Eros in Eden: A Praxis of Beauty in Genesis 3 Restricted; Files & ToC

Kim, Mari (2010)

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Offering an analysis of desire in experiences of ambiguity and ambivalence in cultural hybridity, this work builds on a Farleyan understanding of Divine Eros to offer a theological read of Genesis 3. The theological concepts of benevolent creation, erotic faithfulness, and a praxis of beauty, offer the hospitality of an interpretive lens that makes visible the faithfulness unfolding in Eden. A good serpent, one "that the Lord God had made," acts with oracular faithfulness towards the woman. Attentive with desire to fulfill the tov (the goodness and beauty) of her highest vocation (that of being "God-bearer") the woman engages in a praxis of beauty -- a relational "seeing" and delighting in the good and beauty of the Other in Creation that creates partnerships capable of realizing the fullest tov of each. Discerning that the fulfillment of her highest tov lies in partnering with the tree, the woman eats of it and offers the same to the man. In her erotic faithfulness the woman empowers the fulfillment of humanity's vocation to be like God, or "God-bearers." Thus the man names the woman, Eve, "the mother of all living."

Revealing Eden to be a context shaped by ambiguity and ambivalence, Genesis 3 shows cultural hybridity to be a human condition both capable of revealing the vulnerabilities of finitude that structure of all human existence and potent with the creative power to generate a sacramental existence. The courageous discernment and decision modeled by Eve demonstrates an existential integrity empowering for cultural hybrids. Eve's praxis of beauty demonstrates how a practice of contemplative eros not only awakens our consciousness of the sacredness in our experiences, but also enlivens the sacredness that is ours through the sanctity of a human existence. Thus, the story of eros in Eden teaches that we are transformed into sacraments that mediate the presence of divine hospitality in Creation. Like Eve, through the integrity of faithful desiring that courageously embraces our highest tov, we also become "God-bearers," manifesting our likeness of the Divine who invites us to be co-creators.

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