Consummation Part 2:
The Eden of Genesis

  1. The Apocalypse of Eve
  2. The Evocative Power of Archetypal Myth
  3. The Position of Carlos the Coyote
  4. The Garden of Nanna and the Descent of Inanna
  5. The First Adam and the Fall from the Garden
  6. The Apocalyptic Adam
  7. The Second Adam and the Pangs of the Messiah
  8. The Gnostic Eden
  9. Muhammad, Adam and Paradise
  10. The Downfall of Tula and the Third Adam
  11. The Twin Kettle Drums of Leucothea and the Fourth Adam

Please refer to the 2004 chapter of Sexual Paradox for an updated commentary on these questions in the chapter:
 A God Whose Name is 'Jealous'

The First Adam and the Fall from the Garden

The Old Testament made significant changes to the Sumerian story of Adapa who was tricked out of immortality by the gods telling him the bread and waters of life were those of death, in a way which introduces key themes of conflict between the genders.

Adam ('adam man) is claimed to mean "man of blood" (Walker 8), but "dust" (Thompson 14) is consistent with 'adamah, earth (Armstrong 1996 20, Fox R 17)). There is however an ironic twist to Adam's very nature as pointed out by Miles (44). The Hebrew sopek dam ha'adam ba'adam damo yisapek - 'shed man's blood, by man your blood be shed' illustrates the close relationship between man adam and blood dam. Although Adam was originally made from menstrual blood and clay, in the Yahwistic Genesis 2 account dating from around 900 BC, Yahweh makes Eve out of the rib of Adam. We thus see the generative principle transferred from woman to man, consistent with the primacy of male Yahweh, and before him Enki, who through his fertility, brings abundance to all Sumer, and with the patriarchal view of man's sperm as the true seed, while woman is merely the receptacle:

After he had cast is eye from that spot,
After the father Enki had lifted it over the Euphrates,
He stood up proudly like a rampant bull,
He lifts the penis, ejaculates,
Filled the Tigris with sparkling water ...
The wild cow mooing for its young in the pastures ...
The grain he brought, ... the people eat it ...
(Thompson 162)

This is with some irony because in Sumeria there is a myth of Enki God of Wisdom and the primal Earth Goddess Ki. Enki eats the forbidden plants from her sacred garden and gets sick. The Goddess gathers eight nymphs to care for each of the diseased organs, and Ninti was Goddess of the Rib the Lady of Life who also fashioned babies bones out of their pregnent mothers' ribs (Walker 728). The Yahwistic myth seems to have intentionally reversed this much earlier one to 'turn the tables' on the female. There are further precedents in the myth of Utnapishtim and the plant of rejuvenation.

The creation of Adam - William Blake. Eve is not present here but the serpent is there from the beginning with God before both man and the animals. Although in the later Genesis 1 account, the serpent is part of God's good creation, with the animals, in the Eden myth the serpent lies outside God's frame of reference. Armstrong (1996) asks "Was the serpent part of the original tohu vo-vohu that survived the creative ordering?"

Biblical Genesis

The Bible has two discordant creations accounts, Genesis 1 being a much later work of 6th century BC work by the priestly author and the Yahwist one of Genesis 2 and 3 being earlier, probably 8th century BC, although "some interpreters still look fondly back to an origin c 930-900" (Fox R 21). This is roughly contemporary with Hesiod's story of origins, through the Fall caused by Pandora releasing all the afflictions of the world (Fox R 21).

There is also a brief Elohistic account of the Creation at Genesis 5. This is different again from the later priestly account of Genesis 1. In this account God, 'Elohim creates Adam alone male and female in our likeness. This suggests an almost androgynous origin. It confirms however a different idea of God existed, of the sort the priestly author has described:

This is the book of the generations of Adam.
In the day that God created man,
in the likeness of God made he him;
Male and female created he them;
and blessed them, and called their name Adam,
in the day when they were created.
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years,
and begat a son in his own likeness,
and after his image; and called his name Seth

This God or 'Elohim is different from the Lord or Yahveh-'elohim we see in the Eden myth. This God creates man in our image, male and female, but strangely both in the name of Adam and they begat a son. This account suggests we should look behind the priestly account to suggest that there too was an ancient 'Elohistic tradition in which God said be fruitful and multiply. This 'Elohistic Northern Kingdom aspect has been substantially over-written in the Bible because it is a compiled Judean account. By contrast the Yahwistic generations of Adam 4:1 stress the beginning of sexuality "Now Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived"

The Kabbalah, which follows a strongly elhoist view of creation, sees Adam and Eve created by cleavage from a single androgynous being, whose male and female faces could not turn to look at one another until they became separated.

