There has always been a lot of hype about Eve! Many conflicting ideas about her are drawn from the translations and commentaries on her, along with ancient writings. It may then come as a surprise that Eve does not attract any attention from the ancient writers of the Hebrew Scriptures. Indeed, she is not referred to again after the early chapters of Genesis.
The Christian Scriptures (NT) only referred to Eve by name twice. Yet interest surrounding Eve is embedded in the Greco-Roman culture. This influence is found in many of the teachings Paul addresses concerning women. A thorough examination of these scriptures cannot be presented here as this is not my purpose (E/n [i]).
Rather, I want to raise the consciousness of the woman reader who believes the bible translation she holds in her hands to be infallible. In my mind, to take at face value the words on the page is to ignore the treasure below the surface of every word. With this in mind may I ask, to give one example, if you have considered that the original Hebrew words did not have vowels.
These vowels were inserted later to make it easier to read. Does it occur to you that if there is bias in the mind of those who inserted these that if one changed the inserted vowel to another it would change the word to another and carry with that change a new word and meaning?
It is impossible not to bring an element of bias to the interpretation of the text. As you read my papers you are going to encounter my partiality. I am not gender-inclusive. I have a bias towards the masculinisation of the language. I want to expose the patriarchal bias in the interpretation of the text. I adopt the well known feminist position of reading with suspicion everything male writers and commentators have to say about the women in the bible.
I am definitely prejudiced against patriarchy. I have no toleration for it, be it male or female practising or preaching it. I am very much aware that when men preach about life in general and life’s experiences they are not preaching to the reality women face, living in a mysoginistic culture as we do.
I am writing for women readers of the bible. I am endeavouring to shine a light on the bias against women in the translation and interpretation of Scripture as well as in Christian circles. I am not polite in saying what I want to say. I’m too old now to hold back. Time is short for me and I have nothing to lose.
Based on my research and my own deductions over the last fifty years arising out of comparing scripture with scripture, so I reinterpret it. I attack the false doctrines arising out of the misconstrued teachings through my writings. I make no apology for that.
Women, like Eve, have many antagonists. This makes any interpretation of the first woman far more complex and of greater import than her antagonists like to admit, or, permit, where their power holds sway. (E/n [ii]). For example, as would be expected, in both the Old and the New Testaments, skewed teachings exist about a woman’s place in God’s economy being less equal to a man’s. I refute this in every one of my teaching papers and publish them on my website.
These false teachings and translation and interpretation of scripture show these biases in gender roles and types assigned to the male and the female in both books of the Bible. Another aspect overlooked is the hatred of women that prevailed in the ancient prescriptive writings of men of renown. We can read them but it’s a problem when people actually believe those diatribes railed against women. This was unfortunately of the periods the Hebrew and Christian scriptures were finally accepted as canon. (E/n [iii])
Early Genesis Account about Eve
Yes, it is true; Eve was deceived through craftiness, described visually as coming from a walking, talking serpent. Eve is depicted as naive and Adam as rebellious and passive, the serpent as having cunning intelligence. Nowhere does it say the serpent represents Satan or a devil or a devilish spirit.
In ancient times the serpent represented many things good, beautiful, and evil. Judaism makes no reference to such a creature supposedly fallen or cast down from heaven. Modern-day interpreters have misconstrued scriptures and made up doctrines that can’t be substantiated throughout scripture.
Further, the Jews knew nothing of an angel falling from heaven, neither of their demise and ‘going to heaven.’ Indeed their mantra was ‘eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die”. They wanted to live long on this earth, inherit land, and embrace prosperity. I am not saying one thing or another about their lifestyle but I am saying what they did not give any heed to.
Eve’s warning and the consequences of her naivety
When questioned by God Eve told the simple truth about her part in eating the fruit of the tree of death (of the knowledge of good and evil). Adam, on the other hand, blamed the woman and God for his partaking with the woman and eating of the same fruit . Adam tried to escape his part in it by blame-shifting.
‘Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3: 12
Eve did not blame God or the man. Rather, she told it like it was. She was deceived and placed the blame squarely upon the serpent.
