Was Mother Eve mistaken in her quintessential choice to partake?
I am going to be saying this a lot: Eve was not mistaken. This astonishingly clever mother of ours made the correct choice by solving the equation. She might not have completely understood everything, but she definitely saw perceptively to make the precise choice. seeing and knowing there was more, she itched for it. Now I don’t think she entirely comprehended all that entailed, so with trusting in her divine destiny…she leapt.
Of course this saga has been expressed through billions and billions of mouths down the millennia, as well as mistranslated and mistold through ghastly numbers of interpretations. So to gain clarity, it is important we go to the earliest translation with the most intellectual of scholars, layered with modern day revelation of prophets, seers and revelators.
Personally, I have found myself wondering why Eve seemed to pass blame to Satan and not stand by her decision. Doesn’t this prove she is guilty? When she uses the word “Beguiled” it has always seemed to me she was dooped– like the serpent tricked her into partaking of the fruit. Here we have the first story of the first people and it is based on the premise of deception? If so, I am not about it.
Well guess what…IT IS NOT AS IT SEEMS!
The story as we know it has SO much more to it than we understand. It is a tale chalk full of semantics.
Phewwwwf! The more I realized this, the more relieved I became. I feel much better trying to piece together these underlying meanings vs. perching on the tip of the age-old warped version of the story.
While digging to the root of the earliest translations, we wipe away the tragically skewed untruths to uncover some richly informative data. Dr. Nehama Aschkenasy, a heralded Hebrew scholar, explains that the Hebrew word which has come to be translated as ‘beguiled’ is a rare verb form of unusual depth and richness. It does not mean “tricked” or “deceived” as we commonly think. Because it is a form no longer in use, it is almost impossible to translate. “It is safe to say that it indicates an intense multilevel experience which evokes great emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual trauma.” Aschkenasy wrote of this in her book Eve’s Journey. The use of this word in the biblical narrative “makes it clear that Eve was motivated by a complex set of inner drives, anchored not only in her physical, but also in her intellectual nature.” She further indicated her belief that this intense, multilevel experience caused Eve to step back, reevaluate, reassess, and ponder the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
This relates to what Boyd K. Packer says when he shows the word ‘conscience’ broken down into its parts: science, meaning “to know” , and con, meaning “with”. The word conscience means to know within ones self. He goes on to say, “Our conscience might be described as a memory, a residual awareness of who we really are, of our true identity. It is perhaps the best example of the fact that we can become aware of truths because we feel them rather than by knowing them because we perceive them through the physical sense.” It seems to me this describes Eve’s conscience.
Elder Talmage makes a good point when he states his recognition in that Satan beguiled Eve, though he in no way implies that Eve chose evil—because “she knew it not.” She was good, and she sought after good. He rightfully portrays Adam and Eve as “pure” and “noble,” having played their parts perfectly in accordance with the Father’s original plan.
It is important to understand God allowed Satan into the Garden for a reason, a purpose. He embodied the darkness Eve needed to discern the light. She didn’t just go around as the serpent instructed. She heard what he had to say, and then observed what the heavenly teachers and God himself had to say (Adam and Eve were taught in Eden enough to fully comprehend Gods plan). It is then perhaps Eve possibly had the first faith crisis. She had to work through the perplexing and conflicting ideas and principles that had been placed before her and make a choice (keep in mind, what we know is a summarized cliff note version of the ongoings in Eden…Who knows how long they were there for?? Months? Years?).
Eve was beguiled, and that prodded a discovery within her. Satan’s purpose for being allowed in the garden was to stir the pot and make her really ponder and question everything.
The prominent American rabbi, Harold S. Kushner wrote: “I don’t believe that eating from the Tree of Knowledge was sinful. I believe it was one of the bravest and most liberating events in the history of the human race.”
By partaking of the fruit, I believe Eve saw and made the knowledgeable and well thought out by choosing the higher law in her decision to eat. Elder John A. Widtsoe in reference to this story said, “In life all must choose at times. Sometimes, two possibilities are good; (while) neither is evil. Usually however, one is of greater import than the other. When in doubt, each must choose …the greater law. That was the choice make in Eden.”
A scholar on the story of Eve, Vivian McConkie Adams, explains “the word saw in this verse comes from the Hebrew word ra’ah, which has direct relation and root to the Hebrew word ro’eh, which means seer or vision.” Such word play, which is common in Hebrew, suggests that Eve had a prophetic spirit and may have received seeric revelation from God as part of her tutoring in the garden.
James T. Summerhays, editor and administrator of BYU studies, furthers this assertion when he says, “A second witness to this original meaning of ‘beguile’ is given by the prophet Lehi, who makes commentary on the Adam and Eve story from a record much earlier than anything the King James translators had to work with— namely, the brass plates. Lehi explains that Eve was enticed by the tree of knowledge of good and evil that stood in opposition to the tree of life. In other words, she wanted it; she chose it over the other.”
