On Restoring Eve
by: Lonnie Lane
What do you think of Eve? Do you see her as God’s proto-type perfect woman, as His consummate creation; His final masterpiece? Or do you see her as the ultimate ‘tempted temptress’ who is responsible for the Fall; the one who got us into all this trouble? Do you see her as weak and gullible, given to temptation and wanting to sabotage her husband’s wellbeing, after she herself rebelled against God? Do you regard her primarily as the woman who brought about the curse we all have lived under since? I asked these questions in a women’s Bible study recently. The answers about Eve ranged from weak, a failure, a seductress; to strong, able; competent. When I asked how their concept of Eve affected their own self-image as women, I heard groans.
If we believe that Yeshua paid the full price to do away with the curse that sin brought, we must also believe that He restored all humankind to the place of being free from the curse….any curses whatsoever. “He redeemed us from the curse…having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). That would certainly include women. Too many cultures, however, have treated their women as if they were personally responsible for the sins of man; radical Islam for instance. Their position is derived from a partial or misreading of the Genesis account. Despite Yeshua’s inclusion of women, and women playing a role in the New Testament; shortly after the first century even the church relegated women to places of ineffectiveness, while only men were thought to be called to do all the important things of God. The women had little or no place of effectiveness or leadership of the church. Their place was caring for the children. That was women’s work. Leading the church wasn’t.
That has begun to change thank God, and women are again being entrusted with responsibilities in the Body of Messiah, and found worthy of their calling. The story is told as an example of the deacon board who called a woman from the congregation into their meeting for some input on something; but basically just to put an end to her nudging them about it. Lo and behold, they were so surprised to find that a woman’s perspective was just what they needed to round out a situation they were missing parts of. They decided to make a place for women to have a say in the decisions of the church from then on.
What took place with Eve isn’t the whole story, of course. Adam played a part in that too, which could be interpreted as saying, the wellbeing of women is greatly affected by the spiritual condition of the men around them. The opposite is true too, of course. Men are likewise affected by the spiritual condition of the women in their lives. We are inseparably linked by God’s design. (Men, if you’re reading this, there is a good chance that your spiritual condition is a precious blessing to the women in your life, or you wouldn’t even be reading this God stuff. So just because this is an article about Eve and her daughters, stay with me! This will be meaningful to you too.)
My goal in writing this story is not to deal with the Fall, and what happened in the Garden of Eden; but to see who God created Eve to be. For surely Yeshua intended to restore women to the same calling God had originally ordained for Eve and for all women after her. A restoration to the body of Messiah of God’s original design obviously includes His design for woman, and is a hugely significant part of the return to “one new man” (literally, one new humanity); which Paul sees as God’s imperative for humanity (see Ephesians 2:14-16). This restoration of “one new humanity” cannot be accomplished without the return to an understanding of the Jewish roots of our faith. This means understanding the covenantal relationship between God and His people; as well as God’s people with each other that Torah defines and which Yeshua embodied. It is in that context that women will come to occupy the place that God originally planned for them.
So what kind of woman did God create Eve to be?
So what kind of woman did God create Eve to be? How would you answer that question? To begin with, when God created anything He declared that it was good! Good from God’s perspective means to be entirely good and entirely without anything that isn’t good. So Eve was created as good as it gets. God had created both Adam and Eve; that is male and female, equally in His image. Together they were to “fill the earth and subdue it and rule over…every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Quite a task, wouldn’t you say?
She was created to be Adam’s helper, His counterpart. What God wanted for Adam’s counterpart was someone who was of the same essence as Adam; who could fulfill the same calling of majestic responsibilities of being Vice-Regents over the earth together under God. God had declared that both man and woman, having been made in His image, would have the same power to subdue what needed subduing, and the same authority to rule for God. She, along with and like Adam, was to bear God’s image and likeness to the rest of creation. That doesn’t just mean they were in the image of God, as we’ve so often heard; because they had intelligence, emotions, and the ability to reason; but it meant that they both would be the stewards-with-portfolio. That is to say they carried the authority to maintain God’s holiness, and perfection, and His loving care throughout the earth; putting in order what might threaten God’s intended perfect, loving, and holy creation. The power to subdue does leads us to think that there must have been something, or someone to subdue, doesn’t it?
