Sunday, February 9, 2014

Celebrating Mother Eve

We are studying the Old Testament this year in Sunday School and today's lesson focused on The Fall... the event that began when Eve succumbed to temptation and partook of the forbidden fruit. Throughout recorded history Eve, and by extension all women to some extent, has been labeled as vile, sinful and inferior for that act.  And that has always bothered me.  It doesn't ring true.

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden courtesy of
Adam and Eve were given two command-ments in the Garden of Eden.  They were told to "be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth."  (Genesis 1:28)  And they were told not to eat the fruit of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil."  (Genesis 2:16-17)  Those commands are in opposition to each other.  Had Eve, and then later Adam, not eaten the fruit they would have remained in the garden in a state of eternal innocence... in effect as children and not as the head of the human race.

We know that during the time they were in the garden, they had daily access to God's presence and direction.  I like to think that He was teaching and preparing them for that great day of choice.  And I believe that it was something Eve did not enter into lightly.  I believe she had made it a matter of much study, thought and questioning and while she may not have understood all that was entailed she did not do it blindly.  Think for a moment about the order of God's actions.  He created the earth, and all of the things needed to sustain life here before He placed man in the garden.  These were not random acts, but show that there was an ordered and well thought out plan in place.  Did God's planning for His human family suddenly stop?

Photo courtesy of
Detail of a piece thought to have been carved by the Flemish sculptor
and medalist Guillielmus Paludanus in 1567 as part of a chimney mantle-
piece in his Antwerp, Belgium home.  Adam and Eve are being attended
by God, the Father. It is described as espousing the virtue of love.
That it would defies reason.  We trust the He is eternal and unchangeable.  The things He has created are orderly and harmonious and show great thought and intelligence.  I believe Eve's actions were part of His grand plan and part of what He schooled them in during their daily walks and talks in the garden.  Had they not partaken, the gift of mortality would not have come to them, they would have had no posterity and therefore the the greater of their commands from the Lord would not have been fulfilled.  Yes... The Fall brought pain, sorrow, and death to Adam and Eve but it also brought them the blessings of knowledge, mortal life, family and the opportunity to have a close relationship with Jesus Christ.

A portrayal of Adam's and Eve's family courtesy of

Had they remained in the garden they would have known no sin, no pain, no sadness, no death...  Maybe that sounds pretty great until you consider that without these things there would have been no joy, happiness, pleasure, fun or relief because without the opposite to compare and contrast they would not have known what those things are.

And we wouldn't be here (unless God had a backup plan for that!).  Notice it's after they have left the garden that the Bible tell us "Adam knew Eve."  The word translated as 'knew' is a euphemism for the acts that lead to conceiving a child, which she did, (Genesis 4 speaks directly of Cain and Abel but we know they had many children.)  AFTER they had been expelled from the garden.

In light of all the she did, maybe we should start looking at Eve as being a righteous and courageous helpmeet to Adam!  Someone, even, that we should give serious study and consideration as we choose heroes to emulate.  She gave each of us some pretty great gifts... and I find myself awed and reverenced by her role in bringing about my eventual salvation.  And I feel a new sense of gratitude toward Mother Eve!

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