The first woman carried a lot on her shoulders—by encouraging her husband to rebel against God, she helped bring suffering and ruin upon her children and all their descendants. Yet she found hope in the same promised Seed that we all look to.
I’ve always been intrigued by Eve. She was the original “bad girl” of the Bible, and most people think of her legacy as one of sin and despair for all mankind. She has another legacy, however, one of hope in her Seed, the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. Understanding Eve and how God worked in and through her gives us hope and teaches us the importance of looking to Christ.
Eve was created in God’s image just like Adam (Genesis 1:27). She was his equal, yet she had a different role than her husband. God made Eve to be a “helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18).
Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden in perfect harmony. It may be hard for us to imagine today but their marriage was perfect—no disagreements, no harsh words, no forgetting to put the dirty socks in the hamper (oh, wait a minute; they didn’t wear any clothes, so that wouldn’t have been an issue!).
When we deserved eternal death, God promised life through the promised Seed, His Son.
But then two bad decisions changed all that. Eve was deceived by the serpent (1 Timothy 2:14) and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then urged Adam to do the same (Genesis 3:6). Adam’s choice, as the federal head of creation and mankind’s representative, plunged the world into sin, death, and despair (Genesis 3; 1 Corinthians 15:22). Thankfully, at this bleakest moment of human history, a Redeemer is promised!
Genesis 3:15 states, “
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” God showed His gracious, loving, compassionate character to Adam and Eve and all of mankind. When we deserved eternal death, He promised life through the promised Seed, His Son.
I’m sure Eve’s feelings of guilt and remorse were immense. After God described the dreadful consequences of their sin, she must have realized that their sin would negatively impact every human being, along with the rest of creation.
In Genesis 3:16 she was told that she would be cursed in the two relationships that she was designed to draw the most pleasure from—her husband and her children. And yet Eve was given hope. Notice that even though she disobeyed first, it was through her that the Seed, Jesus Christ, would come. Her childbearing would be essential to eventually produce Mary, who would give birth to the Seed who would save repentant sinners.
In Genesis 4 we see evidence of a very different Eve. Instead of waffling on the truth of God’s words as she did in Genesis 3, we see a woman who has hope in God’s promise of a Savior who would crush the serpent. Instead of focusing on her past failures, she clung to God’s promise for the future.
Luther and some other commentators believe that her statement following Cain’s birth, “I have acquired a man from the Lord” (Genesis 4:1), indicates her hope that Cain was the promised Seed that would crush Satan’s head.1 I’m sure she was devastated when Cain killed Abel, but she didn’t give up hope.
Eve had another son and named him Seth (Genesis 4:25). According to the Theological Word Book of the Old Testament, the name Seth means “given” or “appointed,” in this case another seed. Again, her naming of Seth may indicate a hope that he would be the promised Seed.
Seth was not the Promised One, but with Seth’s line “
men began to call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26), and the promised Seed, Jesus Christ, would come from Seth’s line (Luke 3). I believe Eve, through the naming of her sons, showed that she believed God’s word and was looking forward to the promised Seed.
The Curse had devastating effects on the whole world, ultimately resulting in a global, catastrophic flood. Yet God’s promise to Eve was not broken, as He saved righteous Noah and his family on the Ark to continue the lineage leading to the Seed. Even after Noah’s descendants later rebelled at the Tower of Babel and God scattered them over the face of the earth (Genesis 11:9), He was still at work to fulfill His promise.
More than 4,000 years after God made the promise in Genesis 3:15, the Son of God became a man. Imagine how Eve will be rejoicing for all eternity in the realization of the expected Seed, Jesus Christ. Her hope was fulfilled! He died to pay the price for her sin and the sin of all mankind. Then the Seed was resurrected and promised to return someday to end the legacy of sin and despair by destroying Satan and the Curse forever (Revelation 20).
Eve displayed her hope in God’s promised Seed through the naming of her sons. She was looking forward to Christ and the destruction of sin and despair that Adam’s sin had brought upon the world.
Just as Eve did nearly 6,000 years ago, we too have a choice concerning our own legacies. Will we choose to be like Eve at the Fall and not obey God’s Word, which leads to a legacy of sin and despair? Or will we choose to be like Eve when she named her sons and evidenced hope in the Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to save us?
The importance of choosing the right legacy becomes especially relevant to women with respect to the teaching of our children. Whether those children are biological or spiritual, our legacy affects them.
No matter what our sins and shortcomings in the past, may we, like Eve, believe God’s Word and look to Christ, the author of our salvation (Hebrews 5:9). As men and women made in God’s image, may we make the authority of God’s Word central in our lives so that we may glorify Christ and instruct children who will do the same and change the world for Christ.