What is singular about the Eden creation myth is that Man is created first in archetype, then the plants and finally the animals. This is the eternal or spatial creation, which 'divides space' while Genesis 1 temporal creation 'divides time' into its seven epochs (Fox R 18). In Eden, it is as if the creation process has a divine destination of mankind and that hidden in the eternal aspect of space-time, despite the endless weaving of evolutionary change, a feature of the catastrophe landscape of the cosmos, pre-figured in the mind of God, is the anthropic archetype, the noosphere species - humankind.

This creation is also distinctly psychic. God does not act to produce the heavenly bodies as in Genesis 1, but simply stoops to the ground and picks up some dust. His very breath becomes the spirit of conscious existence: Notice also that he is now YHVH 'elohim the 'LORD God', a Lord as distinct from the 'Elohim or plural God of Genesis 1 (Miles 30).

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul.

God then founds a garden, strangely not a cosmic one, but in an eastward locality. This suggests that Yahweh could have been a local deity. The garden is his female counterpart, his Asherah. Kaballists see the garden as both a physical mystery of sex and a mystery of transcendence of the "indwelling glory" or Shekhinah. All aspects of the garden are thus female (Waite 262).

And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden;
and there he put the man whom he had formed.

In Michelangelo's Creation of Adam in the Sistine chapel, ... Yahweh's right arm
stretches out, almost touching the outstretched hand of the beautiful-bodied
Adam into whom he is about to breathe life. That Eve is already present in
the Creator's mind, but as a secondary thought, is quite evident, as the Lord
God's left arm encircles an apprehensive-looking Eve who is also
on a smaller scale than the other two figures (Haskins 68).

The plant world is now created, after creating Homo sapiens. Notice here the duality between the Tree of Life and immortal wholeness is clearly declared as a counterpoint to the Tree of binary division Knowledge of Good and Evil:

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree
that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;
the tree of life also in the midst of the garden,
and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The myth then describes the four waters, like the four directions:

"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden;
and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. ...
Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and Euphrates.

And then we see clearly the divine purpose of man revealed. As this is the eternal creation, this remains forever his eternal purpose. It is this purpose we should consider in this very era as our guardianship of nature in immortal continuity.

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

God then plays the classic Sumerian trick on Adam with a double irony. He honestly tells him not to eat the Tree of Division, but doesn't reveal the existence of the Tree of Life at all, so either way Adam loses. Unlike the simple command of Genesis 1 to be fruitful and multiply, we now have a prohibition (Myles 30):

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying,
Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof
thou shalt surely die.

God began to lose touch with Adam. He could see that Adam was lonely despite being close to himself. (Armstrong 1996 23). The LORD God is different from God. God has only a command "be fruitful and multiply" but the LORD God has a prohibition (Miles 30).

And the LORD God said,
It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him an help meet for him.

We finally reach the creation and naming of the animals by Adam, long after the creation of man. "Every thing that creepeth on the earth" is conspicuously absent. It was later said that this naming is what made Iblis jealous of Adam and led to the Heavenly Fall, so we have two Falls in one in this myth:

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field,
and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them:
and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

Eve generated from paternal Adam by the Father God
followed by the temptation (Willis)

Now the patriarchal imperative begins to bite. The female, even before original sin, is assigned the mere role of help meet, a domestic utility, although also a partner. Worse still, the female is a mere rib, an outgrowth of the male seed line, one step further from God's creation, which in the Malleus Maleficarum became the contrary twisted rib that symbolized woman's contrary evil nature:

but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam,
and he slept: and he took one of his ribs,
and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man,
made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

At this point, in the midst of the oneness of the flesh, which itself is a poetic expression of sexual union, we see the patriarchal imperative enshrined. She is flesh of 'his' flesh and the bearer of 'his' seed line. But notice that, unlike the woman, the man still leaves his family to cleave unto her suggesting a continuing matrilocal custom, despite the patriarchal rhetoric. Since they were "not ashamed" it would appear that they did have a sexual relationship and that sex is not the origin of death after all, but the knowledge of good and evil is, although the Kaballah marks "flesh of my flesh" as the origin point of original sin. Adam is delighted, but does not express gratitude or acknowledgement towards the YHVH 'elohim (Miles 31).

