in icons in which we find Adam and Eve and in the phraseology of the services where they are mentioned. They are seen, for example, being pulled out of the tomb in the icon of the Resurrection of Christ; Christ came to trample down death by death, beginning with theirs.

4. Anything else you want to say about her?

 

I like the name "Eve" and wish it didn't have the negative connotation that it does.  Eve (and Adam) represent us all -- we fall, we get up again, we keep going. 

Edited by milovany
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One can't be guilty of "sin" when one doesn't have knowledge of the difference between good and evil. Nor does one have "free-will" in such a circumstance.

 

Only by gaining the knowledge of good and evil did human beings, in a mythological sense, become moral beings and (as acknowledged in the story) more like the divine.

 

Not following an order (disobedience) that one doesn't understand on a moral level isn't "sin." To sin one must have moral discernment. That moral discernment was completely lacking in the story prior to the eating of the apple. Gaining that ability was what made people fully human on a mythic level.

 

Otherwise, we were like dogs or babies, beings whose "disobedience" carries no moral weight (since they don't know good from evil.

 

Bill

 

 

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If you belong to a religion that believes something about Eve (as in, Adam and Eve), can you answer some questions about your beliefs about her, or from the perspective of a religion/denomination that you’re very familiar with? I’m Mormon myself so I have that one covered, but I’d like to hear from anyone else. You can answer any or all of these questions. I’ve read a lot about Eve from different viewpoints but I can’t possibly cover every perspective so I’d appreciate any help you can give.

 

1. Do you generally have a positive or negative view of Eve? How might you describe her?

 

2. Do you think she was a historical or mythical figure? Or something else?

 

3. If you had to give a really short summary of Eve’s role in your belief system, what would you say?

 

4. Anything else you want to say about her?

 

1) I wouldn't say my view of Eve is strongly negative or positive.  The tendency in m denomination is to see ourselves in both her and Adam.

 

2) As far as historical/mythical, I would say both.  Big truths about things like human nature aren't just true in the abstract - they actually have a material existence in individuals.  That there was a first human choice about the good, that happened in time, is true.  But I would not really call the story a historical account which has certain connotations around narrative facts.  It's more toward mythology in being an account that is symbolic in terms of questions around the nature of reality, choice, metaphysics, and so in - it's more like literature.

 

I'd also say a common view in my denomination, at least those with some education, is to follow Augustine in saying that there is a sense in which the Fall happened before it was instantiated physically.  

 

I'd tend to say it would be difficult to pull apart how much of the account was factual in a modern sense.

 

3) Eve shows what a decision to choose untruth can look like, what can motivate it, and it's consequences.  Specifically what happens when nature, even one part of it, becomes alienated from the Divine, it's formal source.

 

ETA; other things - I think one thing the story of the Fall shows us is that the thing Eve wanted was itself a good - that tells us something about the nature of sin.  She and Adam are also the template for marriage as a natural physical relationship.

Edited by Bluegoat
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Eve did not seek "untruth" in the story. She sought to become a being who could see the difference between good and evil. Have such an ability is the only way to know the truth and to know falsehoods. 

 

God (in the story) confirms that by this act that Eva has become more like gods by becoming moral beings. 

 

In not sure how going from amoral creatures who lack moral-discernment to moral being constitutes a "Fall," but that's what keeps theologians and religious apologists busy, I suppose.

 

Bill

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Eve did not seek "untruth" in the story. She sought to become a being who could see the difference between good and evil. Have such an ability is the only way to know the truth and to know falsehoods. 

 

God (in the story) confirms that by this act that Eva has become more like gods by becoming moral beings. 

 

In not sure how going from amoral creatures who lack moral-discernment to moral being constitutes a "Fall," but that's what keeps theologians and religious apologists busy, I suppose.

 

Bill

 

You're basing this on what?  

 

As a textual analysis, you are leaving out a fair bit - even anyone analyzing it as literature wouldn't say something so out of tune with the actual text.

 

Did you not notice that they both physically, intimately knew God as the formal source of reality?  Or that the situation changed significantly as a result of their actions?  You really can't analyze a text without reading the whole story.   

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One can't be guilty of "sin" when one doesn't have knowledge of the difference between good and evil. Nor does one have "free-will" in such a circumstance.

