This picture is titled “Mary and Eve.” It’s a crayon and pencil drawing created by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO, of the Cistercian Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey. I often see it shared around Christmas time. The image portrays Eve holding the fruit, the shame of her sin clearly seen on her face, while the serpent is wrapped around her ankle. Lifting up her head is Mary, carrying the Messiah inside her womb, while crushing the head of the serpent. This piece of art is stunning, and the message rings loud and clear.
However, every time I see it, I can’t help but notice that something very important is missing. Did you spot it as well?
Where is Adam?
One little line from Genesis 3:6 is often overlooked, but it is extremely important.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Did you catch that? The whole time the serpent was talking to Eve, Adam was present, and did nothing. Yet, the message that has often been proclaimed is that “this is all Eve’s fault.” One only has to look at a long history of Jewish and Christian interpretation to see this is the case. And of course, when Adam and Eve get busted, what is the first thing out of Adam’s mouth?
Genesis 3:12 – “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
So let me get this straight… The man stands passively aside and does nothing while the serpent speaks to Eve. He takes no ownership whatsoever, completely throws Eve under the bus, and then he lets her take the full blame for thousands of years?
Unfortunately, this way of acting (or better said, NOT acting) continued. I could point to many examples, but an obvious one would be the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8. In this story, the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law drag a woman out in front of Jesus and say “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t adultery take two people to commit? And if this woman was caught mid-act, wouldn’t the man have had to be present? Yet, only the woman gets dragged out. Only the woman is blamed. Sound familiar?
Now back to Eve. Nevermind that Paul, in Romans 5, places the sin completely on Adam, Eve still gets the reputation as the one who ruined it for all of us, even in the painting above. This view has drastically impacted the ways in which the Church, and men in general, view women.
I love this painting. I think the message is life changing. I just wish it showed the whole picture. Maybe someone who is much better at drawing than I am can take a crack at it.
So why a series on women? When it comes to women in the Bible, I mostly see people do one of two things happen. Either they completely ignore the women in Scripture, or they make them the antagonist of every story. I think it’s time to reclaim the ways in which the Bible speaks to females. You might call it a “HERspective”.
Next week, we’ll talk about Drama and Trauma