And Adam said this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:
She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother
and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
And they were both naked ... and were not ashamed.

The serpent now asks the woman "Has God forbidden any fruit?" The woman also does not know of two trees but only the taboo on "the tree in the midst". She is thus even more subtly deceived than Adam by God's 'forked tongue'. Is the serpent's ability a reflection on God's power, (Miles 33) or are the serpent and YHVH 'elohim mutual deceivers in this interrogation? Hermes, the messenger of the caduceus serpent, was a known liar. When people fell into silence and communication was broken, Greeks said "Hermes is passing" (Willis 145).

In noting that neither Eve, nor the Serpent were party to God's prohibition against Adam, for Eve was not then even created, Robin Lane Fox (26) quotes John Donne:

"T'was not forbidden to the snake
Nor her who was not then made"

"If the serpent is a liar, YHVH gets a sympathetic treatment: By planting the tree of life in the garden and not prohibiting its use, God apparently intended to give man the option of immortality, but man missed his chance by electing to eat of the other tree, which God had warned him not to touch under pain of immediate death: "for in the day that thou eatest thou shalt surely die." This suggests that the forbidden tree was really a tree of death, not [merely] of knowledge. ... Humanity, misled by the serpent, ate of the wrong tree and so forfeited the immortality which [the] benevolent Creator had designed for him." (Tribble 1973, 1978, Christ and Plaskow).

Karen Armstrong (1996) however highlights a different perspective, noting that the snake communicates well, suggesting in a sense he is humanity itself, questioning and rebelling, and suggesting hat Eve's unsolicited comment that they were "not even supposed to touch the tree" suggests she is developing her own creative interpretation of God's command. Certainly the serpent asks the archetypal question of natural inquiry "are any fruit forbidden?"

Hieronymous Bosch - Eden

Now the serpent was more subtil
than any beast of the field ...
and he said unto the woman "Hath God said
ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
And the woman said unto the serpent,
We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the woman said ... but the fruit of the tree
which is in the midst of the garden
God hath said ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it lest ye die.

The wise serpent of course suggests Yahweh is hiding something from the pair and recommends they take the hidden fruit of knowledge which will make them even as gods. Eve is thus the "emblem of the human desire to embrace the world and ingest experience without restraint" (Armstrong 1996 29). This is the only way to affirm the ultimate relationship between the transcendent and the manifest And the serpent was wise and true for Adam, despite God's immediate death threat and his subsequent mortality, was to live for another thousand years (Gen 5:5).

And the serpent is also true about this - at first Adam and Eve were allowed to eat all the other trees, including the Tree of Life. So in a completely fulfilling universe of the sort that Eve sought after Adam and Eve would have been able to have both knowledge and immortality, just as the cosmos has both substance and consciousness. What is the point of God denying immortality in exchange for knowledge? Thats a tragic dilemma. Why not make the creation complete?

And the serpent said ... ye shall not surely die,
For God doth know that in the day ye eat ...
your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
and was pleasant to the eyes
and a tree to be desired to make one wise ...

"Armstrong (1996 29) poetically exclaims "The knowledge she sought was thus sensual as well as intellectual. Eve was striving to achieve blessing to gain a fuller experience of life in its entirety". The Kabbalah suggests these words are the first union: "She consented originally to union as a result of her reflections on the value of conjugal relations and by reason of that pure affection and tenderness which united her to Adam" (Waite 282). Fox (1992 18) notes wryly "The couple eat and are enhanced and God does indeed go back on his warning". Miles (35) invokes self-consciousness - awareness of their desire, which had already been previously consummated in innocence - the very hallmark of the human state! Oscar Wild comments "Disobedience: man's original virtue" (Fox R 25).

Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as a mushroom,
entwined by the serpent - Christian Fresco (Allegro 1970)

Notice that Eve asks for wisdom, Sophia rather than the analytic "knowledge of good and evil". Poor Eve was sadly tricked because the knowledge of good and evil - the competitive spermatogenic principle is the male's strategy, hers was of the tree of life, synthesis sustainability and wisdom. The Kabbalah says "The tree of life is over the female principle in the state of sacramentum ineffable (Waite 269). However one could also say the male turned the Gatherer Queen's knowledge into the male combat myth of God and Satan in the final Armageddon.

