I had the privilege of reading Reclaiming Eve:The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God. Below is an excerpt from that work. Visit HERE to get your copy, today! Also, you can read a Q&A with the authors tomorrow with Beth Bruno!
The Problem of Eve
For years, I nursed a secret grudge against Eve. I don’t remember talking about it openly, and I’m not sure I admitted it even to myself, but I had serious Eve issues. Some of them were almost comical; others were downright disastrous. Only in the last few years have I begun to realize where my thoughts on Eve went wrong.
As a single woman who longed for a godly husband, I suppose I first resented the fact that Eve didn’t have to use an online dating site to find Adam. I envied the absolute assuredness that they were made for each other. Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. Sigh. Simmering beneath the surface was also the ugly fear that as an unmarried woman I didn’t measure up to God’s ideal. Forget about having kids as my biological clock ticked on: since I couldn’t even find the right Adam, I often felt I hadn’t even passed Womanhood 101.
Then there was Eve’s obvious gullibility factor. All Satan had to do was ask her a question, “Did God really say?” and she was a goner. Never mind the fact that the account in Genesis 3 may have recorded the conversation when it was already halfway through. Or that Adam, too, willingly ate the fruit. I got the impression that Eve was easy prey, making her—and every woman after her—seem somehow inferior.
Finally, my grudge culminated in an outright anger over the effects of sin the first couple ushered in. “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). At the time, the desire for a husband seemed like it would be an outright blessing, rather than a curse. But the “rule over you” part made me feel some- how subservient to every man with whom I came in contact.
I never really brought up my Eve issues in polite conversation. I didn’t exactly hear them covered in a Sunday sermon. And I never managed to bring the specifics to the surface in my counselor’s office.
Yet Eve and the issues she raised in my heart were there, following me wherever I went. These issues caused me to question God’s intentions toward me.
They affected the way I owned (or didn’t own) my role and responsibility in relationships. And many times, they kept me stuck in patterns that resigned me to a self-image that screamed “second best.” Much like my eye doctor prescribes contact lenses to correct my nearsightedness, I would come to see that my Eve vision needed an adjustment to the truth. But at least I wasn’t alone.
A closer study, and even a stroll through Eve’s lengthy Wikipedia page, revealed a troublesome reality: throughout Christian history, Eve was often seen as a temptress. A sexual temptress. This led many church fathers to express the view that women couldn’t be trusted, that they were danger waiting to happen. They were “the devil’s gateway,” said Tertullian, the man who coined the word “Trinity.” Thomas Aquinas claimed that women were inferior to men. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
More troubling to me than the disparaging comments casting Eve as a bad girl was the complete lack of scriptural support to back them up. We’ve got Eve issues, all right, but it’s not the Bible’s fault. Mercifully, God’s Word says, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32). And so I eventually peeled back the pages of Scripture to uncover the truth about the real Eve of Eden.
Along the way, I realized that for many if not most of us, it is Eve’s sin that defines her. Those irrevocable moments when she sought wisdom apart from God. If only she hadn’t listened to the serpent. If only she hadn’t pursued her own self-importance. If only she hadn’t eaten the fruit. If only Adam had stopped her. If only.
Here’s the difficult truth: Eve’s disobedience colors the way we feel about ourselves as women, even when we don’t admit it. I’ll say it again another way. The way you feel about Eve reflects the way you feel about yourself. If Eve is dangerous, you are dangerous. If Eve is gullible, you may be gullible too. If Eve is inferior, then surely something about women in general is simply not up to par.
So, tell me, what’s a girl to do with the problem of Eve?