I believe that one of the greatest disservice done to women in Christian circles has been effected through the complete elimination of Eve from salvation’s story other than to narrate her complicit role in Genesis 3. Such a sweeping dismissal is the birthplace for the unfair attitudes to women in leadership and women in general, because a focus only on Eve’s part in the Fall without a similar attention to the part promised her by God in Redemption’s Story, makes it easy to color all women ‘bad’ or as ‘fallen.’
Such an unfair erasure becomes even more pertinent when we consider that there’s not a single man in human history and in biblical account with whom God made covenant who did not fail God in one way or the other.
Abraham pimped out his wife, Sarah, twice for his own safety…
Jacob usurped his brother’s birthright, twice!
David committed rape, adultery and murder all in one fell swoop!
Paul was a persecutor of Christians, complicit in the murders of many!
Peter denied Jesus!
Yet, our Christian faith never ceases to reflect on the contributions of these men toward’s Salvation Story. The church has even elevated some of these historical bible characters to the status of ‘saints!’ So why the difference for Eve?
Why, in the telling of Redemption’s Story, although Eve was the one to whom the promise was first made, even as the promise was first made to Abraham, why do we eliminate Eve’s faithful watch for redemption to jump to fulfillment in Mary???
Is it because Mary was a virgin and therefore symbolizes a purity that has long since been demanded of women but not of men??? Is this why we tell the story of Mary over Eve as though the only way a woman can participate in God’s story, as opposed to man, is by her purity???
Our bible narratives are there for a reason and we don’t get to pick and choose which words we want to read and which people we’d preferably erase from the list of those God worked through.
Our faithful reading of the biblical text as we have done this week should help us correct our narrative.
The fact that Eve waited for what Mary inherited and should not make Eve less faithful or less prominent in our Christian Advent story.
This pattern of one person waiting and another inheriting the long awaited promises is central to Christian faithfulness. That is why we are encouraged to persist even when what we wait for has not appeared. Why then, do we as Christians treat Eve’s waiting for the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15b as though it never existed???
The fact that Eve did not directly birth the Christ is not unusual in the fulfillment of God’s promises when compared to the patriarchs whose stories we honor to the exclusion of Eve’s faithfulness. So many died (even David who wrote about but never saw Jesus’ passion) and yet Scripture counted them faithful,
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance,admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.” Hebrews 11:13.
So why NOT Eve???
Before Mary ever received the annunciation, Eve received hers and no less than from God Himself. What then makes Eve’s place less among the faithful? Patriarchy!
Eve has been directly hit by patriarchy over and over and even in the face of the fulfillment of the promise, patriarchy refuses to let her go! However, we must proclaim that what Eve waited for has come. Eve is free! Patriarchy no longer has a hold over her story!
So, this Advent season, let us not leave out Eve’s Advent – the full story that involves her faithful waiting for the promise of redemption and the celebration that her hope was not disappointed. And by so doing, may we also proclaim to the dead of Eve, the birth, death, & resurrection of her long awaited offspring and with it, the redemption promised ‘her’ through him!
Eve hoped in God and Romans 5:5 tells us that “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
If we affirm and honor the faith, hope and place of the patriarchs, though tainted with sin and corruption, we must also affirm and honor Eve’s embarking on the very first Advent, waiting for the birth of her Redeemer Offspring many, many years ago.