Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism and Practice

Publication Date

Fall 2014


The interpretation of the story of the Garden of Eden is often the source of contentious disagreement. Traditional and progressive religious traditions argue over how the biblical text should be read, while many people struggle to see the relevance to modern society of what may seem like nothing more than a fairy tale. This paper suggests that the tale of Eden be read as the story of a passage by Adam, Eve, and God through Erik Erikson’s first three stages of development. During their time in the Garden, Adam and Eve secure a sense of basic trust in God and their world, a sense of autonomy in their own capabilities, and a sense of initiative for their familial and social roles. By the end of their time in Eden, Adam and Eve are prepared to face a world of responsibility and like children who have matured out of infancy, Adam and Eve are expelled from the paradise of early life.