Friday, December 28, 2007

adam and eve

It was my turn to put Little FTA to bed, Adam and Eve somehow came up. Little FTA, never having heard the Adam and Eve story, asked for an explanation. So I told him how in the stories about the origin of the earth, the first man and woman were called Adam and Eve. He asked incredulously, "So they think that there was the Big Bang, and then poof, Adam and Eve?" I explained how the Big Bang isn't part of those stories. The Big Bang is such a given for him, so he demanded more explanation.

I went on about how before science figured out the Big Bang and the first life on earth and evolution, people didn't know how all that happened. So in each culture, they made up stories to explain how it all started; they are called creation myths. I then went on to tell him that the Adam and Eve story is the creation myth of one people, the Hebrews, and it's written in a book called the Hebrew Bible. There are lots of different creation myths from all over the world, and this is one of them.

He was cool with that; I loved the freedom he had to just accept that. So I told him how god created the earth in seven days, etc. I feminized the story, having god create Adam and Eve together, and together they named the animals, etc. When I was done, he looked at me and said, "Boring! Tell me a different creation story." I couldn't remember any. To try to spice the Hebrew one up for him, I continued on with the story of the forbidden fruit, the serpent, and the kicking out from the garden. I tried to explain how it was a metaphor for growing up and discovering sexuality, and having to work hard as adults. But I realized I didn't know the Bible version well, and was telling him the Mormon Pearl of Great Price/temple version. Oh well. I gotta get more Bible literate myself, I guess.

And more cross-culturally literate, as well. Since that little chat with Little FTA, I looked up alternative creation myths. Here are some for your perusal.


(chandelle) said...

you know, most of the time when i read stories of people's children who are just a bit older than mine (1 and almost 3), i feel really nervous and even frightened, wondering how i'm going to deal with this and that. but whenever you tell stories of FTA, it makes me so hopeful and even excited for that age. thank you for that.

Becca said...

I was just pondering this kind of thing on my drive to work this morning (when I probably should have been keeping an eye out for moose, but oh, well). I was thinking about ways to make sure my son grows up understanding that just because he thinks or believes something doesn't mean is right and others are wrong, and how to get him to understand all the variation of beliefs there are in the world. Hearing how you explained this helps a lot.
But wow, I agree with chandelle, it's scary and such a huge responsibility to try to raise him being open minded. I imagine it's much easier to just say this is the way it is and leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

The "Big Bang" does feature in the Christian Bible: "In the begining was the word". This equates with the rainbow snake singing the dreams alive, and many other creation stories where sound is used to create the world and the universe.

Bendithiau fawr, Cyt ap Nydden,
Druid, Cymru. /|\

from the ashes said...

chandelle- I understand feeling nervous. Luckily, kids grow slowly. And Little FTA is pretty satisfied with short answers for now. I am sure, though, to acknowledge to him when I make mistakes and tell him I'm sorry. I'd rather have him know I'm fallible sooner rather than later.

becca- That's the trick, isn't it, to help him develop an open mind about beliefs. Especially when I find it hard sometimes to be that way myself.

anon Druid- Interesting interpretation. I disagree that the ancient Hebrews had any idea about the Big Bang when developing their creation story, but it's a nice retroactive interpretation for someone who wants to reconcile scripture with science.

handmaiden said...

This is a wonderful blog. I remember when my children were young and telling them the same type of stories. Although they only got the Mormon side of the story.