Biblical literalism can be dangerous, especially when scriptural exegeses shape
standards for social norms. According to the 2nd version of the biblical creation story of Adam and Eve for example, all of mankind must suffer for Genesis’s account of the choice of one woman. As many peoples have historically viewed this ancient story as fact, despite various changes, the ambiguous and often contradictory language of the text, and preconceptions stemming from philosophical interpretations, women have been regarded as inferior to man largely in part to Eve’s role in the story, or more specifically, man’s rationale of her role in the story.
Similar to the role the Eve’s treatment plays in the description, man’s gift of
“dominion” over nature has historically allowed for more destruction than stewardship. It is difficult to imagine, given the central role that trees play in not only the biblical creation, and The Fall, but also the redemption of mankind on the cross, that man’s subsequent and continual choice to dominate nature can have such little effect in comparison to the original sin.
Using the events of the biblical Eden as a backstory for the plot of my 90,000
word novel, Fearest Enden, pivotal elements of the Edenic story were changed to paint Eve as hero rather than scapegoat. The novel follows Elias Hughes, a descendant of Eve who must rely on ancestrally endowed talents to stop the first earthly evil, Cain. Eve’s choice(s) are recognized as the main motif of Fearest Enden: sacrifice in the name of love and fear. As a secondary theme, as in Eden, the treatment of nature, and trees specifically has a direct impact on the spiritual and physical survival of the novel’s characters and their world.
Part two of the thesis: Saviors, Scapegoats & Sacred Trees: A Critical
Understanding & Reflection, examines more closely the underlying themes of the novel. Preceded by acknowledgements, an introduction to the title of Fearest Enden will analyze the central themes and clarify the novel’s title, meaning and history.
The first critical argument focuses on Eve as savior and scapegoat. Examining
both the ambiguity and literalism of early chapters in Genesis, I will argue that Eve was set up to fail because she was entered into a pact without her signature; that Adam was present when Eve spoke to the devil and that they partook of the fruit together; and that the only deceiving serpent(s) in this history, walked upright, contriving stories to defame Eve and women. I will argue that the choice, her choice, should have been defined a heroic sacrifice, making her the first and perhaps greatest human hero of all time and thus reversing, in a sense, the purported origins of original sin.
The second argument is that fundamentalism and biblical literalism has led not
only to man’s unjust ruling over women, but also over nature. The consequences of the latter must be both terrestrial and spiritual. Terrestrial, because the first and continued choice to take improper dominion over nature, like the original sin, is irreversible; spiritual, because trees play a central role in both the fall and redemption of the souls of mankind. Examining the sacredness as well as life-saving and life-ending properties of the trees in Eden and Golgotha, but also in a number of myths and stories from various cultures around the world, I will postulate the need to redefine “dominion” for the purpose of saving what earth man has left to steward. The final sections of the discussion will include influences, a conclusion, and bibliography.