When the serpent shows up with his insinuations that she’s erroneously believing God when she could do better; taking matters into her own hands, and looking out for her own welfare; we see that indeed there was someone they were meant to subdue: the devil. But through his deception, lies, and Scripture twisting, he subdued her instead. So I’m thinking if she was made so perfect, how was it that she got sucked into that deception and rebellion? And how is it that Adam did too? I’m not quite satisfied with the traditional interpretations of that whole debacle. So let me give you another possible scenario.
God created Eve with the intention of making her a helper to Adam. The word in Hebrew is Ezer (pronounced ay-zer). It means to surround, to protect, help, aid, or assist, to lend a helping hand. The word is used many times in the Tenach (Old Covenant) besides in reference to Eve. Other uses of the word that will give us insight into Eve’s role were when Israel called out to God to come to their aid in times of need. Such as, “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help (ezer) and our shield” (Psalm 33:20); or when “Asa called to the Lord his God and said, ‘Lord, there is no one besides Thee to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength, so help (ezer) us, O Lord our God, for we trust in Thee…’” (2 Chronicles 14:22).
You can see that Eve was to be a helper to Adam in his times of need; to be as a partner with him, and even as a shield, if he should need it. She was an emotional strength to him, as well as a powerful force to deal with because, as you saw, the word ezer also has military significance. She was to be not only a help to his own soul as a shield, but as a warrior when the situation called for it. The word is used to refer to David’s “mighty men of valor” when they were a help (ezer) to David against a band of raiders (1 Chronicles 12:22). Sounds like a pretty effective woman of God, yes? Sure doesn’t sound like she’s the “little woman” who has no thoughts or intentions of her own, does she?
What she is called to do and be takes insight, intelligence, understanding, discernment, courage, and determination to overcome all odds. She shoulders the responsibility of God’s charge to them to be His representatives in the world; fully equipped for the task, as one with Adam in their devotion to God, to His calling, and to each other; for they are to work as a unit. The description of an ezer may give you the sense of Adam as being weak and needing her, but remember, they were equal in every way. So he would surely have been there for her, in whatever way God designed him, as they were “suitable” for one another: “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper (an ezer) suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18; my additions).
When God created them, they were both equally created in His image: “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26, 27). So she, like Adam, was to be God’s image bearer. Whatever she or they did, it was to bring the awareness of God, to spread the character and nature of God throughout the earth. And they were to be as God to one another, not to worship, but to reflect His character and nature of love to one another, entirely selflessly. There is no conflict within God, and there was to be no conflict between them. They were to align themselves with God and His purposes in everything they did and were. They were also to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth with their God-likeness; reproducing lovers of God and of others. The clear mandate is for man and woman to work together. They were created one for another to jointly and joyfully fulfill God’s purposes in creation altogether.
But something sure happened to send all that in the wrong direction. Again I ask, why in the world with all that godlikeness did she get duped by the devil-possessed snake? Could it be that the devil proposed to her just what God had made her to be already; making it sound like she had to add something to what she already was? Isn’t that what he did when he tempted Yeshua? Offering Him a shortcut to what He already was by God’s design? Could he have tempted her on the basis of whom she already was, and appealed to her as the ezer God had made her to be? Could it be that she, being innocent of anything being deceptive or rebellious, thought that what she was being told by the snake would enable her to be of a greater help to God and to Adam.
Whenever you feel a lack in yourself the devil is always behind it…
She didn’t seem at all curious about the snake speaking to her, so possibly animals communicated with them before the Fall? Or until the Flood, because it wasn’t until after the Flood and the water subsided that there was fear of man upon the animals (See Genesis 9:2)? Maybe Adam didn’t fully convey to her the ban on that tree. Or maybe she never noticed it before because the text tells us, “God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). But she seems never to have noticed the forbidden tree was also “good for food and was a delight to the eyes” until the devil added that it was “desirable to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6). What’s wrong with wanting to be wise? Wasn’t she already wise? As long as she was ‘one’ with God, His wisdom was imparted to her at every turn. But the devil’s insinuation was that she wasn’t wise. Suddenly, for the first time, she became self conscious.
God consciousness has suddenly turned to self-consciousness, and she’s seeing a lack in herself at the devil’s suggestion. (Whenever you feel a lack in yourself the devil is always behind it.) The sneaky snake is lying to her; something she would not have been able to even conceive of, by telling her that God didn’t want her to have any part of that tree; because it would make her like Him, and God didn’t want anyone to be like Him. He wanted the position all to Himself. Isn’t that just what Lucifer wanted; God’s position for himself? His words to Eve are rather biographical, wouldn’t you say? She was, of course, already like God. She couldn’t have been any more like God. So she’s not trying to one-up God as is Satan’s intention.
