PASSAGE: "The Lord God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel'" (Genesis 3:14-15).
QUESTION: I don't understand who the woman or her offspring is, or who the snake's offspring is, and how is it that one will strike his heel and the other will crush his head? And what is the outcome of this scenario, and why?
COMMENT: I think you may be taking an overly literal approach to what is basically a great creation myth. Calling it a “myth” doesn't mean it isn't true, but rather that its truth is not to be found on the literal surface, but on a deeper level. I think of all the early myths of the Bible as stories told at night around a campfire, as children ask the kind of questions children will: Where did we come from? Why do we have to work so hard? Why don't all the tribes get along? Why do some people do bad things? In that primitive desert culture, snakes were a constant danger, and served no apparent good purpose. So “Why do snakes bite us?” might be another question for a campfire story.
Metaphysically, at that deeper level, I think we can find another meaning that resonates for us still today. The story of Adam, Eve, the Lord and the serpent has worked itself out to this point—and like all the Bible, it works itself out within each one of us. All the characters are aspects of our own consciousness, and their interrelationships describe the challenges of our own spiritual journey. Adam is our human self—created as an expression of God but not fully aware of that relationship. Eve is our “feminine” feeling nature—restless, curious, with a strong urge to be creative and expressive. The Lord is the Christ—the Presence and Power of God that is our true identity, even though we lose sight of its Presence and live much of our human lives in ignorance of our true spiritual identity. And the snake represents the senses—all the pleasures and pains of the human experience we are embarking upon. It is our creative energy—Eve—that first chooses to respond to the allure of the snake and explore a new dimension of perceived duality. Adam follows behind and the Christ—the Lord—supports the decision (the Lord provides them with clothing and advice) but also makes it clear that exploring duality includes experiencing pain, lack and enmity. We have indeed been taught to “curse” both the pains and pleasures of our sensory selves. We have indeed come to believe that there is 'enmity' between our senses and our higher, more creative energies. It's all part of the discovery process intended to lead us, choice by choice, forward to a new consciousness that sees and embraces all four elements as essential expressions of the divine.