 

Only by gaining the knowledge of good and evil did human beings, in a mythological sense, become moral beings and (as acknowledged in the story) more like the divine.

 

Not following an order (disobedience) that one doesn't understand on a moral level isn't "sin." To sin one must have moral discernment. That moral discernment was completely lacking in the story prior to the eating of the apple. Gaining that ability was what made people fully human on a mythic level.

 

Otherwise, we were like dogs or babies, beings whose "disobedience" carries no moral weight (since they don't know good from evil.

 

Bill

Bill, we'd love to hear your answers to these questions (if you hold to a religion/tradition that has beliefs about Eve) but I'm not sure people will continue to help the OP in her survey various beliefs if you press on with your critiques of others' views.
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You're basing this on what?  

 

As a textual analysis, you are leaving out a fair bit - even anyone analyzing it as literature wouldn't say something so out of tune with the actual text.

 

Did you not notice that they both physically, intimately knew God as the formal source of reality?  Or that the situation changed significantly as a result of their actions?  You really can't analyze a text without reading the whole story.   

 

I'm basing it on Genesis Book 3.

 

God, in the story, says: "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." [KJV]

 

So prior to this, ipso facto, Eve (and Adam) did not know good from evil. Creatures who can not discern between good and evil are not moral beings, and amoral being can't sin nor do they have free-will.

 

Disobedience, without moral capacity, isn't sin. One must have a moral capacity to be culpable. 

 

Bill

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Bill, we'd love to hear your answers to these questions (if you hold to a religion/tradition that has beliefs about Eve) but I'm not sure people will continue to help the OP in her survey various beliefs if you press on with your critiques of others' views.

 

The OP "liked" my post (while I'm sure she has her own ideas about the mythic vale of the story that might be entirely different than my own).

 

If she asks me not to post. I'll honor the request.

 

Bill 

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Bill, I didn’t post this to have a discussion about the merits of people’s beliefs, but to hear people’s answers to the questions I posted. I’d appreciate it if you don’t sidetrack the thread from that.

 

I liked your first post because I am liking all posts in this thread that answer the original questions (or at least one of them). But please, no critiques of others’ beliefs.

Edited by Amira
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Bill, I didn’t post this to have a discussion about the merits of people’s beliefs, but to hear people’s answers to the questions I posted. I’d appreciate it if you don’t sidetrack the thread from that.

 

I liked your first post because I am liking all posts in this thread that answer the original questions (or at least one of them). But please, no critiques of others’ beliefs.

 

I didn't comment on the merits of people's beliefs (such was a false characterization on the part of another). Such behavior on this forum gets old.

 

I commented on the mythic value of the Eve story. And also the requirement in moral philosophy for a being to be able to understand the difference between good and evil in order for that being's actions to have a moral component. Without moral discernment, there cannot be (by definition) sin or guilt.

 

Disobedience by amoral beings has no moral weight.

 

I did not critique anyone else's beliefs unless pointing out differences based on reasoning can be lampooned as such.

 

I am aware of no judicial philosophy on the planet that holds beings gulty or sinful if that being cannot understand the difference between good an evil. Right?

 

Bill

Edited by Spy Car

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I am Jewish.

 

1.  Neutral, with some sympathy.  How awful to have one of your children murder another.

 

2  Mythical.

 

3.  As with all Torah stories, there are countless interpretations of the story of Adam and Eve.  Some commentators have argued that because they gained a knowledge of good and evil from eating the fruit, they could not have known before and cannot be held accountable for their actions.  On this theory, the expulsion is not really a punishment but more of an inevitability -- Adam and Eve were innocent children but now they are adults who have to know right from wrong and are responsible for their actions.  Other commentators strongly disagree and maintain the expulsion is very much a punishment for disobeying G-d's will.  Along similar lines, many have historically seen the serpent as representing the "yetzer hara," our innate inclinations towards selfishness,  that is perpetually in conflict with our "yetzer hatov," or our innate good inclinations.  (One support for this theory is the fact that the serpent can speak, suggesting that it represents something within the human soul.) Other argue that the serpent is actually a Divine agent, forcing Adam and Eve to move beyond their animal natures and become fully human.  

