Friday, January 8, 2010

Insights on Adam and Eve

Since we are studying the Old Testament in Gospel Doctrine this year, Meridian Magazine ( published an article about Eve today, titled, “The Wisdom and Intelligence of Eve,” written by James T. Summerhays. It was a great article with intriguing insights which should elevate the sometimes mundane or humdrum class discussions about Adam and Eve and The Fall.

Some of the assertions from the article: (1) Eve was not “tricked” by the serpent. (2) Eve was a wise prophetess and seer. (3) Paradoxically, Adam’s instruction to “rule over” Eve really meant that he was to be her servant!

1. Eve was not “tricked” by the serpent.

The original Hebrew word that was translated as beguile … suggests Eve underwent a deep internal process; she weighed, pondered, and reflected upon the ramifications of partaking of the fruit before she did so.

A second witness to the original meaning of beguile is given by the prophet Lehi, who makes commentary on the Adam and Eve story from a record much earlier than anything the King James translators had to work with—namely, the brass plates. Lehi explains that Eve was enticed by the tree of knowledge of good and evil that stood in opposition to the tree of life (2 Nephi 2:15–16). In other words, she wanted it; she chose it over the other. And it was a good tree, not inherently evil in any way. Notice all the positive terms in Genesis 3:6—“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.”

2. Eve was a wise prophetess and seer.

The word saw in this verse comes from the Hebrew word ra’ah, which has direct relation and root to the Hebrew word ro’eh, which means seer or vision. Such word play, which is common in Hebrew, suggests that Eve had a prophetic spirit and may have received seeric revelation from God as part of her tutoring in the garden.

Eve, who rightly may be seen as a wise prophetess and seer, came to realize that all those things—the knowledge of good and evil, the sorrow of probation, the ability to bear children—were necessary to receiving the wisdom of, and becoming like, the Gods (2 Nephi 2:22–24; Gen. 3:22). So she ate of the fruit and, technically speaking, transgressed God’s word. But in reality, she had reached into the mind of God. She saw, after partaking, that he had intended for her to eat of the forbidden fruit all along (Moses 5:11).

3. Adam’s instruction to “rule over” Eve really meant that he was to be her servant.
The original Hebrew meaning of mashal (rule) is “to have” or “to have dominion,” but it also means “to liken,” “to resemble,” and “to become like.” This intimates that Adam’s ruling meant he presided only under principles of unity and equality, and that he was to strive to “resemble” the virtues of Eve and thus “become like” her. President Gordon B. Hinckley further explained that Adam’s “ruling over” Eve as stated in Genesis means “to responsibly provide for, to protect, to strengthen and shield [his] wife.” President Spencer W. Kimball quipped: “We have heard of men who have said to their wives, ‘I hold the priesthood and you’ve got to do what I say.’ Such a man should be tried for his membership.”

It is as if God is saying here, “Sorry, Adam, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to place you at the head of the woman, which of course means you are the servant of the woman and a doulos—a slave to the woman.” In fact, Christ goes on to give the same concept about his own station in life: “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people” (Mark 10:45; NIV).

This is a mere sampling from the article. I hope you will find time to read the whole article. (See the web address in the first paragraph above. It was the lead article on Friday, Jan. 8.) Food for thought, indeed.


shydandelion said...

I love that insight. I believe Eve is a great example of what we should become. I truly believe that Heavenly Father expects us to use our minds and keep our hearts open to the promptings of the Spirit, and Eve did just that. It's inspiring!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for sharing. I wish I was in Gospel Doctrine to help open some eyes.

I feel vindicated by the information you shared. I usually get funny looks when I have shared similar information.

Rebecca said...

i read the magazine article and I really enjoyed it.

I have to say, I believe there is some cultural traditions that cause some men to "RULE" over their spouses and children. It is a learned behavior (usually by observing male role models while young).

It is difficult for Victor to listen to counsel from his wife (even when he knows I'm right). He wants it to be his idea before he acts.

I know this, so I have to feed bits of thought slowly and I have to be patient.