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  • Writer's pictureEve Was Right

1. Why Eve Was Right

Updated: Apr 8


God is much cooler than our religions believe.


Parshah Bereishis

TL;DR of the Text

Major Themes

  • Science vs. Religion/God

  • Earth’s awareness and intelligence

  • Shabbat

  • Free will

  • Why Eve was right to eat the apple

  • Redemption

  • Are the legends true?


*Important attribution note: All quotes listed in this article are credited to the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash. Here is an Extremely Clear Citation so I don’t get in trouble: Nosson Scherman, Hersh Goldwurm, Avie Gold, & Meir Zlotowitz. (2015). The Chumash : the Torah, Haftaros and Five Megillos. Mesorah Publications, Ltd.


Many of us are vaguely aware of the Genesis creation story. However, it’s unclear how it truly happened. The Torah uses deliberately vague language the whole way through. Let’s take a look at a few examples.


Genesis 1:1-2* 

“In the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth - when the earth was astonishingly empty, with darkness upon the surface of the deep…” 

If you’re familiar with Genesis, you’ve probably heard this verse translated as “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” If, instead, we take the ArtScroll translation to be correct, how does the verse’s meaning change, and what is the significance of such a change?


“In the beginning of God’s creating” leaves much more flexibility to define the exact time frame being referenced. The beginning in question could mean the beginning of one of God’s creation episodes, of which there could be many. The second translation requires a more narrow understanding: In the Beginning, the only Beginning, God created.


Conveniently, this opens the door for our scientific theories to agree with the presence of a creative God. For example, there is no conflict between “In the beginning of God’s creating,” and science’s belief the Earth is ~4.5 billion years old.


Conveniently, this opens the door for our scientific theories to agree with the presence of a creative God.

Here is one possible scenario of how it went down.


 

Once upon a time, God emitted a giant burst of creative energy into the cosmos. This energy kick-started the whole physical universe. God made sure to include starter planets and solar systems ~ pockets of order in the chaos developed enough for life to form. These locations could be pioneers for this new thing called Life.


Life would grow in amount and variety, so God made sure to produce enough raw material and energy to enable the formation of new planets, solar systems, and galaxies. Whenever God needed to create new people, He would choose a world and add an energetic boost, ensuring life evolved quickly enough to be ready for civilization.

 

I’m dancing around the edges of the whole science vs. religion thing, so let’s tackle it. Science and religion don't need to conflict. Religion provides the what, and science explains the how. Religion, spirituality, or belief in God - whatever you want to call it - says, “God made the Earth.” Science can respond, “God provided the necessary materials for life, and we’ll figure out the mechanism.” I leave the exact details to the scientists.

Science and religion don’t need to conflict. Religion provides the what, and science explains the how.

A particularly tough Biochem lecture convinced me of God’s presence. I remember staring wide-eyed at the immense maze of reactions, all of which fit together in perfect harmony to facilitate the astounding complexity of human life. The impossible elegance of it persuaded me.


The world teems with mysteries, and so many possibilities exist for how science (in this case, evolution) contributes to life’s creative process. The only thing we know for sure is we’ll keep discovering more, which is the most exciting part. Heck, we may not even be the first people to call Earth home.


As for why, Jews believe God created the world for a single purpose: so He could give the Torah to humanity. I can get behind this. Not in the sense that our ultimate purpose here on Earth is to follow the Torah, but rather in the sense that the Torah is the vehicle through which we started our collective journey to self-actualization.


Not in the sense that our ultimate purpose here on Earth is to follow the Torah, but rather in the sense that the Torah is the vehicle through which we started our collective journey to self-actualization.

Genesis 1:21*

“And God created the great sea-giants and every living being that creeps.” 

We fear deep, dark waters for a reason; we genuinely have no idea what lives down there! I savor the idea of our planet holding so many mysteries and secrets.


Genesis 1:26-27*

“And God said, Let us make Man in Our image, after Our likeness…So God created Man in His image, in the image of God he created him.” 

God couldn’t have made it any clearer. He modeled our natures after His own! I interpret the words “image” and “likeness” not to mean we resemble God physically, but rather, human nature and emotions are essential qualities shared throughout the universe. For a detailed analysis of why God is not at all unknowable, please see Why Does God Let Us Suffer?


Genesis 1:30*

“And to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the sky, and to everything that moves on the earth, within which there is a living soul.” 

Every moving thing on Earth has a living soul.


The rabbis blow right past this without even a blip on the radar. They pass on a few doozies as though they’ve decided to put on blinders.


To those of us who have spent significant time in nature regardless of belief in God, this passage probably rings true on a deep, instinctual level. Given this passage, it's safe to say the Native myths about the spirits who govern mountain ranges and other large bodies of water and land are likely accurate.


Genesis 2:3*

“God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He abstained from all His work which God created to make.” 

This is the origin of Shabbat, a day of complete rest lasting from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.


I keep Shabbat every week. I’m not as strict as some - you can really go nuts with Shabbat if you want to, but every Friday, I clean my house, do all my grocery shopping, and turn off my phone until Saturday night.


