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Opinions of Saturday, 13 May 2017

Columnist: Yaw Sarkodie Agyeman

An open letter from Eve to Adam on Mother's Day

Dear Adam,

I am writing this letter to you based on the actual events which occurred in the Garden of Eden and as found in the Hebrew Bible (Gen 1-3) which Christians call the Old Testament.

I know you do not approve of the later narratives especially the narratives in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and from the Roman Catholic Church fathers, especially Tertullian who pronounces all women guilty of making you, Adam, to sin.

He says of women, 'You are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert ... even the Son of God had to die.'

Timothy, supposedly written by a follower of Paul also says, 'for woman was deceived and became a transgressor' (1 Tim 2:14). You know that Christian teachings on our relationship was largely influenced by books early Christians discredited by not adding them to their officially accepted books collectively called the Bible! Some of these books are I Enoch, the Secrets of Enoch (II Enoch), the Book of Jubilee and the Apocalpyse of Moses. The Rabbis also said so many bad things about me that up to today, they pray thanking God for not creating them as women but as men. Just imagine this! I hope you remember that Paul was trained in the tradition of the Rabbis.

Image of God

Dear partner, you and I know that both Paul and Tertullian are wrong. God created both of us in his/her image. You and I have had a close encounter with God and you know that God is an androgynous being. God is both male and female (and is neither male nor female). It was not only you who were created in God's image as Paul suggests in I Cor. 11 4-10. My Adam, please, tell humankind that I was not taken from your rib but rather you (we) had both female and male qualities. You (we) were bisexual, an androgynous being like God. What God did was to cause a deep sleep on you (us) and we were separated. Thus, what was originally both a he and a she biologically and sociologically became two sexes, male and female. Even after the separation both of us continued in the image of God.

What did you tell me after we were gendered? You saw me as a 'helper fit for' you. You saw me as your 'opposite' not your servant. You recognised that you needed me and I was essentially like you (Gen 2: 23). There was no master servant relationship in the garden. There was no superior and inferior between the two of us. I was not created for your glory as the ex-Rabbi Paul wants the world to believe (I Cor. 11: 7) but both of us having been created in the image of God were for each other's glory and for the glory of God. Contrary to what a modern day evangelist, Billy Graham, claims that the destiny of a "real woman" is to play the role of a wife, mother, and homemaker, we were partners in a relationship based on respect and mutual understanding. We complemented each other.

I hope you would tell your men folk that I am Chavah from the Hebrew word chayim (life) (Gen. 3:20). I represent life; life from the womb and life from the field. My story therefore is to symbolise my role as the first mother and the first person to nourish all humankind. It also means I create life. My ability to create, nourish and enhance life to all beings ('the mother of life') is embodied in my name, Chavah.

The Original "Sin"
Now Adam, let me come to the story of what has become known to humankind as the 'Original Sin'. Did I sin and were you innocent even if I did something wrong? Did I make you to transgress? You and I know that our story of the fruit had nothing to do with sex. Were we not supposed to multiply and fill the earth? (Gen. 1: 28) Logically, sex was implied in God's first plans for us. Sex was not an accident or an afterthought. God planned it and it was part of creation.

Your complicity in the eating of the fruit is very clear in your silence in my conversation with the snake. You were right beside me when I was chatting with the snake (Gen. 3: 7). All along you did not stop me but sheepishly (sorry attentively) listened to my conversation with the snake. When the snake said, 'You are not going to die, but God knows that as soon as you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you would be like beings who know good and bad' (Gen 3:4). You heard it but took no action. I ate the fruit and when I gave one to you, you did not resist and you did not rebuke me. In what way did I tempt you? Was your complicity in the act not clear to you? Sadly, later commentators lose sight of this fact.

Eating the Fruit
Why did I eat the fruit? I have explained this to you severally but I need to do this one more time. When I told God my reason for eating the fruit, he gave a knowingly smile. Indeed, I did not lack anything in the garden. We did not need clothes, neither did we need to cook. The story the snake told me about the fruit made me to think deep. It was not an impulsive decision. I realised that the wisdom in the fruit had many possibilities. Should I remain in the garden and swing from tree to tree or venture out? Should I continue to behave like the monkeys and apes roaming in the forest or with the opportunity the fruit offered open a new horizon for you and I and our children? These issues went through my mind.

