There was another thought that Robert S. McElvaine unpacked that got me thinking. In his chapter "All About Eve" he explains the story of Adam and Eve as a metaphor for the transition that humans went through as a hunter-gatherer community into an agricultural community. I never have heard this explaination before but it was facinating to say the least and made me take a look at the first few chapters of Genesis a little differently.
Here is where I have to disagree though. The story of the Fall is not a diatribe against the female/feminine. Whether you want to take this story literally or metephorically, I believe that the main emphasis is on the separation that occured between God and the human race. A careful reading of the text in no way vilifies Eve over Adam. And shame on those who have demonized women over a misunderstanding of this text. The entire human race is separated from a Holy God because sin infected that relationship, as well as the relationships between humans.
Now throughout the book McElvaine seemed to have a real problem with this concept of sin infecting the human race. How an when is this "sin nature" passed on? I don't think that there is some "sin" gene or something phisiologically that we can point to. But I can tell you as a parent, that in the simple act of raising children, I have been able to observe this sin nature first hand. I promise you that I have never taught my kids to cheat, lie, steal, be mean to each other, be selfish, etc. Really, my kids are great kids! But in parenting I always have to use discipline, guidance, advice and boundaries in order to bring out good behavior in them. Strangely enough, that does not come natural for them. I really wish it did at times! And to let my kids off the hook a little, I know this to be true of me too. Left to my own devices, it comes naturally to want to do things that are wrong. It takes courage, integrity, prayer, discipline and character, with Jesus Christ as my focal point, to strive to live how Jesus calls us to live. And when we come into a new life in Christ it is never meant to be with an attitude towards others as if we now have bragging rights to heaven as we look forward to everyone elses demise. On the contrary, we should be so consumed with the love that God has for us that our lives become a shining light to others in a way that they too are attracted to the light. If we understand the heart of God towards the human race we must be compelled to love deeply all people everywhere sharing our lives with them so that they experience God's extreme love through us.