BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Four Female Viewpoints on Eve

Perspectives on the story of the first mother

Patkó: Adam and Eve used in the article Four Female Viewpoints on Eve

Adam and Eve. Eve reaches for the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In this interpretation by Károly Patkó, Adam is also reaching for the fruit, but his head is turned as if unsure of his actions, while Eve looks straight at the fruit.

A single bite of fruit forever heaved the entirety of a fallen and sinful creation onto the shoulders of Eve; through the lens of millennia of patriarchal interpretations of the scriptures, women throughout history have had to shoulder the blame and consequences. From an inferior place in spiritual service, to their place in society as a whole, women have been forced to take a backseat to their male fellows for no other reason than Eve ate the fruit first.

While most would not be surprised to find that modern scholarship and theological interpretations have taken great strides to find new perspectives on the story of the first mother, they would be astonished to learn that forward-thinking and pro-women interpretations of the Garden of Eden have been around for hundreds of years.

Dating from as early as the 14th century, these four biblical observations and interpretations helped to pave the way for more modern thinking and helped Eve’s daughters to regain their dignity and respect:


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(1) In Genesis 1, God creates Man and Women at the same time and gives them the same mandate: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:28). Some women have used this to argue that this indicates God made no distinction between the sexes, and neither should society.

(2) In Genesis 2-3, the use of the word ‘ezer (“helper”), does not imply subordination. Rather, God himself is described as the helper of the Israelites (Genesis 49:25; Psalm 37:40). Eve serves as the helper to Adam—as God served to the Israelites.

(3) Adam did not treat Eve as inferior to him or as his subordinate.

(4) According to Genesis 3, Adam was with Eve as she spoke with the serpent. Scholars have asked why he didn’t speak up. Why did he eat the fruit and allow Eve to do the same?

Eve is a complex character. Has she been adjusted to fit societal views and affirm the oppression of women, or does the biblical Eve truly demonstrate that women are made of “inferior stock”? To learn of the different interpretations of Eve by women, read Amanda W. Benckhuysen’s full article “The Gospel According to Eve,” published in the Spring 2020 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

 

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Subscribers: Read the full article “The Gospel According to Eve” by Amanda W. Benckhuysen in the Spring 2020 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review


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Read more about Eve and the apple in the BAS Library:

Did Eve Fall or Was She Pushed?

Was Eve Cursed?: Or did a woman write Genesis?

Eve and Adam: Is a feminist reading possible?

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This article first appeared in Bible History Daily on April 29, 2020.

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4 Responses

  1. Photios says:

    “Scholars have asked why he didn’t speak up.”
    Celibate scholars I expect…
    If he had spoken up, it is very likely
    he would never have heard the end of it.

  2. Beulah Edwards says:

    No, your statement is wrong. Eve was persuaded by the first expert marketer. No-one had died in Eden, and an animal cannot discern God-given laws. But Adam, created first, was supposed to have spoken up… because the law was given to him. The man’s mind operates differently to the woman…She is the mistress of the home – and the lack of much of this today, is causing problems with child rearing…

  3. Dr. Eric Rice says:

    The authors true issue with Adam and Eve is clearly seen thru her use of terms, i.e., modern thinking, forward-thinking, pro-women, modern scholarship, etc., blatantly wanting scripture changed into her own image. In her four views, she incorrectly states that scripture in some way advances these therories.

    1) Adam and Eve were not created at the same time. Adam was formed and is placed in charge of creation before Eve is created. It is not until Adam’s naming of created beings is completed, that Eve is created as a help mate.

    2) In relation to each other there isn’t a subordinate relationship, “the two shall become one flesh,” however that relation ship does not extend to God. Israel is always subordinate to God and so is Adam and Eve. God’s act of helping does not relate to equality, nor does it give equality to Eve in regards to Adam. The argument is flawed.

    3) Adam did not consider Eve as subordinate to him in regards to their relationship in marriage, but Adam was always considered the head of their household and scripture always upholds this view.

    4) A reason for Adam to be in ear shot and not respond is not given and therefore can be debated, but Eve ate first then Adam and not the otherway around as your statement alludes.

    Based on what you wrote here, your book I assume would be full of errors and falsehoods all to further your agenda of redefining the relationship of men and women and further to redefine God’s relationship with His creation. Remember, God says of Himself, “I am the LORD, I do not change!”

