God's People - Eve
Updated: May 24
Welcome to the second part of our God's people series, this week we will be taking a look at Eve. Eve can be a very polarising individual when we look at the history of creation. So let's take a look at what we can learn from her story.
The name Eve, חַוָּה (Chawwah), comes from the Hebrew word (chawah) which means, ''to breathe''. It is also very closely linked to the Hebrew word (chayah) which means ''to live''. Eve's name signifies the beginning of human life and is a foreshadowing of her role in creation and becoming the mother of all.
The first time we encounter Eve in scripture is Genesis 2:20-25;
20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
The first point I want to draw out is how important Eve is. Just as Adam was the first man, Eve was the first woman, the first wife and the first mother. Being the first woman, she shared a special intimacy with God and had a joint responsibility alongside Adam for the stewardship of creation. In the same way that Adam was made in the 'image of God', so was Eve. Meaning that the importance and nature of being set apart is of equal value to both males and females.
Eve was the missing part to the union of marriage. God created us to be relational, he created us not only for a relationship with Him, but also a relationship with one another and Eve was the missing part of the puzzle. "But for Adam no suitable helper was found." - This section of the scripture clearly tells us that we need one another. Adam couldn't fulfil his purpose alone and neither can we. It doesn't matter how skilled, dedicated or fortunate we are. We need one another to complete God's work and we need one another to live a fulfilled life. The fact that God took part of Adam to create Eve just shows the intent for oneness. I really love this quote from Barnhouse on this subject:
"There is a beautiful Jewish tradition saying God made woman, not out of man’s foot to be under him, nor out of his head to be over him, but “She was taken from under his arm that he might protect her and from next to his heart that he might love her”
There is a deep biblical discourse around the concept of 'subordinate wives' and status between husband and wife in terms authority. Here's another quote that I found particularly useful from Boice, quoting and building on the words of Elisabeth Elliot:
If men and women are different, are they equal? Elisabeth Elliot said: “In what sense is red equal to blue? They are equal only in the sense that both are colors in the spectrum. Apart from that they are different. In what sense is hot equal to cold? They are both temperatures, but beyond this it is almost meaningless to talk about equality”
In a nut shell, one without the other isn't complete. We can't compare the value of men and women, let alone one another. For me, this is surmised in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. If you've never read that passage before, it provides a lot of wisdom around this idea and if you have read it before, it's only going to do you good to read it again!
To add to all of this, Eve was the first mother. Since we've had a child of our own I've really grown to see the wonder of motherhood (and it's made me appreciate how much patience my own mother had!). Think about the fact that Eve was not only the first woman, the first wife but also the first mother. How much pressure was she under? What a level of responsibility that is. She gave birth to the first children, along with Adam she was the first parent. Thinking about all of these things in the context of our own lives we can recognise that she truly was amazing.
So, what can we learn from Eve's mistakes?
First of all, let's draw back to the final verse of the passage above; 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Knowing what happens next that sentence feels so ominous. Eve is tempted by Satan and gives in, instead of turning to her husband or to God for advice she acts on her impulse and eats the forbidden fruit, allowing sin into her life. She also then goes on to share that sin with Adam by feeding him the forbidden fruit too. Finally, when she was confronted, she blamed the serpent (Satan); Genesis 3:13.
Here are a few bullet points to draw out some lessons for us from the mistakes Eve made:
- Keep God in your decision making process.
- Keep your spouse/those around you who provide wise counsel in your decision making process, check things out with people you trust.
- Own your mistakes, God knows all, God sees all. There is no value in us portioning blame onto others for our actions. Instead, do something about your actions and repent of your sinful ways, our God is gracious and He will make a way for you, no matter what kind of messy situation you've got yourself into.
I pray that we might learn from the life of Eve, that we might keep God essential in our decision making, that we might treat one another with the grace that God gives to each one of us, regardless of class, race, ethnicity or gender. Lord, we also pray for all of the women in our lives, the mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. That you might bless them for the pivotal roles they play in the building of your kingdom.