Eve Avenged

Woman utters seven words, which declare, “I have been stripped of my dignity, worth, and power by this, my enemy.” Woman confesses her sin and laid her shame bare before the Lord.

No one in history has been more distressed than Woman that day. Why? Because Woman lost everything. In order to lose everything, one must first have everything. Until that moment, Woman had never experienced anything beyond perfect harmony, capability, and utter satisfaction.

If you consider her purpose as in-the-nick-of-time helper, Woman’s sin was ultimately a mis-application of her God-given position and power. I don’t know about you, but nothing wrenches my soul like hurting someone I’m supposed to help.

Woman’s confession was not a beggarly excuse from someone who is weak and incapable. It’s a plea for understanding from the only One who could fathom the depth of her sorrow and loss.

What an invitation. Without hesitation, God confronts Woman’s Enemy and defends her with breath-taking accuracy. He declares a blood feud between Woman and Satan. And He pronounces Satan’s ultimate destruction.

If that sounds unimpressive to you, think back to the last time God declared something. “Let there be light” had immediate and comprehensive effect (Gen. 1:3).

Have you ever wondered why it seems that Satan has it out for you personally? Why he just won’t leave you alone? Satan is fighting so hard because he is a cornered, wounded animal whose doom has been pronounced. He has lost. His time is running out. He knows it. And you are an echo of the original Woman.

God’s vengeance encompasses the enemy that Woman knows about (Mr. Snake) as well as the enemy of creation itself (Satan). You know who else it encompasses? Woman’s faithless husband, Adam.

God reclaims all the dignity that Woman lost to her three accusers. He corroborates her claim of being cheated (Gen. 3:14), letting all three know that God is not deceived by any of them.

He lays no blame on the Woman (Gen. 3:16-17), despite laying blame both on the serpent (Gen. 3:14) and Adam (Gen. 3:17). God declares Woman the conduit for Satan’s destruction through her descendant, Jesus Christ (Gen. 3:15).

Then God returns to Woman the dignity of life-giver (Gen. 3:16) and describes the desire she will always have to return to perfect unity of relationship with her children and her husband (Gen. 3:16).

After God’s thorough defense of Woman, including His pronouncement of Adam’s sin and consequences, Adam repents and reclaims his wife. He names her Chavvah, which means life-giver. He gives her a name that describes her vengeance from God. Every time someone hears it, they will be reminded of the time God Almighty defended her. Talk about being clothed in dignity!

Eve’s vengeance is complete. She, Adam, Mr. Snake, Satan and God all know it. But Eve is still in danger from two quarters. She and Adam:

  • Ate the forbidden fruit, which demands death as payment (Gen. 1:17), and
  • Might eat the fruit from the Tree of Life, which gives eternal life (Gen. 3:22).

God addresses the first threat by appeasing the requirement with a substitute—an animal whose blood mitigates Adam and Eve’s guilt and whose skin covers them from the now-difficult terrain and temperatures of Earth (Gen. 3:21). Why did He bother? Due to the nature of God’s vengeance for Eve, she cannot die childless. He clothed her to facilitate her continued life and vengeance.

God addresses the second threat by sending Adam and Eve out of the Garden and setting a cherubim guard over the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22-24). Why? Up until now, the Tree wasn’t forbidden, but since Adam and Eve are now vulnerable to the warring options and desires of good and evil, God protected them from bearing the weight of sin for all time.

Eve: Facing the Music

Paradise—freedom, intimacy, contentment, soul-filling work without sweat or toil, as well as unity between man and woman, animals and earth, humanity and earth, creation and Creator. Even the temperature’s so perfect that nudity is not only an option, but lovely, comfortable, and slimming.

Then suddenly, with one bite, nudity is embarrassing. Intimacy is no longer comfortable and welcome. Schisms form in a marriage formerly composed of respect and nick-of-time coordination.

Two details that we need to understand at this point are 1) Adam and Woman have never had trust issues before and 2) Woman does not know Satan exists. Neither has she any reason to despise or fear snakes.

So back to the Tree. What’s so bad about knowing good v. bad? The Hebrew word for knowledge in this verse connotes an openness or experience (“Damah”). An availability to both good and evil. Whereas creation was protected from evil and provided good, there is now a leak and creation is doomed to experience both.

Similarly, Adam and Woman now experienced the duality of their form—spirit (Gen. 2:7b) and dust (Gen. 2:7a)—in contrast to the utter holiness of God. No wonder they reached for the nearest fig leaf. Now they knew there was an otherness, a separateness between themselves and God, but also between each other.

Enter God, stage right. He, as the all-knowing Creator, is not surprised at this shift. But rather than descending in power and accusation, He continues in the pattern of their relationship, inviting them to join Him for a walk (Gen. 3:8). When they do not appear, He calls to them (Gen. 3:9).

Imagine what would have happened if Adam and Woman had broken cover and run to Him, spilling out their fear and shame and confusion. That’s what God is inviting them to do. Instead, they hid and He drew them out.

When questioned by God, Adam does not take responsibility for his choice. He accuses God of dooming paradise by creating Woman. Remember, Woman was once perfect, made to match, help, and save Adam from the not-good-ness of being alone.

This is the first time something false has been spoken over Woman’s identity. You know how that feels because you’ve grown up in a fallen and false world full of sin. Imagine the sheer pain, shame, terror, and aloneness Woman felt. For the first time.

Her purpose and calling just rejected her in the presence of the Creator who could obliterate her with a word.

For those of you who consider the God of the Old Testament to be overly trigger-happy in the fire and brimstone department, let this sink in: instead of speaking Woman out of creation, God asks for her side of the story.

Her answer is surprisingly simple: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:13). Unlike Adam’s answer, Woman conveys the facts of the situation: she was deceived and she chose to disobey.

The word she chose to use was hathal (“Hathal”). It means to deride, cheat, or mock (“Deceived”). Her confession isn’t simply an admission of her own guilt; it was an admission of what she lost at the hands of the serpent.

Think about it: when you’re bamboozled, even in fun, you feel smaller, stupid. Depending on the scam, people lose time, a bit of money, or everything. But no matter what size scam, there’s a little piece of you that feels less capable, intelligent, and powerful than it did before you were cheated.

That’s what Woman is describing. She’s not denying her choice. But she’s also telling the full, behind-the-scenes story. And guess what?

Woman had the ear of the Creator God who designed her to embody power and dignity. And Satan had just messed with her.

 

Strong, James. “Damah.” The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996. Print.

— “Deceived.” The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996. Print.

— “Hathal.” The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996. Print.