31 Days of Women from Scripture
Lessons from Eve
The first. Doing something that has never been done before. Exploring a world and leaving your mark for others to see. We all strive for that in some ways. There is only one woman who has ACTUALLY done it – Eve. We all come after her. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.” This was true in Solomon’s time and it is true in our time – but it was not yet true in Eve’s time. “Lessons from Eve?” Oh yes!
Eve was the first woman. She had no mother to teach her about becoming a woman. She had no aunts, cousins, sisters, or female friends to help guide her through menu planning, family planning, garden setting or house cleaning. She was the first in all of these things! What YOU know now, you only know because Eve did it first and we have all been handed down the secrets ever since. No pressure there! I wonder if she ever considered the scope of her singularity?
Come with me as we explore the situation Eve was set down in and what we can continue to learn from her.
In Genesis chapter 2 we read of God’s creation of the first Man, Adam, on the sixth day of the Creation week. God made him, breathed life into him, and provided a garden for him to work in and to eat from. God then noticed that it would not be good for man to be alone. God says He will make a “helper suitable” for him.
In Genesis 2:20, the Bible says, “The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” God knows man needs companionship, and Adam did not find suitable choices among the animals. This is where Eve begins.
God puts Adam to sleep and takes a rib from his side. God then fashions that rib into a woman, instead of forming her out of the dust as Adam and the animals had been. Her distinctiveness starts right there! From the beginning, she was made different. She was connected to Adam because she was part of him. God brings her to Adam. He calls her Woman.
Adam’s response to this new creation being brought before him is to recognize that she is like him, yet she is different. He does not call her another man, as in being of the same kind. He calls her Woman. He recognizes her origin from him, but also recognizes that she is not the same as him. Later, in Genesis 3:20, Adam gives her a more specific name, Eve, “because she was mother of all the living.” Adam’s name means simply, “man”. He gives her a new name that describes her more deeply. “Eve” means “life” or “living”. Again, noting a difference in her. Can you imagine being the woman who would be literally mother to all the world? There is not one of us who has been born, who is not a descendant of THIS woman. We have her blood running in our veins – every person on the planet!
Adam also recognizes that she is “bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.” Moses comments on the natural result of this connection. Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason”- pointing us back to “she was taken out of man” – “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” In Ephesians 5:28-30 this physical connection is given as a known quantity and used as an illustration for Christ and His connection with the church; “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.” Wow – there’s a lot of stuff there for a marriage study! But the point here for us, is that Adam recognized Eve in this way. She was a part of him and he was to cling to her. Right from the beginning, she is created and the natural response is to see her as something different, special, and to be cherished.
Scripture jumps very quickly to the next event. We do not know how much time transpires between the creation week and the events in Chapter 3. There is not enough time for her to have conceived and born a child yet (Gen.4:1). Yet some time must have gone by because of the natural ease with which they talk with the Lord God (Gen. 3:8-12). What we do know is that a day came when the serpent (the devil, John 8:44) believed the woman was approachable.
In 1 John 2:16 we are told of three things that are “all that is in the world”. They are: 1. the lust of the flesh, 2. the lust of the eyes, and 3. the pride of life. The serpent preys upon the woman in each of these three ways. When asked about the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she observes three things: 1. the tree was good for food, 2. it was pleasant to the eyes, 3. and desirable to make one wise. The woman was tempted in all three ways John says is “all that is in the world.’ Every temptation that comes our way will fall into one of those three categories – or as in Eve’s case, into all three at once! Beware!
The devil is very crafty. He was able to deceive Eve by only adding ONE word to the knowledge she already had about the tree. He changed everything by adding the word “not” (Gen. 3:4). Eve was not careful about listening to what the serpent said (by the way, why on earth she did not find it strange that this creature was TALKING to her in the first place astounds me!) to her about the tree. She knew the right answer (Gen. 3:2-3), but she was easily swayed when her focus was put upon her own desires and the thought of fulfilling them. She wanted what the tree had to offer and the serpent gave her permission to take it. One of the things we can take away from her experience is to make sure we are listening. We need to pay attention to what others say in order to deceive us. We need to seek guidance when the things we are told conflict with the facts we already know. The serpent works the same way today, and we need to be very careful!
Notice what Eve does not do before eating of the fruit. She does not stop and think about the difference in God’s command and the serpent’s assertion that she will NOT die. She does not find Adam to ask about the contradiction. She does not wait for the Lord to come in the evening and ask for clarification of what she should do. She had several options beyond the obvious of just saying, “No, I will not touch it because the Lord told me not to.” Eve’s response to the serpent’s deception was used as a reminder in 1 Timothy 2:9-15. Paul emphasized why women were not to teach or exercise authority over a man – it was because Adam was created first and there is an inherent authority with that position. She was created second. She simply is not in first position. And to that, Adam was not deceived – nope he walked into it with full knowledge apparently – but Eve was. Quite simply, women are given an extra layer of protection against transgression if they recognize those they can go to for guidance. It’s not a matter of not being smart enough – it’s being smart enough to not take on a responsibility or decision that is not your own so you need not bear the burden of the consequences. That check already existed in Eve’s case – it was not created in response to it – she failed to use it.