It has been suggested (Rosenberg and Bloom, Fox R) that some aspects of the writings of the Yahwistic author J are consistent with this person being a female authoress, who was a member of David's court and may have had a critical view of Bathsheba's influence. Bloom sees her as miscivous, ironic and totally irreligious, becoming an even greater irony of historical fate at the hands of subsequent interpreters. There is potential substance in this idea for it is through J that many of our early myths of the strong matriarchs come down to us. We have to be grateful for J for these slants of protrayal which do give us insights which would otherside be impossible. There is thus another quite contrary view of the Yahwistic Eden as clipping satyrical commentary on the very gender issues it describes. If so, then perhaps Yahveh Adonai's character is truly ironic.

Phyllis Tribble (Christ and Plaskow 1979 74) has consistently with this advanced an analysis which portrays the roles of Adan and Eve as far less sexist, claiming Eve's creation is as divine as Adam's because both required an act of God. She uses the Hebrew text to justify reference to adamah as the ground (androgyny) and 'flesh of my flesh' as sexuality. She questons the man naming woman as authority and sees them as 'equal in responsibility, judgement, shame and guilt'.

She furthermore sees Eve as the more powerful and resourceful: "Why does the serpent speak to the woman and not to the man? Let a female speculate. If the serpent is "more subtle" than its fellow creatures, the woman is more appealing than her husband. Throughout the myth, she is the more intelligent one, the more aggressive one, and the one with greater sensibilities." Perhaps the woman elevates the animal world by conversing theologically with the serpent. At any rate, she understands the hermeneutical task. In quoting God, she interprets the prohibition ("neither shall you touch it"). The woman is both theologian and translator. She contemplates the tree, taking into account all the possibilities. The tree is good for food; it satisfies the physical drives. It pleases the eyes; it is esthetically and emotionally desirable. Above all, it is coveted as the source of wisdom (haskil). Thus the woman is fully aware when she acts, her vision encompassing the gamut of life. She takes the fruit, and she eats. The initiative and the decision are hers alone. There is no consultation with her husband. She seeks neither his advice nor his permission. She acts independently. By contrast, the man is a silent, passive, and bland recipient."

Another Kabbalah tradition suggests the tree of knowledge was the vine and that, like Noah, Eve produced wine and through their inebriation they perceived the ills of the world (Waite 284,291). The mushroom has similarly been associated with the Tree of Knowledge as in the fresco (Fig 5.12:). Both apply more appropriately to the Tree of Life.

she took thereof and gave also to her husband with her.
And the eyes of them both were opened
and they knew that they were naked.

Karen Armstrong (1996 26-7) comments: "Men and women want to live creatively, intensively and successfully in the world. They long to fulfill the potential of their nature ... What Adam and Eve sought from the tree of knowledge ... was the practical wisdom that would give them blessing and fulfillment". The LORD God also appears to be lonely for company, suggesting the sovreignty of his his perfection has been compromised (Miles 37).

And they heard the voice of the LORD God
walking in the garden in the cool of the day:
and Adam and his wife hid themselves ...
amongst the trees of the garden.

And the LORD God called unto Adam,
and said unto him, Where art thou?
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden,
and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked?
Hast thou eaten of the tree,
whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

Adam of course blames his own choice on the woman, and the woman in turn is portrayed as weak-willed, beguiled by lust and heresy:

And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,
she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the woman,
What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said,
The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

And Yahweh, ever the patriarch, exerts his vengeful punishment. God doesn't make good his immediate threat of death but condemns them to mortality. Thus we see as in the Sumerian myth that the supposed fruit of knowledge is actually the fruit of eventual death:

And the Lord God said to the serpent ...
I will put enmity between thee and the woman
and between thy seed and her seed;
it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

He is particularly harsh on the woman causing her whole life to be travail and subjugating her to the rule of the man for beguiling him:

"I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception;
in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children,
thy desire shall be unto thy husband
and he shall rule over thee."

The death penalty, which has failed for all time to act as a deterrent (Fox R 18) is now communted to mortality and pronounced on the male, Adam. It is interesting that God does not pronounce this on Eve, recognizing that through child birth she is in fact immortal in phenotype, Adam's mortality perhaps also reflecting commentary on the dying and resurrected sacred king. However in other respects, Adam, who of course shares his mortality with Eve in real life, has a significantly lighter punishment, a pioneering life of physical endeavor to feed his family while struggling against the wilderness: the cursed ground of Adam.