 

It is worth emphasizing that the idea of free will is paramount in Judaism -- human beings have the ability to choose between good and evil and are morally responsible for the consequences of those choices -- and the story of Adam and Eve very much connects up with that.  Judaism does not have the idea of original sin.  

 

4.  There is an interesting discussion in the Talmud where the rabbis try to reconcile the two different account of Eve's creation -- the first in which Adam and Eve are created simultaneously and the second in which Eve is created second.  

 

 

I just wanted to thank you for your post.  It was very interesting to me.  

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I wanted to add that I consider the commandment to honor thy mother and thy father to include our first parents. As the "mother of all living" Eve deserves our thanks and honor.

Edited by Learning fun
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I'm basing it on Genesis Book 3.

 

God, in the story, says: "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." [KJV]

 

So prior to this, ipso facto, Eve (and Adam) did not know good from evil. Creatures who can not discern between good and evil are not moral beings, and amoral being can't sin nor do they have free-will.

 

Disobedience, without moral capacity, isn't sin. One must have a moral capacity to be culpable. 

 

Bill

 

 

Yeah, like I said, you actually need to at least read the whole story and think it through.  One line doesn't necessarily determine the whole thing, that's why there are other words.  You'd get dinged for sloppy reading in a first year university essay if you argued that way.

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Yeah, like I said, you actually need to at least read the whole story and think it through.  One line doesn't necessarily determine the whole thing, that's why there are other words.  You'd get dinged for sloppy reading in a first year university essay if you argued that way.

 

Do you honestly don't believe I haven't read the whole thing? 

 

There is nothing you've refuted successfully and, other than insulting me, you've failed to make a counter-argument. That would be a fail in a university paper. In contrast, I gave evidence that supports the point [as in a direct quote attributed to the god in the story].

 

In what moral philosophy is a being that lacks moral discernment held as responsible for the moral character of that amoral being's actions?

 

Without moral cognition of the difference between right and wrong, there is by definition no capacity for sin.

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Hmm, I thought of something else that might be applicable.

 

My tradition also teaches that when Christ died and went down to Hell, he freed Adam and Eve when he broke down the gates of Hell.  It's called the Harrowing of Hell and if you look at the icons you can see him pulling Adam and Eve out of the coffins or out of the ground by their wrists.  Often there is the door of Hell burns too, and bones or a dead person under Christ's feet.

 

Like most icons, it's essentially a picture of the theology.  Adam and Eve are important then in understanding the nature of salvation or union with the Divine.

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On what moral basis would it be considered justice to send beings who lacked moral capacity to hell for a millennia (or two) for being disobedient of commands they could not understand as right or wrong?

 

Bill

 

 

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Do you honestly don't believe I haven't read the whole thing? 

 

There is nothing you've refuted successfully and, other than insulting me, you've failed to make a counter-argument. That would be a fail in a university paper. In contrast, I gave evidence that supports the point [as in a direct quote attributed to the god in the story].

 

In what moral philosophy is a being that lacks moral discernment held as responsible for the moral character of that amoral being's actions?

 

Without moral cognition of the difference between right and wrong, there is by definition no capacity for sin.

 

For example, if you'd read the whole story, and thought about it, you might realize that it's a problem to say they had no moral capacity at the beginning of the story, for several reasons indicated in the text, and certainly inaccurate to say they had no sense of departure from truth.  T

 

hey had an intimate and personal, even depicted as physical, relation to God, and knew him to be the formal cause of all reality.  And clearly they are intelligent and clever.

 

To assert something other than truth is true, when you know it with that kind of intimate immediacy, can't be anything other than embracing what necessarily must be an untruth.  And as a limited being, to assert that what you don't understand must define reality in the face what you know to be unlimited, is another kind of deliberate dishonesty.  

 

The capacity for logic, then, along with immediate knowledge of God, creates the basis for moral awareness.  

 

Now, it's very interesting that the story seems to suggest that they don't fully appreciate the nature of rejection of the Divine until they actually do it.  And there are some suggestive ideas in the story about that, and about what the implications are around that with regard to their beginning state.

 

But it isn't a simple story defined by one sentence.  (Nor, for that matter, are you really meant to look at that story without reference to the others.)

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On what moral basis would it be considered justice to send beings who lacked moral capacity to hell for a millennia (or two) for being disobedient of commands they could not understand as right or wrong?

