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Eve in the Old Testament
Eve [Living One; apparently related to the Heb. verb cha·yahʹ, “live”]. The name is given, as the Scripture writer says, Gen. 3:20 (Zoe), from her unique function as “the mother of all living”): The first created woman; created secondarily from Adam (or man) as a “help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18-22), and later named and designated as the mother of the human race.
The Names Given to Her
Two names are given to her, both bestowed by the man, her mate. The first, ishshah, “woman” (literally, “man-ess”), is not strictly a name but a generic designation, referring to her relation to the man; a relation she was created to fulfill in default of any true companionship between man and the beasts and represented as intimate and sacred beyond that between child and parents (Gen. 2:18-24). The second, Eve, or “life,” given after the transgression and its prophesied results, refers to her function and destiny in the spiritual history or evolution of which she is the beginning (Gen. 3:16,20). While the names are represented as bestowed by the man, the remarks in Gen. 2:24 and Gen. 3:20 may be read as the interpretative addition of the writer, suited to the exposition which it is the object of his story to make.
Her Relation to Man
The distinction of male and female, which the human species has in common with the animals, is given in the general account of creation (Gen. 1:27); and then, in the more specified account of the creation of man, the human being is described at a point before the distinction of sex existed. This more specified account aims to give the spiritual meanings that inhere in man’s being, and in this, the relation of sex plays an elemental part. As spiritually related to the man-nature, the woman-nature is described as derivative, the helper rather than the initiator, yet equal, and supplying perfectly the man’s social and affectional needs. It is the writer’s conception of the essential meaning of mating and marriage. To bring out its spiritual values more clearly he takes the pair before they are aware of the specific meanings of sex or family, while they are “naked” yet “not ashamed” Gen. 2:25, and portrays them purely as companions, individual in traits and tendencies, yet answering to each other. She is the helpmeet for him (ezer keneghdo, “a help answering to him.”
Her Part in the Change of Condition
Because Eve was created after Adam and had not as much life experience, she is quicker than the man to respond to the suggestion initiated by the serpent and to follow it out to its desired results. There is the eagerness of desire in her act of taking the fruit quite different from the quasi matter-of-course attitude of the man. To her, the venture presents itself wholly from the alluring side, while to him it is more like taking a desperate risk, as he detaches himself even from the will of God in order to cleave to her.
How are we to understand the penalty that came upon women? (Gen 3:16)
Genesis 3:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children: The grief, distress, and pain connected with giving birth is associated with the first sin. God revealed to Eve, after she had sinned, what the outcome would be as to childbearing. If she had continued to be faithful, God would have continued to bless her and childbearing would have been a joy, for, “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22, ESV) However, now, generally speaking, the woman is an imperfect human, missing the mark of perfection (sin), and her body brings forth pain. We have to understand that many times when God says he is doing something, it is actually something that he permits to be done. Therefore, when God says that he is going to “multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain,” it really means that God is going to allow the bad results of her free will choice that she made under human perfection, as an object lesson for rejecting his sovereignty and choose to willfully sin against her creator.
While it is true that modern medicine can bring relief to the pain of pregnancy and childbearing and in some cases bringing about no pain whatsoever at all by good care and preparatory methods. Nevertheless, usually, childbirth continues as a physically distressing experience.—Genesis 35:16-20; Isaiah 26:17.
Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you: The short answer is “no.” Rather, it was “the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth,” who had been cursed by God. (Revelation 12:9; Genesis 3:14) When God said that Adam would “rule over” his wife, God was not meaning that he approved of bringing the woman under domination or control by man. (Genesis 3:16) He was merely foretelling the tragic outcome of sin on the first husband and wife.
Consequently, the abuse of women that has been so common over the past six millennia is a direct outcome of the sinful nature of humans, not of God’s will and purposes. The Bible in no way supports the idea that women must be controlled or dominated by men in order to atone for the original sin.—Romans 5:12.
- God is INDIRECTLY responsible for ALL things and DIRECTLY responsible for SOME things
- Is Foreknowledge Compatible with Free Will?
- Why has God Permitted Wickedness and Suffering?
How are we to understand the seed and the serpent? (Gen 3:15)
3:15 After cursing the physical serpent, God turned to the spiritual serpent, the lying seducer, Satan, and cursed him. bruise your head . . . bruise His heel. This “first gospel” is prophetic of the struggle and its outcome between “your seed” (Satan and unbelievers, who are called the devil’s children in John 8:44) and her seed (Christ, a descendant of Eve, and those in Him), which began in the garden. In the midst of the curse passage, a message of hope shone forth—the woman’s offspring called “He” is Christ, who will one day defeat the serpent. Satan could only “bruise” Christ’s heel (cause Him to
suffer), while Christ will bruise Satan’s head (destroy him with a fatal blow). Paul, in a passage strongly reminiscent of chapter 3, encouraged the believers in Rome, “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom. 16:20). Believers should recognize that they participate in the crushing of Satan because, along with the Savior and because of His finished work on the cross, they also are of the woman’s seed. For more on the destruction of Satan, see Hebrews 2:14, 15; Revelation 20:10. – John MacArthur. The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson.