‘And the woman said, “The serpent beguiled (deceived or charmed) me, and I did eat’ (Gen 3:12-13).
Eve’s motives were pure, albeit she was naïve. The serpent and Adam had full knowledge of the two trees in the garden. Adam was given clear instructions from God concerning the eating of the fruit of the two trees. The result of doing so was as follows: the consuming the fruit of the one led to life eternal, the other, eternal death. There is no mention Eve heard these instructions. Adam blame-shifted it onto Eve and God.
[Whoever may be arguing the case with you here, I suggest you ask them to show you where Eve was given or heard the instructions about the two trees].
The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” This is recognised as blame-shifting.
Eve’s Warning and the consequences of her disobedience
God warned Eve
Eve (Heb. Chavah: ‘mother of all life’) was in immediate danger! God warned her not to ‘turn’ (teshequa – from the tree of life) and follow Adam. God’s warning was she was ‘turning’. By her ‘turning’ away from the source of eternal life, grace, love and protection, to the man, he would take advantage of that choice.
The prophet Jeremiah alludes to the first created woman ‘turning’ when he calls out to Israel to ‘turn back’.
“How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth– A woman will encompass a man.” (Jer 31:22).
In the immediate context the prophet is crying out to the nation of Israel, relating her to the cities as a daughter, or, daughter-cities, who are as a nation, turning away: (‘chamaq’ : Strong’s #2559: to ‘turn away’, also used in Songs 5:6 ‘But my beloved had turned away[and] had gone!.
In the earlier scripture relating to this, Eve ‘turned’ away from the tree of Life to follow the man. In Jeremiah’s cry, the daughter-cities had turned away from their God. Jeremiah calls to them to return.
There, he utters a future event, of a new ‘creation’, (Heb. ‘bara’: used in Genesis 1, but not in Genesis chapter 2), of a new thing in the land. This new creation and the new thing in the land will be a woman will ‘turn back’,( surround, encompass, a man.
The newly created thing in the land is this: a woman will ‘turn back’,’ to cause to go around, to surround’ a man. Who is this woman? She is the New Creation, the church, the Bride of Christ. We all are called upon to ‘turn around’ our thinking and the direction we are heading in, that is to repent, literally, “think differently afterwards’.
Testimony against Adam the man
Take note, the Hebrew text is not quiet on Adam and his culpability. The central figure in the Book of Job, considered to be the oldest book in the Bible, accuses the man, Adam, as responsible for what’s known as the ‘fall from grace’. Job’s accusation: ‘Adam hid his sin in his bosom.
If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom. Job 31: 33.
Whenever the man is mentioned the spotlight is turned up always depicting him as in a state of outright rebellion against the express command given by the Lord God to him alone. Therefore both Jobs in the Old Testament and Paul in Romans 5 in the New Testament lay the final blame five times fully on the man.
‘wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin’ (Rom 5: 12- 19).
Adam was expelled from the garden. There is no mention of Eve being expelled along with him.
[If anyone is arguing with you ask them to show you where it says Eve was expelled from the garden].
Eve and her daughters blamed
Alas! Throughout recorded history, the first woman and her daughters have carried the blame (E/n [vi]). The misogynist writings of men such as Aristotle, blame a woman for the ills of humankind. He and others like him spew out their hatred over their readers. If you have not read any I cannot emphasise the importance of you doing your own research on the web. Frankly, you will be shocked.
It cannot be emphasised enough how much is at stake for women to understand these early chapters of Genesis. The perversion of these scriptures, in particular, destroys her rightful place as equal to the man and her spiritual status, decreed in Genesis 2, and finally her social status and what it signifies to the church in chapter 3.
Yet, God the Creator places upon her protection and honour, but knowing the end from the beginning, warns her of impending disaster.
Woman’s equal standing
Here in Genesis chapters 1-3 her equal standing before God is declared, her future secured, her accountability in the ‘fall’ is recorded for our learning. It is high time women awakened out of their spiritual stupor and shake off the shackles and grasped hold of what belongs to us.
