In the beginning, Eve was not her name.

Eve wasn’t even second choice for the name of humanity’s mother. It was third. Adam came up with it only as they were leaving the Garden of Eden, forced out of God.

After creating Eve from Adam’s rib, God called them both by the same name: Adam, meaning “human.” Eve’s mate, however, fresh off the the chore of naming all creation’s animals, gave her a name, too: “She will be called ‘woman’ [issa in Hebrew], because she was taken out of man [is]” (Genesis 2:23).


Eve was human number two, created from Adam as a “companion.” Throughout the ages, many have argued this means women should defer to men. Even Paul used that argument: “God made Adam first” (1 Timothy 2:13).

“Companion,” however is from the Hebrew word ezer. There’s no subordination in the word. In fact, it’s the same word often describing God as Israel’s “helper.”


Eve took the first bite of the forbidden fruit. God said it would kill her. But the snake said it would make her like God, opening her eyes to good and evil.

She bit and gave her husband a bite, too.

The snake was partly right. Innocence gone, they could see they had done wrong, they realized they were naked, and they were afraid of God-but not his equal.

God ordered them out of Eden’s garden. In time, they would die. But Eve would be able to continue the race by bearing children. Perhaps that’s why Adam renamed her Eve, because it sounds like the Hebrew word for “the living.”

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