My Womb: A Creative Retelling of Genesis 2-4

Adam and EveIt had been one week since G*d[1] looked at creation and said that it was very good. Adam and I had spent the last week exploring the garden, it all was as G*d said, very good. It was the eve of our second Sabbath when G*d pulled me away from Adam for a talk. She[2] explained to me that while Adam was right, that we were of the same bone and flesh, that we were not the same. Adam’s flesh and my flesh were created differently so that we would learn to be unafraid of differences in others, but love those that were different from ourselves. Our differences in flesh were both very valuable, one no greater than the other. After she had explained how differences, fleshly or not, were valuable, she told me why my fleshly differences were indeed very good. G*d had given me a womb like hers.[3] She told me how my womb was a safe place for new life to begin and that the fruits of my womb would create loving community. Then G*d let Adam and me in on a little secret, Sabbath was not only a day of rest, but also a day for creativity, creation, love and love-making.

I became pregnant. I was excited to see and feel the life inside me growing and to remember what G*d told me about the fruits of my womb.

G*d was interested in our growth, and once I proved to G*d that Adam and I were mature and that we understood the differences between good and evil, between love and hate, and between mutuality and disunity, she lead us from the garden to make our own home.[4] As we walked away she reminded us that she would not leave or forsake us; despite our physical distance she would always be available if we needed her.

I gave birth to a beautiful boy. We named him Cain because I finally understood how I possessed the potential, with my G*d-given womb, to create the loving community G*d mentioned.[5]

When we lived in the garden Adam loved the plants the most and I loved the animals most. When we left the garden we decided that Adam would take care of growing the food, and I would take care of the animals.

I became pregnant again and rejoiced in my continued participation in the divine act of creation. Again it was a precious boy, and we named him Able, because I knew sooner or later our family would be a lot like the animal herds I took care of.[6]

Adam resented me for showing G*d we were mature, he wished I had withheld my knowledge of good and evil so that we could still live in the garden where work was not so hard. On particularly hard days Adam would get so angry he would loose his temper. Some days he would throw things and yell, other days he would get so worked up he would leave and not return for hours. Once he had calmed down or returned, I would remind him that G*d did not intend for us to stay in the garden, that it was her will that we take care of the earth and all those that inhabited it, and that this job was not supposed to be easy. He never liked this reply, and would only agree begrudgingly.

Cain loved plants like Adam and often followed his father as he worked. Able was like me and loved animals and spent much of his time helping me. As they grew older, we gave them more responsibility for the plants and animals we took care of.

I became pregnant many more times, and loved each of my girls and boys, teaching them that their differences were good things, and that G*d gave them differences to teach them that not one was more valuable than the other.

One day Adam came home dirty and bloody. He told me that the loving community G*d promised me was not possible, that my womb was not as valuable as I claimed it was, and that hate and pain were its fruits instead. I asked what he meant, and he recounted what he had seen from a distance; that my precious Able was dead, and my beautiful Cain was gone. From then on, Adam did not believe me and scoffed when I recounted what G*d told me the eve of our second Sabbath.

[1] I have incorporated this spelling after reading Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza’s book, Jesus, Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet, Critical Issues in Feminist Christology. She explains the reasons for this spelling on page 191, and states that, “it is theologically necessary to visibly destabilize our way of thinking and speaking about G*d.”

[2] I use the female pronoun here simply to emphasize that “Eve” (she is intentionally not named in my retelling) is created in the image of G*d, and that divine image is not exclusively a male privilege. This is not for the purpose of suggesting that G*d is exclusively female, instead it is to push back on the concept of an exclusively male G*d.

[3] See chapter 2 of God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, by Phyllis Trible.

[4] See pages 47-49 of Helpmates, Harlots, and Heroes: Women’s Stories in the Hebrew Bible, by Alice Ogden Bellis.

[5] The Hebrew word for Cain is associated with “possession,” usually in the “angry” or “mad” sense of the word.

[6] The Hebrew word for Able means “herdsman,” often seen to emphasize his shepherd role.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s