It is high time we took hold of our full freedom in Christ and share it with our sisters. Given what is at stake we must examine the blatant manipulation of the scriptures concerning the role and place of women in God’s great plan of salvation.
In Genesis chapter 3 the woman is named as the seed bearer from whose womb the Redeemer would come. What an honour! This glory God bestowed upon her is seldom if ever mentioned in the church.
Yes, Eve was naive and was fully deceived, causing her to stagger, stumble, and to fall. Like a tree being blown down by the wind, she floundered and lurched from standing upright to finally staggering and coming to rest in a state of misperception rather than faith.
Faith acknowledges God’s Sovereignty
A double-mindedness ensued, one that arose from confusion and resulted in deception. Who is right and who is wrong? Will I or won’t I? What will I do? A double-mind brings with it instability in every decision.
Procrastination will also accompany such a state of mind. Often such people can’t express an opinion. They calculate between one goal and another. Faith is weakened. This kind of mind is a result of being torn between faithfully serving God and serving the world and money.
The litmus test is this: Jesus taught ‘if you do the doctrine, you shall know it. ‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise person who built their house on the rock’. (Mt 7: 24)
Eve, therefore, in her ignorance, carries the dishonour of having ‘fallen’. Adam on the other hand did not stumble, lurch or fall, neither was he pushed. A superficial reading of this scripture has had a negative impact on women and girls throughout the world.
It infers that a gender hierarchy is ordained by the Creator with Eve responsible for the fall. It also carries the false idea that through pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, and disciplined living, God has provided women’s salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What is known as the ‘curse of Eve’, has enabled men to create a position and an agenda through which they promote themselves and put women down. That agenda springs from the false belief that they have been granted special privilege, God has decreed a lower social status for women with men having been given the right to subjugate them and regard them as mere chattels. Both created in the image of God, what kind of men I ask insist on women being less than themselves?
Paul does not teach that the men who teach this deception are themselves deceived; they certainly are not. They are in the same sin as Adam; they sin knowingly. They do not have the Spirit. In every generation, such men oppose the gifts of the Spirit given freely to women as to men. They are anti-Christ.
Men that Love the Preeminence love authority teachings
It is paramount for a certain kind of man (and their deferential wives, both of whom love the pre-eminence (E/n [xii]) to have women in a subservient role. They are misogynous. They are determined to dominate the leading positions in church and society in every generation (E/n [xiii]). All Christians need to understand the motivation behind the arguments put forward. With such privileged position and power no wonder we see so many fall from such lofty heights.
What kind of people are easily deceived?
Eve was naïve concerning God’s word. Such people are simplistic in their thinking. They are called ‘silly’ in some bible translations. Silly people are envious. They wander around like empty-headed simple doves. They are accused of being thoughtless and unreflective: foolish senseless and silly. Filthy silly jesting, course talk. The bible teaches have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths.
Such people are open to wrong teachings, to remaining ignorant. The deception is the love of this world. Eve looked on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and thought it made one wise. Deceived people love to ponder the vain empty philosophies of this world.
The ignorant, those lazy people, those not willing to do the work for themselves, they want to be spoon-fed, those are easily deceived. They have stopped thinking and reasoning. They love other people to take the responsibility for them. They especially are drawn toward organisations that lay down the law and all they have to do is follow it.
But we must beware of following the teachings of others and fail to seek truth for ourselves through obedience to the Word. We’re to try the (human) spirit, whether those teaching hold the kernel of the gospel: faith. In other words watch if whether what they teach is being lived out by them and even more importantly, is it working for you? (E/n [xiv]).
If we do not undertake this exacting work for ourselves. if we disregard history, if we fail to develop our research skills particularly in the original languages, we remain in ignorance. If we are not living the Christian life by doing the doctrines of Christ; if we do not take courage and speak up when we need to defend ourselves and our weaker sisters; then we with them will be subject to abuse.
Jesus taught: know the scriptures, obey them so as to prove the doctrine. You can only prove if a teaching is true by doing it (E/n [xv]).