 

Bill

 

Do you have any sense of what Hell is suppose to be?  That might be helpful in answering your question.

 

I'd suggest maybe if you are interested in theology you should start your own thread.

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For example, if you'd read the whole story, and thought about it, you might realize that it's a problem to say they had no moral capacity at the beginning of the story, for several reasons indicated in the text, and certainly inaccurate to say they had no sense of departure from truth.  T

 

hey had an intimate and personal, even depicted as physical, relation to God, and knew him to be the formal cause of all reality.  And clearly they are intelligent and clever.

 

To assert something other than truth is true, when you know it with that kind of intimate immediacy, can't be anything other than embracing what necessarily must be an untruth.  And as a limited being, to assert that what you don't understand must define reality in the face what you know to be unlimited, is another kind of deliberate dishonesty.  

 

The capacity for logic, then, along with immediate knowledge of God, creates the basis for moral awareness.  

 

Now, it's very interesting that the story seems to suggest that they don't fully appreciate the nature of rejection of the Divine until they actually do it.  And there are some suggestive ideas in the story about that, and about what the implications are around that with regard to their beginning state.

 

But it isn't a simple story defined by one sentence.  (Nor, for that matter, are you really meant to look at that story without reference to the others.)

 

Huh? They can't have an apriori moral capacity (meaning the ability to distinguish between good an evil) and then also gain this very same capacity by figuratively eating of the fruit. That doesn't compute on a logical level.

 

There is no evidence that they "know" God—as in if this a good or bad being—in this story. They don't have the moral capacity to understand whether or not they are rejecting anything. 

 

Only by becoming aware (moral creatures) do any of their action have moral significance. They, in god's words in this story, transition from being creatures without moral discernment to being like divine beings in this capacity for being able to recognize good from evil.

 

As a matter of justice it would have made no more sense to punish them that it would to punish an infant who (lacking moral discernment) disobeyed a parent's order not to touch a hot iron that was left laying around.

 

The mythic value of the story IMO is that it explains how humans went from being like babies to being adults with moral capacity (and the suffering that sometimes comes with being adults) and it explains how we humans see ourselves as different from other animals.

 

Bill

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If you belong to a religion that believes something about Eve (as in, Adam and Eve), can you answer some questions about your beliefs about her, or from the perspective of a religion/denomination that you’re very familiar with? I’m Mormon myself so I have that one covered, but I’d like to hear from anyone else. You can answer any or all of these questions. I’ve read a lot about Eve from different viewpoints but I can’t possibly cover every perspective so I’d appreciate any help you can give.

 

1. Do you generally have a positive or negative view of Eve? How might you describe her?

 

2. Do you think she was a historical or mythical figure? Or something else?

 

3. If you had to give a really short summary of Eve’s role in your belief system, what would you say?

 

4. Anything else you want to say about her?

 

Okay, I am catholic but have no idea whether my personal opinions/feelings are aligned/formed by that (haven't read any of the other replies so they don't influence my reply).

 

1. Somewhat positive. Sure, she made a mistake but I do feel she was a strong woman - not only would it have been difficult to be the only woman around, but she basically got Adam to do what she wanted which makes her the stronger one in my opinion.

 

2. Not really either. I mean there may be some historical component but in general the Old Testament to me is not something to be taken literally.

 

3. Minor. She doesn't really have much to do with what I consider the important aspects/beliefs of Christianity.

 

4. Not really.

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Huh? They can't have an apriori moral capacity (meaning the ability to distinguish between good an evil) and then also gain this very same capacity by figuratively eating of the fruit. That doesn't compute on a logical level.

 

There is no evidence that they "know" God—as in if this a good or bad being—in this story. They don't have the moral capacity to understand whether or not they are rejecting anything. 

 

Only by becoming aware (moral creatures) do any of their action have moral significance. They, in god's words in this story, transition from being creatures without moral discernment to being like divine beings in this capacity for being able to recognize good from evil.

 

As a matter of justice it would have made no more sense to punish them that it would to punish an infant who (lacking moral discernment) disobeyed a parent's order not to touch a hot iron that was left laying around.

