Last weekend I was asked to speak at a woman's luncheon for Mother's Day. When I inquired as to what they wished for a subject matter they left it up to me. So I thought about it for a day or so. Then I came up with Eve. Why not? Afterall she was the mother of us all. Since I've never heard a Mother's Day Sermon on this topic I decided I'd tackle it myself.
Woman are important to God and He makes that very clear thru His written Word. Even so, the message gets clouded by the cultures. In the Eastern culture we know that women are surpressed. In the Western culture women are aggressive and domineering more than ever. During the days of Christ the Jews kept their women as subservient. I heard that that it's written about the Torah that it would be better to burn it than to teach it to women!
But what does the bible say about woman's role in society? What is their purpose? Jesus did much to elevate women during His time on earth and they loved Him. It was to a woman He first announced He was the Messiah. It was to women He first revealed Himself as risen from the dead. He delivered at least one woman from unjust justice.
Women were used mightily by God. I think of Rahab who God used to save two spies facing sure death as a result if caught. I think of Miriam who was a prophetess and ministered alongside her brother Moses. Deborah was a judge and leader who was chosen to deliver God's people during the terrible days of the Judges. Esther helped save her people, the Jews, from sure extermination and Lydia was a business woman who was instrumental in starting a first century church out of her home.
So we come to Eve. We know very little of this first lady. We do know she was God's final creative work in the first week. She was also a companion for Adam. But there's more.
Everything started out well in the garden although it didn't end that way thanks to Eve and her husband. Eve led her husband into direct violation of God's revealed will to them. So they were banished from Paradise. She is a very human portraid of falling into sin but also of picking up the faith afterwards.
She was created for a unique role in creation. She was to minister to Adam and with Adam being his help-mate. She was designed to complete him as well as assist him. We read this in Genesis 1:26-28:
"And God said Let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them. And God blessed them and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."
Did you see the word "them?" This was for both of them. A job for two. These things were too great for them to do alone. We see a few things about God's purposes for mankind here.
1. To be like Him; to reflect God's image in creation. It took both of them to do this. We think of God as a He and that pronoun is used but it takes both man and woman to accurately reflect God's image. We think of God as mighty, powerful, just, logical, strong, etc. but He's also depicted in scripture as loving, tenderhearted, merciful, gracious etc. We see both male and female characteristics in Him.
2. They were to rule over creation. They were given authority over all the earth. Together.
3. They were to reproduce; be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth. Together.
So zooming in on Eve let's look at why she was created. What is her purpose for being created? Gen 2:18-22:
"And the Lord said It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them and whatsoever Adam called every living creature that was the name. And Adam gave names to all cattle and to the fowl of the air and to every beast of the field but for Adam there was not found a helper for him. And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept and he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman and brought her to the man."
1. Adam was not complete by himself.
2. It was not good. Even in Paradise something was not good. Seven times, it was mentioned in the first chapter after God created, God said that "it was good" until we get here to 2:18 which says "it was not good."
3. Man was completed with need. He was created incomplete. He was made complete with Eve.
4. She was to be a helper suitable for him.
Looking a bit further we can see some principles for the marriage relationship right here that brought this first couple together in Holy Matrimony.
"And Adam said this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh."
We see that God brought Eve to Adam. It wasn't Adam's job to find a mate which makes me wonder looking around today at all the broken marriages. How many consulted God in the choosing of their mate? What would it have been like if they did? God know more than we do so why don't we ask Him first?
Unlike the animals she was like him. She was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. She was perfect for him. The relationship necessitated him to leave his mother and father. Obviously this was meant for future generations because these two were a special first couple with no parents. This marriage required cleaving and the Hebrew word implies "to be joined by commitment." Marriage is a commitment not a feeling or an emotion. We need to stick it out, stay together and work things out as much as possible with us.
Marriage results in being one together. This one flesh points to the physical body but in principle also includes all that a person is; mind, emotions, will etc. One cares for the other as one would care for oneself.
And marriage results in nakedness without shame. They had no shame. They were naked and it was good. This, again, goes beyond the physical. We need to be open and up front with each other. There should be no hiding, no secrets from each other.
So everything started out well. Until Eve was tempted. Then everything changed. She entered into a discussion with a serpent. Is it no wonder women and snakes don't get along today? We'll start there next time.