The first woman mentioned in the bible is Eve. A woman not very highly thought of, she is blamed for the banishment from the Garden of Eden, she is thought to have led man astray and spoilt it for all of humankind forever.
God created man and saw that he was lonely, so he brought Eve into being.
In my wedding services I used a beautiful quote by St Bernardina, that says…
‘God did not make a woman out of a bone of Adam’s foot, so that he should tread her underground, nor out of a bone of his head, so that she should dominate him; but he made her out of his rib, which is close to his heart, to teach him to love her truly, as his companion’ (Quoted by Jensen God’s Word to Israel page 53 note 8).
I would like to think about Eve in a different way, she was a woman that was interdependent – She loved God, she relied on God, but she also was independent – she had her own thoughts.
God wants us to be interdependent, he doesn’t give us everything in large writing on the wall, as much as we want it. God gave us minds so that we can make decisions, we have choice.
But not all decisions are well made.
I am left with questions in this story from Genesis.
Did God send the serpent?
If so why?
Do you think that God wanted to see how they would respond?
It is almost as if God himself was tempting them.
Perhaps it was important that Eve took the apple. If she hadn’t how would the world as we know be different?
I often wonder if Eve was like Judas. Misunderstood and misrepresented?
Without Judas, Jesus wouldn’t have died, in order for resurrection we have to have the crucifixion. We believe that Judas was crucial to the Easter story.
Maybe Eve was crucial to the story of creation.
Like children we are let go of in order to take our first steps.
God couldn’t protect them and make all their decisions for them.
God created them in his image;
God didn’t create them with a flaw, he created them with the ability to think for themselves.
But Man i.e. Adam had the ability to think for himself too, he didn’t say no to Eve, and he lied to God. He didn’t take responsibility for his actions he blamed it on Eve.
It wasn’t until I read and re-read the story of creation that I began to see things I had never noticed before. It was like my eyes read it for the first time.
Over the centuries Man has used this story to keep women in line. But it’s not until you really read the story that you realise that there are two people involved.
Firstly, God gave Man the command not to eat the fruit from the tree. Genesis 2 verse 16 Not Woman – we assume that Man told woman what God had said for she knew that they shouldn’t eat from the tree of Knowledge. (Genesis 3 v2) If they ate from the tree they would know Good and Evil.
So, at this point they didn’t know Good from Evil.
So, would Eve have known that the serpent was evil? And trying to trick her?
When you re-read verse 6, ‘she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.’
He was with her and he saw her pick the fruit, and they shared it.
At no point did he remind her that the fruit wasn’t to be picked or eaten, that God had forbidden it.
And when God asked Man what he had done he immediately blamed woman.
He took no responsibility for his own actions.
Woman told God, the serpent deceived me, and I ate it.
She took responsibility. The serpent did deceive her and she did eat it.
I’d like to point out that they were both punished and banished from the garden.
The punishment for woman was that she would desire her husband and he would rule over her. (3 v 16) That one verse has led to many difficulties for women throughout the centuries. She has been abused, and seen as owned by her husband, she has been thought of as not much higher than the animals.
Is this really what God wanted?
In some countries this is still the way women are treated.
There begins a new chapter when we enter the New Testament.
The birth of Jesus, God’s only Son.
When Jesus entered the world – he entered as a baby born of the womb of a woman.
A woman that obeyed God despite all the social stigma.
A woman that was highly favoured by God. (Luke 1 verse 28)
And so begins the life and ministry of Jesus – and the way he treated women goes against all of the social norms of the time. Perhaps that tells us something?
Jesus came to save us from ourselves, to show that God forgives ALL sin, and I believe this includes the sin that Adam and Eve first committed.
Our society is only just catching up with the equality that Jesus came to teach us.
As it says in Galations 26 – 29 “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
In Genesis 1 verse 27
“So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him male and female he created them.”
In the beginning we were both equal. In Jesus who came to redeem the world we are once again restored. All equal.
Isn’t it about time we all realised that?