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Who Was Eve in the Bible? Exploring Her Temptation, Disappointment, and Hope

Who was Eve in the Bible? Eve’s name appears only four times in Scripture (Genesis 3:20, 4:1 – 2; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:13). Yet this one person set off the greatest human tragedy, the greatest act of redemption, and the greatest hope known to humanity. Before we discover the gold in Eve’s story, we need to remember one thing: we still walk in Eve’s shoes, and we can relate to her guilt and disappointment. If we are wise, her hope will become our hope, too.

Adam must be in the picture when we investigate who Eve was. Adam and Eve were humanity…all of humanity at that moment in time. They were the “original model,” if you will. To totally separate these two people results in serious misunderstandings about the fall of humanity, the marriage relationship, the value of a woman, and her place in the world. Adam and Eve were different yet one. They were both marvelously created by the hand of God, equal but unique.

Adam and Eve were distinctive in creation, not like animals. God made male and the female “in his image” (Genesis 1:26) and chose to relate to them as an authority and a friend. Adam and Eve were co-offenders when they sinned. Paul’s explanation of how sin came into the world makes this clear. We cannot heap the blame upon Eve alone.

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” (Romans 5:12-14, ESV)

Eve’s Life in the Garden

In Genesis 1, the narrative of the creation includes the male and female, and God pronounces the creation good. But in the next chapter we read a startling statement: “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:18). The writer rewinds and inserts important information about the state of the man immediately after he was created. ”It was not good.” Adam, as a solitary being, was not going to thrive.

Then we read the details of Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib. Eve was not a lesser creation because she came after Adam. Creating Eve did not diminish Adam in any way. In other words, he was not “saddled with a woman.” She was created out of him, especially for him. The proper understanding would be that God gave Adam an indispensable helper, a perfect fit. And together they were more than they could be alone. The synergy of the relationship between them, combined with their intimacy with God, resulted in the rich, full life that God pronounced very good.

Eve had life at her fingertips. She knew God face to face; she walked with God without fear, worry, or stress. She was innocent of the things that we think of as worldly. All she knew of the world was perfection. And most importantly: she knew God! They even recognized His footsteps when He came to them after they had sinned (Genesis 3:8). They had a remarkable friendship which blessed God as well as Adam and Eve. How do we come to that conclusion? Just look at what God did to restore what He had with Adam and Eve!


“She knew God face to face; she walked with God without fear, worry, or stress.”


We should not overlook the importance of what Eve had when she “knew God” and related to Him face to face. After the fall of humanity, this state of blessedness is exactly what mankind sought, and still yearns for today, even if unaware. Heaven is heaven, not because of streets of gold, but because we will be with God for eternity. Throughout Scripture, the concept of knowing God and seeing God is exactly what our walk of faith is about.

For example, the prophet Jeremiah wrote, speaking of King Josiah: “Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 15b-16, ESV). When we know the Lord, all that matters is well.

Here is how Jesus answered Thomas when Thomas was trying to understand how they could ever see God:

“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’” (John 14:5-7, ESV)

Jesus goes onto say, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9, ESV).


“Heaven is heaven, not because of streets of gold, but because we will be with God for eternity.”


Eve walked with the Father, and she didn’t need to know anything else.

Eve’s Temptation, Our Temptation

In his book The Book of Genesis Made Easy, Mark Water makes these simple observations from Genesis 3 about Eve’s sin: “She saw—she desired—she took.”[1] In Genesis 3:1, the serpent is described as shrewd (i.e., crafty or sly). In fact, the serpent is a symbol for treachery (Psalm 58:3-4). The tempter tried the same tactic on Jesus when he was in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1-11), and he uses the same tactics on us today. Paul explained that the believers in Corinth were in danger of the same kind of deception that Eve faced when they wavered from the truth. Imagine the gravity of their twisted thinking if Paul compared their situation to Eve’s!

“I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ! But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” (2 Corinthians 11:1-3)

We do not know every detail or the complete sequence of events around the deception of Adam and Eve. We read that Adam simply took the fruit when she gave it to him. Eve is not described in Scripture as having seduced Adam; the serpent is the tempter. The fact that Paul attributes the fall of humanity to Adam in Romans 5 reveals that Eve was not the deceiver; she, along with Adam, was deceived.


“Paul explained that the believers in Corinth were in danger of the same kind of deception that Eve faced when they wavered from the truth.”


We also do not know how long it took Satan to seduce them. Eve was probably familiar with the serpent and having had no experience of fear up to that point she had no cause not to be around him. Like a child, she seemed unaware of the harm that he could cause. However, Eve was an adult, and she had the ability to know and understand God’s admonitions. She knew God, and she knew those instructions. Remember that we too need to heed the warnings about the cunning deceiver.

Adam may have received God’s instructions regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil before Eve joined him. Whether he related that to Eve or she heard it with her own ears, she knew exactly what God wanted. In fact, the serpent forced her to admit it:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (Genesis 3:1-3)


Who was Eve in the Bible? “She knew God, and she knew those instructions. Remember that we too need to heed the warnings about the cunning deceiver.”


The fruit represented more than just a tasty snack. It offered Adam and Eve a chance to show loyalty to God. Eve’s interpretation of the warning given in Genesis 2:15-18 is even more restrictive in that she added not to even touch the tree. Her answer reveals that she knew the serpent was suggesting she disobey God. She was clear on what God did not want them to do. The serpent led Eve to admit that God was the authority and then proceeded to repudiate that authority.

