6. The Apple Has Long Been A Sexual Symbol
The apple has long had symbolic sexual connotations. Of course, nowhere does the Bible say or imply that the forbidden fruit Eve plucked from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was an apple. According to the biblical account, it could have been any kind of fruit. Nevertheless, the apple has long been a symbol of Original Sin in Christian art and literature. So why is the apple so closely associated with the forbidden fruit eaten by Eve?
In the early Middle Ages, the forbidden fruit was often identified as a fig, not an apple. The apple later replaced the fig as the symbol for the forbidden fruit. "Malum" in Latin meant both "apple" and "evil."
But there was more to it than that. The apple has numerous sexual connotations. Therefore, since many interpreters throughout Judeo-Christian history have understood the sin of Adam and Eve to have something to do with a sexual transgression of one sort or another, it shouldn't be surprising that the apple was the fruit of choice to depict the sin of Eden.
The apple has multiple symbolic meanings, many of which are sexual. Erotic associations likened apples to female breasts, while the core of an apple cut in half has often been compared to a woman's vagina. In ancient mythology, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, created the apple and presented it to Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
The apple has also been used as a symbol of fertility. The earth-goddess Ge (or Gaea) gave an apple to Hera to insure fertility after her betrothal to Zeus. In Athens, newlyweds divided an apple, then ate it prior to entering the bridal chamber.Sending or tossing apples was also a part of courtship. According to folklore, the apple is one of many foods believed to possess aphrodisiac powers. In ancient Greece, if a man wanted to propose, he would simply toss the lady of his affection an apple. If she caught it, he knew she had accepted his offer.
In Germany, during medieval times, a man who ate an apple that was steeped in the perspiration of the woman he loved was very likely to succeed in the relationship.
Throughout history, apples have symbolized pleasure, love, and fertility.Of course, all of this does not prove that the sin of Adam and Eve had anything to do with sex. But it is a strong indication that many interpreters throughout history did believe their sin was a sexual transgression.