Late in the twentieth century some very clever and highly qualified scientists proposed a theory, and it was never more than a theory, suggesting that the evolutionary descent on the female side could be traced back a vast number of years to a single individual, whom they entitled mitochondrial-Eve. They could have saved themselves a great deal of time, expense, and research if they had picked up a Bible and just read the first three chapters, which explain in remarkably simple language how the God of eternity, and of creation, formed the first man and the first woman. It would seem that Adam was so named by God as indicating his origin from the earth. Eve, meaning life or life giver, was named by Adam as being the ‘mother of all living’, Gen. 3. 20; ergo, the scientists’ problem is solved, not by an alternative theory, but by indisputable historical fact!
The brief, yet complete, record of man’s creation utterly refutes the atheistic conjectures of ‘science falsely so called’. We stand in awe as we see Adam formed by the hand of the Master craftsman; only dust, yet ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’. Both Adam and Eve were unique in their origin. No conception, no infancy, no parental home, but fully formed, able to relate to their environment and to communicate with each other and with God. There is no doubt that the Apostle Paul accepted without question the Genesis record of Adam and Eve. On more than one occasion in his writings, to which we will refer later, the apostle takes our minds back to Eden in support and explanation of both doctrine and practice. Such God-given order could hardly be substantiated by myths and legends. It would be akin to explaining the work of salvation from the writings of Homer or Euripides!
At some time during the sixth day of creation, with the universe fully functioning, the earth adorned and supporting plant and animal life, Adam was created in the image of God, entirely distinct from the existing creation. Although the animals brought before and named by Adam were formed ‘out of the ground’, having many of the same chemical elements as himself, there was none found with which he could have true companionship and fellowship. In view of this, God revealed His final creation work, a suitable help, to complement the man, that together they could fulfil the divine purpose as the creator intended.
To accomplish this, a remarkable surgical operation was performed. The Almighty did not need to craft His design in this way, He could as easily have spoken a word and brought Eve into being. But in order to establish a unique bond between the man and the woman, or perhaps better, husband and wife, He took from Adam’s side a part of him to complete the creation programme and endow with typical significance for all time the sanctity of the marriage relationship. Adam could now say with absolute probity, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh’, a statement endorsed and upheld by the Lord Jesus, when, in Mark chapter 10, He said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder’, vv. 7-9. The Apostle Paul would later take up the theme in Ephesians chapter 5, as a beautiful picture of Christ and the church, the ‘great mystery’ revealed, with lessons in loving submissiveness and sanctification, leading again, in verse 31, to the direct quotation from Genesis chapter 2 verse 24, thus confirming the validity and importance of the Genesis record.
Again, when seeking to establish the truth of headship to the Corinthian believers, the apostle reminds them of the relevance of creation order. ‘For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man’, Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man, 1 Cor. 11. 8, 9. However, lest this should appear to be in any way prejudicial to the woman, the apostle then states what is apparent and observable in verses 11 and 12. ‘Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God’. It goes without saying that in our modern society where long and well-established standards are being jettisoned, where Christianity is vilified and immoral behaviour is promoted and legalized, that the principles laid down in scripture for the well ordering of human relationships are mocked and ridiculed or simply ignored. Yet nowhere in scripture is there any suggestion that the woman is inferior to the man, either intellectually, morally, or rationally. The only allowance made is in physical strength, which, in itself, enhances the attractiveness of the husband-and-wife relationship, 1 Pet. 3. 7.
Eve is only mentioned twice by name in the New Testament. In 2 Corinthians chapter 11, the apostle is at pains to assure the Corinthian believers that, notwithstanding the correctional tone of his first letter, they were very dear to his heart. Bearing in mind the moral, doctrinal, and practical matters dealt with in his previous correspondence, his desire for them was their purity of life until such time as they entered the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the apostle was well aware that followers of Christ have an adversary, an inveterate enemy, the father of lies and the master of deception. Paul had already reminded his readers that ‘we are not ignorant of his devices’, 2 Cor. 2. 11. The danger was that false teachers were in the vicinity, preaching ‘another Jesus’, motivated by ‘another spirit’, resulting in ‘another gospel’, all of which were contrary to those things taught by the apostle.
Paul was in no doubt concerning the source of this falsehood, the serpent was just as active and subtle as in Eden’s garden where he ‘beguiled Eve’. It is interesting to observe the many lessons which can be learned throughout scripture by reference to the early chapters of Genesis. They serve to emphasize that the plan and purpose of the omniscient God was in place and operational from the foundation of the world; yet dismissed as allegorical or fictitious by godless minds. This, in itself, is evidence that the arch-deceiver is still fully employed, ‘blind[ing] the minds of them which believe not’.
It was Eve’s mind that Satan focused upon in the garden, causing her to question what God had said, casting doubt upon her interpretation of the divine decree in relation to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eventually, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life took over, the deception succeeded, Eve took of the fruit, gave also to Adam, who was not deceived, but acted consciously, and sin entered the world! As Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together in view of their newfound knowledge, it is very doubtful that they understood the enormity of what they had done. From this point on, all who would be born into the world would be tainted by Adam’s fall. All, that is, except one, and He would be the seed of the woman that should bruise the serpent’s head. Satan’s death warrant was signed in Eden, it was sealed at Calvary, and it will be delivered in a day yet future, set by divine decree, Rev. 20. 10. It is perhaps apposite to note that deception has been the weapon of choice for the adversary throughout history. From the successful deception of Eve, down the course of time, right on until after his binding in millennial days, when, on his release from prison, the first thing he does is ‘go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth’. Unrepentant, unreformed, and unchanged.
Among the instructions given by Paul to Timothy for the well-ordering of the assembly at Ephesus, the question of roles and responsibilities for both the men and the women are considered, 1 Tim. 2. 8 - 3. 16. The silence and subjection enjoined upon the woman have motivated some to accuse Paul of misogyny, and of expressing his own opinion, detrimental to women. However, in order to substantiate his teaching, he takes the reader back once more to Eden. In chapter 2 verse 13, he states the creation order, ‘Adam was first formed, then Eve’. In the following verse, it was the woman who, being deceived, took precedence in the transgression. What Eve did was to step outside of her divinely appointed sphere. There is no suggestion that Adam would not have fallen if the tempter had approached him instead of Eve, but it was Satan’s intention to disrupt divine order, and this was achieved. However, the responsibility for bringing sin into the world was attributed to Adam, ‘as by one man sin entered into the world’, Rom. 5. 12.
As a result of the fall, changes were inevitable. For the woman, the difference would have a direct impact on childbearing, that which was her exclusive domain. Eve would not bear a child until Cain was born in chapter 4. The pain accompanying that experience would call to mind the words of the Almighty, ‘in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children’, a permanent reminder of her part in the fall. For the man, no longer would the ground yield produce and fruit with the bounty of Eden’s garden. Toil and sweat, thorns and thistles would hinder his efforts to provide for his family.
Returning to Paul’s teaching regarding the divine order, 1 Tim. 2. 15, he considers the experience of a godly husband and wife, continuing in faith toward God, charity toward others, and holiness with sobriety in their daily walk. For the wife, accepting the headship of her husband, bringing up children in the fear of the Lord, she is seen fulfilling her true purpose and, in that sense, she is revealing the outworking of her salvation. The apostle could just as easily have said that, for the man, he shall be saved through the sweat of his face, as he likewise accepts the place that God has conferred upon him. Childbearing on the part of the wife and challenging work on the part of the husband do not, of course, constitute salvation from sin. But, rather, lives lived fulfilling the roles for which each was intended may be proof of spiritual life.
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