Left: Leonardo Chiaiese Expulsion of Adam and Eve
St. Michaels church Anacapri.

Cursed is the ground for thy sake;
In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;
and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
in the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread
till thou return unto the ground
for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return...

Finally, almost in passing, as a concession by the mortal Adam who named the beasts, we discover that the earthly Eve has all along been the great Earth Goddess, the immortal Mother of all Living who has been denigrated to a mere "fair woman which is without discretion" (Proverbs 11:22):

And Adam called his wife's name Eve;
because she was the mother of all living.

In paradoxical kindness, after his immature outburst of anger, the YHVH 'elohim, in addition to their fig-leaves, almost as a sin-offering for what he is about to do, and of course emphasizing the social taboo against nakedness, with his own 'handiwork':

"Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them."

Now we reach the nub of the plot, the jealous God, who could not tolerate his creation becoming truly divine, which Gnostics were later to identify with the demiurge rather than the creator. Why on earth steal the tree of life he had already given them just to prevent them having knowledge? What they needed was the balance. Why steal half of creation off the female? The blade has stolen the heritage of the chalice! This means the cup of blood!:

And the Lord God said, Behold the man is become
as one of us one of us, to know good and evil;:
and now lest he put forth his hand
and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever:
therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden ...
and [placed] a flaming sword which turned every way,
to keep the way of the tree of life.

Mankind's ancestors usually appear being driven forth in their nakedness, their arms raised to protect themselves from the angel's sword ..., or hands clasped to their genitals and breasts, ... the loci of their misdeed. In their wake trail all the horrors and chaos of existence, sin and death, which will replace the primal innocence and felicity they enjoyed in the Garden (Haskins 69).

Like the Sumerian myth, there are two trees in the garden, one of life and one of the "knowledge of good and evil". These two trees form a binary division between wisdom - the understanding of immortality and analytic knowledge - science, judgement and morality. In the Biblical myth, a falling out of balance occurs, the knowledge of good and evil without the wisdom of life leads to mortality, being cast out of the garden and the road to Armageddon, because the unity of the tree of life is overwhelmed by the divisive knowledge of opposing realites good and evil, light and dark - the male bifurcation principle. The Kaballah notes: "When Adam ate of the Tree of Good and Evil he provoked the separation of woman from man" (Waite 284).

Yahweh specifically instructs Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil just as Ea did, while the tree of life is distracted from their view. One could consider this the same trick of Ea. It certainly leads directly to a the binary division of tabu and mortal tragedy. Eve follows the advice of the serpent and she and Adam eat of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. Their eyes become opened and they cover themselves - become civilized. A chauvinistic Yahweh then banishes them from the garden, lest they also eat the fruit of immortality, and become like him, setting fiery angels to guard the entrance thus condemning them to misery on earth, mortality and the sexual guilt of original sin. The fall from divine immortality to carnal knowledge, and the retreat of the Shekhinah and her spirit of matrimonial concord from imminent immediacy in this schism.

Right: Adam and Eve in the Garden - Cranach (Pagels)

Adam, Eve, Firstness and the Fruit -Jane King

There are here two intertwined themes : the schism of the genders and the downfall from nature. Instead of chaos or tohu vu-vohu complementing order in the unfolding of nature, this has set off a chain of events, where man is set against nature, light is set against dark, order against chaos, and Yahweh and his own "light-bearer", Satan are in endless opposition until the final catastrophic Christ-Antichrist Armageddon. The balance between intuition (wisdom) and analytic knowledge (good-evil) has become upset. The mindless application of order, the analytic knowledge of good and evil - the male bifurcation - at the expense of the female fertility principle - the enclosed chalice of unity - is at the centre of the downfall.

The midrashim tell a frankly phallic story of Eden, which also illustrates Muhammad's familiarity with Jewish texts, for Samael the archangel became jealous of Adam, who despite being made of dust surpassed the angel in wisdon and understanding. Adam pronounces the secret names of the animals. Samael refuses to pay gomage to Adam and leads the fall of the angels, as recounted also in the Qur'an. God in another midrash then makes Lilith from filth and sediment. Adam tries to force her but she will not lie under him and rises up uttering God's magic name (Thompson 16). The next creature made of blood guts and hair is too physical. Only after several attempts by God to construct a partner to satisfy Adam do we arrive at Eve who has been described as so beautiful that she could not be looked upon. After the fall another midrash relates Adam tried to abstain for 130 years and was tormented by the spirit of Lilith as a succubus at night (Thompson 19).