The trouble came in when she acted independently of God…
Is it possible then that, while the devil’s design was to get her to disobey God, she actually thought that what the devil proposed would help fulfill her role as ezer? And that she thought if she’s to be God’s image bearer, wouldn’t being more like God help her be more of an image bearer? If she, being innocent, had no evil thoughts, it would be just like the devil to attempt to seduce her on the basis of her very identity. What he offered her, or rather insinuated that God was withholding from her, was the very thing she was intrinsically operating in naturally? The trouble came in when she acted independently of God, and moved out on her own rather than consulting God. Or even Adam. She turned to Adam after the fact. And so we live with the consequences of, not only the deception she succumbed to; but since God had told Adam in the first place, not her, the restriction on eating from that tree, he too bore the consequences. The rest of the story, as they say, is history.
But what are we to learn from this; without going into their shock at finding themselves now without the glory, and hiding from the God they so adored until then? What was it God intended for humankind that we can see from His original blueprint? To state it again, men and women were created to work together. But were they always to be husband and wife? Are women only defined by their husbands, as has so often been the case throughout history? What about the single women? Are they too not called to be ezers in God’s great scheme of things? Of course, they are. Eve was the proto-type woman, not just the proto-type wife. God’s plan for humankind was that the attributes of both men and women working together would fulfill His purposes in the earth.
The Bible tells us of many women who were ezers with no mention of them being married, or if they were, no mention of their husbands being a part of their ezer-ing. Consider Miriam, Rahab, Deborah, Yael, Abigail, Priscilla, or Junia, to name a few. A woman does not need to be married to be a great help to the body of Messiah, or to work along side of her spiritual brothers for the good of the work of the Lord; or to affect those around her in a godly and significant way, as she bears the image of God, and reveals His righteousness to a needy world. We are still called to subdue the earth. There are many evil and dark forces throughout the earth; but courageous women stand against them in prayer, in witness, and in declarations of God’s truth; whether it be in a conversation or in a larger arena. As women called to be ezers, we align ourselves with God’s purposes, and carry His glory in the integrity we live in, and in the confidence in God’s caretaking of us.
Yeshua has restored the original mandate and He is now, as His coming draws closer, calling His women to come forth, and exhibit the character of God; as those who represent the Bride of Messiah, for whom He is returning. The emphasis on this article is women, but men are called in this hour to be no less image bearers, or warriors for God’s purposes; or for that matter, any less the Bride of Messiah. He is restoring in this hour what God has called men and women to be in relation to each other; as spiritual equals, as those who have mutual respect and honor for one another; relying on each other’s gifting and strengths to dovetail with their own. It is as men and women work together, as God had originally created us to be, as co-workers for His purposes; that the Body of Messiah, the remnant if you will, will accomplish the end time task that God intends. God gave the command to both Adam and Eve, to the original man and woman team to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over…the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Isn’t that basically what Yeshua said after His resurrection; when He commanded His followers to basically multiply and fill the earth when He told them to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Wasn’t He telling them to in effect subdue the earth and get the evil out when He said to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons (Matthew 10:8)?
I’m not preaching kingdom theology that says the church will grow stronger until it fills the earth. I don’t believe that’s what Scripture says; but what it does say is that the men and women, who are called by His name, who are born again of the Holy Spirit, and who are the disciples of Messiah Yeshua, will be the glory light of God in times of darkness. They will function as a united front; men and women together, to be the bearers of God’s image to the earth for whosoever will accept Him. We each have our role to play, married or not married. So ladies, hold up your heads and walk tall and strong. You’re the daughters of the King and have been given a magnificent calling – yes, even you – because we have a magnificent God, and we are His image bearers. And gentlemen, such are the women God has put in your life to partner with; to enjoy as fellow-servants of the Lord, to look to when help (ezer) is needed. Evidently, God meant for men to need the women as much as women need the men. This is not a sign of weakness. It’s the way God created us to be; unto one, mutually dependent upon one another, “in His image, male and female” (Genesis 1:27), as we await the coming of the King.
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2011.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.