“To understand their reasoning, we should need to understand that those who wrote the Nag Hammadi scriptures were probably aware that Genesis was not a historical document but was, in fact, a myth. Today, in more prosaic terms, we would call Adam and Eve the personalizations of two principles. Adam was the personalization of the soul—the emotional, thinking functions of the personality, while Eve was the spirit or pneuma (spiritual consciousness or intuition). …
“It is here that the Gnostics decided that the creator god (Demiurge) could not have been a good god. Firstly, it would appear that he is jealous of Adam. …. The creator god is a jealous god who metes out punishment in short order. … The Gnostics … came to the conclusion that there must be something beyond this evil being.” ~Bernard Simon
Truth in Genesis
Today, most people think that calling something a myth is the same as saying it is a lie. I would, therefore, call Genesis allegory rather than myth. Real myth, as Joseph Campbell taught, is not fairy tales and fantasies, but allegorical ways of revealing truth to those smart enough to read between the lines.
Allegorical Genesis tells a very different tale than that of the literal interpretation. Mr. Simon’s interpretation is one possibility, but I don’t think it is entirely correct to say that Adam represents the soul, and Eve the spirit. On one level, that is probably true, but there is more to it.
On another level, we have the physical body and mind. This was clearly an important part of the story of Adam and Eve since they did not have a physical body of matter until after the Great Fall when they ate the forbidden “fruit”. Second, after the awakening of their intellect, the realized they were naked, and covered themselves with fig leaves. It was not, as most Christians believe today, specifically the genitals that they were ashamed of. It was the entire physical body that appalled them and that is what they were trying to hide. While the Bible doesn’t say so, I’m sure that at some point, they realized the futility and silliness of trying to hide their descent into a material by by hiding that body under the physical body parts of plants. At that point, they would have stopped such silliness.
I think Adam also represented the physical body, with Eve representing the brain-mind or intellect. It was the false knowledge of the intellect that got them into trouble, just as it does to many people today. Of course, this was only true after the fall.
Allegorical Genesis and Duality
On a more basic level, Adam and Eve represent all the opposites that exist in a world of duality. Male and female, hot and cold, positive and negative, light and dark, etc. Again, this is only true after the fall. Since duality didn’t exist before the Great Fall, neither did Adam and Eve. They represent two halves of the one spiritual being that existed before that event.
Allegorical Genesis and Children
One part of the allegory of Adam and Eve that is often overlooked is the birth of their children. On the physical level, we know how children are born. But in allegorical genesis, the birth of a child tells us that when the two sides of the duality are brought together, something new, and often better, is created as a result.
Then, of course, we get to the allegory of Cane and Able. Digging into that tale could fill an entire post. Suffice it to say that this too is a tale of duality with one brother representing the positive, creative, and joyful, while the other is the negative, hateful and jealous. The most important part of that tale, too often ignored in the modern world, is that while Cane, the negative, violent one came out ahead by killing his brother, he ended up living a cursed life thereafter.
So believe in genesis if you wish, but as allegorical Genesis, not literal truth.