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Who was Eve in the Bible?

Eve is the first human female and thus "the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20). Genesis 2 details God's creation of her. God had already made Adam, the first man, from the dust of the earth and put him in the garden of Eden to tend to it. "Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him'" (Genesis 2:18). Adam had named the animals, but no animal would be a suitable match for him. So God caused a deep sleep to come on Adam, "and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man" (Genesis 2:21–22). When Adam saw her, he declared, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Genesis 2:23). Genesis 2 goes on to describe how a man would leave his parents and cling to his wife "and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25).

Genesis 1:27 affirms that Eve was formed in the image of God: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." God blessed Adam and Eve and commanded them to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28). They were to be loving partners in this commission from the Creator in whose image they had been crafted.

But life in this idyllic state did not last long. God had told Adam that he could eat of every tree in the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, warning that to eat from that tree would bring death. One day in the garden, the serpent approached Eve and questioned, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1). Eve told the serpent that they could eat from any tree except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She added a stipulation that they were not to touch the tree. It is unclear where this extra command came from, since there is no record of God telling Adam or Eve not to touch the tree. The serpent went on to tell Eve that they would not surely die. In fact, he said, "God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). When Eve "saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate" (Genesis 3:6).

Thus sin and death entered the world. Both Adam and Eve realized they were naked; they made loincloths to cover themselves. When they heard God, they hid. God called out to Adam, who admitted he was afraid because he knew he was naked. When God pressed him on having eaten the fruit, Adam said that the woman God had given him gave him some. God then questioned Eve, who said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate" (Genesis 3:13). God proceeded to pronounce curses on the serpent, Eve, and Adam. He also made clothes of animal skin to cover Adam and Eve and promised a Savior (Genesis 3:15). Too, God barred the couple from the garden of Eden so they would not take from the tree of life and live forever in their fallen state.

Interestingly, it is not until after the curses are pronounced that Eve is named. Rather than bemoan the realities of living in a fallen world, Adam recognized that Eve would be "the mother of all living." They continued in their calling to "be fruitful and multiply" and believed God's promise to provide offspring who would crush the serpent (Genesis 3:15).

Next we read about what seems to be Adam and Eve's first son— Cain. Eve declared, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD" (Genesis 4:1). It does not seem unreasonable to assume she thought he would be the offspring who would crush the serpent. Instead, Cain is a demonstration of the brutal reality of sin and its resultant death; he is infamous for killing his brother Abel.

After Abel died, Adam and Eve had a son named Seth. Eve called him this saying, "God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him" (Genesis 4:25). It was during the time of Enosh, that "people began to call upon the name of the LORD" (Genesis 4:26). It was also through Seth's line that Noah, and ultimately Jesus, descended. Eve and Adam had many other sons and daughters (Genesis 5:4).

In Eve we see both the realities of sin and the realities of salvation. James 1:14–15 describes temptation and sin this way, "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." This is exactly what we see unfold with Eve when the serpent, Satan, deceived her. James further states, "Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" (James 1:16–17). Satan caused Eve to question God; he suggested God was withholding something desirable. But that was not the case. When we expect good from a source other than God, we deceive ourselves.

We also see how our sin affects others. Eve ate the fruit "and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate" (Genesis 3:6). First Timothy 2:14 explains, "Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." Though Eve was the first to disobey God's command, it is Adam who is held responsible for sin entering humanity (Romans 5:12–14). Our sinful choices can have a big influence on those around us.

In Eve's story we see the importance of knowing God and knowing what He has actually said. To combat deception, we must be steeped in the truth. This is one reason it is so important to regularly read God's Word as well as to regularly spend time with others who know God and are committed to His truth. The Bereans are a quintessential example of ensuring we know what God has actually said (Acts 17:11). John encourages his readers to "test the spirits to see whether they are from God" (1 John 4:1–6). Ephesians 4:11–16 talks about the provisions God has made for the body of Christ and how we are to mature in Christ, "so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love" (Ephesians 4:14–16). Second Timothy 3:16 tells us God's Word is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." Second Timothy 2:15 encourages right handling of God's Word. Hebrews 10:23–25 encourages us to hold fast to our confession of hope and to stir one another up to love and good works. We need to grow in our faith both individually and corporately, making sure we are steeped in truth and encouraging one another to walk with God.

Eve's story is not only a cautionary tale, however. We also see how Eve trusted in God, praising Him for her children and faithfully fulfilling God's creation mandate. We see God's plan of salvation begin to unfold, first in His promise of a Savior and then in His provision of animal skins for the naked couple.

It is interesting that God talks about the Savior specifically as the offspring of the woman (Genesis 3:15). This hinted at the virgin birth of Jesus thousands of years later. God did not discard Eve for falling into deception or disbelieving His goodness. Rather, He already had a plan of salvation in mind. He does the same for us. When we recognize our own nakedness (the ways we have gone against God and our destitution apart from Him), and turn to God in faith, we can be saved (Ephesians 2:1–10). The offspring God promised to Eve came in the Person of Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life, died on the cross as payment for our sins, and rose back to life victorious over sin and death. One day He will completely crush the serpent (1 Corinthians 20–28; Revelation 20). In the meantime, God is patient, not wanting any to perish but all to come to faith in Christ (2 Peter 3:9). All who put their faith in Jesus are saved (John 3:16–18; 1 Peter 1:3–9).

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