W. Austin Gardner
Eve, the mother of all living
Eve Was the First and Only Woman Born Without Sin
Being the first woman Eve had no inherited sin. Coming from the hand of God, Eve had an advantage no other woman has ever had — she was pure and holy, with the divine image unimpaired. Created sinless, she yet became the world’s first sinner, and introduced sin to her offspring, and thus, all since her were “born in sin and shapen in iniquity.” The best and holiest born into the race have natures that are prone to evil (Romans 7:21). Fashioned with “innocence and sinless perfection and endowed to all fullness with gifts of body and mind, and rich in external blessing without spot or alloy she yet transgressed in the sin with which she caused Adam to sin.” Fresh from the hand of God with unmatchable grace and beauty of body and mind, sin and ruin followed, and paradise was surrendered for a world of thorns, thistles and tears.
Eve Was the First on Earth to Be Assailed by Satan
Before her creation, Satan, who like Eve had been created a holy being, led a rebellion against the Creator and was cast from his high estate. Now he begins his rebellion on earth and beings with one who is fascinated by his approach. Thus we have the Fall and the source of original sin. There was no great daring to sin for the first time on Eve’s part. As sin was unknown to both Adam and Eve when created by God, Eve saw no wrong in the masterpiece of satanic subtle suggestion. Satan did not tell her to sin, but insinuated in the cleverest way that there was nothing to worry about in eating forbidden fruit. As George Matheson puts it, “The temptation was not in itself the wish to transgress, but the will to possess; the transgression is merely a means. . . . If the tempter had said, ‘Steal,’ he would not have been listened to for a moment. But he did not say, ‘Steal!’; he says, ‘Speculate!’ . . . Temptation since the days of Eden has never ceased to clothe itself in a seemly garment.”
Satan succeeded in painting the downward way as leading to an upward path issuing in God-likeness or a fall upwards, “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Eve succumbed to the wiles of Satan and the steps leading to her surrender are illuminating — she saw, she coveted, she took, etc. “The tree was good for food” — bodily appetite was tempted. It was “a delight to the eyes”—her sensuous nature was tempted. Then, “the tree was to be desired to make one wise” — the most powerful temptation of all, namely, “the spiritual temptation to transcend the normal experience of men and to taste of the wisdom that belongs only to God.”
Eve Was the World’s First Dressmaker
Clothing is a reminder of sin, for in their innocency our first parents had no sense of shame because they had no sense of sin. “They were both naked . . . and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). Says Matthew Henry, “They need have no shame in their faces, though they had no clothes to their backs.” But after they sinned their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked. Although shame may have a fairer and a gentler face than sin, it is still its twin sister. Shame can be an expression of regret for sin, or the protest of consicence against it. When Ezra blushed and was ashamed to look up, the pardoning mercy of God came out to meet him (Ezra 9:6).
Eve Was the First Mother to Have a Son Who Was a Murderer
What a trail of sorrow and anguish followed her transgression! When Cain, her first born, came into her life and home how Eve must have loved him. She named him Cain, meaning “to get” or “to possess” or, “acquisition.” He became a tiller of the ground. Her second son was Abel, a name implying, “that which ascends” or “a vapor” —something doomed to fade. The latter was a spiritual man and sacrificed the firstlings of his flocks unto the Lord. The former son brought of the fruit of the ground, that is, that which he had produced, and presented it to the Lord who rejected it and accepted Abel’s offering because of its sacrificial content. Cain lost his temper over this act of divine acceptance and rejection, and slew his brother Abel. Thus Eve’s favorite first born was branded with shame, and spiritual Abel became a martyr. Behind Cain’s slaughter of his brother was the serpent who had made their mother the world’s first sinner. Jesus said that he was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). After the crime and banishment of her first son, and the burial of her second one, God gave her another whom she called Seth. “For God,” she said, “hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, for Cain slew him.” In naming her third son thus she voiced her faith in God’s love, mercy and provision. It was through Seth that the spiritual lineage was maintained and it was after his birth that Eve’s name disappears from the pages of the Old Testament, although it is mentioned twice in the New Testament. While Eve doubtless shared the length of Adam’s life — 930 years — and bore an indefinite number of sons and daughters, we have no record of her maternity apart from the three named sons.
Eve Was the First to Receive the Divine Prophecy of the Cross
Eve was the first sinner and saw the fruit of her sin as she stood at the world’s first grave and buried her dead. After confessing her sin she heard the Lord say to that old serpent, the devil, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). With this first promise of the Redeemer there began the scarlet highway ending at the cross where Christ, born of a woman, provided a glorious victory over sin and Satan. Through a woman, God’s fair universe was blighted and became “a world of sinners lost, and ruined by the fall.” Now, through a woman, a perfect salvation has been provided for a sinning race. Through Eve’s sin, death entered the world, but at the cross both sin and death were conquered, for by “dying, death He slew.” When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” He meant that the serpent’s head, representing power and authority, had been bruised. He laid hold of all satanic principalities and powers that Eve’s transgression brought into the world, and put them under His feet. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
Photo by Amir Taheri on Unsplash
Herbert Lockyer, All the Women of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2016).