Eve and Adam
The best evidence to support the premise that the biblical authors considered gender to be a social category, and intentionally played with its norms, may be the Bible’s first narrative – the story of Eve and Adam in the garden of Eden – in which gender norms are fixed, and the hierarchy is established between men and women, and between men and God. The Bible begins with this story because it sets the stage for all that follows. As Carol Meyers observes, Eve and Adam are both archetypes and prototypes. They are archetypes in that they manifest qualities of all males and females, and they are prototypes for Israelite men and women living in Iron Age Israel.1 Seeing them as archetypes and prototypes, as humans and as Israelites, supports my thesis that the gender dynamic that defines human relationships helps define the relationship between God and Israel as well. Eve and Adam’s story, I argue, is not just about how women relate to men. It is also about how Israel relates to God. It demonstrates how the hierarchy between men and women reflects and impacts their relationship with God.