A blind date once encapsulated Shabbat perfectly: “It’s impossible to explain the benefits until you do it.” Shabbat is the most beautiful day of my week, every week, and it completely revolutionized my life.


It’s also an obvious good, no matter your belief system. A couple of years ago, a major newspaper came out with an article stating something along the lines of, “Scientists find major health benefits associated with going phone-free for one day.” I remember reading it and thinking, Yeah, Shabbat.


Genesis 2:6*

“Now all the trees of the field were not yet on the earth and all the herb of the field had not yet sprouted.” 

God created the conditions and potential for life, not necessarily the entirety of life itself.


Genesis 2:16-18*

“And Hashem God commanded [Adam], saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, you must not eat thereof; for on the day you eat of it, you shall surely die.’ 
Hashem God said, ‘It is not good that man be alone; I will make him a helper corresponding to him.’” 

A few places in the Bible make me think, OK, maybe God has a sense of humor. This passage is one of them.


If God planned on introducing free will into the world, He also would have run into the thorny chicken and egg dilemma of people still needing to choose free will! Imposing free will upon them would have negated the whole endeavor.


There’s one surefire way to make any choice clear: Tell people not to do something. If humans valued free will enough to disobey a commandment in order to exercise it, then they gave a definitive answer.


Maybe God created Adam first, then realized Adam wasn’t independent enough to choose free will, so He made Woman. The creation of Woman directly followed the commandment not to eat from the tree, so the text supports this interpretation.


Genesis 3:6*

“And the woman perceived that the tree was good for eating and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable as a means to wisdom;” 

In eating the fruit, Eve made an intentional choice to obtain wisdom.


Genesis 3:11*

“And He [God] said, ‘Who told you that you are naked?’”

A guy yelling in the ear of a girl who wants nothing to do with him. Caption: "Hey Eve don't eat the apple I wanna stay in this garden forever hbu"

They didn’t even know they were naked! It’s one thing not to feel shame from nakedness, but to be unaware of your nakedness is something else entirely. If this doesn't convince us we should be forever grateful to Eve for eating the damn fruit, I don't know what will.


If this doesn’t convince us we should be forever grateful to Eve for eating the damn apple, I don’t know what will.

Why would we want to spend our lives lounging around a garden, possessing the brain capacity of a wood block?


Genesis 3:16*

“Yet your [Eve’s] craving shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” 

Sexism joins the party. I believe God introduced sexism not only because it’s one of the main evils of free will, but also because forcing women to shoulder this additional burden created the conditions for womankind to become as exceptional as we are today. Pressure makes diamonds, and sexism is a terrible, crushing pressure. No one disputes it (or at least, there better not be anyone on this site disputing it.)


Pressure makes diamonds, and sexism is a terrible, crushing pressure.

However, when I look at the complexity and brilliance of women, how we balance logic and emotion, the speed at which we make decisions, our ability to juggle competing thoughts and priorities, our capacity for forgiveness and maturity, the list could go on and on… I wonder.


Women might have traveled just as far if we had had an easier path. Speaking as someone who has been through Hell and back and knows adversity acted as the catalyst for my self-development, I doubt it.


Genesis 4:6-7*

“And Hashem said to Cain, ‘Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? Surely, if you improve yourself, you will be forgiven. But if you do not improve yourself, sin rests at the door. Its desire is toward you, yet you can conquer it.’” 

Here we are introduced to the Jewish concept of redemption, which is vastly different from Christian redemption.


For Christians, you ask for forgiveness, and it is automatically granted. You can do more in the way of repentance, but ultimately, a serial murderer can just ask for forgiveness on their deathbed, and they’re entitled to it as long as they truly believe Jesus died for their sins. The whole thing is externalized ~ you’re requesting forgiveness from someone else, and you prove yourself worthy of forgiveness by having faith someone else paid the price for your sins.


The Jewish version carries a hefty but realistic price tag. You don’t ask for forgiveness per se. You improve yourself and earn your redemption; once you are on your way to redeeming yourself, your request for forgiveness serves as a way to acknowledge your mistake.


Genesis 4:10*

“‘The voice of [Abel’s] blood cries out to Me from the ground!’” 

Have you ever been on land where great violence occurred? The land feels different; the Earth knows, and she mourns.


Genesis 6:4*

“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days - and also afterward when the sons of rulers would consort with the daughters of man, who would bear to them.” 

This sentence is the origin of many of our legends of immortal and supernatural races. Nobody has a definitive answer to who the Nephilim were, but popular theories claim they’re either the products of unions between angels and humans or a race of giants. The time reference is interesting: they were on the Earth in those days and also afterward.


I’ll leave you with this question: Why do our cultures share so many supernatural legends if those cultures had no interaction with each other when the legends were created?


Why do our cultures share so many supernatural legends if those cultures had no interaction with each other when the legends were created?

*Again with the Extremely Clear Citation so I don’t get in trouble: Nosson Scherman, Hersh Goldwurm, Avie Gold, & Meir Zlotowitz. (2015). The Chumash : the Torah, Haftaros and Five Megillos. Mesorah Publications, Ltd.

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