 

The mythic value of the story IMO is that it explains how humans went from being like babies to being adults with moral capacity (and the suffering that sometimes comes with being adults) and it explains how we humans see ourselves as different from other animals.

 

Bill

 

The question of whether God is good or evil can't be divorced from what is true.  What's true is good.  There is no outside source for creation in Genesis - all that is created derives it's reality from God, including the physical world - there is nothing else.  To depart, then, from God is necessarily to depart from truth.

 

It's very much the same idea as departing from the Tao.  It's can't be the right/true thing to do because it is a logical contradiction.  In this case God is a more personalized conception of the Divine, but it's not different in the sense of being the formal cause of reality.

 

And Adam and Eve clearly knew God as the source of reality, and the intimacy of their relationship is emphasized more than once, in a very personal kind of way.  

 

The text does indicate that after they acted, they knew in a different way.  But what does that really mean?  In some ways they seem to know less than they did before, they become cut off from their intimate relationship.  Whatever we think about the statement, though, it has to be taken within the context of them having departed in a real way from reality, knowing they were doing so.  That's not really out of the scope of most people's experience, anyway.  There are different ways of knowing things.

 

That's also, generally, the standard starting place for understanding what you are describing as their punishment, which is to say, death.  It's not really a matter some kind of retribution, but the inevitable consequence of separation from the source of life, logic, good,  etc.  Which is followed up in the stories of their descendants.  Separation from God creates a kind of larger community that makes errors and missteps in it's relationships, and these lead to more pain and suffering, even among those not involved in the original problem.

 

All of which is to say, you can't focus on only one line of the story without considering how it fits in with the rest.  And you could also consider whether your interpretation seems in line with the intent of the writers, and I'd say, it doesn't really seem that they want us to think they Adam and Eve are unaware that they are doing something they are not supposed to.

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Well, I was thinking about posting something along the lines of, "Bill, you're being obnoxious; it's pretty clear in the rules of the forum that coming along to a descriptive thread about one thing to debate the legitimacy of some aspect of that thing is a faux pas here," but reading Bluegoat talking about theology is just always so interesting to me that I decided not to complain.

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Alright, we have had a couple of reports. Let's chill please. We don't want to have to lock another thread within 24 hours.

 

Thank you.

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The question of whether God is good or evil can't be divorced from what is true. What's true is good. There is no outside source for creation in Genesis - all that is created derives it's reality from God, including the physical world - there is nothing else. To depart, then, from God is necessarily to depart from truth.

 

It's very much the same idea as departing from the Tao. It's can't be the right/true thing to do because it is a logical contradiction. In this case God is a more personalized conception of the Divine, but it's not different in the sense of being the formal cause of reality.

 

And Adam and Eve clearly knew God as the source of reality, and the intimacy of their relationship is emphasized more than once, in a very personal kind of way.

 

The text does indicate that after they acted, they knew in a different way. But what does that really mean? In some ways they seem to know less than they did before, they become cut off from their intimate relationship. Whatever we think about the statement, though, it has to be taken within the context of them having departed in a real way from reality, knowing they were doing so. That's not really out of the scope of most people's experience, anyway. There are different ways of knowing things.

 

That's also, generally, the standard starting place for understanding what you are describing as their punishment, which is to say, death. It's not really a matter some kind of retribution, but the inevitable consequence of separation from the source of life, logic, good, etc. Which is followed up in the stories of their descendants. Separation from God creates a kind of larger community that makes errors and missteps in it's relationships, and these lead to more pain and suffering, even among those not involved in the original problem.

 

All of which is to say, you can't focus on only one line of the story without considering how it fits in with the rest. And you could also consider whether your interpretation seems in line with the intent of the writers, and I'd say, it doesn't really seem that they want us to think they Adam and Eve are unaware that they are doing something they are not supposed to.

Your answer presupposes that the Genesis story is "true" (which is a matter of extreme doubt), and whether Eve or Adam in this story are able to understand any truth if they can't distinguish between good and evil.

 

I'd say it is not possible to know what's true without beIng able to distinguish between good and evil. Eve (and Adam) can't do this in Genesis prior to eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The lack of this moral sense is clearly established in the text.

 

They didn't "depart" from God in this story; they became more like God. God says this directly (as I quoted earlier). Disobedience without having moral discernment isn't sin. Sin requires the ability to distinguish right from wrong.

