In the beginning, the LORD created man and woman in his image.
He blessed them and made them fruitful. Among his many gifts he gave man the gift of physical strength to work, and he gave woman the gift of compassion to cultivate relationships.
Together, man and woman learned each other's gifts. Woman developed strength and offered her work as an act of compassion. Man learned compassion with his wife and child.
And they and their offspring numbered like the stars in the heavens, and they were happy. And the LORD saw that it was good.
But the serpent, the most cunning of creatures, was jealous of their happiness, and he resolved to put enmity between the men and the women.
So he whispered in the ear of the men as they lay asleep: "You are a man. Use your power to control the woman."
And he whispered in the ear of the women as they lay asleep: "You are a woman. Use your body to control the man."
So the men began to use their power to control the women. They kept the women away from their work. And the women stayed at home.
And the women began to use their bodies to control the men. They seduced the men and made them do their bidding.
And the men became rivals with one another over the women.
And the women became rivals with one another over the men.
The men sought more and more power over their rivals so they could have the best women.
The women sought more and more beauty than their rivals so they could have the best men.
So the men began to fight and kill. The strongest men lay with many women, but did not know them, and did not learn compassion for them or their children. Over time, they forgot what compassion was like and wanted only to lay with the best women. But the poorest men remembered.
And the women began to seduce men and subdue them. The most beautiful lay with many men, and they too forgot what compassion was like and wanted only to control the men. But the poorest women remembered.
And the children of the strongest men and the most beautiful women did not learn compassion. They learned only competition, and they were fierce.
These children grew into men and women who believed that the world was a battleground.
The men learned the arts of war to defeat their rivals. Their descendants learned the newer arts of war in the stock market, the boardroom, the athletic field.
The women learned the arts of seduction to defeat their rivals. They painted their faces; they bound their feet; they wore corsets. Their descendants learned the newer arts of seduction with plastic surgery and fashion.
For both the men and the women, fertility became the enemy of their lust for power. Instead of learning compassion, they learned more and more how to subdue their fertility. And when their fertility was fruitful, they killed the children they conceived.
But the poor men and women remembered the original gifts.
The men did not learn the arts of war. They worked with the women and became more compassionate. They gave thanks for their shared work, their shared fertility, and their shared compassion.
The women did not learn the arts of seduction. They worked with the men and became strong. They too gave thanks for their shared work, their shared fertility, and their shared compassion.
And the LORD said of them: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."