Illuminated parchment, Spain, circa AD 950-955...
Illuminated parchment, Spain, circa AD 950-955, depicting the Fall of Man, cause of original sin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In one version of two found in the Biblical book of Genesis, Eve is the first woman created by God from Adam’s rib.

According to the Bible story, Adam and Eve originally lived in an innocent state of grace, characterized by their blissful life in Eden. God directly told them that they could eat anything in the garden except for fruit from the tree of knowledge at the garden’s center. Eve, however, was tempted by the clever and subtle serpent to eat from the tree of knowledge. The evil serpent said that her eating the fruit of of the tree would enable the first woman and man to become like gods, “knowing the difference between good and evil.”

Eve ate the forbidden fruit and then tempted Adam, who also ate. Suddenly they recognized their nakedness, lost their innocence and felt ashamed. They immediately covered their now-private areas with leaves. God their creator was stirred to great anger and thrust them out of the garden. He stationed an angel with a flaming sword at the garden’s entrance to ensure their banishment.

Women in general were cursed to suffer during childbirth and the harsh realities of suffering and mortality were imposed on mankind.

Scholars note that the story is likely influenced by or adapted from similar ancient Near-Eastern myths. Christian theologians are well aware of this idea. But they maintain that it does not necessarily contradict the idea that the Bible is a revealed text.¹

¹ For a Catholic position claiming that all sacred scripture is without error, see http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8441. On the role of interpretation, see http://catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/PBC_Interp-FullText.htm. And on the importance of understanding scripture through the door of faith, see http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20100930_verbum-domini_en.html#The_Interpretation_Of_Sacred_Scripture__In_The_Church

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