Eve was the completion of God's creation of Adam.
"Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him" (Gen 2:18).
To create Eve, God put Adam to sleep and crafted Eve from his side. She lived in the perfection of the garden of Eden. She was perfectly made and bore the image of God. She was not, as Aristotle would claim, a lesser or maimed man but a perfect complement to Adam.
When Adam first sees his wife, we hear his beautiful poem:
“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” (Gen 2:23).
Adam and Eve had the perfect marriage; they were one flesh with no shame. We can think of this first family as Martin Luther did, as the first church; Adam, the first preacher, and Eve, the first hearer of the Word of God. But things changed when Satan, in the form of a serpent, began to cause Eve to question God’s Word.
We face the same temptations that Eve faced. The devil asks, "Did God really say..." and he distances us from God's Word, weakening our faith in his promises. Instead of trusting in God’s word, she intentionally recalls it incorrectly. The devil deceived her, and she ate the fruit that Adam was told they could not eat. Adam and Eve's act of rebellion was not a simple slip, but a declaration that they wanted to rely on themselves and not on God. Instead of living in the faith relationship first given to them by their creator, they desired to put themselves in God’s place. More than just a fall into sin, they declared themselves to be above the authority of God. Eve uses her reason, examining the fruit and making her own judgment, thinking she would become wise.
After they had taken the fruit, they realized their mistake but tried to hide and blame their sin on each other. Adam even blames God for his perfect work of creation in giving him his wife. But God does not leave them to hide. He invites them out of hiding into his forgiveness. He asks the question that he knows the answer to, “Where are you?”
Just like with Eve, God promises to remove us from our guilt and shame. He will clothe us with the righteousness of his forgiveness and grace.
When discussing these passages with my students, there are often so many questions about why and what-ifs. Many of the questions assume things that are not in the text. I think the questions are essential, but my goal is not to take the place of Eve and start to doubt why a loving God would do this or that. Instead, I point them to what we know. When Adam and Eve sin, there are consequences for each of them. But when God is cursing the serpent, we hear also hear God give Eve a new promise. God delivers a promise to Eve that also belongs to us. A Seed, a singular Seed, will come from Eve and end this separation of sin, death, and the devil. This is God’s first Gospel promise.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15).
Many might speculate about the details of this garden scene, but what we see in the text is clear. When we sin, God comes in with a promise. Luther put it this way:
Adam and Eve were encouraged by this promise. Wholeheartedly they grasped the hope of their restoration; and, full of faith, they say that God cared about their salvation since He clearly declared that the male Seed of the women would prostrate this enemy (AE 1:193).
Eve's story continued in faith. When she had her firstborn son, she believed that she had received the promised Seed, declaring, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”
But years later, she would look in horror at the results of the sinful world. Cain’s murder of his brother, Abel, crushed her hope that her direct offspring would bring about the fulfillment of God’s words to her. And yet, her faith remained in the Word of God, in his promise. She said at the birth of her third son, Seth, "God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”
Eve saw the effects of sin, death, and the devil first hand. But she kept her faith in the promise of God. She trusted that from her, a Savior would be born. It is by the death of the Seed of Eve that we all have our inheritance. From Adam, we inherit sin. But from Eve, the mother of all living, we inherit the promise of salvation from God.
Just like with Eve, God promises to remove us from our guilt and shame. He will clothe us with the righteousness of his forgiveness and grace. Maybe you have hidden sin that you have hidden from everyone. Remember that nothing is hidden from God. His invitation to come out of hiding is for you today. The righteousness of Christ covers all our guilt and shame. He offers it to us freely.