Figures of Prominence in the Old Testament Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein 1 - Adam and Eve and the Creation Story Many people in our culture accept the biblical account of creation as literally true. However, there are two accounts of creation presented in the Bible, and they are diametrically opposed. The J version of the story seems to have had an axe to grind with women since the destruction of women’s status is introduced very early and settled after the creation of the universe. The E version, on the other hand, written somewhere between one hundred and five hundred years later than the J version, has God (in the plural, recognized as the Elohim) creating man and woman at the same moment, in THEIR own image, and affirming that the two genders are equal. The J version has woman created as an afterthought and shaping her from a rib; this tends to debase the woman’s role and make her subservient to the man. Remember that I mentioned earlier that the serpent had been sacred in the cultures that worshipped the Great Mother Goddess; it was, among other things, the white serpent of the Kundalini, that rose along the spinal column and brought psychic awareness and clear-seeing to the right-brained cultures that preceded the Old Testament Hebrews. (And one way of attaining that right-brained Kundalini experience is through Tantra, a sexual form of yoga.) The writer of the Old Testament, whose agenda was to establish a monotheistic religion, chose to make both the first woman and the serpent evil in this story, thus disempowering women and removing from both genders the option of attaining spiritual insight through a Kundalini experience that would stimulate the right brain hemisphere. (This may also be how sex got all mixed up with the evil of Eve in the story, even though there isn’t any other way to “be fruitful and multiply.”) As Dr. Leonard Shlain (The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, New York: Viking Putnam, 1998) notes, “Because of Eve’s transgression, humans would know pain, hardship, suffering, and death. In a turnabout with far- reaching consequences for Western womanhood, woman who had been primarily associated with life in all previous cultures, was now blamed for the death of every mortal” ( p. 114). The consequences have been damaging for all women in the cultures of the people of the Book, as well as for the planet itself, down to our own day. Some Possible Interpretations and Analyses of the Story of the Garden of Eden Literal A man, a woman, two trees, and a talking snake. Eve eats and apple, gives a bite to Adam, and for this all mankind loses Paradise forever and shares in the sin of the original sinners. (Why do we believe this story but find it hard to accept evolution?) Allegorical This represents the descent of the soul (which is bivalent and dual gendered) into matter, through the desire to use energy (represented by the snake) in the physical body (the tree) to experience the five senses (the apple, one fruit that stimulates all five senses). Historic The story represents the overcoming of goddess cultures (for whom the snake was sacred) with a patriarchal cultural dominance. Kabbalistic (Hebrew) In this interpretation, the story is secondary to the analysis of the Hebrew letters, which are examined for their shape, position/sequence in the text, and other relationships dealing with mathematics, numerology, and gematria. This kind of interpretation is only valid for the Hebrew version of the Old Testament. (For more information, see www.meru.org.) Psychological (especially Jungian) God = Super Consciousness (The Anima Mundi) Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily Eve = Sub-consciousness (Closer to the Super Conscious) Feminine Intuitive Right-brained Left-sided Access comes in dreams Adam = Self-consciousness (Ego Self) Masculine Linear Left-brained Right-sided  This is our waking, walking-around mind Mystical In this tradition, the archetypal man is known as the Adam Cadmon and is the perfected human form of the Christ Consciousness. The Garden of Eden story (with Adam and Eve interpreted as one being with masculine and feminine polarities intact) suggests that when the human pattern took form, it became entrapped in the material (through an addiction to pleasure) and lost consciousness of its perfection. That perfection has been reclaimed only by a select few (sometimes referred to as “enlightened” ones or bodisatvas): for example, Buddha, Krishna, Melchisadek, Hermes Trismegisthus, and Jesus. However, all of mankind must ultimately reclaim the perfected state through following the pattern established by the enlightened ones and remembering their divine nature and their at-ONE-ment with the rest of creation. If we believed any of these interpretations other than the literal one, we’d probably be closer to the idea that was originally intended to be conveyed by this myth—and we could stop blaming women and snakes for all the ills of the planet!