Ripeka Bijl

Ripeka Templeton Bijl



Leaving Eden – Imaginatively interpreting the Genesis 3 and 4 Fall narrative as an allegory for Te Tiriti 

I have imagined Genesis 3 and 4 as a way to interpret Te Tiriti as a Fall allegory. Due to my arts upbringing, I find it useful to use allegories to get us into the story and have a dig about. This is a theological imaginative paper where I make creative links to sin, intent, goodwill, welcoming the stranger and indigenous outlooks and hold them alongside what we know about the Doctrine of Discovery, Te Tiriti, some biblical texts, and other things used as tools used for oppression against indigenous people. To be clear, this is my opinion and I am looking at this from my own mana wahine (māori woman feminist theological) lens, along with the likes of Moeawa Callaghan and Beverley Moana Hall-Smith. The science part is when I get to the outworkings, or knock-on effects of Te Tiriti (including the effects of intergenerational trauma, so the science aspect is there, albeit loosely). I try to end on a hopeful and practical, figuring out the challenge of how then do we collectively heal whilst living together in Aotearoa?

If one interpretation of the fall is merely meant as an allegory for growing up, and human nature, what could my allegory about Adam and Eve have to contribute, or do allegories such as these hold us back? Allegories are often stories with a moral, or a pointer for how to prosper. The Gospel truth, salvation and reconciliation are all ways we once again will prosper. As an actor and storyteller, I suspect the kaupapa behind the allegory is what to hang onto, not the fault lines, as the kaupapa is telling us about God, about human nature, and about the ordered rules of life in the universe (science).


Ripeka Templeton Bijl, Ngāti Mutunga, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Kahungunu, is of Māori, English and Scottish descent, grew up in Stuttgart and London, and trained at The Oxford School of Drama, before returning to Aotearoa to act at in Shakespeare at Pop-Up Globe. She is a Tikanga Māori ordinand on the path to priesthood at St John’s and the student representative on Te Kaunihera (the college’s governance board). 

She and her husband have one darling daughter and a mischievous dog. Ripeka dreams of a liberal and creative church where all are truly supported and welcomed.