We might ask, well why didn’t Adam go through this thought process and partake first? Why was it Eve to draw this conclusion? Because it was not Adam’s role to do so. This was Eve’s decision to make because of her role as a future mother in baring God’s children. It was up to her to fulfill this commandment and make the willing choice to give God’s spirit children bodies, and thus leave the garden.
Elder Russell M. Nelson said this of Eve: “We and all mankind are forever blessed because of Eve’s great courage and wisdom. By partaking of the fruit first, she did what needed to be done. Adam was wise enough to do likewise.”
“Fortunately for us, Adam concluded that God’s command to remain with his wife was more important than His command to abstain from the fruit. Again, it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Paradise may have been great, but Adam and Eve were now sufficiently mature enough to move on to their “real job”… It was not like Milton’s a Paradise Lost, but a Paradise Outgrown.” -Glorious Mother Eve: Vivian McConkie Adams
This was Eve’s time for courage and wisdom. Adam’s comes later.
It is actually quite simple, when looking at their perfectly different yet still equal roles in this light–
-Women are in charge of the first veil= Birthing God’s children from Heaven to Earth.
-Men are in charge of the second veil= Birthing God’s children from Earth back to Heaven (spiritual re-birth).
(President J. Reuben Clark reminded us that this was her calling, her blessing, bestowed by the priesthood: “a function as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself.”)
As a mother myself, there have been times that I have found myself question why I ever gave up my less-complicated life for this less-than-glamorous job?” But everytime I realize, the payoff is much more delightful than any glamorous job I’d have without children… The joy trumps the suffering ten fold, every time. The love I feel gets me through the long nights, messy house and sticky fingers! I would be a mom EVERYTIME.
What amazes me is that Eve was wise enough to understand the heavenly law of love for others before she became a mom. It makes sense she was very intelligent, because she was taught there in the Garden. God walked with Her and Adam, as did multiple other heavenly messengers. This helped her understand her motherhood before she actually became a mother.
Not only is she clever and wise, she also owns her actions in pure, brave honesty. When she answered the queries to God’s master exam, she did not cower! She was perfectly honest and told him exactly what had happened…
After she partakes, God visited the Garden, knowing full well what they had done, and yet still goes to ask Adam and Eve what occurred. *It is important to note here, when God asks the central question “Where are thou?”, the prophet Joseph Smith, through inspiration, corrected this to read “Where thou goest?”. The Lord seems to be questioning them on the knowledge and understanding of their choices, making sure they know the weight of where this choice will take them.
When God asks Adam what he has done, he told the Lord he was offered the fruit by the woman, whom “thou gavest me and commandest that she should remain with me” (Moses 4:18). According to Aschkenasy, in the original Hebrew, Adam’s reply uses a verb from the stem ntn, which implies that an action is quite mechanical, as if to say, “I did what I was supposed to do.” Heavenly Father addressed Eve directly and with a straightforward question: “What is this thing which thou hast done?” (Moses 4:19). Eve did not expect Adam to reply for her. She spoke to the point and directly to her Creator. God expected Eve to think and report for herself. He used no intermediary between Himself and her. Similarly, each of us is individually and independently responsible for our own choices. Although a couple has responsibility for each other, commitments to their oneness are also to be honored as to their specific roles and assignments.
Dissimilarly to Adams reply, in Eve’s response to the Lord she used “the unusual, richly connotative verb (beguiled) from the stem ns,” says Aschkenasy. This is a verb Eve used to convey to the Lord her depth, nature and meaning of her thought process. Aschkenasy observes that the use of such a verb form indicates “a person who has a rich vocabulary and is accustomed to playing a central role. Eve seemed to have been sustained by what her and Adam were forodained to do and thus was not self-conscious before the Lord in her response.” (Eve and the Choice Made in Eden).
When we are fulfilling our individual roles that the Lord has gifted us, we mustn’t cower! Whether it be our neighbors, Facebook friends, work colleagues, family or especially the Lord himself. I am positronic he wants us not to shrink, but do his will with courageous honesty. Looking back, Eve was taught the information she needed in order to make the choice in fulfilling her divine destiny. She listened, questioned and pondered enough that when she knew in her heart what she needed to do to. She did not cower! Satan was allowed to beguile Eve so she could go through her own multilevel experience which then projected her downwardly forward with God’s plan.
As we reflect on Eve being beguiled, I want to also stress what Jeffery M. Bradshaw says in that “Latter-day Saints should rightfully honor Eve while also recognizing Satan as the cunning Tempter that he is.”
Satan is allowed in our lives. He can spur a faith crisis. The greater law can be chosen. Then own the action with pure, brave honesty.
Is it possible you have you been beguiled? Was there a downwardly forward progression?