One thing I appreciate very much from studying the story of Eve’s temptation, is seeing how God responds in all fairness and mercy. Remember that in Genesis 2:17 God warned Adam that the eating of the tree would bring about certain death. In His mercy, He held off on the physical death but He did remove them from access to the tree of life so they were going to die physically. He reprimands each participant by making their work harder. He pronounces doom upon the serpent, the woman is going to have MORE pain in childbirth, and the man is going to have to work HARD to provide for himself and his family. He lays the responsibility on each one, even though each tried to blame the other. God deals with us in the same way – showing His mercy but also expecting us to take responsibility for our own actions (Rom. 2:6; 1 Cor. 3:8; 2 Cor. 5:10). None of us should lay our own personal choices at the feet of someone else.
Another thing to note from God’s handling of this situation: notice what He says to Adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you” (Gen. 3:17). God NEVER expects a spouse to go along with the other spouse in sin. This will be born out in other studies, but neither marriage nor submission demand that one person go along with the wrongdoing of another. Eve had already eaten of the fruit (Gen. 3:6), so he was not responsible for stopping her. He was responsible for not following after her. This goes back to the listening and asking questions when things do not match what we already know. There are a lot of things I am to do as a spouse: following my husband in his own sins is not one of them.
The order of things is the same today as it was in the beginning. Genesis 3:16 says that she will look to her husband and he shall rule over her. She is meant to be naturally drawn to him and to seek his guidance and input. I also personally believe that her desire here for him is what will bring about those children that she will have pain in bearing. Even though it’s going to be hard work to birth those children, she’s still going to be drawn to be with her husband. The one will not discount the other. Back to the order of things, 1 Corinthians 11:8-9, 11-12 Paul explains how authority is given – Christ is head of man and man is head of woman. From the beginning, God has shown that for work to be accomplished everyone needs to participate in different ways. Not everyone can wear the same hat at the same time and be productive. The Centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 espouses the same understanding. We will do well if we focus on the work that we have been given and allow others to focus upon theirs.
God also continued to provide for them even though He removed them from the garden. He provided them proper clothing – because not having needed clothing before that lesson had obviously NOT been given to them (Gen. 3:21). I believe that because Adam was expected to do the work of tilling the ground, that it is a given that God told him what he needed to know to accomplish it. Again – he did not have a physical father to instruct him in the ways of tool making and farming, but He did have God!
The next thing we see in Eve is motherhood. There’s really not much said considering the fact that she is “the mother of all the living”. What we do see comes when two of her sons are born. In Genesis 4:1 she gives birth to Cain (which means “possession”) and says, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.” Then in Genesis 4:25, she gives birth and names him Seth, “for, she said, ‘God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel for Cain killed him.'” Seth means “compensation”. Learning the meanings of names can give us an understanding of the one doing the naming, as we see when God renames Abram and Isaac, and as we will see when we study Leah and Rachel. Eve recognized first and foremost God’s providential care towards her in regards to child-bearing. Notice not one comment about the difficulty of the labor. Just a focus upon God’s gift and caring (Ps. 127:3-4).
That is it. We are told nothing more about Eve. Do you realize that we are told nothing about her appearance whatsoever? We are not told when she dies. We know she was 130 years old when Seth was born (Gen. 5:3 – she and Adam were created on the same day). We know she had other sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). Imagine not only being the first woman to give birth, but to have done so many times over at least 800 years! I am sure there are many things we could learn from her being the first woman in a marriage with a man, the first woman to live off of the land, the first woman to bear children (no doctor, no midwife), the first woman to train children, fix meals for a large family – you name it. These were not the lessons God chose for us to learn from her. We can appreciate what she went through. We can learn to be a bit more content in our own lives full of conveniences. We can learn to appreciate each child as not a creature of our own creation, but one of God’s creation. There is a lot we can take away. But let us not forget – God wants us to remember to not run headlong without thinking; to ask for help where we can find it; and to above all recognize Him as the provider of all things.
Eve has to live with being the first person to fall prey to Satan’s deceptions. That IS her legacy through time. But because of her children we know that she went on to continue to do her work and to glorify God. She shows no bitterness about losing the garden, that we know of. She shows us that she felt the loss of Abel keenly and was glad to have Seth. We also know she was aware of what Cain did and she does not make excuses, she just says, “for Cain killed him.” We need to follow her in those things. We need to learn from her big mistake and not imitate it.
I want to encourage women to see Eve as one we can look to with hope for ourselves. She messed up (and yes we all bear the consequence of that ourselves) but after it was all said and done – God provided for her in wonderful ways. They just were not the same ways as before. We all lost the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve did. Interesting thing though, we all gained it back when Cain murdered Abel. Seth was born, and it is through him that CHRIST comes. God’s plan is built with a way for us to get back to Eden in Heaven! A pattern begins here of God using unlikely (to our thinking) circumstances, for example Cain’s sin, to bring about His will for mankind.
Eve was ready with her observances of the tree. Satan deceived her, but it seems that he played upon things she already had in her mind. We have to actively protect ourselves from her downfall. We also have to trust God for the order He set in place between men and women. Let’s fill our minds with thankfulness and good things (Phil. 4:8) so bitterness, discontent, and jealousy cannot find a way to trip us up.
PS – A great study to stem off of this one is to look at Matthew 4:1-11, Hebrews 4:14-16, and Hebrews 7:25-28. Our Lord was tempted in the same THREE ways as Eve and EACH of us. He understands YOU and your daily troubles. What a blessing that is!
Click here to go to Day Two: Lessons from Sarah
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