Eve. The first woman, the wife of Adam, and the mother of Cain, Abel, and Seth. She was given her name by Adam because "she was the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20). Eve is given three very important titles: the first woman, the first wife, and the first mother. She is often remembered simply as the woman who was deceived by satan, led her husband astray, and brought sin into the world. But despite her sin and its consequences, God blessed her, loved her, and brought about his will through her life and his mercy. Rather than criticize Eve for her faults, let us look at her with love and learn from her story.
Let’s read: Genesis 1 - 4 (read it online here)
Matthew Henry writes in his Biblical commentary on Genesis 2, " That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. " Eve was given a purpose and position of honor and value, one that is shared by all women. She was made to be a helper to her husband and family and, in turn, to be treasured, valued, protected, and loved. Her existence brought joy and completion to God's work, Adam's life, and the world.
Let’s talk about: Eve's creation, her purpose, and her legacy. How do we see ourselves in Eve?
Look at Eve. Take a step back from the Bible as a 'story' and really look at Eve for the real, live person she is. She is the embodiment of innocence, purity, unashamed love. She is the closest to God that any woman ever was. Yet she was still deceived. She knew what the Creator had said, and she knew how He had provided for her. Yet in her mind, it wasn't enough. She allowed herself to be tempted, and I think that's something we all struggle with. Satan is powerful, but he has no place in our hearts unless we allow him in. As Eve allowed herself to be tempted, how do we see a glimpse of ourselves in her? How do we allow ourselves to be tempted by sin, even though we know the truth, the gravity of sin, and the danger of walking too close to the edge?
After Adam and Eve had committed the first sin, how did the Creator react? He could've killed them both that moment and started over from scratch. He could've made two new people, removed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from the garden, and started over. He could've made us without the ability to mess up. He's God -- he really could've done whatever he wanted at that point. But that's the thing. He did do exactly what he wanted. He wanted Adam and Eve, his own creations, no matter how flawed they were. We are God's children, his precious creations, and he loves us unconditionally -- exactly the way we are. God chose to keep Adam and Eve just as they were, to protect them from living an eternal, sinful life (Genesis 3:22-23), and to bless them in the midst of their sinfulness. When they felt ashamed by their nakedness, he made clothes for them. And even as God began to explain the consequences of their sin, He first announces his plans for salvation.
"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," (Genesis 3:15). "After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall. This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium ("first gospel"): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers. (Catechism 410).
Despite her disobedience, God blesses Eve abundantly. He blessed her with three sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth. And while the consequences of sin are evident in Cain's murder of his brother Abel, he redeems her again through the birth of Seth. In Genesis 4:25, Eve says, "God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him." And verse 26, "At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord" reflects a new beginning for humanity as they learn to look to the Creator, call upon his name, and give their worship to him.
In no way is Eve an example of a "perfect" woman. And that's okay. Because God doesn't need us to be perfect. God chooses us -- flawed, sinful, humans to bring about his will on earth. He created Eve without sin, and though she messed up, he continued to cherish, honor, and bless her abundantly. He chose Eve to be the first woman, the first wife, and the first mother, and her life was the first step of his plan for salvation. He didn't give up on her after she was deceived by the serpent, he protected her, taught her, and helped her grow as a mother and wife. Through her obedience in the way that she mothered Seth, 'people began to call upon the name of the Lord' and after many, many generations, God's only son was born into the world.
A few questions to start our discussion:
+ How do you see yourself in Eve? Do you tend to see yourself as Eve, the sinner, rather than Eve the honored, treasured, loved wife, mother, and child of God? Why is it so easy for us to accept ourselves as sinners, and so difficult to embrace that despite our sins, we are precious in God's eyes?
+ How does the Creator's relationship and purpose for Eve differ from society's view of women?
+ How does Genesis describe Eve's relationship with Adam? Pay close attention to the verses placed immediately after Eve's creation. In the first account of their creation, Genesis 1:28 says, "And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And in the second account of their creation, Genesis 2:24-25 says, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." By placing these verses immediately after the account of their creation, we can see that these verses were very important to the lives of Adam and Eve as husband and wife. They offer a description of marriage and humanity the way God had intended it. How if your relationship with your husband different or similar? How do you see these verses translating into modern, everyday life? If you aren't married, how would these verses influence your relationship with a potential spouse?
+ What verse or passage stood out to you the most in this week's reading? Why?