Eve is also identifiable with Maha-Kali the mother of time, the fearsome Aztec Lady of the Serpent Skirts and goddesses such as Cybele and the snake goddess of Crete. She is a sexual entity who relates to sexuality directly in the form of the snake and sacrificially in a fearsome manner which has included ritual castration. One can thus see a dark and fickle side of her which has caused the male gender consternation and paranoia. For her life and death are phases of one immortal cycle and not opposing principles. Another aspect of Eve's evil portrayal is in the guise of Pandora who was blamed by the Greeks for releasing disease into the world (Phillips).

The delicate relationship between the Moon God and the Queen of Heaven, his astral and fertility counterpart became a central theme of conflict throughout the Old Testament. While the astral Moon God as the Lord of Knowledge retained a complementary realtionship with the Great Goddess of fertility, in which the immortal fertility of the garden was preserved. Subsequently the resurgent descent of the Queen of Heaven and the lightweight role played by her sacrificial Adonai or Lord as resurrecting lover came to be an anathema to Yahweh when he rejected his cosmic lunar nature to become a male tribal patron deity.

The Queen of Heaven and her sacrificial role thus stands as the very mortality for which Adam suffered, the hieros gamos or sacred marriage and the ritual sexual licence which accompanied such fertility worship - the very act of sex leading to sacrificial death. It is this tortured historical episode of the Old Testament that we should turn to if we want to understand the true import of the sexual struggle portrayed in the Biblical Fall from Eden.

The fear of the serpent: Shakti as Serpent power, Woman Pregnant by an Anaconda
Rawson, Amaringo

The reviled snake also figures in a multiplicity of ways. The snake was believed to be the sexual intruder who was the first cause of menstruation (Briffault v2 664) also associated with the moon (Briffault v2 572). However the phallic snake represents the essential male fertility principle which eternally regenerates as the primal male substance. It also has some parallels with the chaos monsters, such as Tiamat who opposed Marduk (Miles 32).

Christianity also inherited, and manipulated, other notions of the origins of evil found in later Jewish writings, many of them extra-biblical, written during the five centuries before Christ's birth. Of these, two concern Adam and Eve in that the source of evil is seen as the inherited sinfulness derived from the Fall; and the idea that mankind had also been corrupted by this sin came from folklore which told of Eve's physical pollution by the serpent or Satan (Samael) (Haskins 70, Waite 288).

The serpent also represents both realms of structured knowledge and immortality. The "Hippocratic" snake represents at once the knowledge of science and medicine, as expressed on the one hand by the wise serpent Nabu and on the other by the immortality of the snake which sheds its skin and resurrects like the phoenix, with Hermes' caduceus somewhere in the middle. The serpent could thus be considered guardian of the two sacred trees.

However the serpent's role in Eden is to retain the fruit of the tree of life. The first phase in this story comes from Gilgamesh. "He and his friend Enkidu seek immortality through fame, but when Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh finds fame hollow. Unable to accept the finality of death, he goes to Utnapishtim, the Babylonian counterpart of the biblical Noah, to learn the secret of his immortality. Utnapishtim explains that he received it due to the unique circumstances of the flood. After failing to stay awake for seven days to discover the secrets from the gods, he is granted as a consolation, the boon of miraculous plant of rejuvenation. But when he finds it and stops to bathe, from the bottom of the deep pool rises a serpent who seizes the plant and eats it first, thus becoming the snake who sheds his skin. He finally returns home, reluctantly accepting death as inevitable" (Grollier, Thompson 205).

James Frazer (v1 50) brings out this theme further in the biblical account, pointing out that we should look to the serpent to find the tree of life we have lost: "The story of the fall appears to be an attempt to explain man's mortality, to set forth how death came into the world. In this account everything hinges on the tree of knowledge of good and evil : it occupies, so to say, the centre of the stage in the great tragedy, ... but when we look closer we perceive a second tree standing side by side with the other in the midst of the garden. It is a very remarkable tree, for it is no less than the tree of life, whose fruit confers immortality on all who eat of it. Yet in the actual story of the fall this wonderful tree plays no part. Unlike the tree of knowledge, it is hedged about by no divine prohibition, yet no one thinks it worth while to taste of the luscious fruit and live for ever. "

Quetzalcoatl as the plumed serpent (Willis).

