When I think of the first woman of creation, my first thought is to wonder “Why, Eve, did you eat that fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Look what you have done!” But is that all she is to us as humans: the first to sin and therefore introduce evil into an otherwise perfect world? When I was given the task to write an article about Eve, I wondered what on earth I could write about her and could any of that be positive. In my study I found there is much more to Eve than sin and upon studying creation in order to research Eve, I learned much about God’s essence in the process.
To better understand Eve’s purpose in creation, we must first look at what God had created before her. After all, she was created last. As a woman, it is very fulfilling to understand why. God took an empty earth and made light, dry land and seas. He filled the land with vegetation and the firmament with lights. He filled the sky and waters with living creatures and saw that it all of it was good. Then God made man in His own image (Gen. 1:27). Adam was formed from the dust of the ground just like the animals (Gen. 2:7, 19). Yet, Adam was set apart from other living beings because of how the gift of life was bestowed. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Gen. 2:7). Now man has become a living soul. God planted a wonderful garden for man to care for but determined that is was not good for man to be alone. This is the first instance we know of in which God describes something as “not good.” God gave man company in the form of animals, but none were comparable to him.
Why did God not just make Eve first, before the animals? I believe God wanted Adam to discover for himself the lack of existence of another human in the garden and to have a desire for human and personal fellowship. In other words, God wanted Adam to desire his future wife. God knew that it was not good because Adam was missing his helpmeet, his completion, his wife.
Once Adam realized this, God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, took one of his ribs and made it into a woman, and He brought her to the man. God had created a desire in man for a wife and now He had filled it. Eve became the subject of the first poem (Gen. 2:23). The relevance of this act is that man and woman are originally one. Even though they each have their own existence, one needs the other for self-completion. “Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:11). A man shall leave his parents, cleave unto his wife and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2:24). I think it is worth noting that God designed this before Adam and Eve even became parents.
God made Adam and Eve as adults with the ability to communicate with God and each other. Within that communication, He set clear boundaries and gave them a law to be obeyed as well as the consequence for not obeying. He gave them work to do in that they were to tend and keep the garden. God planned for both man and woman to work for their own good. Idleness leads to many other sins (1 Tim. 5:13). “If any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thess 3:10). Man was told to “keep” the garden as well as to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil before woman was created (Gen. 2:15,17). In Hebrew, the phrase “to keep” is shâmar, which according to Strong’s definition means to “guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.” What was Adam to protect the garden against? Was he to protect the tree of forbidden fruit? Was he to be on guard from an evil force that might try to deceive him or his future wife? At this time in creation, the animals and humans ate plants so he didn’t need protection from them (Gen. 1:29-30). The Bible does not specify for certain the answer to that question.
Furthermore, Adam and Eve possessed a moral capacity to choose between right and wrong since they were created in God’s image. If not, then how would they be set apart from the animals and able to have dominion over them? It is my opinion that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was placed in the garden to test their obedience and exercise their moral capacity. Remember, God made humans with free will. Man and woman must decide whether they will obey and stay in spiritual communion with God or disobey and separate themselves from their Creator.
Having the ability to choose between right and wrong is different than knowing good and evil; one can be wrong and still not be evil. I believe such was the case with Eve. I do not conclude that Eve initially had a desire to do wrong and wanted disobey. The Bible says she was deceived (Gen. 3:13; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:14). Eve knew she was told not to eat of the fruit of the tree or touch it, lest she die. The serpent took what was bad and made it seem like it was not so. He told Eve she would not die but would be like God (Gen. 3:3-5). He gave Eve a twisted version of what God said. It is interesting that Satan presented to Eve the same pride of life that was his downfall (1 Tim. 3:6). I believe that in her naivety and in her trust and love for God, she thought that being like Him would be a good thing. However, with his words Satan had planted a seed of temptation. Eve allowed that seed to grow into a personal desire, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:15-17), and that desire brought forth sin (James 1:14-15). Thus, she ate of the fruit and gave it to her husband with her, and he ate. Adam was with her and he did not protect his wife from the serpent’s words, nor did he protect the tree’s fruit. Instead, he partook in lawlessness. They both made a wrong choice and they suffered. Because they became like God in knowing good and evil, they took on a moral obligation to do all that is good and abstain from all that is evil. Because mankind is not God, we fail at this responsibility.
When Eve was confronted by God about her sin, she did not deny it. She said “I ate” (Gen. 3:13). I believe Eve was sorry for what she did even though she could not undo it. I don’t believe it was only because of the consequences they suffered thereafter. She lost a face-to-face relationship with God! What can compare? Yet Eve did not hang her head and quit on life. She continued to fulfill the role she was meant to do. She still became a mother even though childbirth would be painful. She still continued on after Cain killed Abel and was banished by God. She still gave God the glory for Seth being born.
Just like Eve, we make wrong choices and even desire to be rebellious at times. Yet we must persevere just as she did. Do not let sin overcome you so that you feel like you cannot go on. Remember that God sends rain on the just and the unjust; God forgives. Now we have redemption through Christ who is our mediator, who also came from lineage of Eve.
Samantha and her family live in Florence, SC.