While the Bible is filled with contradictions, oral tradition and additional texts add up to the whole inconsistency that Christianity tends to represent nowadays. It seems that the holy words should not be left in the hands of men to interpret, as interpretation can always become subject to bias and preferences.
If you come to the understanding that the Bible today is the product of meticulous selection and nitpicking of details that would fit the image the church is trying to represent, you will soon start asking yourself if there is more to the ‘truth’ than what is dogmatized.
The Bible is a collection of gospels – the gospels that made it through, that is. There are many more gospels that have been rejected as satanic, non-Christian, false, or just irrelevant to the narrative. And then, there are many other interpretations of the Bible you may not be aware of.
The worldview that the Church is trying to portray to the followers is one which tends to judge and reject more than it embraces. One such ideal that has had its grip on the world was that of the role of women in the family and society.
We are all too familiar with the story of Adam and Eve, the first humans ever created by God. Adam was created out of the dirt and Eve was created from Adam’s rib as his “suitable helper” (Genesis 2:4-3:24). Eve was made to be submissive to Adam in all things. The word ‘woman’ was even given by Adam to represent that “she was taken out of man.”
This submissive picture of the woman is what caused witch hunts and some serious oppression of the basic human rights of women. It is the sole dogmatic reason why the Church does not find women to be suitable for anything but giving birth and taking care of the home and the family while listening and enduring their husbands.
And since the holy texts are subject to interpretation, they are highly parabolic and thus appeal to every person’s perception. The interpretation we have received is one that appealed to the perception of the Church and as justification for the rules they like to impose on their followers.
However, there are other interpretations of the Genesis, and one such interpretation offers a different story of the history of womanhood. One that is more appealing to the picture of mankind we perceive today, and one which served as an example of how an independent woman would receive the ultimate punishment from God and be replaced by a submissive one.
This is the story of Lilith, the first woman, who was made of dirt like Adam and was his equal. First mentioned in the ancient Babylonian demonology and the earliest mention of Lilith was in the epic of Gilgamesh, where she was portrayed as a demoness.
The legend of Lilith who preyed on pregnant women and children survived long before the Bible mentioned her in Isaiah 34, and the single reference in the chapter points to the fact that the readers had already been aware of her existence as a female demon.
“Wildcats shall meet hyenas, / Goat-demons shall greet each other; / There too the Lilith shall repose / And find herself a resting place” (Isaiah 34:14)
However, if you read the Bible, you will see that previous mentions have not been made about her, leaving the puzzle of Lilith unsolved. Here is where two interpretations of Genesis come into play and try to fill in the gap which was Lilith.
It was not until the seventh century AD that Lilith was famously known to be a demon with little explanation to how she came to become one. The first interpretation of the creation of Lilith can be found in The Alphabet, an anonymous text which contained 22 chapters, corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
There, Lilith was described as she was already familiar: demon wings, destructiveness, and an unquenchable thirst for sex. However, there was another element which had not been present before: she was Adam’s first wife.
The narrative explains that Lilith was created together with Adam from the dirt and that she was his equal. However, Adam’s dominant nature forced him to treat her as his inferior, which Lilith opposed to and, by uttering God’s name, grows wings and flees to the Red Sea, gaining independence from Adam. Although she is the one that leaves, Lilith feels rejected and angry for being treated unequally by Adam.
The Zohar further explains her journey since her departure, where Lilith forms an unholy alliance with Samael or Asmodeus, the male personification of evil associated with Satan. God, being concerned that they will produce an enormous demonic brood, castrates Samael and Lilith is left to satisfy her passions by dallying with other men.
“She wanders about at night time, vexing the sons of men and causing them to defile themselves [emit seed]” (Zohar 19b).
In Lilith’s place, God creates Eve from Adam’s rib, so that she can be faithful and submissive to her husband, and be everything that Lilith would never accept to be.
If we look at the Bible through a metaphorical perspective, you can easily see that the relationship between Adam and Lilith is one that represents the archetypal battle of the sexes.
One in which neither the man nor the woman tries to solve the dispute and reach a compromise and where both sexes fight over who is going to be on the top (speaking both literally and figuratively). The independent woman likes her freedom and will not settle for anything less, and the dominant man cannot cope with her tendency for freedom.
And then, the story continues the submissive Eve, which is later abused by the Church to impose a submissive role on every woman in the world, no matter their true nature, while the independent Lilith becomes a demon which should be feared.
If we take both Lilith and Eve and try to see the message they are meant to portray, it would probably sound something like this: “Obey your husband, and you will have children to take care of. Disobey him, and you are the ‘eater of children’ who does not like to see the future but inspires the man to waste his seed.”
Even with this kind of narrative, one question remains: Was Lilith the first woman? And if she was, was it too risky for the Church to let women decide which kind of woman they would be? In the end, good and bad are a matter of perception: if the first woman were independent and equal, that would change many things, wouldn’t it?