Sometimes I sit in the quiet and imagine Eve walking in the cool of the morning with the God in whose image she was made and the man whose body was used to form her.
Surrounded by them, she had a spiritual home that women throughout the ages have longed to reclaim. Eve belonged to herself and to them in a mystical kind of holy community.
There in the garden, Eve was wholly herself and yet also complete in her connection to the members of her community. I wonder what it was like to simultaneously experience the freedom to be and freedom to belong.
Eve has been given a bad rap, in my opinion. As a woman who has been deceived before, when I read Eve’s encounter with the serpent in the garden, I experience deep empathy and feelings of divine sisterhood.
After all, the serpent told her that if she ate the forbidden fruit, she would be like God, knowing good and evil.
Do you want to be like God, Eve? Yes. Yes, I do. I want to be like him so much.
The desire to be like God is noble and good, theoretically. However, this desire has been a fabulous smokescreen for all kinds of deception throughout the ages. Humans often seek knowledge, power, influence, platform, fame, and even ministry growth in an effort to be like God. Then they’re discovered naked behind a bush, disconnected from God and their community in ways they didn’t see coming.
If we can’t see ourselves in Eve’s story, we aren’t being particularly honest.
Desiring to be like God isn’t wrong. But desiring to be like God so we no longer need God is quite dangerous. That path leads to all kinds of sin. This was Eve’s mistake, and it is the error we make when we seek ways to save ourselves from our unavoidable spiritual poverty.
But if we continue to read Eve’s story in Genesis, we find a hero arises within her. God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden, to make a life and a people in the great, wide world he created. He commanded them to fill the earth, and Adam and Eve obeyed this command.
They birthed life and pain in their sons, Cain and Abel. Adam and Eve hadn’t worked through their own trauma, apparently. They couldn’t teach these sons of theirs how to love and relate to God and others in this new world where they had to grapple with the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve hadn’t figured out their new spiritual poverty.
Sometime after Cain struck Able down and suffered the consequences of his sin, Eve’s heart must have broken, and the breaking opened her up in a new way.
Adam and Eve returned to God’s command to fill the earth and birthed another son.
“Adam was intimate with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, for she said, ‘God has given me another offspring in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.’ A son was born to Seth also, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:25-26, bolded text mine)
Eve’s sin had taken herself and Adam away from God.
Cain’s sin had taken Abel from her.
Eve’s obedience birthed Seth, and Seth’s life birthed a faith that reconnected the world with God.
Seth is proof that Eve understood redemption begins with obedience. If you know the gospel, perhaps you can see how God has a thing for birthing redemption through babies. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that Eve’s obedience made her so much like God in the end?
Lord, help us to value obedience to you above even our desire to be like you. Give us eyes to see deception when it attempts to blind us. When we fail to obey, forgive us our sin and show us the way to restoration. In the end, we ask you to birth faith in this desperate world of ours. Amen.