 

Adam and Eve simply become adults and moral beings who are different than "dumb beasts" or eternal infants. Would we prefer on a mythic level that humans not understand right from wrong? Of course not. It is essential to being human that we know right fm wrong.

 

You ask me to consider the intent of the writers. I have. I've discussed the passage with a number of rabbis and read far beyond amount the Jewish sources (this is a Hebrew text written by Jews after all) and many of those rabbis and Jewish intellectuals have come to a very similar understanding of the text as mine. Not all to be sure, as there is a broad diversity of thought on this and many of the Torah stories.

 

Jews I know understand the mystic value of the text to explain how death entered the world, but also see it as a necessary trade-off fro me coming fully human. Again, what would humans be as a species is we were amoral beings who could not distinguish between good and evil?

 

The fact that we are imperfect and transgress, and suffer in various ways for getting out of sync with "the good" in no way make the alternative of an amoral existence more palatable.

 

Ignorance of morality isn't bliss.

 

The intent of the writers is to show that people had to transgress this order. The disobedience, mystically speaking, is what lead to people believing they are not like other animals and (as God says in the story) have become more like the divine.

 

The combination of recognizing good vs evil and (due to an imperfect nature) not always acting towards the good causes pain and anguish for human beings, but it is also what renders us human.

 

This is not at all an unusual reading in the religious community whose ancestors wrote the story. It fact is is quite common.

 

Bill

Edited by Spy Car
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Op, I will PM you. This thread is not staying on track for your stated purpose.

 

Update: OP I can't PM you--it's saying you can't accept PMs.  I am sorry. I do have a PM composed for you if you ever want it.

Edited by cintinative
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Op, I will PM you. This thread is not staying on track for your stated purpose.

 

Update: OP I can't PM you--it's saying you can't accept PMs. I am sorry. I do have a PM composed for you if you ever want it.

I deleted some messages so now I have room for more. Thanks!

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Thank you to those who helped me with my request. I understand if others don’t want to post here (I wouldn’t want to either), but if you want to send me a pm, I’d still very much appreciate it.

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Thank you to those who helped me with my request. I understand if others don’t want to post here (I wouldn’t want to either), but if you want to send me a pm, I’d still very much appreciate it.

It is too bad it got derailed. I was enjoying reading along.

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So way late to the party, but one thing that resonated with me when I read the story of Adam and Eve in the Qur'an, is there is no blaming Eve for everything. There is no curse of menstrual pain and childbirth either.  No original sin.  Eve does not entice Adam to sin.  There's no belief that she came from Adam's rib (although there are hadith (not sure how strong) about that.)  

 

I read somewhere that her name in Arabic (Hawa) means source of life...but my Arabic isn't good enough to tell you if that's true or not. :)

 

Oh, your questions...

 

1) Positive view of her.  She's not blamed, she's just Adam's wife. (Viewed as the first Prophet in our faith.)  She's the source of life.  Why hate on her?  Much more positive portrayal of her in Islam vs. what I was taught.

 

2) I think she's mythical.

 

3) See above. 

 

4) I wonder what it would do to women's self esteem, especially in days before when many women were illiterate and relied on the Church to tell them the stories, if they did not view her in the Biblical sense.  If childbirth wasn't a curse... if Eve wasn't blamed for being a temptress, causing Adam to sin, etc.  I wonder...

Edited by umsami
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It is too bad it got derailed. I was enjoying reading along.

 

The thread wasn't derailed. Not everyone understands Jewish stories from the Torah through a Christian lens.

 

What's with this forum lately?

 

Jeepers.

 

Bill

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The thread wasn't derailed. Not everyone understands Jewish stories from the Torah through a Christian lens.

 

What's with this forum lately?

 

Jeepers.

 

Bill

I know that threads can take unexpected turns and the op can’t control that, but I am disappointed that you continued posting in this thread without answering my questions, Bill, especially when you said you would stop if I asked you to. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough? Bill, please don’t post unless you are answering the original questions. Thank you.

