Women of Hope: Eve

How could I have done this? I had, quite literally, the most perfect life. No stress. No pain. No death. Oh, to walk again through the garden with my Maker – I already miss His nearness, His loving gaze. 

That serpent. He picked up on my wandering eye, my inner thoughts about that tree. So curious about what I’d know when I ate of it, I veritably leapt at the offer to take and eat. One bite. One stinkin’ bite, and now everything is lost. I should have trusted my Maker instead of wanting to be like Him. 

Oh how I hate that a beloved creature of the Garden had to die to cover my nakedness, but the shame I feel overwhelms my senses. Everything in me wants to hide – from myself, from Him. No matter where I hide, though, I cannot escape the pain of knowing our children will never walk the Garden or know the Maker the way we did.

How am I still alive? 

Ah, now I’m beginning to understand – death comes slowly. Universally. Not for just the two of us, but every creature, every plant, every person. What have I done? How can I go on? And, yet, I wonder about my Offspring who will crush that serpent’s head. Do I dare hope there’s a day of redemption to come?

Eve may be the poster woman for how not to live a life of faith. The first chance she’s given to make a choice between self and God, greed and trust, she fails. She doubts God. She listens to the logic of a lying snake. She reaches for the forbidden fruit to taste and to take – to take what she wants at the cost of everything she has known.

Eve puts her hope in herself. In a lie that she can be like God.

And, before we judge her too harshly, let’s look at our own arms that stretch for the fruit just within reach. The fruit of success. Of happiness. Of comfort. Of approval. 

How much like Eve we are – so quick to put our hope in other people, our own plans, and in the world’s ways.1 But before we pluck leaves in an attempt to cover our own shame, let’s look to the Maker, to the One who made a promise to Eve. And to us.

Hope in the Midst of Curses

Consequences abound in the Garden where curiosity transformed into doubt, where the created betrayed the Creator:

  • The woman, the mother of life, will still bear the fruit of her womb – but not without great pain.
  • The man, the first of all humanity, will still pluck the fruit of the vine – but not without great toil.
  • The pair of them, husband and wife, will have to overcome much strife to be fruitful in love.
  • The shrewd serpent will slither all his days along the dust and dirt – his only fruit, the venom of each strike of a heel. 
  • Even the seed of Eve – the One not yet born – will know the serpent’s bruising bite. But, He brings the final, crushing blow.
    (Genesis 3:14-19)

The promise God slips into the punishments for such disobedience becomes the hope Eve needs to step into her role as “Mother of Life.”1 Desiring her seed to become the One Who Redeems, Eve puts her hope in Cain: “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man” (Genesis 4:1). But his own pride and jealousy drive him to murder Abel, his brother.

Hope, once again refocused on the Maker, Eve bears fruit a third time: “God has granted me another child in place of Abel” (Genesis 4:25). God has granted, or appointed, another son, Seth, to Mother Eve. Not the Redeemer himself, but the father of the people who would one day call on the name of the Lord – and bear the One who would ultimately crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15, 4:26).

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Take and Eat

Eve becomes the first woman to disobey the Lord, to “take and eat” that thing she’s called to avoid, to stay away from. But she’s not the last. Potiphar’s wife tries to take Joseph, her husband’s servant. Queen Jezebel gives it her best effort to take the lives of all God’s prophets. Delilah betrays Sampson by taking his hair, his strength. In short, the Bible is full of women who follow Eve’s “take and eat” model. In other words, Eve is only the first of us.1

Not so ironically, Eve’s Seed, the Prince of Life,1 takes and eats – our sin and shame, our pain and powerlessness, our grief and guilt. He takes all of it onto Himself. Then, in a twist of redemptive movement, this Redeemer offers us His body. To take and eat (Matthew 26:26). To swallow pride and take in humility. To consume His constancy, His confidence, His character – so that we can at last become like Him (Romans 8:29).

Eve had the right idea – she just went about it all wrong. Her misplaced hopes cost her and all of creation wholeness and holy presence, but when her Seed steps onto the dust where the serpent slithers, everything changes. The earth and everything in it shifts toward the hope of a day when a final redeeming blow will crush the Father of Lies once and for all. 

And, on that Day we will at last gather around the table of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb and hear Him say, through tears of great joy, “take and eat”1 (Revelation 19:6-9).

Till then, my friends, we can rejoice in our reality that the Redeemer has already come. His bruising ended with a victorious defeat of death, allowing Him to inflict the first blow upon the head of that shrewd snake. Sure, he still slithers, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), but his power is now greatly limited. Because Jesus. The Seed of Eve has given us power through His Spirit in us to stand firm against every scheme of the enemy (Ephesians 6:10-11). 

Friends, we know in whom we place our hope. So, the next time a forbidden fruit tempts our eyes, our bodies, we can remember the One who has given us all that we need to overcome the desire to disobey (1 Corinthians 10:13). And He has given us a visual of what’s to come – a walk in the garden with our Maker, whose voice will beckon us closer, whose eyes will shimmer with love for His child of hope.

