Both Adam and his wife shudder in fear. They have both eaten the forbidden fruit now. The first bite was great, but the bitter aftertaste was unlike anything they ever had. Cowering deep in the bushes they feel nauseated from embarrassment and shame. Something is terribly different and dreadfully wrong. Instead of running into the arms of their protective Creator, all they want to do is scamper away. Far, far away. Unexpectedly, this taste of knowledge and freedom was very bad. But this tragic story took a beautiful turn when we weren’t even watching. Even though they brought this twisted situation upon themselves, He didn’t leave the wretched creatures to die. He found them cowering deep in the bushes. While both Adam and his wife were hiding in shame, their loving Father called to them.
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9)
He finds the woman and the man in the Garden and fought back for the identity of His people. They were not an abomination outside of His salvation and love. God proclaimed that this woman and man were created to be something special, beyond what any creature could destroy. There were consequences for the broken relationship, yes, but there is a resolution to this problem on the horizon. There will be a solution to the lacking love and terrible mistrust. There will be a permanent reconciliation between the Creator and His creations. God called to them and gave them a simple, life-changing promise.
The Lord God said to the serpent... “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen 3:15)
God spoke the first Gospel message to this desolate couple. There was good news given in the midst of their sin. God told the evil serpent that man and woman would have a child that would dash his head to pieces. Now, the Lord was not simply speaking to a slimy beast gone bad. God revealed a much bigger reality in His now-broken world: Satan will be defeated; Satan will be crushed. There will be no crafty snake in God’s restored creation. Our terrible decisions cannot separate us from God and His gifts. Without the enemy Satan and the consequences of sin, we are left with the simple recollection of His Garden of gifts. Even in the depths of their disobedience, God loved His creatures so much, that He gave them a glimpse of this victory. There is forgiveness, right from the beginning. God gave a word that He will reverse all that man and woman had done.
Although they didn’t see the whole story yet, man and woman believed God’s promise of life and restoration. They knew they had done wrong. They knew that they would leave the amazing garden of blessings. They knew they would walk a life of sorrow. But their story now focused on a promise of a renewed future.
“The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” (Gen 3:20)
She is called Eve. Eve means life. Adam’s first task upon the newly created earth was to name all the creatures. Up until this point, his lovely woman did not bear a name. She was woman, taken from the side of man, flesh of his flesh. But now with the promise of God in the face of their sin, Adam proclaims her true identity: she is the mother of all the living. She will be the mother of the first children on earth. She will be the mother of the Child that would bring all of them eternal life. “Eve” is the most gracious confession of love and forgiveness that Adam could give from his lips!
When Adam looks at this woman he remembers their story. She brought him the forbidden fruit, knowledge, sin, disobedience, and death. Yet when this faithful and loving man names his wife, Adam speaks back God’s promise to the both of them. He forgives Eve. He calls her mother of all the living. He breathes on her the identity of God’s restored woman.
Man and woman, created together, are also made for this: God speaks His promises, and we speak them to each other. We tell each other the story of a restored life with a loving God. Even when our sin gets in the way of this blessed conversation, as it did in the beginning story of man and woman, forgiveness finds us.
“And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” (Gen 3:21)
The air is cooler in the Garden, now. The sun descends behind a withering tree. As the newly dead leaves float silently back to the dust of the earth, the shadow of God passes over His Garden. Two snow-white lambs scream. And they lay silent and motionless before their Creator. He gently lifts up the lifeless skins, and covers the naked shame of man and woman.
God hides their sin with this first blood sacrifice. Throughout the history of God’s people, a sacrifice for sin covered the wrongdoings and made people acceptable again to God. Foreshadowing the Hero to come, God kills, sheds blood, and His people are reconciled to Him. Here in the Garden, God provides that same story of restoration. This sweet story prepares us to see an even more complete sacrifice that covers the naked shame of the whole world.
We have certainly lived too far away from the Garden of Eden. We can’t begin to smell the sweet grass or feel the perfect sunshine on our face. But we do have a Word from a God who has not left His proud, broken people alone. In the middle of their journey of fear and sadness, Adam and Eve hold tight to the promise of God. In hope, they watch every baby in anticipation of the “promised seed” who will overthrow death. They savor the rich blessings of God that leak through the distorted sin-filled world. They speak the words of hope, life, and forgiveness to each other and their family.
Our story here begins with tragedy, sacrifice, and a promise of forgiveness. The woman who was created beautifully, at first did not listen to the Wisdom that called from the mouth of God. She did not believe that His gifts were good, just as they were given. But Wisdom followed her. Wisdom comforted the woman in the shadows. Wisdom moved from the mouth of God over the tongue of her husband. Wisdom whispered, “I forgive you”, while Adam called out her name, “Eve”.
The promise of life and forgiveness is who Eve is. The first woman and mother crafted by the fingers of God bears the name of life—restored to whom God intended her to be. Every daughter carries her name, her promise, and her identity.
Women, you are daughters of Eve. You were created by the Most High God. You walk outside of the Garden of Eden, bearing the pain and strife of the world, but also bearing the promise of the Hero to come. You believe the Word of Wisdom. You have been given hope in the One who will smash the head of the serpent. You will again live as God intended His creations to live. This is your story, but only the beginning.