In the gnostic texts, in which the Serpent is called “The Snake, the Instructor,” and he is an avatar of a divine principle: Sophia or Wisdom. Moreover, both Eve and Adam have 1) an archetypal spiritual being (that is, the archetypal Eve and the “First Adam”) and 2) a corporeal being (the incarnated Eve and the “Second Adam”).
Says Elaine Pagels in Adam, Eve and the Serpent (66):
“The majority of the known gnostic texts depict Adam (not Eve) as representing the psyche (or soul), while Eve represents the higher principle, the spiritual self.
“[…It is Eve] who first emerged within Adam and awakened him, the soul, to awareness of its spiritual nature.” Then Eve is being criticized by the Demiurge who, states a text, is “not God,” but “reigns as king and lord” (Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, 37)—just as Enlil is depicted as the ‘King of Earth’ in the Sumerian tablets.
Later, continues Pagels, “[Eve] finally joined with Adam ‘in marriage,’ so to speak, and so came to live in harmonious union with the soul.”
Elaine Pagels (in The Gnostic Gospels, 113) refers to the gnostic text Reality of the Rulers (or Hypostasis of the Archons) that describes how Adam received spiritual illumination from Eve and, blissful and grateful, exclaimed
“It is you who has given me life; you shall be called Mother of the Living.”
Another text, The Authoritative Teaching (translated by George W. MacRae) talks about
“The invisible soul (. . .) who wearied herself in seeking (. . .), learning about the Inscrutable One. She found her rising. (. . .) She partook of the immortal food. Secretly (her true shepherd) make her see with her mind and (. . .) learn about her root.”
Indeed, the powers that be in the material world can’t have a grasp on her because she belongs to the divine realm: “They did not realize that she has an invisible, spiritual body; (. . .) that she knows another way which is hidden from them. This, her true shepherd taught her in gnosis.” (Gnosis, in Greek, means knowledge, and in Gnosticism it means the direct communion with transcendental Beings—such as the archetypal Eve or the first divine Mother-Father—and the infusion of knowledge from it.)