(Eua; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Heua): “Eve” occurs twice in the New Testament and both references are in the Pauline writings. In 1 Tim 2:12-14 woman’s place in teaching is the subject of discussion, and the writer declares that she is a learner and not a teacher, that she is to be in quietness and not to have dominion over a man. Paul elsewhere expressed this same idea (see 1Co 14:34-35). Having stated his position in regard to woman’s place, he used the Gen account of the relation of the first woman to man to substantiate his teaching. Paul used this account to illustrate woman’s inferiority to man, and he undoubtedly accepted it at its face value without any question as to its historicity. He argued that woman is inferior in position, for “Adam was first formed, then Eve.” She is inferior in character, for “Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression.” See CHILD-BEARING below. In 2 Cor 11:3, Paul is urging loyalty to Christ, and he uses the temptation of Eve to illustrate the ease with which one is corrupted. Paul seems to have had no thought but that the account of the serpent’s beguiling Eve should be taken literally.
1 Timothy 2:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with soundness of mind.*
* σώφρων, ον, gen. ονος strictly having a sound or healthy mind; as having ability to curb desires and impulses so as to produce a measured and orderly life self-controlled, sensible.―Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg and Neva F. Miller, vol. 4, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Baker’s Greek New Testament Library, 373 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000).
15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing
No one would reasonably believe women are saved by simply bearing children. This being “saved” is not meant as eternal salvation, but more of being kept safe. You may remember the woman, “who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment,” and was healed. Well, it literally says, “your faith has saved you.” However, translations render it as “your faith has made you well.” Jesus was not telling this woman that her faith gave her eternal salvation, but that she had been healed and made safe from this ongoing affliction by her faith. The same is true of what Paul is saying here, for women in the Christian congregation. Women have a role to play in the marriage arrangement, which is to bear children and raise them with the teachings of God. If you encompass that with the preaching and teaching work of the Great Commission, and congregation responsibilities, she will not have time to feed off the spirit of this world that encourages women to forgo a family for a career, nor will she have time to desire the position of pastoring a congregation. Moreover, her role in the family will keep her safe from being an idle gossiper and interfere in other people’s affairs. (1 Timothy 5:11-15) The context of 1 Timothy is 2:15 is verse 9 says that “women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.” Paul’s additional counsel, in chapter five, has this to say about the unmarried women, that they are “idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.”
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible,
Eve. First woman, “the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20). The Book of Genesis recounts that after God had finished his creation, he saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone. He decided to create “a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18). The woman is called ezer (in Hebrew literally “help”), a word that appears elsewhere in the OT in reference to God as Israel’s help (Deut. 33:7, 26, 29; Psa 33:20; 70:5; 115:9, 10, 11; 146:5). Causing Adam to fall into a deep sleep, God took one of his ribs and used it to fashion Eve (Gen. 2:18–25).
Eve was given two names by Adam. The first was “woman,” a generic designation with theological connotations that denote her relationship to man (Gen. 2:23). The second, Eve (“life”), was given after the fall and refers to her role in the procreation of the human race (3:20).
Adam and Eve are pictured as living in Eden, serving God and fulfilling each other’s needs. Then evil entered. Eve was tempted by the serpent to disobey God’s command, which forbade their eating the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:17; 3:3). Tricked by the serpent’s subtle persuasion, Eve transgressed God’s will by eating the fruit. Adam did the same when she brought some to him, although he was not deceived as she had been. Both then recognized their nakedness and made garments of fig leaves.
When God came to commune with them, they hid from him. When he demanded an account, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. God told Eve that as a result of their sin, childbirth would be a painful experience and her husband would rule over her (Gen. 3:16). Eve later became the mother of Cain, Abel, Seth, and other children (Gen. 4:1, 2, 25; 5:4).
Eve is mentioned twice in the NT. In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul referred to her when discussing whether or not women could teach (1 Tm. 2:13). He said that woman could not teach or have authority over man because of man’s priority in creation and Eve’s responsibility for the original transgression (see 2 Cor 11:3).
Several early church fathers, including Justin and Irenaeus, compared Eve with Mary the mother of Jesus. They pictured Mary as the “new Eve,” contrasting the disobedience and sin of the first Eve with the obedience and faith of the second. They regarded Eve as restored to wholeness in Mary. Since Protestants are strongly opposed to the Roman Catholic veneration of Mary, and see newness and wholeness as totally centered in Christ (Gal. 3:28), they have not developed that particular typology.
by Edward D. Andrews, John Franklin Genung, H. E. Jacobs, and A. W. Fortune
 Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Eve,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 730–731.
- What Issues Did Satan Raise With Eve and in the Book of Job? What Made Eve Susceptible to Error? How Does Satan’s Deceiving Eve Show the Method Teaching of Falsehood?
- GENESIS 3:5 OTBDC: What Was the Original Sin of Adam and Eve?
- Genesis 3:6 BDC: She [Eve] also gave some to her husband who was with her?
- Genesis 3:16 BDC: Are Women Cursed by God?
- Genesis 3:19-21 BDC: Will Adam and Eve Receive a Resurrection?
- How Could Satan, Adam, and Eve Have Sinned If They Were Perfect?
- Genesis 2:17 BDC: Why did Adam and Eve not die in the day that they ate of the fruit from the forbidden tree?