Of late, I’ve been contemplating the Eden Myth and particularly the Serpent in that story.
My upbringing initially gave me a single understanding of the serpent symbol – that of Satan, the devil and deceiver. However, reading the Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites series in my teens (oh, yes, my Mormon is showing), introduced me to the Serpent-Messiah symbol, which adds complexity to the Garden narrative. In fact, it has left me wondering for many years if the “sin” Satan was punished for wasn’t beguiling Eve but stepping in where Christ should’ve been. This is especially true because God gave to Adam ALL the trees of the garden and Eve was never instructed not to eat of the one (having not been created yet when Adam was warned away).
The choice of a serpent is even more interesting to me when its symbolic meaning is evaluated against Jewish/Israelite and other cultures and beliefs. The snake represents rebirth, wisdom, fertility, intellect, and more.
But I digress. My thoughts of late have shifted specifically to wondering who let the snake in. Of course, this is assuming a literal version of events, but follow me anyway.
If God created Eden under any circumstances (as a haven, a place to allow Eve & Adam to learn and grown and “progress” to maturity once they were separated from Heaven, or a place for them to exist in the in-between as long as they chose not to progress further, of as a place for them to live in perpetuity) then God Themselves set the rules.
They could’ve kept the serpent out. They could’ve kept the serpent from beguiling Eve simply by keeping it out.
Think about that. The entire fall was completely preventable with a simple rule change.
The Serpent didn’t sneak past God. It didn’t get there without the knowledge and allowance of Heaven. God, all powerful and all knowing, could’ve prevented not only a fall, but the beguiling of Eve.
They didn’t. That tells me something.
I don’t believe in a God that sets us up to fail. I don’t believe that we are supposed to intuit the rules or receive them second hand.
Clearly, Eve was always intended to take the fruit. She was always intended to allow for our progression. Our Heavenly Parents have no desire to keep us from more light and knowledge. At some point, They let the Serpent in. They let the Serpent “get to” Eve.
To me, Eve’s fall was a carefully thought-out choice but that choice was available to her because God allowed it. To me, it’s a powerful message that we were always meant to progress (and transgress) beyond the boundaries of Eden.
God is not afraid of our rebirth. They are not afraid of our gaining light and truth, wisdom and knowledge, experience and understanding. They teach us line upon line and, in time, they allow the Serpent to appear in our lives. That’s not necessarily a sign that we should turn away (remember the Brazen Serpent and the Messiah-Serpent archetype).
Instead, it may be a sign that we are ready to grow again.