Have you heard the story of Eve’s temptation by the serpent?
It’s more commonly referred to as the ‘story of Adam and Eve,’ though I wonder at Adam’s placement in the title at all! He is so often excluded from having any part of the story’s action. As the story generally is told, a snake in a tree tells Eve the fruit of the tree is delicious and will give her all the knowledge of God. Eve eats the fruit and shares the fruit with Adam and then they are unable to live in paradise anymore, because God ‘throws them out’ for ‘disobedience’. Eve is blamed as ‘weak to temptation’. Women are no weaker than men! Adam ate the fruit, and it wouldn’t matter if he ate it because he talked to a ‘serpent’ or to anyone else. He chose to eat it. This story has never made sense to me.
Recently, I read a version that goes like this: Adam tells Eve if they have sex with each other, they will have wonderful knowledge! They will know everything, it will be wonderful. Eve accepts the offer. After their sex, Eve realizes Adam told her a lie. Adam realizes he is no longer tempted to have sex with Eve, because he knows what it is like to do so. They both have the knowledge of what it is like to have sex. Eve is upset because Adam has lied to her. Adam blames Eve for their new disharmony, denying that he lied, claiming that if she were not upset, they would continue to have paradise.
This story, I can easily believe. Why? because I’ve seen it happen, heard it happen, it’s part of our experience even today. Temptation is not something far away that ‘used to’ speak to people, and neither is Godde. People today have instincts for ‘good’ and for ‘ill’. Men lie. Women lie. Women get our feelings hurt by men’s lies. Men get their feelings hurt by women’s lies.
Sex is not the enemy. Knowledge is not the enemy. Lies and selfish actions are. A figurative ‘serpent’ is not to blame for all the actions taken by real men and real women. We are culpable for our harmful actions. We choose to take action. As soon as we can see that, we can begin to make choices out of love, which are good for everyone.
Thank you. Sermon concluded.