Eve’s choice was not about the fruit. It was about whether to stand with God or side with the serpent. It would help us to see temptation in this light. Temptation is our chance to tell God, “I am staying with you. I will not reject you, God.”

Eve’s Disappointment, Our Disappointment

Human reasoning without obedience to God is dangerous. Satan appeals to our desires. He places a temptation before us and ignites desire in our hearts. When Eve finally succumbed to her desire, she expected to find something better than her relationship with God. A lie plants false hope that reality will be changed into something else. Much of what is wrong about the world results from hopes and dreams built on the age-old lie that what you desire is something better and you can have it if you reject God’s ways and follow your own way. But rejecting God has never made life better.

In his writing to the church, Peter reminds believers to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Our enemy is dangerous; he is a liar. He will lie about what God’s will is and will push the lie that “sin won’t hurt us.” But we can guarantee that Satan will set a trap by obscuring the stakes of taking the wrong step, even as he did from the start with Eve.


Who was Eve in the Bible? “When Eve finally succumbed to her desire, she expected to find something better than her relationship with God.”


The false hope that attracted Eve was Satan’s claim that she would be like God. Satan was expelled from heaven because he wanted to be God. By tempting Eve with “being like God,” he was tempting her to be her own god; to take control away from God. And that is exactly what every satanic temptation is all about. However, there was no reason she could not have gone to God when the tempter began arguing with her. She could have sought God’s help in her search for how to be like Him. The father of lies blinded her by dangling the bait before her eyes, and she did not walk away. The quest for this knowledge, coming from such a cunning, attractive creature, enticed and distracted Eve from the real goal: rebellion against, and separation from, God.

The serpent not only planted a desire in her heart, but he planted a seed of doubt about God to convince her to take matters (or a piece of fruit) into her own hands. How often do we fall prey to Satan’s tactics? Had Eve sought God’s help with this choice, He would have been there for her. When we invite God into our lives, He is ready to guide, protect, and correct, all according to His love for us and within His infinite wisdom about what is best for us. Adam was not made to be alone. Eve was not made to be alone. And we are not made to handle life on our own either. We can relate to the Psalmist when he wrote, “But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay!” (Psalm 70:5, ESV).


Who was Eve in the Bible? “Had Eve sought God’s help with this choice, He would have been there for her.”


The new reality that Adam and Eve faced was shame, fear, and suffering—experiences they had never known. They now hid from God, something that had never occurred to them before. Their actions destroyed the intimacy between them and God; they now saw each other as naked and felt the impulse to hide. The Creator and His creation were now incompatible. Eve, and her future sisters, would suffer in childbirth. No longer would harmony come easily in human relationships. The earth would now know death. It would be hard to conceive of a greater disappointment than what Adam and Eve—and God—experienced.

Eve’s Hope, Our Hope

Adam and Eve had no idea how to solve their problem. Their only recourse was to hide. Still, God had compassion on them, even though they had rejected Him. He abhorred their sin, but He loved them. He understood their embarrassment and provided clothing for them. But God offered more than a wardrobe; He offered a solution that would one day restore the relationship between God and humanity, with God Himself covering the cost.

When He pronounced punishment upon Adam, Eve, and the serpent, God also offered hope for all humanity—something only a Sovereign God of love could conceive of. In Genesis 3:15, God told the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The story of creation and the Fall cannot be separated from the promise of a Savior. Despite Eve’s misstep and the rejection of her Creator, God gave a woman the honor of carrying the seed of the Savior. Covering their sin revealed the depth and width of His mercy and grace, and God did it through Jesus—who showed the world who God is.


Who was Eve in the Bible? “Despite Eve’s misstep and the rejection of her Creator, God gave a woman the honor of carrying the seed of the Savior.”


Every single human being—past, present, or future—will come to realize the guilt of their own sin. Thanks to God’s invitation in Christ, the decision of whether to continue to live under the curse of the Fall, or to walk into the new reality of salvation and hope is ours. Eve learned the danger of listening to the father of lies. But she, and we, find our hope in listening to the Father of love. His life and His sacrifice mean a new life for us.

What Would Eve Tell Us Today?

Advice from Eve might go something like this:

“What was it like? I wonder how can I help you understand in a way that makes sense. To be with God in the garden was joy. It was wonderful to walk with Him and talk with Him. Even when He was teaching and sharing His will with us, He was kind and loving. He told us how He had created the world and everything in it. We knew God’s power—controlled power. Like the power of a rushing river, white water foaming over the rocks, so much more power than you could imagine. Yes, it might have felt intimidating, but more than afraid of His power, we found it reassuring. And we loved His stories. We felt safe and comforted by Him, like how a soft warm fur coat feels to the skin.”

With that, Eve suddenly stops as she realizes what she has said. Her hands go to her face as she begins to sob. “How could we have given up what we had? We were so foolish. We broke His heart.” Her eyes darken in regret. “We were deceived. But that is no excuse! We had everything we could have ever wanted. We knew Him, but we did not know our own power—the power to destroy our own lives. If we had thought about it, if we had gone to Him before we did what we did, He would have advised us like a loving father. We knew Him, and we knew we could trust Him. And yet, our pride made us into fools. Now we understand that knowing Him was all that mattered.”


“We knew Him, and we knew we could trust Him. And yet, our pride made us into fools.”


Eve looks up, directly into my eyes, and says, “Do not be fooled. If you have God, He is enough; He is everything.


[1] Mark Water, The Book of Genesis Made Easy, in The Made Easy Series (Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd, 2000) 18.

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