Adam and Eve, The Bible, Sexism, and Rastafari
February 19, 2003
by Ras Tyehimba
I can never accept the Bible in its fullness, and say that it is the perfect word of God. To do so would be to shackle myself to the centuries of illusions.
The Bible which has been used as a tool to oppress, subjugate and colonize indigenous people has proved to be even more powerful a weapon than the European's firearms. This historical fact is just another example of where Afrika's own has been used against Afrika.
The Bible contains wisdom but to accept it in its entirety, as being perfect is to overlook the very principles that Rastafari stands for, it is to overlook the role of the Bible as an instrument to conquer, it is to overlook the Nicene conference where the Romans under general Constantine made changes to it to suit their own imperialistic designs.
The Bible promotes sexism, and with the current popularity of this brand of Euro-Christianity it is no surprise that the Woman, the Queen of the earth is bombarded by rhetoric and practices of male superiority. Often we have gotten so used to this injustice that many of us perpetuate it in very unconscious and sometimes conscious ways.
From the beginning of the Bible (which some biblical scholars claim was 6000 years ago) Woman's inferior position in relation to the man is clearly outlined.
One only has to read the Adam and Eve myth (which some people actually peddle as fact) to see how the Woman, the female principle of the universe has been defiled.
Firstly Adam was made in the image and likeness of God, he was lonely so God made him a companion (Eve) from one of his ribs. The connotation of this is that Man alone was made in the image of God, not the Woman. God made Adam is his likeness so God must be male.
Eve is blamed and deemed responsible for all the sins of mankind for eating the forbidden fruit and for 'making', Adam eat it. For this she and by extent mankind is cursed forever; "Unto the Woman he said I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, in sorrow shall thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Genesis 3:16)
So conception far from being a blessed and joyous occasion was deemed a sorrowful occasion. Does this sound in line with the characteristics of God/Yeshuah?
Is the Woman, Mother Earth, Goddess, Queen destined for an eternal life of servitude?
Unfortunately this is just the beginning of the sexism and the ungodly behaviors that is perpetuated in some parts of the Bible. Continuing down the rancid path of sexism we come across in I Timothy 2:11-14:
"Let the Woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a Woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve and Adam was not deceived, but the Woman being deceived was in transgression."
This doctrine contradicts the ancient Afrikan way of life that viewed the Woman/the female principle with utmost reverence and this was reflected in their structure of their societies. The Woman was the teacher just as much as the man was. The female principle was an essential factor in the philosophy of the ancients, with women contributing immensely to the family and to the society. Euro-Christianity via the Bible and missionaries has contributed to the desecration of the female role in the family, the community and in the wider society.
"But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the Woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God...
For the man is not of the Woman; but the Woman of the man.
Neither was the man created for the Woman; but the Woman for the man." (I Cor 11:3,8,9)
Sisters I hope you are following carefully; listen to your men folk, don't object. Just keep walking behind him obediently and serve him for all your days? Also most importantly to get to God you must pass through man. It is alright for me to say the few above lines sarcastically, but that is the bitter reality for a lot of Women in this world who are not oppressed just by racism, classism and colonialism but by sexism as well. This world contains as much sexism as it does colonialism, racism and classism. The rastaman who is leading the fight against racism, colonialism, and classism must be prepared also to battle this ism. It must be remembered that at a time when the Black Woman was severely disrespected, it was the rastaman who discarded the normal terms such as bitch, hoe, chick, and 'thing' and honored her and addressed her as Queen Mother, Daughter, Empress, Princess etc. We must now go beyond this. We must not be hypocritical and give the females uplifting titles and then turn around and impose our sexist mentalities and practices on them. We need to respect and honor our Queens as a nation can only rise as high as their women. There must be priestesses as well as priests, just as there were in the ancient days. We must overstand that God is not a male entity but rather an androgynous entity comprising both the male and female principles to produce life.
It is of utmost importance to see clearly that I'm not arguing that males and females are the same, but rather that they complement each other and no one is superior to the other. It might be said that the Man will be able to naturally express himself better in a physical sense more than a Woman might be able to, however this does not negate the crux of my argument. Women like Hasheput, Queen Nzinga and Queen Candice completely overturned the Western conception on the role of Women. They were shining examples of Women who contributed immensely to their society.
The Bible contains wisdom and truth on which InI can stand and sight certain levels of God, but one has to be very discerning and separate fact from fiction. It is imperative that the Rastaman does not limit himself to the Bible and Judeo-Christianity but transcend all dogmas and deliver untainted truth to the people. InI can never accept that God has any chosen people in direct relation to sex, class, race, color or nation.
I've come across Rastafarians who claim to uphold Ethiopia but yet go ahead and in the same sentence and burns fire on Egypt. Those that burn fire, burn Egypt, the foundation of the very Bible that they are promoting. This in my opinion shows a lack of knowledge of fundamental history that will show that Ethiopians started what is known as Egypt and even that there were pharaohs who were Ethiopian. It is also ironic that certain dreads burn Egypt yet place complete trust in the Bible and it was the Egyptians who are responsible for a lot of biblical teaching. Don't eat the fruit but burn the root. The so called ten commandments which was supposed to be handed down to Moses on Mt Sinai is in fact taken from the 42 precepts (negative confessions) of Maat which were in existence long before Moses. Also Moses studied in the universities in Egypt so he must have come across it while he was there as it was recited in all major education centers around that time.
Alkebulan (Afrika/ Ethiopia) with its people, existed long before Christ 2000 years ago and even long before most biblical scholars say Adam and Eve came about which would be about 6000 years.
In conclusion, it is of utmost importance that Rastafari continue to evolve to suit the unique demands of now. We the children of NOW have at our disposal technology and INFORMATION that we have to use in a positive manner. This is the age of INFORMATION. We know things now that elders in the past didn't know or didn't have access to, so that means naturally that everything the elders said and did we don't have to say and do. The Rastaman is the ultimate Freedom Fighter, battling the conglomeration of sexism, racism, classism, colonialism, and cultural denigration. The Rastaman is the ancient medicine man, using his power to heal the world. He is the yoga man, channeling energy through his chakras dispelling the dividers who falsely claim that yoga is exclusively a Hindu practice. Afrikans originated Yoga, and the knowledge of charkas. We may not have called it by that name but the fact and proof remains.
In writing this article I must admit that I am not perfect even though perfection is what I'm aiming at. I don't want anyone to blindly accept or reject what I have written but rather strive to find out and research and from that formulate your own view. You just as I, have a right to be wrong, and I demand that you must be respected just as much as I demand that I be respected. In my trod on this earth I may have imbibed some sexism and other corruption that I have not purified as yet. I may be the biggest hypocrite in the world, BUT I'm working on it.
Hail up all the Sisters, Mother of the Universe; thou hast given color to the universe.
With humility I pray that the female principle be emphasized a little bit more than it is being done at this point in time.
Message Board | Articles | History | Rastafari | Homepage