25 February 2009

Ash Wednesday

Elohim turned to me, His eyes wet and blazing.  "Eve, oh, what, what have you done?"
"I'm sorry," I cried.  "Forgive me."  An interesting word crossing my lips--forgive.  It would take me many years to understand what I meant by this.  
Adam moved a short distance away from me.
"I do," He said.  "I already have."  He paused to look at Adam.  "Adam, where are you going?  Are you not part of this?"
Adam pointed to me.  "She told me it was good, that we would grow wise.  This is her fault...Your fault, because You made her for me."
"Adam," Elohim said.  "Really, are you unable to think for yourself, act for yourself?  Can you not stand on your own two feet?"
"But I would not have eaten had it not been for her," he protested.
Elohim was silent.  He watched while Adam dug his toe into the ground.  Then, softly, He said, "Did not the two of you discuss eating of the tree multiple times?  And did you not agree together that you would ignore my warning?"
Adam's voice was small.  "We thought You wanted us to eat of it.  As a test.  To see if we could make our own decisions."
Elohim's face softened.  "Adam, my love is not crafty or devious.  It exists to be taken, to be accepted.  There is nothing I desire from you except loyalty."
Adam hung his head and returned to my side.  He reached for my hand.  "You're right," he said meekly.  "I ate too."
We stood hand in hand, chins and lips quivering, and looked up at our Maker.  I did not fault Adam then--that came much later when he blamed me for his deafness--for it was all so overwhelming.  I could barely understand the widening abyss between Elohim and me.
Elohim turned to me.  "Eve, I have told you before that you will have children, you and Adam."
I nodded.  
"Your pains in childbirth will be greatly multiplied, yet despite this, your desire will always be for Adam, to please him, and in this way he will rule over you.  This is not as I wanted it."  He grew somber, morose even, and continued, "Men will call you slave and subordinate.  As a woman you will know discord and hatred instead of the harmony and peace I wished you to have.  Your sensitivity will be interpreted as weakness, your intelligence as evil."
"I do not understand," I said.
"I know, my child," He said tenderly.
He sighed and spoke to Adam:  "Adam, did you not remember my commandment not to eat?  Because you have eaten from the tree, your work will seem fruitless.  You will have to work to subdue the earth; the ground upon which you work will be cursed.  With great toil you shall eat of it, all the days of your life.  Thorns and thistles will crowd out the plants of the field.  You shall eat bread until you return to the ground from which you were taken, for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  

With this last proclamation, Elohim sobbed, and the earth rumbled, the trees shook.

--Eve:  A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott, pp. 143-144.

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