Eve was not an accomplice, Eve was not an accessory before or after the fact, and Eve was not the deceiver. The Serpent was. Eve was not rebellious. Adam was. Eve was however counted in the transgression.
In Eve’s defense, she is the example of one not knowingly practising deception, but rather as a victim of a debate (vain reasoning: philosophy). The philosophers are the debaters of this world’s religions (E/n [xvi]). Identified by the translators as her tempter, a walking talking serpent could be understood as the voice of reasoning in her own head. There is much written about this and I prefer to expound on it in my Commentary on Genesis Chapter 3.
Eve somehow got a notion of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as offering things that she could thereby gain wisdom. Eve was naïve. Eve was unlearned. Eve was gullible. Eve was deceived. Adam however, was not.
Adam was fully aware of what the word of God was and what the law was and what was required. Eve did not. Eve ‘fell’ into transgression. Adam did not ‘fall, he was instead complicit in the coverup.
But God had a plan whereby death came into the world by one man, the first Adam, (not born of a woman), and was overcome by another man, the Second Adam (born of a woman). Recovery was delivered by the second man. That human reversed the sentence of death. The salvation of the human race came by one man of Eve’s seed. A daughter of Eve was the bearer of truth by employing the law of faith: I believe therefore I speak. That woman of faith gave birth to the second Adam, the one who brought truth and light and life into the world.
The other man or the second Adam came as a human and took upon himself human form, made of clay, born of a woman. Thus chapter 2 of Genesis illustrates the first and the second Adam. What the first humans undid through Eve’s naïveté and Adam’s disobedience, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, came, obeyed, and restored what was lost.
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Ps 85:10.
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God bless you
[i] A hasty reading of the two references of Eve in the NT generally results in the reader feverishly delving into male-dominated ancient Christian commentaries and modern-day versions all saying the same thing about ideas on women’s place and role in society. These multi-layered complexities of woman derived from Eve are then compared alongside the reading of biased interpretation in almost every bible, available online along with very ancient and hundreds of years old misogynistic commentaries which is mainly where the negative ideas about Eve and women, in general, came from in the first place only contributing to this kind of superficial reading. It might be said all of these combined contributed to today’s negative image of Eve and women in general. Here are some other interpretations of Eve by four women scholars: I advise you to keep reading…keep learning… make up your own mind. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/four-female-viewpoints-on-eve/
There are some other ideas about Eve for you as a reader to ponder.
[iii] There is much dispute amongst scholars regarding the final acceptance of canon and I suggest you do your own research as this is not my subject here.
[iv] Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:7; Eph 5:31.
[v] Australian statistics publish the following: female prisoners (in Australia) decreased 4% (131 prisoners) to 3,494 prisoners, while male prisoners increased by less than one percent (195 prisoners). On 30 June 2019, there were 43,028 prisoners in custody. Males continue to comprise the majority of the Australian prisoner population (92% of total prisoners). https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4517.0Main+Features12019?OpenDocument
[vi] This long history is recorded in the book ‘The War Against Women’ by the author, Marilyn French ISBN10 034538248X. This ‘war against women’ is now acknowledged by journalists who due to rape in war which is so prevalent today they claim it not only serves the lower appetite of combining violence with sex it ultimately serves to wipe out whole communities. Rape and ripping open pregnant mothers has always been where ever and whenever men wage war.
[vii] Deception in the church Deception tag # Was it a snake? The snake represents myths associated with goddess worship and other religion in the world. Religion can be explained as a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. BBC ‘religion’. The serpent: probably from Greek, optanomai, (through the idea of sharpness of vision); a snake, figuratively, (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, (especially Satan – serpent).myth as shown when Paul was on the island of Malta Acts 28:3-4 ‘Paul gathered a bundle of sticks, and as he laid them on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself to his hand. When the islanders saw the creature hanging from his hand they said to one another “surely this man is a murderer although he was saved from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live”.
[viii] Adam, it appears, was in a ‘not good’ state. Adam was going it alone. This state is revealed by his passivity in as much as he stood by and listened to the serpent relaying the word of God to him but in a twisted way (Gen 3:1-5). Thus, Adam lost his place in the garden and brought death to the world; “by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin”.