  4. Paul Coomber says:

    Adam and Eve were not created at the same time. Genesis 1: 27 & 28 offers a very concise record of the events described in chapter 2 from verse 5 onward. Chapter 1 supplies merely a brief chronological record of the sequence of events that prepared the earth for human habitation leading up to the appearance of man. Chapter 2 focusses almost entirely on the two humans and what transpired between the time of Adams creation and that of Eve.
    This is supported by what other inspired bible characters had to say about the two.
    Also the scriptures are exceedingly clear that Adam is the one who God holds responsible for selling the human race into slavery to sin, not Eve. Many articles of this sort have focused on what the churches have been teaching about these things and not on what the Bible actually states. When Genesis was written there were no chapter and verse divisions. The Jews read those writings as one book, undivided by modern interpretations. They never read the first two chapters as being two different creation scenarios; the two accounts complemented one another. Below are some of the references I have found: –

    (Romans 5:12) . . .That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned. . .

    (1 Corinthians 15:22) . . .For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.

    (1 Corinthians 15:45) . . .So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living person.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

    (1 Timothy 2:13, 14) . . .For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and became a transgressor.

    (1 Corinthians 11:8-10) . . .For man did not come from woman, but woman came from man. 9 And what is more, man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man. 10 That is why the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.

    There are probably other references to be found, so search away.

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4 Responses

  1. Photios says:

    “Scholars have asked why he didn’t speak up.”
    Celibate scholars I expect…
    If he had spoken up, it is very likely
    he would never have heard the end of it.

  2. Beulah Edwards says:

    No, your statement is wrong. Eve was persuaded by the first expert marketer. No-one had died in Eden, and an animal cannot discern God-given laws. But Adam, created first, was supposed to have spoken up… because the law was given to him. The man’s mind operates differently to the woman…She is the mistress of the home – and the lack of much of this today, is causing problems with child rearing…

  3. Dr. Eric Rice says:

    The authors true issue with Adam and Eve is clearly seen thru her use of terms, i.e., modern thinking, forward-thinking, pro-women, modern scholarship, etc., blatantly wanting scripture changed into her own image. In her four views, she incorrectly states that scripture in some way advances these therories.

    1) Adam and Eve were not created at the same time. Adam was formed and is placed in charge of creation before Eve is created. It is not until Adam’s naming of created beings is completed, that Eve is created as a help mate.

    2) In relation to each other there isn’t a subordinate relationship, “the two shall become one flesh,” however that relation ship does not extend to God. Israel is always subordinate to God and so is Adam and Eve. God’s act of helping does not relate to equality, nor does it give equality to Eve in regards to Adam. The argument is flawed.

    3) Adam did not consider Eve as subordinate to him in regards to their relationship in marriage, but Adam was always considered the head of their household and scripture always upholds this view.

    4) A reason for Adam to be in ear shot and not respond is not given and therefore can be debated, but Eve ate first then Adam and not the otherway around as your statement alludes.

    Based on what you wrote here, your book I assume would be full of errors and falsehoods all to further your agenda of redefining the relationship of men and women and further to redefine God’s relationship with His creation. Remember, God says of Himself, “I am the LORD, I do not change!”

  4. Paul Coomber says:

    Adam and Eve were not created at the same time. Genesis 1: 27 & 28 offers a very concise record of the events described in chapter 2 from verse 5 onward. Chapter 1 supplies merely a brief chronological record of the sequence of events that prepared the earth for human habitation leading up to the appearance of man. Chapter 2 focusses almost entirely on the two humans and what transpired between the time of Adams creation and that of Eve.
    This is supported by what other inspired bible characters had to say about the two.
    Also the scriptures are exceedingly clear that Adam is the one who God holds responsible for selling the human race into slavery to sin, not Eve. Many articles of this sort have focused on what the churches have been teaching about these things and not on what the Bible actually states. When Genesis was written there were no chapter and verse divisions. The Jews read those writings as one book, undivided by modern interpretations. They never read the first two chapters as being two different creation scenarios; the two accounts complemented one another. Below are some of the references I have found: –

    (Romans 5:12) . . .That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned. . .

    (1 Corinthians 15:22) . . .For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.

    (1 Corinthians 15:45) . . .So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living person.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

    (1 Timothy 2:13, 14) . . .For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and became a transgressor.

    (1 Corinthians 11:8-10) . . .For man did not come from woman, but woman came from man. 9 And what is more, man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man. 10 That is why the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.

    There are probably other references to be found, so search away.

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