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The Story of Eve

This essay is a follow up to the Extraordinary Women of the Bible study. We recommend first completing your lesson and discussing it with your group before reading this post.

apple on a tree

Who are you looking at?
By: Amanda Hickernell

Imagine that you are in the middle of an art museum. In front of you is a painting depicting a war, like Picasso’s Guernica. It's awful. It shows death, dismemberment and gore. As you study it, you begin to frown and your shoulders slump. You start to despair so you turn around to look at the painting behind you. It’s Monet’s Water Lilies. Ahhh, that’s much better! Your body begins to relax as you stare at the pastel blotches of paint. You let out a deep breath as you gaze at the calm pond. You even begin to smile.

The action of turning from Guernica to Water Lilies is like turning from sin to God. Staring at our sin and our circumstances gives us negative emotions like anxiety, worry, fear, and doubt. But turning to look at God gives us positive feelings like peace, joy, hope, and confidence. Staring at sin and death reminds us that we are not in control and that we lack the power to overcome anything. Staring at God, though, reminds us that He is all-powerful and that He has already provided victory over death through Jesus. It is surprisingly easy to get caught up in our sin, but the antidote is simple: look at the character of God. As we study Eve’s story, we will see this truth.

Genesis chapter 1 says “God created man in his own image,” He blessed Adam & Eve, and “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed.” Eve was the pinnacle of God’s creation and was flawless inside and out. She was given a perfect home that had every kind of plant, tree and fruit. She was given a perfect partner in Adam who adored her and protected her. She was given a job to which she was perfectly suited: to be Adam’s helper. Best of all, she was given an intimate relationship with her loving creator; with whom she walked naked and unashamed. What a wonderful life in the Garden of Eden. 

So, what happened? How did she go from a perfect life to a life marred by sin? Let’s dissect her conversation with the serpent.

“Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’”
“No! You will certainly not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” – Genesis 3:1-7
Eve made a series of choices that led to her sin. First, she listened to the serpent. Then she believed the serpent. Then she gazed longingly at the fruit and admired its beauty. Then she imagined what it would be like to obtain additional knowledge and wisdom. She could have consulted Adam, since he was probably not too far away, but she didn’t. She could have cried out to God and asked Him if what the serpent said was true, but she didn’t. Instead, she listened to a lie, believed a lie, looked at a lie, lingered with a lie and then desired the lie. She decided that God’s command was not what was best for her and then unconsciously elevated herself to the place of God.
The result was tragic. Eve ate the fruit and gave it to her husband who did the same. Immediately, their fellowship with God was broken. They felt shame and fear instead of joy. They pointed fingers and tried to deny their sinful actions. In Genesis 3:16, God gave them several consequences. Eve would experience pain in childbirth. (Personally, I think it should have said “pain in child-rearing” instead of “pain in childbirth”, but maybe that’s just me.) Eve would also experience difficulty in her relationship with Adam for the rest of her life. She would yearn for him and resent him at the same time. Finally, Adam & Eve had to leave their home, the perfect Garden of Eden.
As we read through the passage, did you notice how quickly Eve’s heart was deceived? Eve had every blessing at her fingertips, but in one short conversation, she forgot God’s goodness. How quickly is your heart deceived? Perhaps you don’t even know! Satan is very good at deceiving us. He takes the God-given gift of emotion, twists it, amplifies it, and it can ruin us in an instant. When have you uttered a harsh word to your husband because you were tired? When have you brushed off a co-worker because you were annoyed? When have you texted something snarky to a friend because you felt overlooked? When have you looked, lingered and desired a lie? This happens practically every time I pull out my phone. When have you listened and believed a lie? This happens to me every time I indulge in a pity party.
The human heart is easily deceived. We are inherently selfish and hardly realize it. When confronted with temptation, we quickly look to our greedy selves instead of God. When confronted with temptation, we easily elevate ourselves to the place of God, thinking we know what is best. Friends, remember this: God created every fiber of your being and He absolutely knows what is best for you!
When we are caught staring at our sin, what can we do? The antidote to a deceived human heart is to look at the character of God. In Genesis 3, God reveals his character by how he reacts to the situation. Remember, Adam & Eve have just sinned for the very first time, absolutely shattering the perfect fellowship God had with them. Here is what God did:
  • God walked calmly. He didn’t run, stomp or barge. He showed restraint.
  • God called out “Where are you?” instead of “You two get over here this instant!” He softly and gently called out to them, reminding them that He is their loving Father. He showed tenderness.
  • God asked “What happened?” rather than “I know what just happened and you two are in big trouble!” Before doling out the consequences, God invited them to confess their sin. He even did it twice: once to Adam and then once to Eve. He showed gentleness.
  • God curses the serpent but only gives consequences to Adam & Eve. While God warns that childbirth will now be quite painful, He still gives Eve the blessing of being the mother of all mankind. He showed mercy and grace.
  • God promised that the woman’s offspring would crush the head of the serpent. We now know that God is referring to Jesus, His one and only Son, who died on the cross and rose again. Jesus’ death paid the penalty for our sins, and His resurrection defeated Satan and death. Through Eve’s offspring, God provided a way for the fellowship of God and man to one day be restored. He showed redemption.
  • God made clothing out of animal skins for Adam & Eve to wear. God performed the first sacrifice, and killed His precious creation, to cover up the sins of His children. He showed sacrificial love.
  • God banished Adam & Eve from the garden and placed an angel to guard the entrance, which prevented them from returning and eating from the Tree of Life. If they had done so, their bodies would have lived forever and there would be no hope of reuniting with God. He showed protection.

In just 16 verses, we see that God is restrained, tender, gentle, gracious, merciful, sacrificially loving, our protector and our redeemer. Oh what a great God!

When we dwell on God’s character, our circumstances become less scary and our sin is less appealing. We dwell on God's character by studying God’s Word, walking in Godly counsel, and practicing God’s commands. When we study God’s Word, we become intimately familiar with our creator and savior. As you read the stories of these extraordinary women, look specifically for the words and actions of God and think about what they reveal about His character. Walking in Godly counsel is talking regularly to a trusted friend or relative who is listening to the Holy Spirit. Ask them to point our where you are blinded by your sin and allow them to pray for you. We practice God’s commands when we fill our mind with the character of God. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” - Deuteronomy 6:5-9

When negative emotions arise, identify what you’re staring at. If you are staring at sin and temptation, then turn and look to the character of God. His character will never disappoint you.

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  • Lucia on

    This is a very interesting course. Love the 8 characters and the methodology in the book. A lot opportunities for participation for everybody and a great insight.

  • Amanda Hickernell on

    Oh thank you, Ms. Sally! I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Hugs to you!

  • Sally Henneberger on

    This is so wonderful and insightful!! I loved it!

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