“Woman, who art thou?” is a series of blogs I’m writing about women in the Bible.
You may remember that I hinted at this in my very first blog I have also previously written a blog about Rahab. Part of the inspiration for this theme was discovering a book written by John MacArthur called ‘Twelve Extraordinary Women‘. The underlying theme looks at twelve women in the Bible to see how God shaped them and what we might learn from them today. Discovering the book was timely because i found it at a time in my life when I was struggling a bit with my own identity after going through some big life changes.
Learning about our ancestors often helps us to understand ourselves. One of my uncles has recently spent some time researching the ‘Mackenzie’ family tree (that’s my maiden name by the way) through www.ancestry.co.uk. It brings to mind TV programmes, like ‘Who do you think you are?’, where past secrets are uncovered when celebrities trace their ancestry. I think that many of us have a innate need or desire to know where we’ve come from and to know our roots.
So….I thought that it made sense to start with Eve, seeing as she was the earth’s ‘First Lady’as it were, being the first woman to walk the earth. She, along with Adam, was the highlight of God’s creation. Genesis 2:21-22 tells us that Eve’s creation was unique. He could have made her from the dust of the ground just like Adam. But He didn’t. God chose to make her from man’s flesh and bones. A Puritan, Matthew Henry, in his classic commentary on the Bible says “The woman was made of the 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 beloved.” This symbolism fits well with what Scripture teaches about the proper relationship between husband and wives. It reminds us of how Scripture exalts women. Adam had gained another human being with whom he could fellowship. They had an equal share in God’s image. Eve was Adam’s ideal companion and mate. They were created perfect for each other. Their’s was a complete, innocent, and open oneness, without a hint of shame. Together they were greater than either could have been alone. This is one of the potential ‘greats’ of marriage today I believe – that’s how I feel about Dan & I’s marriage anyway ❤
Genesis 2: 23 says “The man said, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man”.
Until the creation of Eve, Adam had been the only human being on the planet and had been given the task of naming all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. No suitable companion had been found amongst them. I’ve tried to imagine that moment when Adam set eyes on Eve for the first time. Can you imagine it? I wonder whether Adam exclaimed “WOWZERS!!” when he set eyes on her ( maybe a bit like good old Tom cat below ha ha). I’m sure she epitomised pure beauty standing before him. 1 Corinthians 11:7 says “A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man” – Adam represented the supreme species (a race of creatures made in the image of God) then Eve was the living embodiment of humanity’s glory.
Disguised as a serpent, Satan approached Eve in the Garden of Eden, we read in Genesis chapter 3. He questioned her contentment with what God had given her and Adam. Eve accepted Satan’s perspective on things without even checking with God or even discussing it with Adam. She became focused on the fruit on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was that “I’ve got to have it!” feeling. Her desires took over …“When the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it”. We might say she was impulsive. I think we can perhaps see ourselves in this scripture and repeat the same mistakes. Our own desires, like Eve’s, can be quite easily easily manipulated. They should not be the basis for our actions. We need to keep involving God in our decision-making process always.
Satan made Eve doubt God’s goodness. He implied that God was strict, stingy, and selfish for not wanting Eve to share his knowledge of good and evil. Never mind the consequences! She quickly forgot all the God had given her and just focused on what was forbidden. We can fall into the same trap too. We can dwell on what God says we must not do rather than count the blessings and promises that He has given us. If we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and thinking about what we don’t have and instead consider all we do have and thank God, then doubt won’t lead to sin, giving up on God’s ability to provide or change your situation.
“Give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8
Satan used a sincere motive to tempt Eve – “you will be like God”. It wasn’t wrong for Eve to want to be like God. That’s humanity’s higher goal isn’t it? – To be more like God? But Satan misled Eve concerning the right way to go about it. He told her that she could become more like God by basically defying His authority, by taking God’s place and deciding for herself what was best for her life. In effect, he told her to become her own God.
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5
To become like God is not the same as trying to become God. Instead, it is trying to reflect the qualities or characteristics of God and to recognise His authority over your life. We can be the same, like Eve, sometimes, we can have a worthy goal but try to achieve it in the wrong way. Self-exaltation leads to rebellion against God. As soon as we leave God out of our plans, we are placing ourselves above Him. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve done this in the past – thinking I know best. Foolish woman!
Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans”
Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”
We can trust God with our plans, we do not need to go it alone.
Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.
Satan tried to make Eve think that sin is good. Knowledge of both good and evil seems harmless to her. People often choose wrong things because they have become convinced that they are good, at least for themselves. Sins do not always appear ugly to us and the pleasant sins are the hardest to resist! When we face temptation, however, there is always a way out. God has promised us that in His word. Use His word and His people to stand against it! Don’t suffer alone, talk to someone that you can confide in.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“….She took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Genesis 3:6-7
After Eve sinned, she involved Adam in her wrongdoing. Often we try to relieve our guilt by involving someone else. Sin can spread like wildfire or like toxic waste spilt in a river. They were also so quick to place the blame at someone else’s feet instead of recognising and confessing their sin to God. Adam blamed Eve (and God for giving the woman to him in the first place), Eve in turn blamed the serpent. Neither of them had given a thought to the long-term consequences of their sin. In Genesis 3, we cannot tell whether or not Adam and Eve had any sort of discussion about whether or not they should eat the fruit. We know from Genesis 2 that God had certainly told Adam not to eat it and we know that Eve was also aware of the rule because she mentions it to the Serpent when they talked in the Garden of Eden. Satan had deflected her thinking away from the consequences and instead convinced Eve that God was almost holding something back from her by not letting her eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman (Genesis 3:4). Despite Satan’s role in this original sin, Eve (and Adam) were responsible for their own actions and had given in to desire. Satan did not force her to do it.
It’s rather amusing that Adam and Eve, once they become aware of their nakedness, cover themselves with fig-leaves and attempt to hide from God – surely they were already aware that God was omnipresent and omniscient?They couldn’t hide from God and neither can we. I’m reminded of these scriptures from the Old Testament.
“There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness, where evil doers can hide.” Job 34:22
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Psalm 139:7′
“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord, “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:24
Feeling guilty, like Adam and Eve did, makes us aware of our sin so we can ask for God’s forgiveness and then correct what was wrong. Make a U-turn….that’s repentance. Honesty will strengthen our relationship with God. God’s commands are for our own good and we may not always understand the reasoning behind them (a bit like Eve).
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13
Eve had chosen her course of action. Then God chose his.
Like any good parent, God had to act in a consistent manner – consistent with his perfect moral nature. Their sin could not go unchecked. The punishment had to be given. Maybe we think that the consequences are extreme? However, let’s not forget that their actions set into motion the world’s tendency towards disobeying God – original sin. We inherited their sinful natures which is why we need Jesus. Their fall from God’s grace had consequences for rest of humanity and all of creation.
Genesis 3:14 – 24 says:
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Thank God that’s not the end of the story!
Thank God that He wants to have a relationship with us even though we have a sinful nature!
Thank God that He provided a way back to Him through Jesus Christ and that through Him we can have victory over sin and temptation!
Mother Of All Living
So …. until Adam and Eve were cast out from the Garden of Eden (which had probably seemed like heaven – every thing being perfect) Eve was called ‘woman’ because she was formed out of man. Adam gave her the name ‘Eve’ because she would become the ‘mother of all living’, starting with Cain and Abel.
First wife and mother.
From her the human race began.