In God, Adam and Eve we looked at what we could learn about Adam and Eve from their creation until just after the fall when they received the punishment for their sin. Taken by itself, there isn’t much there. Our best bet to learn about what happened or what it was like is to use the Bible as a commentary on itself. So what do other writers of Scripture do with Eve?
Paul Is The Only One
Paul is the only New Testament author that refers to Eve. Three specific chapters make reference to our original mother– 2 Timothy 2, 1 Corinthians 11 and 2 Corinthians 11. Let’s take a look at these three passages completely:
Eve Was Deceived
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. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.2 Corinthians 11:1-6
In this passage, Paul has just gotten done with defending his ministry and is switching gears to state his concern that the new believers may be led astray by new teachers and teachings that are not of Christ. To underscore his point, he bring is marriage imagery. He states that he is the one that brought these people to Christ– but just like Eve was young and pure, so too these new believers could be led astray by Satan’s cunning. And thus, like Eve, they could lose their devotion to Christ by substituting the Gospel for something else.
As it relates to Eve herself, Paul is giving us information by way of the analogy. We know that Eve was pure and without sin– this was the way that she was created. We know that Eve was deceived by the tempter, and she followed that temptation and thereby fell.
There’s not much more in this passage that provides insight into the story.
Salvation Through Child-birth
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.1 Timothy 2:8-15
A frequent battleground when discussing the roles of men and women in the church, our focus on this passage is what we can learn about Eve. First, we see that Paul places emphasis on his teaching regarding the man and woman into the order of Creation. This backs up the Genesis 2 text of the Creation of man and woman. He also highlights that Eve was deceived by the tempter– while Adam was not. She is a transgressor apart from Adam. She did commit a sin in the garden.
Lastly, we see that Eve would be saved via childbearing, if the children were to have specific lifestyle choices. So part of Eve’s importance would be in the fact that she could have and raise offspring, and impart to them training so that they would live godly lives.
This hearkens back to the fact that the last thing we hear from Eve in the Bible is this from Genesis 4:
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”Genesis 4:1
This would have been her first born son, Cain.
Eventually, from her would come the Christ– the salvation for the entire world. God’s chosen solution to the sin problem would come through Eve– though childbirth. And not only Jesus, but childbirth would be the way to makeup for the transgression– by bringing forth children that would follow after God. Now that she knew the difference between good and evil, she needed to train her children to follow after the good.
Woman Was Created for Man
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.1 Corinthians 11:3-12
This passage does not refer to Eve by name, but it does refer to her creation (amidst discussion of head coverings, long hair and the Divine Order). Here we have two ideas that Paul attaches together. The first is that because Eve was created after Adam, Adam is her head. Put another way, she is his subordinate. Woman was created for man, the wife for the husband, which Paul takes to imply that Eve was subordinate to Adam.
According to Paul in the New Testament, Eve’s position was a person subordinate to her husband because she was created for her husband. She was deceived, and it led to the fall, and Satan’s work today is the same as it was with Eve– using deceit to cause the fall of man. Having children was a way in which Eve would be saved– both by following after God and by the eventual birth of the Messiah.