(This series of posts is my attempt to put into writing the In-Depth sectional I taught on this subject at the 2009 Higher Things conferences.)
The image chosen for the cover of the first book in the Twilight series foreshadows what is to come in the subsequent books. What is behind this symbolism?
The apple, the woman’s hands…take us straight to Eden and that fateful day with the serpent and the tree and the fruit they were forbidden to eat. That tempting, shiny, red, ripe, juicy and tasty looking apple, here being offered to…whom?
The Original Forbidden Fruit
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Then the eyes of both were opened…
We know what that apple carried with it in Genesis – the entire fall of mankind into sin and death. What does this apple symbolize and bring into fruition?
Effects of the Fall
The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The blame game. That’s something we got from the Fall. In Genesis 2, it, Adam can’t get enough of woman and she’s the most amazing and beautiful creature ever to exist and how wonderfully amazing that God made her just for him so they aren’t alone! He even bursts into song over it. A matter of hours after the fruit, it’s a completely different situation. It’s everyone’s fault but my own. There were extenuating circumstances. You made me do it. It’s her fault, I wouldn’t have done it myself but she TRICKED me! In fact, it’s YOUR fault, God, because YOU made her and YOU gave her to me. What were you thinking? What a stupid idea!
And it’s not just Adam, Woman follows his lead. She can’t very well blame Adam, since she manipulated him into eating the forbidden fruit and she knows it. Oh, but there’s the serpent! It’s the serpent’s fault – she was deceived into eating it by the serpent.
The Lord doesn’t buy it one bit. You just can’t fool an omniscient God. Duh. (Apparently sin makes mankind somewhat less intellectually savvy too.) God starts where the blame game left off and curses the serpent. He puts enmity between the offspring of the serpent and the Offspring of the woman, and foreshadows the defeat of Satan to come in Christ.
Then it’s the woman’s turn on the hot seat. There’s the stuff about childbearing and the pain of passing a watermelon sized object through an opening the size of a grape. Personally, I think it goes far beyond labor and delivery, but that’s the stuff of another post. Then there’s the more ambiguous proclamation,
“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
This is an interesting situation if you think about it. Woman was specifically created to be a partner for the man and humanity’s work to tend to creation, and be an essential participant in human reproduction. She really blew it with that whole apple thing, didn’t she? God had every right to erase her from history and start over. Or He could’ve just exiled her and cut her off from the man.
He doesn’t do that. In the Fall, she retains those vocations most unique to womankind – that of wife and mother. But those relationships would now be twisted, corrupted, sinful versions of the ones that would’ve existed before the Fall. Childbearing would be fraught with pain and her relationship with man would be framed terms of power.
That innate desire with which God created woman when He made her specifically for the purpose of being in relationship with man is now commonly known for young women as being “boy crazy”. Girls will do just about anything to get and/or keep a boy’s attention. Getting involved with drugs and drinking, eating disorders, wearing clothing that advertises the availability of their most nubile and fertile body parts, going all the way (or almost all the way), compromising morals and values and standards, putting up with being treated poorly and even abusively etc. That’s that good desire to be with man gone sinful.
Back to Twilight…
“I intuitively knew – and sensed he did, too – that tomorrow would be pivotal. Our relationship couldn’t continue to balance, as it did, on the point of a knife. We would fall off one edge or the other, depending entirely upon his decision, or his instincts.
My decision was made, made before I’d ever consciously chosen, and I was committed to seeing it through. Because there was nothing more terrifying to me, more excruciating, than the thought of turning away from him. It was an impossibility.”
To be continued…