The tree of life is thus taken by the subtle serpent, ensuring his own immortal life through the resurrection of shedding his skin." The idea that the snake has the fruit of the tree of life has a prophetic significance in the context of Quetzalcoatl the bearer of Wasson's 'divine mushroom of immortality . The theft of the immortal skin is also hinted at in a tale that after eating the apple, Adam and Eve lost all their scales except for their fingernails.

This tale has one final surprising twist to it. The trick Yahweh played is a two-fold one. Yahweh was also represented by the serpent. Yahweh is above all things the father god of Jewish male fertility and paternity. It is in their whoring that the Jews let Yahweh down the worst. We know that Moses carried Nehustan the serpent of brass. Just such a serpent was found at a Midianite shrine from 1100 BC at Timna near Aqaba, along with phallic teraphim.

Nabo the wise serpent of Babylon is an ancient phallic deity also called Rimmini - pomegranate. He is thus 'the serpent of the pomegranate', about as close as you can get to 'the serpent of the fruit' of Eden. Nabo and Hermes both share the serpent, and along with Thoth, share the role of scribe of the Gods, bearer of the tablets of the law. Hermes is an ithyphallic primal sperm god consort of Hekate, worshipped at wayside Herms simple four-square stone shrines. Hermes represents the indestructible core principle of male fertility as the divine substance complementing the Goddess. Abram moved from Sin to Nabo in leaving Ur and Harran and fathering 'as the stars in the sky', calling on 'god' - El, who in his Canaanite grandfather aspect is the same deity. Moses similarly journeyed from Mt. Sin to Mt. Nabo.

There are also parallels with the old Zoroastrian myth of the Garden of Yima with a perfect shepherd king and an epoch with no death or old age, in the mysterious Mountain of the North, a title reminiscent of the Myserty of the North at Harran. The four rivers and the avenue of jewel-lined trees are reminiscent of Ezekiel's vision: 28:13 "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created." These are later echoed in the description of Muhammad's night flight to heaven.

The sabbatical creation in Genesis 1 in some senses reads much more realistically as a cosmic creation in time, followed by the animal species and finally man. Of significance is the plural nature of the Godhead in this version, as God in the plural - 'Elohim, which permits Adam and Eve to be made in "our" likeness, implicitly the likeness of both genders of the Heavenly Host. Although Elohim is male plural as "in the image of God he created he him", this is just the conventional male grammatical form "man and God", whose form is collectively male and female, as Adam and Eve are 'in the Elohim's likeness' and they are both 'male and female'. In one midrash they are in fact cleaved by God from an adrogynous unity so that they can turn and face one another (Thompson 23, Fox R 20).

And God (Elohim) said
"Lets us make man in our image, after our likeness,
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle,
and over all the earth and over every creeping thing
that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.

The Elohim is even more ancient than Yahweh. The most ancient biblical passage, Jacob's blessing is with a fourfold Elohim: the God of thy fathers, the Almighty, the breasts and the womb (fecundity) and the deep (the abysmal), thus inferring two female entities (Gen 49:25). Now the Elohim appear to be giving a similar blessing here in "fruitfulness" and "multiplication". Sex would thus appear to be a central aspect of the creation, not the cause of the Fall:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful and multiply;
and replenish the Earth and subdue it.

Note also that Yahweh gives man "dominion over" nature to "subdue it", terms which already imply domination and conquest, rather than complementary coexistence, unlike the original commandment of Eden to dress it and keep it. However one could note the fact that the Priestly author was a vegetarian:

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed,
which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree,
in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

The rift between the father Sky God and Mother Nature deepens even further as we move further from the garden. "After the flood, God gave humans a renewed, but more oppressive authority over the animals. In Genesis 9:2 God says "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth on the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you" (Corballis). This position has become frighteningly prophetic.

The father God thus, without regard to the needs of eternal nature to be preserved or protected from fallible or greedy human domination in mankinds own interests, commits nature to human domination., without even imposing the condition of responsible stewardship - simple slavery is all that is stated!

Part 1: Archetypal Myth and Human Destiny
Part 2: The Eden of Genesis
- Adam and Eve in the Garden
Part 3: The Crucifixion, Gnosticism, and the Millennium
Part4: The Follow-through

Return to Genesis of Eden?