As a Christian woman, I have always been angered by the way Eve has been used as a tool of oppressive doctrine. For us as Christian women, Eve is the starting point of biblical womanhood. Most Christian feminists have a tough time reconciling the image of Eve in the creation story, with their self awareness of being in no way inferior to men. We ponder that if from the beginning; women were consciously created by God to be inferior to men, then our Feminist beliefs somehow conflict our Christian faith. I write to tell you that as far as “in the beginning” is concerned, there is no conflict.
We have heard the creation story so many times. We’ve heard so many different iterations of the same story, majority of which disdain Eve. It’s either someone is blaming Eve for the fall or someone is referring to her as a temptress who caused Adam to sin, or someone is using her existence to push the narrative that women were made for men as their docile helpmates or aide de camp. They basically use her to assert the idea that from the very beginning; women were plagued with inferiority to men and inherently the ones prone to evil. Some people out-rightly admit and preach this narrative while others are more benevolent and go with subliminal messages.
It appears to be that every Christian knows the Adam and Eve story, but do they? The things I hear regarding Eve really makes me doubt that they do. I hope to give a better understanding of Eve and finally lay to ashes these bogus assumptions that aid this conflicting image. I’ll debunk each of these things I hear one after the other and I hope it makes for better articulation of my points. If at any point in this writing, I appear to sound cantankerous, it was very intended, these narratives have done much damage already. leggo!
I’ve heard people say “Adam was created first and Eve was created after Adam, this should somehow aid the narrative of Adam’s superiority. I mean, shouldn't that count for something?”
This one is just foolishness. No, it doesn’t count for anything. Those with this narrative must realize that the degree of sophistication of God’s creations increased with each new creation, so for what it’s worth, this narrative proves that Eve is God’s most sophisticated creation with Adam sitting comfy in second place. To accept this foolish narrative is to admit inferiority to plants and animals.
Jokes aside, the actual truth lies there in Gen 1; 27–28. The bible says that God created humankind, male and female he created them. He also asked them to have dominion over the earth. Most people don’t actually realize that both male and female were created at the same time. They were however formed at different times (Gen 2). Formed and Created are two different things.
I’ve heard people say “Well Eve was created to be Adam’s help mate so obviously, Adam has the higher calling, while Eve is the support”
I don’t blame the people with this view point actually. I blame the patriarchal bias in Hebrew to English bible translation. Gen 2:18 actually reads; later, the Lord God said, “it’s not good for the man to be alone, I will make the woman to be his Ezer Kegnendo” Biased translations change “ I will make the woman” to become “I will make for him a woman.” They also mildly interpret Ezer Kegnendo to mean helper or help mate. Ezer Kenegdo actually means rescuer of equal matching. Ezer is the same Hebrew word used to describe God as our rescuer many times in the old testament. In no way does it mean domesticity or assistance. Ezer is used to denote superior strength or higher competence.
The International Standard Version is one of the few bible versions that have a close to accurate interpretation of this verse, it goes; later, the Lord God said, “it’s not good for the man to be alone, I will make the woman to be an authority corresponding to him.
I’ve heard people say “Well Eve was an afterthought so therefore women are an afterthought”
First of all, hell no! she wasn’t. Gen 1:27–28 lets us know that male and female were created at the same time. God’s perfect picture and will for humankind was female and male. They were also made for the same assignment and with equal authority. This is why Eve was called a rescuer.
When God says the man was alone and it was not good, he isn’t saying Adam was bored, unable to tend the garden or something shallow of that sort. He was declaring that Adam existing alone fell short of his perfect will and picture for humankind, this will was a community of oneness. Eve rescued Adam into oneness with her, she rescued him into the perfect will of God for humankind.
This “community of oneness” will of God is the fundamental expectation from the church after Christ came. Which is why the church is referred to as one body. Adam and Eve were the first expression of this oneness.
I’ve heard people say “Well, Eve was not created in the image of God, Adam was”
This one is just not biblical. Gen 1:27 So God created humankind in God’s own image; in God’s own image God created them; God created them male and female.
I’ve heard people say “Eve was made from Adam’s rib. Think about it, one small part of Adam brought out Eve”
This one is just plain’ol male ego. This narrative removes God’s participation from the equation and exalts Adam’s DNA. Wow! So awesome a rib.
The original text has no mention of rib. The hebrew word tslea means side not rib. Eve was drawn from Adam’s side.
The rib theology came about by a man called Rabbi Joshua, who wrote, “God deliberated from what member He would create woman, and He reasoned within Himself thus: I must not create her from Adam’s head, for she would be a proud person, and hold her head high. If I create her from the eye, then she will wish to pry into things; if from the ear, then she will wish to hear all things; if from the mouth she will talk much; if from the heart, she will envy people; if from the head, she will desire to make all things; if from the feet, she will be a gadabout. Therefore, I will create her from the member which is hid, that is the rib, which is not even seen when man is naked.”
Can you imagine such fallacious thinking?
I’ve heard people say “Eve was drawn from Adam not the other way around, that should count for something?”
Once again, It doesn’t. Eve was drawn from Adam to show oneness. They were one and the same, it wasn’t to signify hierarchy. Paul clarifies this in 1st Cor 11:12 For just as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. Not once was hierarchy mentioned in the Genesis account rather oneness was (bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh) and equality was (kenegdo)
Now to the weirdest point people make regarding Eve. “Eve is to blame because she ate first and asked Adam to eat too. This is why God cursed her saying her desire will now be to her husband”
First of all,The bible explicitly blames Adam for the fall not Eve. Adam is held responsible for the sin as his act was a direct rebellion to God, not from lack of knowledge, like his wife.
Before Eve was formed, Adam was specifically told not to eat of the tree. He knew directly from God that it was wrong. Yet, he was right by Eve’s side and he let her eat of the tree and went ahead to eat himself. He wasn’t far away from Eve when the devil tempted her, she was right by his side. She didn’t rebel against God, Adam did. She was foolish and forward while Adam was rebellious. Sin isn’t foolishness or forwardness, sin is rebellion against God.
1st Cor 15: 21–22 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
The bible is clear on this. The “blaming of Eve” type ideologies gathered momentum in the middle ages. The church dogma laid the blame for the fall of humankind at the feet of women. Terms like lustful daughters of Eve became popular lingo. This type of thinking holds no water, they are fickle political gimmicks seeking credibility for patriarchy in Christianity.
Many theologians agree that God didn’t curse Adam and Eve. God pretty much listed the consequence of their sins while letting them know these consequences will be allowed to play out.
The accurate translation of Genesis 3: 16 is “your turning will now be to your husband and he shall rule over you” “desire” is a weak translation. She was going to turn away from God and turn to her husband instead. Patriarchy entered the world through sin.
It wasn’t God’s will for Female/male relationship rather a consequence of their fallen nature. God sent Adam out of the Garden of Eden, Eve wasn’t sent out, Eve followed her husband, the effect of patriarchy had already begun. She turned away from God and followed her husband.
Adam in his fallen rebellious nature was going to use her new turning to rule over her. As a Christian woman, to live with a man who rules over you, is to drop your rights in Christ and embrace the very fallen nature Christ died to eradicate.
To explain this further will mean a lengthier write up, and I don’t want to write a long ass epistle either, so, I’ll leave it right here for now.
The point is simple. There is simply no argument for hierarchy or male superiority in the creation story, it’s all patriarchal nonsense that has no actual biblical weight. There is No conflict, The Eve that God made would want you to be a feminist.
Words by Damilola Onosowobo Marcus to read more of her thoughts, follow her on Twitter (@dammymarcus)