All About Eve

“...If we zoom out and take into perspective Eve’s life as a whole, remembering that she was a real person, we can see there is so much more to her story.”

Imagine that your entire life was defined by one sin that you’d committed. No matter what you did after that, your family and the world would forever identify you with that singular offense. This is sometimes the case for Eve, the first woman. She may not have had a scarlet letter on her loincloth, but if there’s one thing you’ll remember about Eve from Scripture, it’s that she was the world’s first sinner.

Now to be fair, that sin is worth remembering. In fact, remembering original sin is crucial to our understanding of God, ourselves, our world, and the Gospel itself. But if we zoom out and take into perspective Eve’s life as a whole, remembering that she was a real person, we can see there is so much more to her story. There’s a much richer picture to be acknowledged - and a deeper appreciation of the Gospel to be had.

First, Eve is effectively the “grand finale” of Creation. Genesis describes God creating the world out of nothing, and then shaping it with care and design to be filled with light, water, life, and finally a man, Adam. After each day of creation, God looks at what he’s made and declares it good (Gen 1). Then all of a sudden we get to Genesis 2:18 and it all comes to a screeching halt as God declares, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Adam is literally in paradise, crafted and accompanied by God himself, and yet there is something amiss. There is something lacking; the work of creation isn’t quite done yet.

It is also interesting to note that in a world where the Lord himself walked in the garden in the cool of the day (Gen 3:8), he still describes Adam as being alone. Alone? Isn’t the God of the universe enough for company? Isn’t God going to sufficiently help Adam? Of course he is. What God is saying here is that there’s something about the woman that brings a unique completion to all of creation. There was something that God wanted to express within human relationships that could not have been done without the woman, and thus Eve brings the fullness of creation to completion. Only after Eve is created does mankind begin the glorifying work of mimicking his Creator through art; Adam sings a song about Eve (who is also the world’s first muse, as it turns out), recorded in Genesis 2:23.

Second, Eve is crucial to God’s promised plan of redemption. As the Lord God is declaring to the serpent, the woman, and the man the respective consequences of their sin, he makes a promise in Genesis 3:15 (emphasis mine):

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

God promises that a human man will come who is going to overcome the serpent and all his effects, including death. Adam and Eve’s sin had brought death into the world, and the sin nature of both of them would be passed on to every single person that came from them. So why did God specify that the enmity was with her, and that it was her offspring that would overcome the enemy? I’m sure there are many theological reasons, but I believe one of them is that God is providing an assurance to the woman that despite the cataclysmic consequences of her sin, this does not exclude her from his plan of redemption, or his personal care and concern for her as his daughter. Rather he will use even her - especially her - to bring about his redemptive purposes.

We know that Adam picked up on God’s showering of grace toward her because immediately after God finishes declaring the consequences of sin, Adam turns to his wife and calls her name “Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20). It’s often the case in Scripture that people receive names after important characteristics or events in their life. So we might not have been surprised to see the woman receive a name that meant “deceived” or “death.” But “Eve” sounds like the Hebrew word for “life-giver”, and resembles the word for “living.” Even though her sin had just brought death into the world, Adam chose to give her a name that reflected God’s promise to her - not her failure. So when you remember Eve, don’t just remember sin. Remember her name - Eve, the mother of all living, because God promised to bring life through a Savior that came from her.

But alas, first death was to reign, which brings us to our next realization - Eve was the world’s very first grieving mother. And what’s more, she grieved in two regards. When Cain rose up and killed his brother Abel, Eve would mourn not only that her second son was dead, but that the firstborn that she had raised was a murderer. What guilt she may have felt at seeing such a brutal picture of the sin that she played a part in introducing into the world! But still God showed more grace. He blessed her with another son, Seth, and she praised her God, saying, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him” (Gen 4:25). She recognized the truth and the dire consequences of sin, but also recognized that God was able to redeem those consequences. In this way, Eve is also our first given example of praising the Lord amidst suffering.

These are just a few of many, many observations that can be made about Eve. In fact, there are whole books that could be written delving into each one of the topics above. Even in Bible stories that we have heard a million times over, the ones we’re sure we know inside and out, there is always more to explore in the richness of God’s word. When we engage our imaginations while reading Scripture, remembering that characters in Bible stories are real human beings like ourselves, we’ll more deeply appreciate God’s unchanging, unfailing love toward a broken humanity that he’s given everything to redeem.

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