[ix] Deceived: Strongs #538 Gr. apataó: to deceive, using tactics like seduction, giving distorted impressions, etc. 538 /Gr. apatáō (“lure into deception”) emphasizes the means to bring in error (delusion). Gr. apaté: Strong’s #539: deceit. a false impression made to deceive or cheat – i.e. deceit motivated by guile and treachery (trickery, fraud). The same meaning of the word in the NT: it is used in relation to wealth, the deceitfulness of riches, desires : lusts of the flesh, vain empty teachings that do not deliver, lacking the love of the truth, the deceit of unrighteousness; the deceit of sin.
[x] A more enlightened translation of this scripture is as follows: “Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman made a mistake as she was beguiled, and she will be saved by means of the Birth of the Child if they continue to be trustworthy, loving and holy and have good sense” (The Source, 1 Timothy 2:13-15) Scripture taken from ‘The Source New Testament’. Copyright ã 2004 by Ann Nyland. Smith and Stirling Publishing. Available through this website – go to Menu: Bibliography
[xii] The mistranslation of these early chapters of Genesis still holds true. It is commonly believed that God cursed Eve and woman in general by granting the man permission to ‘rule’ over her. It follows, therefore, that women have inherited Eve’s (supposed) weakness, which, when applied (incorrectly) is the reason women ought to cover their heads. It is believed that women are open to deception and vulnerable to evil spirits. As a result, women are cast into the role of weak and easily deceived, temptresses, a danger to men. Unlike the Muslims, who teach that women are ‘fitna’, ‘chaos’ and men must be protected from them, Christian women are viewed as passive bystanders. Patriarchal Christianity teaches Christian women to need a male to protect and cover them from the god of this world and his minions: all seemingly have greater spiritual power over women than men. Many false doctrines have been fabricated, the foundation stones of which are in these false interpretations that surround Eve. I suggest you read ‘The Freedom Papers’ RWVM.online, for more about false doctrines invented to keep women in their ‘place’. The last four hundred years through the modern missionary movement, to its detriment, has served to confirm fallen humanity in its degradation of women. The result is, the battle of the sexes continues up to this present day. Not only do we now realise these inaccuracies and grieve the history of women, but it raises the question – are not men sons of Eve also?
[xiii] Eve was warned by God that her ‘desire’, or, literally, ‘turning’, (Heb. ‘teshequa’) would be ‘toward her husband’ as previously stated, and the consequence of this would be domination: he ‘shall rule over’ her. This is not an imperative, in that all husbands are commanded to rule over their wives, rather that, in her ‘turning’ away from God and looking to a man she forfeited her own authority and autonomy. She had forfeited her personal privilege and relinquished her authority to the man. The result is the same today. In turning from the Tree of Life, the Lord God as their Source of Life and supplier of all their needs, an infantile state of ignorance ensues. Eve repented. She could have stayed in the garden; instead, she chose to follow the man. I suggest for further study, you go to ‘Genesis Revisited’, a commentary on words wrongly translated. The war against women in the Christian church and home rests on these and other wrongly translated words.
[xiv] Be mature, put to the test the human spirit of those teachers who twist Scripture.( Spirit: Strong’s #pneuma: wind. breath). Spirit can also mean ‘the rational spirit, the power by which a human feeling, thinks, wills, decides; the soul’.
[xv] The doctrine of women in submission to men and men as leaders and women follow is erroneous: it generates bullying, its practice stems from wrong motives. In some instances domestic violence results. It feeds the male-ego… Now, this war against women is out in the open and an indictable offence. This means the perpetrators are being publicly exposed, called out, and held accountably. Violence against children includes verbal and physical bullying in the home outside of it and online and includes older/ stronger siblings.
[xvi] Gr. suzététés: a disputer Strong’s #4804.. a debater: one who delves into philosophical and religious matters, i.e. fiercely dialogues with others. Or, someone who “sounds off” to look important (“impressive”), especially on moot (uncertain) subjects and without objective basis. A sophist.