Eve enjoys the distinction of being the first woman-in all of human history. Talk about special.
When God decided to make human creatures “in His own image” (Gen 1:27), he created the male first (Gen 2:7). A few verses later we read, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement'” (Gen 2:18).
Some regard this statement as demeaning-to Eve in particular, and all women in general. Nothing could be further from the truth. In calling Eve Adam’s “helper,” God used a word that’s employed elsewhere in the Old Testament to speak of God himself as the uplifting helper of his people (Deut 33:7, 26; Pss 33:20; 70:5; 115:9,10,11; 146:5). Eve was God’s very tangible way of saying, “Adam, you need help!”
And such help! The verb make means “to fashion.” In other words, Adam’s new “helper” would be a work of art by the ultimate Creator. It gets even better. The word Complement means “suitable or corresponding to.” The idea is that Eve would fit Adam like a jigsaw puzzle piece. She would supply strengths he lacked, and vice versa. Ultimately, Eve would be the “very good” solution (Gen 1:31) to Adam’s “not good” solitary existence.
And so it was. God crafted this exquisite creature to help and to complement Adam. As the first human female companion and wife, Eve experienced wonders in life none of us can fathom: glorious face-to-face walks and talks with God, marriage as it was meant to be, creation in all its piercing beauty and none of its brokenness.
How long did this perfect bliss last? A few weeks? Only a weekend? However long it was, Eve had it. She tasted it. Then, inexplicably, she gave in to the desire to taste something more. Therein lies the great liar’s great lie: even perfection is not enough.
Genesis 3 tells the tragic and mysterious story of how Eve was approached, tempted, and ultimately deceived by the serpent (or Satan, see 2 Cor 11:3). He somehow aroused within her a nagging doubt about God’s good heart. Or else he manipulated Eve’s identity as one who resembled God into a desire to replace God. However he did it, the evil one convinced Eve to defy her Creator. But before we put a disproportionate amount of blame on Eve’s shoulders, the Bible makes it clear that her her husband, Adam, “was with her” (Gen 3:6). For incomprehensible reasons, he stood by passively, saying and doing nothing as his wife debated with the devil. She had barely swallowed the forbidden fruit before he was chewing it too.
Talk about tragic. The result was exactly what God had warned-death. The immediate death of innocence, intimacy, and peace. The catastrophic end to a harmonious relationship with God, with others, with creation itself. Gone were virtues like vulnerability, trust, and selflessness. Expulsion from Eden followed, meaning a loss of access to God and to the tree of life. Adam and Eve could only look back over their shoulders at paradise and wonder what might have been.
Post-Eden, they did their best to carve out a new life. Eve became a mom to three sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth (and surely to daughters as well). At some point she faced the parental nightmare of having to bury her secondborn. Making this tragic situation worse was the fact that Abel’s death came at the hands of his big brother.
How or when or where Eve died, God alone knows. How tragic that this special woman, “the mother of all the living,” also prayed a prominent role in bringing death into the world.
In a sense, Eve’s life prefigures every life. Each one will be special. Beautiful.Marked by doubt and disobedience. Married by the tragedy of sin and utterly dependent on the One who is able to reverse its curse.
From Eve’s beautiful and tragic experience, we glean a couple of truths.
One, life works best when we trust and obey the explicit Word of God. We have an enemy who uses deceit in order to destroy (see John 8:44; 1 Pet 5:8). Since we are continually subjected to a chorus of competing voices, we have to be careful. We can know the enemy is at work when we find ourselves entertaining the notion that God’s heart is suspect, that his way is restrictive, and that doing his will leads to a diminished life. The devil is crafty. He is able to speak even through well-intentioned people (see Mark 8:31-33). It’s only because, in the words of Martin Luther, “the right man (is) on our side” that we are able to stand against his enticements.
Two, marriage works best when husbands and wives work in tandem-men using their masculine strength to be protective servent-leaders and women using their feminie strength to be supportive helpers. If you are married, ask God to show you specific ways to become a stronger ally to your spouse.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
- Overall, do you find yourself liking or disliking Eve? Why?
2. We’ve all experienced loss, but Eve lost paradise. What do you think that was like?
3. What does it say about God that he allowed Eve, the mother of sin, to become an ancestor of the One-Jesus-who eventually defeated sin?