For years (since 2001) I've been preoccupied with a so-called "Freudian" interpretation of (wo)man's expulsion from Eden: the serpent represents the penis; the forbidden fruit of the knowledge of good and evil represents the vagina. Adam and Eve, who at first live in a childlike, desexualized state (see Joss Whedon's DOLLHOUSE), come into contact with their own (alienated) procreative, sex drive--and thus their adult selves--when the symbol of the (erect) male sexual organ seduces the childlike female into engaging her own sexual potential, into "tasting" her (at last) juicy, fluid procreative power. (A power at once terrifying and mesmerizing to a male control freak. ) Now knowing, albeit unconsciously, that her vagina is the canal by which she might conceive and procreate, that her breasts have the potential to provide sustenance, she suddenly feels the need to cover these powerful parts, then invites the male to partake of the fruit which is, in fact, her fruit. At which point, he, too, becomes self-conscious of the procreative potential his sexual organ possesses. Having thus consummated their procreative union not asexually but presexually, they simultaneously invite death (of the children they've been) and initiate the (Godlike) power of (pro)creation: offspring, with all the (labor) pains that entails, are already on their way...
I think this interpretation still has great merit. (Why else would I share it here?) But just as Carl Jung, after a six-year professional partnership with Freud, moved beyond Freud's rather reductive readings of his patients' maladies, so am I interested in a psychology that may contain Freudian ideas, but that finally move well beyond them.
I recently wrote a dialogue between God and "Man" that takes place at the moment of "His" expulsion from Eden. I began writing it simply because I was driven to do so by my ongoing obsession with that big, impossible-to-answer question: what is the relationship between choice (free-will) and fate (Divine will)? But after signing up to contribute the D'var Torah for Bereshit this year, the dialogue expanded to investigate the relationship between the divine masculine (Father/King/Commander) and the divine feminine (Mother/Nurturer.) I have an almost-two-and-a-half-year-old daughter who only in the last several weeks finally weaned away from suckling at her mother's breast. And so all the metaphors of God as Father and/or Mother, take on very immediate relevance for me.
I've always had such an aversion to the predominant Christian interpretation of the expulsion from Eden as a one-sided "fall" from divine perfection and grace into the pit of sin and death. The following dialogue, though novel in form, embraces a series of ambivalences about "growing up"--about evolving as individuals or as a collective--that I don't think are necessarily new to Jewish discourse. If they are, please let me know and then pay it forward: I'd be delighted to assume credit for even the slightest bit of Chiddush. (Newness/Innovation.)