In the introduction to Anthem, Leonard Peikoff states, "She was claiming for man and his ego the sacred respect that is actually due not to Heaven, but ot life on earth. An anthem to the ego is blasphemy to the pious, because it implies that reverence pertains not to God, but to man, and above all, to that fundamental and inherently selfish thing within him that enables him to deal with reality and survive.' This passage means that Anthem's use of biblical symbolism really intends to mock religion. In Ayn Rand's Anthem, Prometheus and Gaea's expulsion from society mirrors the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The bible tells the story of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman on earth. God makes Adam and Eve in his likeness and gives them only one commandment: "You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' However, "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.' After both Adam and Eve eat the fruit, God curses them and banishes them from the Garden of Eden.
After their expulsion, Adam and Eve face the hardships that God places upon them. Since Adam and Eve know good from evil, they can understand things which they never imagined. In Anthem, Prometheus and Gaea submit to the power of the Council. However, after Prometheus stumbles on to a cave that holds the secret to the "Unmentionable Times,' he changes. Along with Gaea, Prometheus commits the unpardonable sin: standing forth from the mindless human herd. For this forbidden sin, the Council condemns them to a life of service.
Instead, Prometheus and Gaea run away to seek shelter in the Uncharted Forest. There, they face the hardships of life by themselves. However, they also discover new things, such as the meaning of individualism. Many similarities exist between the story of Adam and Eve and the story of Prometheus and Gaea.
First, each disobeys their respective god. In Anthem, the Council acts like a god because they make rules and enforce laws. Second, each condemn themselves by doing the "forbidden.' Adam and Eve eat from the tree, while Prometheus and Gaea dare to be individuals. Third, they all face hardships after their expulsion.
Adam works in the dust for the rest of his life, Eve bears children with great pain, and Prometheus and Gaea struggle to adapt to life on their own. Finally, each discovers new things after their expulsion. Adam and Eve discover the difference between good and evil. Prometheus and Gaea discover the importance of the word "I.' Despite some obvious differences, these two stories share many similarities.
In Ayn Rand's Anthem, Prometheus and Gaea's expulsion from society mirrors the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The story of Adam and Eve teacher the drawbacks of disobeying God. Anthem teaches the value of going against authority and becoming an individual. By studying both of these stories, Ayn Rand wants us to see individualism as greater than obeying God..