I needed to take a bold decision. I decided that it was better to take our destiny in our own hands, chart an uncertain future but a future which would be full of opportunities for ourselves and our children. I knew that left to you alone you would be swinging from tree to tree like the baboons. I know by this time your hair would have grown covering your entire body. I chose to be myself. I chose the knowledge of good and evil. I chose the knowledge of life and death. The other option was a life of moral immaturity, innocence and non-responsibility which you and I experienced in the garden. When you accepted the fruit from me, I was so proud of you, Adam. You affirmed that I made the better choice between the two. From this bold act you joined me to give the world life instead of staying in a world closely controlled and monitored by God. I did not want to be like a machine, a robot. Instead of living in the garden I decided to be adventurous, a seeker of wisdom, bold, imaginative and initiative. In my boldness and curiosity I sought wisdom over and above a docile life. I gave life to the world but not death.

Do you know that you did something which I am yet to forgive you? You gave us out when God came to visit us. He asked you a simple question: 'Where are you?' And your answer was, '... I was naked ...' (Gen. 3: 10). Was that the answer to the question? Males, your prototype who think they are superior to females whom I am their prototype should bow their heads in shame for your foolish response to God's question. Adam, like all males, up to this time you have not accepted your guilt in this saga and apologise to me. You have been very chauvinistic up to this time and it reflects in males.
Betrayal and its Consequences on Society
Adam, my heart bleeds. After bestowing the wisdom to all my children, both males and females, my male children want to appropriate it and use it to enslave me. Men are trying every possible means to dehumanise me and all women. In their desire to seek dominion over me and all women, males have mythologized and re-mythologized over the years and in all civilizations to paint females black. Often when females do better than males, we are accused of having used witchcraft or helped by a male or selling sex for favours. Society has saddled us with many roles and we love them as it is in our nature to ensure the perpetuation of life. But in performing these numerous roles, if we fail in certain aspects of life it accentuates the stereotype idea that women are inferior to men.

Sadly, men do not know that their actions are robbing all of my children of my initiatives. They know my potentials and the potentials of my type. They know if they allow me to unleash my intellectual energy and creativity all my children (both males and females) would prosper. In their weakness and selfishness throughout human civilization males have bottled up all my potentials and demonised me. They fear to compete with me but competition is not on my mind. The world is worse off without my full potential participating with you in making the world a better place. It is like tying one leg and running with just the other. We need a partnership and this partnership was the original plan of the Creator.

Telling the Story of Humanity
I, Chavah, will rise to tell her-story to reveal the other side of the story. It is only his-story which has been told and retold. One day, I will tell her-story. But would her-story alone be the full story? No, my dear Adam! We need to tell our story -- her-story and his-story -- so that at the end of the day and in unison we tell our-story, the story of humankind.

Lastly, sweet heart of the earth, I have recently realised that God tricked us with the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. God wanted us to eat and God knew that we were going to eat the fruit. God wanted us to reflect his/her image by continuously exercising our freewill. God did not want to control us in the garden. After all, God knew of Yeshua (Jesus) and his ministry at the beginning of creation. Jesus too was not an afterthought. Again Paul is wrong and the Church is wrong. Everything worked and continues to work in accordance to God's plans.

No matter what, God is the winner!

Your partner in all things,

Signed

Chavah (a.k.a. Eve).

Postscript,
To all women of the world, I, your mother, Chavah, salute you. Keep on creating and nourishing life. Yours is a thankless job. One day the world would come to appreciate you and allow the potentials in you to blossom for the benefit of all humankind. On that day, you shall write her-story to complement the flat monotonous his-story so that we can get our-story, the story of both sexes which would be the story of humankind. On that day, I, Eve, shall rise again.

Yaw Sarkodie Agyemang
email: yaw_sark@yahoo.co.uk

Note:
In writing this article I borrowed ideas from the following sources:
1. Mensah, A. M. (2014). "A re-reading of humanity's origin (Genesis 2 and 3)," Oguaa Journal of Religion and &Human Values 3, (Oct.): 50-56
2. Reuther, R. R. (ed.) (1978). Religion and sexism: Images of woman in the Jewish and Christian traditions. New York: Simon and Schuster.