Eve used to really bother me. I blamed her for my cyclical experience of acne, salty cravings, and cramps. It seemed as though it was her fault that women struggled so much against oppression because she was obviously considered lesser than Adam by so many. And if she just didn’t take a bite of that fruit, we’d still in the Garden, where presumably storks would bring babies instead of labor pains. Eve didn’t stand much of a chance against my robust but completely unbiblical case. But what if there’s more to the story? What if her reputation is unfounded? What if there are lesson we can learn from the Mother of All Living?
- Creation Order?
Some may see Eve’s status through the lens of creation order. She was literally the last to be created by God, and some argue that because a woman was created after a man, that means women should follow after men. On the flip side, some may see her as God’s crowning achievement, God’s pièce de ré·sis·tance. However we view the creation order, we can be confident that Eve was equally created in the image of God, no more or less than Adam. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Eve was never lesser than Adam.
- Following God
When God gave the first commandment to his people, he gave it to both Adam and Eve. Genesis 1:28, “God blessed them and said them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Be. Increase. Fill. Subdue. Rule. These weren’t just for Adam to figure out. Eve was called to do these things with him.
- Eve’s Purpose
When we look at why Eve was created, we can see that she has a much bigger role than she is sometimes credited. After God had created everything, God realized that Adam was without a partner, so God decided, “I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). The English term “helper” doesn’t quite capture all of why Eve was created; it has a connotation of being an assistant, like “Teacher’s Helper” or “Mommy’s Helper.” Eve was so much more than this. When we look at the Hebrew term for helper, we find “ezer.” This word is the same word that is used to describe God being a helper to Israel, especially in military contexts. Typically, a helper is someone who may be stronger than the one in need of help (Hamilton 25).* Eve’s purpose was to battle alongside Adam, back to back, taking on whatever came their way together.
Lessons from the Garden
Women are not lesser than men. We are created equally in God’s image and were equally charged with the same responsibilities as Adam. As daughters of Eve, we are warriors, fighting alongside the Adams of our lives. We don’t have to make ourselves lesser; we don’t have to make ourselves more. We can step into the shoes of Eve and equally fight in God’s kingdom against our common enemy, the Evil one.
Movement Step: Take a few minutes and jot down what you remember about the creation story in Genesis 1-3. Then go back and read Genesis 1-3. What did you miss? What did you get right? How has culture shaped your perception about Eve? Pray and ask God to show you how to apply lessons from Eve in your everyday life.
*Hamilton, Victor P. Handbook on the Pentateuch. Grand Rapids, Muchigan: Baker Academic, 2005.