Father God, how perfect You are to have begun with a Garden and to end with one, as well. We know that You looked upon creation and called it good. We are also aware that in your omniscience, You knew before You formed Adam and Eve that they would betray You, yet You looked upon them and called them VERY good. How much hope your declaration gives us as we continue to fight our own fruit-taking temptations. Thank You for looking at us with eyes of love and calling us very good. Lord Jesus, it boggles our minds to think that You would offer us your body as a remembrance of all You did on the cross to take our sins and make us whole. It is with great humility and gratitude that we take and eat during Holy Communion as an act of faith and hope for all You have done for us. Holy Spirit, because You dwell within us, we know we have all we need to overcome every temptation and to stand against every lying scheme of the enemy. We pray that, like Eve, we would put our hope in the promises of God, in the Redeemer who has come to crush the serpent’s head on our behalf. Today we choose hope because we choose to trust the One who will one day defeat Satan and death – and usher us back into the Garden with our Maker. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. 
(Inspired by Sally Lloyd-Jones’ poem;1 Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,31; 2:8; Revelation 22:1-3; 1 John 3:8; 4:9-10; Galatians 1:4; Luke 22:19; Ephesians 6:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:18 NLT)

Welcome to our summer series all about Women of Hope! Each week we’ll consider how women in Scripture lived with hope despite what they faced and felt. As I did with Eve at the beginning of today’s post, I’ll open with a vignette of each woman — imagining how she might have thought and felt in her situation then how she looked to God for hope. I hope this part of each post will capture your curiosity and cause you to want to dig deeper into the Word and lean more closely into God’s presence.

Resources: I love sharing with you the books, podcasts, articles, and anything else that has inspired, encouraged, or taught me. These are humble offerings with no expectations.

  • 1 – I drew so much inspiration for this post from Sally Lloyd-Jones’ poem about Eve in the book Faithful. Here are a few of the lines that really grabbed me:

And at once we see.
The lie that worked on you, Eve, 
works in us still: 
“God is not good. 
God is not kind. 
God does not love you. 
If you do what He says, you won’t be happy.” 

Eve, you’re not the worst of us. 
You’re just the first of us. (p.94)

– – – – – – – – – –

And, Eve, your name–given to you after the sentence of death–
carries no blame.
Eve–”Mother of Life.” 
Your name is a promise 
telling you the true story of who you are: 
It is through you, Eve – not, Adam – that Life will come. 

Someone will be born into your family, Eve. 
He will crush the serpent 
and the serpent will strike His heel. 
He is the Prince of Life Himself, 
born to die – and in dying, to destroy death! 

Those thorns on the ground will one day make a crown. 

You see, Eve, the first gospel isn’t Matthew.
It’s Genesis. 

And the first person to hear the gospel announced, isn’t Mary.
It’s you. (p.99)

– – – – – – – – – –

Faced with choice–we reach for the fruit. 

We take and eat.

Such small words.
Such an easy act.
So violent the breaking.
So hard the undoing.

God will taste centuries of slander and ridicule and hatred. He will will taste poverty, homelessness, scandalous birth, suffering and betrayal–and violent death–before He will take those same words and turn them into our salvation: 
“Take and Eat.” (p.99) 

– – – – – – – – – –

At the end of time, 
Eve, I see you at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
When everything sad will come untrue.
When He will wipe every tear from our eyes.
When we will see that there never was a tear shed that was lost.
When we will see how He has woven everything together in this,
His beautiful story of Love, to do such great good to us that we
Will hardly be able to take it in …and only fall on our knees in

And as we sit together at His table, Eve, 
I hear Him say with tears and great laughter–
And eat!” 

And we do. (p.101)

  • You’ll hear much about the collaborative project, Faithful, throughout our series on “Women of Hope” this summer because it is packed with poems, essays, and songs about women in the Bible. As noted above, the poem by Sally Lloyd-Jones about Eve is part of the book. There’s also a song on the Faithful album about Eve — “We Do Not Labor in Vain” by Mission House, Janice Gaines, Christa Wells, and Taylor Leonhardt. I actually included it on our previous “This Hope” playlist.
  • AND — we have a new “Women of Hope” playlist, full of songs by women that will pull us into worship of our One True God and encourage us to live as women of hope.
    • I’ve come to believe that we all need a “summer jam” (song) every year. So, it is with great excitement that I offer Lauren Daigle’s song “These Are The Days” as our Summer Jam for 2023. It’s our opening song!The words of the song’s “bridge” is a great transition from our “This Hope” series, which considered how hope and suffering go together. Its words promise, “If it’s not good, then it’s not over.” It’s okay to let yourself move to the music — I think the truths of the lyrics sink-in better when we let ourselves to be moved by the tune.
    • The opening lines of Steffany Gretzinger’s song, “Out of Hiding,” hauntingly capture Eve’s response to shame — and ours. In Christ, we don’t have to hide. His victory is ours! Other “Eve” songs on our playlist are the hymns “In the Garden” by Kelly Minter and “New Every Morning” by Audrey Assad.
  • Rhythms we can incorporate into our daily lives to aid us in our dwelling with God, living for Him, and putting our hope in Him:
    • This summer we’re picking up the rhythm of meditation — yes, again! But. Instead of filling our minds with a new passage every week, we will park ourselves on Hebrews 11:1 for the duration of the season, the series. This verse’s words are familiar ones — hear it in the NIV:

      Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

      Some weeks I’ll post a different version/translation in order to keep our spiritual ears attentive to its multiple facets. This week, let’s abide in the NIV, allowing its words to make a connection in our brains about faith and hope.
  • Finally, as a community, let us not neglect sharing God’s hope with others! Share your God-stories with people around you. Share this site. Share God’s Word. Shine His light of His hope into the world! 

Featured photo: Detail from “Adam and Eve” (1528), a 172 × 124 cm oil on panel by Lucas Cranach the Elder, located in the Uffizi Galleries, Florence. Bits and Pieces photo by Photo by Zrng N Gharib on Unsplash.

Published by Shelley Linn Johnson

Lover of The Word. And words. Cultivator of curiosity about all things Christ. Lifelong learner who likes inviting others along for the journey. Recovering perfectionist who has only recently realized that rhythms are so much better than stress-inducing must-do's.

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