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If you belong to a religion that believes something about Eve (as in, Adam and Eve), can you answer some questions about your beliefs about her, or from the perspective of a religion/denomination that you’re very familiar with? I’m Mormon myself so I have that one covered, but I’d like to hear from anyone else. You can answer any or all of these questions. I’ve read a lot about Eve from different viewpoints but I can’t possibly cover every perspective so I’d appreciate any help you can give.

 

1. Do you generally have a positive or negative view of Eve? How might you describe her?

 

2. Do you think she was a historical or mythical figure? Or something else?

 

3. If you had to give a really short summary of Eve’s role in your belief system, what would you say?

 

4. Anything else you want to say about her?

 

 

(Progressive Judaism)

 

1. Pretty positive, overall.  I do read the story as a bit of a set-up: Dude.  You're GOD.  Just what exactly did you expect would happen next?  But, it's hardly the only, or even the worst, set up in the book.

 

2. Mythical.

 

3. I guess I'd start with a frame that the origin story does not get the primacy of place in Judaism that a handful of others do (exodus from slavery, receipt of Torah while standing on Sinai, and sacrifices of Abraham all rank higher in the annual liturgical and holiday cycles and, I think, in the collective identity).  And as JennyD noted upthread, "original sin" isn't a Jewish teaching, and while there are some similarities with our teaching of the twin impulses in each human towards good and evil, there are key differences as well, and that construct in any event is not attributed to the Genesis 1-2 accounts or Eve's role within Gen 2. 

 

4. Also as JennyD noted, there is a long and rich tradition, ancient and very modern both, plumbing the spaces between Gen 1's simultaneous, unnamed, and merged creation Let us make a human, male and female, in Our image. They shall rule over all the living things.†So God created humans and blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply... vs Gen 2's sequential and separate named creations of first Adam, and thereafter Eve.

 

 

 

My favorite Eve midrash of all time is Mark Twain's.  Who knew?  If you haven't encountered it already, great pleasure awaits.  And, I think, may align interestingly to my understanding of the LDS take on her role in setting God's plan into motion.

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I know that threads can take unexpected turns and the op can’t control that, but I am disappointed that you continued posting in this thread without answering my questions, Bill, especially when you said you would stop if I asked you to. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough? Bill, please don’t post unless you are answering the original questions. Thank you.

 

And I'm disappointed in you for picking up on false accusations that I'm criticizing other people's belief systems because I don't share their interpretations around the mythic value of the story. 

 

I'll answer your questions.

 

1. View of Eve is a positive one. Human beings needed to gain the capacity to distinguish good from evil in a mythic sense to become fully human. Morally discerning, but imperfect, beings suffer consequences as a result of understanding when their actions are not completely in alignment with the good.

 

2. Not a historical figure. Purely mythical. But still a significant story.

 

3. I see the Eve story as having nothing to do with "original sin" in its original context.

 

4. For human beings to lack moral discernment (and to be amoral beings) would be to remove the essence of what makes human beings what they are. Otherwise, we would be like cows or eternal children. Being moral adults is more complex than being morally ignorant naifs. Looking at his development as a negative condition isn't the way I relate to the story.

 

Bill

Edited by Spy Car
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Historically, people have placed the "blame" on Eve, but that is not accurate, although she was certainly responsible for her actions. The Bible states that Adam was with her when she was tempted. It also says that Adam "was not deceived". This means that Adam knew what the serpent was doing and was supposed to protect Eve, but he threw her under the bus because he wanted to see what would happen. [/size][/font][/color]

I hadn’t heard this particular perspective before... interesting. I’m going to have to chew on this for a while.

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1. Positive, though complex. I actually ponder Eve often. It is both in violation of God’s command, and seemingly necessary for the existence of the rest of mankind, to eat of the fruit.

 

2. I look at the entire account of the Creation, the events in the Garden, and the Fall as the distillation of and symbolic narrative of actual events and people. Yes, I think Adam and Eve were living individuals, but I also think the particulars included (and probably omitted) and the way in which they are told have a literal element as well as a mythology element.

 

3. I suppose I’ve already explained where Eve fits in under number one - she is the mother of mankind. She and Adam only brought children to the earth after being cast out, so her eating of the fruit was requisite for the rest of us to born.

 

4. Although my understanding of Eve, her choice, and how it differed from Adam’s, is still being worked out, I believe she was perhaps wiser than we historically give her credit for.

Edited by Targhee
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