Eve

EVE (Heb. hawwâh, life, living). The first woman, formed by God out of Adam’s side. Adam designated her (Gen.2.23) as woman (Heb. ‘ishshâh) for she was taken out of man (Heb. ‘ish). In these words there is suggested the close relationship between man and woman; a relationship the first man could not find in the animal creation (Gen.2.20). The way in which Eve was created and the designation “woman” emphasize also the intimacy, sacredness, and inseparability of the marital state, transcending even the relationship between children and parents (Gen.2.24). The name “Eve” was given to her after the Fall and implies both her being the mother of all living and the mother of the promised Seed who would give life to the human race now subjected to death. While the Scriptures uniformly trace the fall of the race to Adam’s sin, the part Eve played in this tragedy is vividly portrayed in Gen.3.1-Gen.3.24. Her greater weakness and susceptibility to temptation are juxtaposed with Adam’s willful act of disobedience. Deceived by Satan, she ate of the fruit. Enamored of his wife, Adam chose to leave God for the one he had given him. Paul twice refers to Eve in his letters (2Cor.11.3; 1Tim.2.13).——BP


EVE ēv (חַוָּ֑ה; LXX and NT, Εὐα). Wife of Adam.

Circumstances under which these names were given in the OT.

The first ch. of Genesis indicates that even in this summary VS of creation it was recognized that there were two sexes (“male and female he created them” Gen 1:27). But when Eve was brought to her husband by the Creator, Adam made the pronouncement: “She shall be called woman (’ish-shah) because she was taken out of man (’ish)” (Gen 2:23), which is not an instance of etymological findings but a clever play on words. It is now commonly conceded that lexicographically the first is not derived from the second. The name “Eve” originated in the experience of the Fall of man, when God had laid disabilities on the tempter, on Adam, and on his wife. Then it became apparent to Adam that the life of mankind was tied up with his wife, and he called her ḥawwah, a form that may bear some relation to ḥayyah (“to live”). This too is an instructive play on words, aiding the memory, but is not an etymological study of scientific accuracy. She was called “Eve” because she was to be “the mother of all living.”

Her relation to Adam.

Just before the creation of Eve, Adam was assigned the task of giving meaningful names to all creatures in the garden. As they came to him by pairs, it became obvious that they all had mates, but not he. Adam felt his lone station keenly. He was to appreciate the gift of a “helper fit for him.” So now he had a counterpart, as did the other creatures. It is apparent that Eve served to supplement the life of Adam, for a man’s life without a woman is incomplete. To this the thought is added that the purpose of having two persons united in marriage is procreation (Gen 1:28). It is also broadly indicated that the sex relationship was uniquely pure, for though naked the first parents felt no shame.

Her share in the Fall.

The occasion for the Fall came from without, not from some native defect. By the blandishments of the tempter, Eve let herself be led to the point where she overstepped the limitation laid upon her. Alone, she took the direction of affairs into her own hands and became guilty of a gigantic fiasco. In the revulsion of feeling against the tempter, Eve shared in the antipathy that was indicated by the Lord as an enduring consequence—“enmity,” lasting enmity that was to exist between her and the tempter from this time forth, being carried on through the ensuing generations by the daughters of Eve (Gen 3:15). As a continual reminder of all this, a certain burden was laid upon Eve—pain in childbearing, and being perennially attached to her husband who from this time forth was to rule over her (v. 16).

Historical fact or figure of speech?

Is the creation of woman (Gen 2:21-25) to be accepted as an exact description of an actual event? Or must one regard the whole incident as too crude to be thought of as having transpired according to the letter? Three or four approaches have arisen as a result of such questions: (1) the woman was actually formed from the rib of man; (2) the whole experience was a vision informing man as to the actual relation of the woman to the man; (3) analogous to this, what is written is an allegory instructing man. Though substantial arguments may be adduced for each of these views, the first still deserves the preference as being most in harmony with the whole tenor of the account. What the Lord did involves an instructive symbolism to the effect that woman is to be regarded as a full equal to man in companionship. Partly for this reason, attempts to establish a root meaning for chawwah after the Aram. word for “serpent” (chiwja), prove futile and are not based on sound etymology. Also, all attempts to make the text set forth Eve as an intended correlate to Mary, introduce much into the text that is not actually there.

In the NT.

Reference to Eve is made by Paul in two instances. “As the serpent deceived Eve” (2 Cor 11:3) is apparently a passing reference to show how easily a fall may occur, and with serious consequences. The other argument (1 Tim 2:11-14) indicates that Eve sinned in taking circumstances into her own hands. Women, argues Paul, should therefore be “silent” in the church assembly and submissive to the authority of men.