An excerpt from Chapter Seven, “Two Creation Stories,” from Little Book of Thou
In the Adam and Eve story, God created Adam and then Eve after deciding Adam needed a companion. He created them in His likeness and put them in charge of the animals. Snake tempted them to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, which God had decreed they shouldn’t. This act cast them out of the garden of paradise and into the world of pairs of opposites: good and evil, happiness and sorrow, life and death.
One interpretation is that Adam and Eve were disobedient and punished. Another interpretation is that they chose. Life begins with Adam and Eve eating from the apple of the Tree of Knowledge. Eating from the Tree of Knowledge introduced death into the world but at the same time life, because without death there wouldn’t be life as we know it. Remember in chapter six, the adventurers each entered the forest where it was darkest and there was no way or path? Adam and Eve might have wanted to live by venturing where there was no way or path. They chose to leave an existence of bliss to experience a journey through a life of pairs of opposites, good and evil, pain and pleasure, and then return and be welcomed back by God in heaven. Perhaps with a heightened appreciation for bliss?
A similar origin story comes from the Blackfoot, a tribe of Native Americans who lived in the area that later became the state of Montana. Ng’ta, which translates to “Old Man,” creates the world and then a woman. The woman asked what would happen to people, “would they live forever or would they die and that would be the end of them?” Old Man hadn’t thought of that, so he decided to throw a buffalo chip (buffalo poop) in a lake. “If it sinks people will die, if it floats they will live forever.” The buffalo chip floated. “There you go,” Old Man said. “No. Let’s use a stone, instead.” The woman threw in a stone which sunk meaning people would die. Old Man said, “Very well. You have chosen.”
So in both stories, a woman chose a world of life and death. Here the woman rejects the first option of people living forever after the buffalo chip floats and wants to use a stone. In the Adam and Eve story, Eve first eats the apple and convinces Adam to also eat. Why is it a woman?
Remember we talked about woman being symbolized by the moon, which disappears and returns? The goddess Nut who gives birth to the sun in the east and swallows it in the west? Woman is the symbol of the cycle of life, death and rebirth, just as plants die and rot and then new plants grow out of the rot the next year. So it is woman in the myths who brings us again into the world of life and death, as it is literally from woman that we come into the world. Remember, too, we talked about the Virgin Mother, who symbolically gives birth to the spirituality of mankind.