I had no idea that I would have so much to say about Eve, but I am enjoying every minute of it! Moving on, there is a second aspect of Eve that needs to be dealt with: her strength. I stumbled upon another book at the library (yes, at storytime!) called “Lost Women of the Bible: Finding strength and significance through their stories” by Carolyn Custis James. I have only made it through her section on Eve, but I’m hooked!
James sums up Eve’s “lostness” beautifully: “Eve’s role as instigator in the debacle blotted out the wonder and significance of her creation out of Adam’s side, along with Adam’s rapturous delight in her. Rarely does anyone recall her as the sole inspiration for the world’s first poetry. Even if she lived the rest of her life like Mother Theresa, the world can never forgive what she did to us in Eden. There’s no talk of amnesty for the first human being to break the rank and rebel against G-d. No chance we will forget the “rash hand” that reached for the fruit. A few swift movements and it was over. Eve got lost in Paradise—as lost as any woman has ever been. What she was in earlier times is only a dim and distant memory.” As a woman who knows how it feels to be lost, I forgive her… what about you?
Eve, being the ancestor of all females, must have left a legacy that can pertain to all females: married and single, young and old, mothers and childless. We’ve already seen how studying Eve can show us the depths and desires of a woman’s heart. It was that longing that brought Eve to taste the fruit in the first place. As the serpent told her, the fruit would make her "like G-d" (Genesis 3:4). G-d had indeed said that He made them in His image (1:27), and as James suggests, "being like G-d was Eve's true calling as a woman. This was G-d's design for her. The passion of her heart was to be like G-d. The serpent couldn't possibly have offered her anything more desirable" (Lost Women, p.40). The real problem with Eve was that she failed to trust G-d and what He had told them, and she listened to a voice other than His. We can see ourselves here in Eve because we are often tempted by other voices, by our emotions, by our perception of things (Eve "saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes" Gen. 3:6)) and we can understand why she ate it. Her intentions were good, but she failed miserably... as her husband, Adam, stood by aware of the falsity of the serpent's words (1 Tim. 2:14 informs us that he was not deceived) in silence, and then ate of the fruit also. We have to wonder what Adam was thinking. Was he thinking? Was he even paying attention? Was he distracted by her beauty? Did he not want to say no to her? The possibilities could go on and on, and if you're married, I think you understand where I'm going with this. An assertive, passionate woman and a silent, unattentive man do not go well together, and the result was catastrophic. We have so much to learn from this moment in history...
Eve was created to be Adam's " suitable helper" (Gen. 2:18), his ezer kenegdo in Hebrew. Various translations of the phrase are "helper, strong helper, companion, helpmeet", or as is mentioned in Captivating, "sustainer beside him" (p.31, credited to Robert Alter) or even "lifesaver" (p.32). As you may already know, elsewhere in Scripture this description is used of G-d. G-d is ezer in Deuteronomy 33:26, 29; Psalm 121:2, Psalm 20:2, Psalm 33:20, and Psalm 115:9-11 to name a few places. The world needs women just as someone in danger needs a lifesaver ("to do him good and not evil all the days of her life" Proverbs 31:12). Eve was called to be that, and we know that she failed in the garden. Nevertheless, the purpose for woman's creation remains. "The ezer is a warrior, and this has far reaching implications for women, not only in marraige, but in every relationship, season, and walk of life. G-d created Eve with a mission. The man was alone in the world-- the only one on earth who walked by faith. G-d was preparing to launch the most ambitious enterprise imaginable. The potential for overload, burnout, discouragement, and unbelief was enormous, worse considering the fierce opposition the Enemy was about to mount. Adam couldn't fight these battles alone. So G-d created the ezer as the man's staunchest ally in the life of faith and in fulfilling the Cultural Mandate. Together they exercised dominion to advance G-d's kingdom in their own hearts and on earth." (Lost Women, p.36) I couldn't have said it better myself. I don't know about you, but I needed to hear this. I'm sure I've heard something like it before, but there's something special about the way this author expresses it. I am an ezer, you are an ezer (if you're female), and there is an ezer sleeping in her crib now in the next room. We were called to stand beside men in every aspect of their lives. We are a team, a partnership, a blessed alliance. We learn from the creation of Eve that there are two callings that every female is born with: to be G-d's image bearer and to be an ezer.
As ezers, we are called to join the battle. Men are called to be our spiritual leaders, yes, but that gives us no excuse for sitting on the sidelines. We have to be "responsible to think, decide, and act in ways that honor G-d." (Lost Women, p. 39) There are times when we need to be bold and to initiate words or actions. We also need to encourage and support. We were created for these things.
My hope is that Eve's reputation has been redeemed somewhat by this study of her. There is still more to Eve that I will mention at another time. May she inspire us to be who G-d created us to be.
Be delicate. Be bold. Be a daughter of Eve.