Male Headship 6—The Exoneration of Eve

23 Jun

Have you ever made a mistake that haunted you, but no one else wants to forget it? People have been saying for thousands of years, “If only Mother Eve had not tasted that fruit, we would all be sitting in paradise right now.” Eve not only has the reputation for being the first to sin, but she has passed her shame down to her daughters. The false belief of male headship perpetuates the myth that Eve is the cause for all the suffering in this world and because of this, all women are inferior to men.

Throughout creation, God kept making things more and more complete. Humanity was the last and crowing act of creation. God pronounced everything good—until he came to Adam. This is the one thing that God says is NOT good—Adam should not be alone. So God created Eve from Adam’s rib. Some think this means Eve was an extension of Adam—that Eve was only created as an afterthought to be Adam’s helper.

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But God did not create Eve to be a subservient, sexy slave for Adam because God is LOVE and the godhead lives out eternity in other-centered love with each other. Humanity would not be in God’s image unless we were created equal and with the freedom to serve each other with other-centered love as God lives.

For those sticking rigidly to the King James Version of the Bible, something important gets lost in translation. Eve is more than a “helpmate.” She is actually an Ezer Kenegdo in the original Hebrew. The words Ezer Kenegdo are hard to translate according to Hebrew scholar Robert Alter. Ezer is also used as a name for God and it is only used a few times in the Bible, but it’s used when God comes through as a lifesaver. So a translation of Ezer Kenegdo could be calling Eve “the lifesaver who comes along side.”

The scriptures say male and female were made in God’s image. By creating Eve from Adam’s rib, God was making them one. It wasn’t until both male and female were created that God’s image could be reflected in the human race. It might surprise some people that God has a feminine side, but this confusion is a symptom of the fall. We can find the feminine face of God in several verses throughout scripture. Eve’s femininity reflects God as much as Adam’s masculinity.

There is equality when two people stand side by side. They are two parts of a whole intended to become one. Adam said, “She is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” At this point Adam knew Eve is a part of him. We don’t say to our legs they are worth more than our hands because every part of our body is equal and important. This proves that Eve was not created to follow behind Adam with a water bucket, but she was designed with equal intelligence and reflects the feminine face of God.

Adam and Eve together had a part in the fall. Eve was deceived, but Adam sinned knowingly. Together they have unlocked the Pandora’s box of misery unleashing the enemy’s power. The world was now unsafe and no one could be trusted. The human race would now live in fear and other-centered love will be replaced by a survival of the fittest mentality.

God explained to Adam and Eve what was happening, His words were not as much a curse as some believe, but to reveal the damage already begun. God doesn’t need to curse Adam and Eve for any of these things to happen, because the curse was started before God even spoke. Sin makes us do crazy things. Adam and Eve have already discovered they were naked. They have already started blaming each other. They were already hiding in the bushes feeling vulnerable and scared. Their choice to separate from God and do their own thing has created this new reality.

The natural result of their sin is that Adam will now vie for control and win—because he is stronger and larger. And Eve’s heart will cry out for her husband because she is tender-hearted and relationship oriented. Adam will now work harder in less fertile soil and Eve will suffer to bring new lives into this now pain-filled world. God is merely describing the trials to come.

God sent Adam and Eve away from Eden—not as a punishment, but to protect them from themselves because immortal sinners would be a horror too great to bear. If only they could go back and ignore the snake, different choices could have provided another outcome, but unlike a broken vase that can be glued back together, there was no way to fix broken humanity except through the Deliverer to come.

The only one who could save them is the one originally maligned by the snake. Jesus will come to set things right, but before this happens, the sin experiment will claim many lives and the perfect union God intended between two equals will be under attack for thousands of years.

Because of their selfishness, God knew they would fight so He placed Adam in charge of   the family because two sinful people vying for control would create constant chaos. If you don’t believe this, just listen to a few divorce stories.

It was not God’s ideal for the husband to rule over his wife. If Adam truly followed the servant pattern of the Godhead who created Him, he would set his wife free to be whoever God created her to be.

Jesus Came to Restore Eve to Her Rightful Place

After thousands years, humanity endorsed male headship as if it was God’s original plan, but Jesus came to restore what was broken in the fall. Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work of causing division between Adam and Eve and God and all of humanity.

Can you imagine how God must’ve felt? He has created human beings in His image to model other-centered love to the children of the human race, but half of His image has been marginalized. At the very center of His plan, all Adams and all Eves have been torn apart and no longer operate as one. Generation after generation, have grown up in confusion and lacking love because they have witnessed their parents’ divisive, manipulating and controlling behavior. Jesus came to restore God’s image in Adam’s sons and Eve’s daughters. To do this, women were strategically placed throughout the gospel story to show us that God values women as much as men. With every interaction, Jesus removes the shame of Eve.

For starters, God gives an unwed pregnant Eve the honor of announcing the coming of the Messiah.

When a sinful Eve is brought before Him caught in adultery, Jesus reminds every Eve since the dawn of time that He did not come to condemn us.

Even a bleeding Eve is not turned away from touching Him because Jesus has come to heal every modern Eve of her wounds.

Where Eve is confined to the outer courts of the temple, Jesus cleanses the temple and invites her inside.

When Eve shut is out of the religious customs, Jesus encourages Eve to sit at His feet like a disciple.

To the outcast Samaritan Eve, Jesus goes out of His way to find her and meet her where she is to reassure her of His love. It is this reassurance and love that melts her shame and allows her to become the first missionary.

When Eve’s worship of Him seems too intimate for others, Jesus commends her for anointing Him.

For thousands of years, Eve has been called the problem and her daughters have worn her shame, but Eve is not the only one responsible. Adam is responsible for his part. The devil is responsible for the deception of Eve. And ultimately God takes responsibility for creating all of this mess and Jesus came to set it right.

The original crime happened in a garden. A woman was deceived. But thousands of years later in another garden, Eve is exonerated through her daughter Mary. Mary as the second Eve, deeply grieves her fall. She knows her own brokenness and has lived to regret it. She has been shunned and ridiculed. Her status as a daughter of God has been in question—until the Deliverer has come.

Just when Mary’s life seems to be coming back together, Jesus is killed. Now this second Eve cries alone in a garden because it seems every Adam has forsaken her. She mistakes Him for the gardener, but then isn’t He the original gardener of this world? It is only when Jesus tenderly calls out her name that she realizes hope is not lost.

Throughout His life on earth, Jesus has been running a pass around the religious leaders by empowering women on the side. Jesus came to take away Eve’s shame and Adam’s superiority and in case you think this is too feminist—take note: Jesus IS a feminist. He is the original Creator and Author of all that is feminine. It is only when humanity catches on to this and every Eve is offered her rightful place as an equal, that the human race will finally be restored back to God’s image.

On resurrection day, as a part of his victory, Jesus exonerates Eve and sets her back in equality next to Adam. Instead of asking Peter or Andrew or John, Jesus gives Mary the most important message of all. The message that He is alive and risen is given for Mary to preach. As a daughter of Eve and the daughter of God, Mary claims Eve’s rightful inheritance. And it’s just as true for every modern Eve today.

*Verses with God as Ezer: Duet. 33;26,29; Psalm 121:1,2; Psalm 20:1,2; Psalm 33:20; Psalm 115:9-11

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