There’s a theory that the serpent in the Garden of Eden wasn’t a snake, but a dragon. It didn’t sneak in, but was a fearsome menace that Adam would have known about the moment it entered.
Adam’s first sin was not to eat of the fruit. It was when he cowered in the face of such evil, failing to protect his wife and be obedient to God. Eve, like any strong woman, decided to take charge of the situation. Seeing two options—to take the fruit or not—she made a decision… one that would doom all of humanity. Even then, Adam was silent. Then he, too, ate of the fruit, and passed the blame onto Eve when God confronted him.
Whether the serpent was a snake or dragon, and whether the story of Adam and Eve is historical or allegorical, is unimportant. The moral of the story is clear.
But this is why we call Jesus the New Adam—for where Adam was cowardly and silent, Christ did the most heroic thing anyone could ever do: He took on all the evil that was directed at his bride, and died in her defence. By his sacrifice, Love won.
Husbands, you are called to be Christ in your marriage, because if you are not Christ, you will be Adam. You know the evil that prowls at the gate, waiting to destroy families, and especially those trying to follow God’s word. Do not think that you are safe in your current comfort, for the serpent strikes when we are not paying attention.
You must pray. Of all the things that you ought to do for your family, this is it. It does not matter if it is dry, awkward, and inconvenient. Do it. Every. Single. Day. Lay your heart before the Lord and allow Him to work in your life. Examine your conscience with all the attention that you give your favourite hobby. Worry not what it looks like. If a prayerbook keeps you focussed, fantastic. If you need to stop at a park for ten minutes of quiet on the way home, do it. If you want to pray a chaplet or a rosary on the drive to work, I know a guy with great CDs.
Your wives need you to be Christ in your marriage, because too often we are Eve. When you are silent, we will take charge of the situation. We like to think we're being heroic, but it is far too easy to bottle everything in until we're resentful and hurting. And even if we do manage to choose the good and walk perfectly, it isn’t our example that will keep our children in the Church… You are the one who will lead your family to heaven. (Learn more »)
But as you struggle against the apathy that marked Adam’s downfall, so we will struggle against the compulsion and pride that marked Eve’s. Christian marriages will be strong when we submit ourselves humbly to God’s will, and fight against the evil that stalks us in the garden.
About this painting
I was inspired with this image after a conversation at my Catholic Women's Bookclub, where one woman shared the theory regarding the dragon. I thought of how men play such a vital role in the world today in the fight against evil, but how too often they are silenced by their own apathy or by a militant feminist agenda.
This image was so strong on my heart that I knew I had to paint it. The the light and dark symbolize the contrast between the goodness of God and the emptiness of evil. Adam covers his face so that he may not choose between the two.
This piece is oil on canvas and, as you can see, I'm still learning how to work with this new medium. Despite its technical shortcomings, I had a great deal of fun painting this and look forward to advancing my skill!