(While the Bible gives us some information on Eve, it doesn’t give us a lot. So while some of this interview is based on scripture found in Genesis 2:1-5:5, a portion is also based on the author’s imagination. For the story strictly from the Bible please read the scripture mentioned previously from whatever translation you are comfortable with.)
Cleveland, AL – Eve, wife of Adam, mother of Cain, Abel and Seth and others that are unnamed in the Bible. Her name means, in Hebrew chavah, to breathe and chayah, to life or to give life. Traditionally her name means living. She is literally the mother of all mankind. Eve was the first woman on earth. Having her over for tea, conversation and fellowship presented an unusal opportunity so I was excited about meeting with Eve.
My first impression, as Eve walked into my kitchen dressed in a simple shift with her long white hair piled into a loose bun at the nape of her neck, fastened by what looked like carved twigs, was how confident she appeared. (I made a mental note to ask her about her hair fastenings later.) For some reason I thought Eve might be timid, the wallflower type but she quickly proved me wrong.
After offering her some coffee cake I baked using an old recipe of my mothers and laughing with her as we both choose coffee over tea we settled down comfortably at my kitchen table. My ten-year-old daughter wandered through the kitchen asking if I had seen Charlie (her must have stuffed animal) and locating him (in the bathroom where she’d brushed her teeth) Eve and she engaged in a bit of conversation themselves.
EVE: That’s quite the dog you have there. I see he is well loved.
KIANA: His name is Charlie. Mama needs to do surgery on him again. (She then proceeds to show Eve a tiny hole in the neck of Charlie at the seam.)
EVE: I see that but he seems not to mind any of his other scars. (Eve pointed out signs of Charlie’s other “surgeries”.)
KIANA: Mama is a good fixer-upper. Who are you?
EVE: My name is Eve.
Kiana’s eyes grow large.
KIANA: You’re the Eve out of the Bible? The one who ate the fruit and all that Eve?
EVE: (Smiling)Yes, that’s me.
KIANA: Wow! I’m going to see if Daddy needs some water.
Off Kiana went to take her Daddy some ice water as he mowed the lawn.
FVBF: I hope Kiana didn’t bother you with her questions?
EVE: No, she’s quite curious, I see that in her eyes. Besides, you’re about to ask me questions aren’t you?
FVBF: Too true. The first one I’d like to ask you is where you got those lovely fasteners for your hair. They are exquisite.
EVE: Adam made them for me just before Seth was born. They are one of my precious treasures.
FVBF: I can see why. (Pause) Can we talk about the obvious first? I don’t enjoy trying to talk around elephants in the room.
Eve looked around for an actual elephant and I had to quickly explain it was an expression we used in life today to describe an uncomfortable situation or issue that everyone knew about, wanted to discuss but was afraid to. At that she laughed. Her laughter was clear and musical.
EVE: So this elephant, as you say, with me here is what?
FVBF: Are you aware of how much blame people have assigned to you through the centuries as being the cause of the fall of mankind into sin?
EVE: O yes. God and I have talked about that many times. I felt guilty about eating the fruit of that tree, about letting Satan trick me and about giving some of the fruit to Adam so he ate of it too. But God forgave me. He punished me and that punishment has filtered down to all women but I no longer feel guilty about it.
FVBF: No? (I expected her to say she would always feel guilty about it.)
EVE: God forgave me. To forget that, to wallow in guilt after He forgives is sin upon sin.
FVBF: What about Adam? How long did it take him to forgive you?
EVE: Adam forgave me as I did him and the two of us forged a strong relationship as our years together went on. People forget that after we lost the privilege of walking with God physically we had to rely on the same method people do today, you call it prayer. That was the hardest part of our punishment and banishment from Eden. Prayer became the sweetest treasure of my earthly life.
FVBF: Does it ever bother you that God created you from one of Adam’s ribs instead of from the dust as He did Adam?
EVE: No, God created me to be Adam’s help meet, to work with him in our day to day life. While it’s true God said I would answer to Adam I have always believed that was because God would not be with us physically for me to answer to anymore. Everyone answers to someone and ultimately to God, don’t they?
FVBF: True. How devasting was it when Cain took Abel’s life?
EVE: Adam and I spent decades trying to figure out where we went wrong as Cain’s parents that he would do such a thing. We’d encouraged both boys to work hard in the things they liked the best. For Cain that was producing good crops from the ground. It was hard work. It was not easy but Cain had a knack at farming. It came so naturally to him. Maybe too naturally. Abel was always far more at home tending to animals, especially sheep. It suited his personality. His was thoughtful and strong. He spent a great deal of time thinking and puzzling over life
FVBF: Was there any indication of the differences your sons had of thinking about God?
EVE: Abel seemed to always be more sensitive to what God wanted from us. Cain was a less concerned with following God’s desires exactly. Cain fell victim to the same scheme of Satan that I did. He cut corners and became enamored with the wrong things. His banishment reminded Adam and I again of our own fall. So we mourned the loss of them both.
FVBF: That must have been very difficult for you. Who did you turn to for advise? It occurs to me you had no mother or mother-in-law to ask about what to do.
EVE: Ask for advice? God of course. You’re right there were no other parents, our own or someone else’s to ask anything of. And there were no internet to look things up “how-to” books at the library or Barnes and Nobles, Books-a-Million or Amazon. At that time, not even the Bible you all have readily available today was available to us.
FVBF: God gave you other children right?
EVE: Yes, Seth was our third born son and God blessed us with other children too but none who ever took Cain or Abel’s place, but who were blessings nonetheless.
FVBF: You were essentially the mother of all mankind. How does that make you feel?
EVE: Tired, very, very tired!
With our interview over I thought about what Eve said about the hardest part of her punishment being unable to walk physically with God anymore. According to scripture Adam lived to be 930 years old. Eve’s age was not recorded at her death. No matter the number of years, it is always a long time to go without being physically in God’s presence especially once you’ve known that fellowship.
I thought about what Eve said about having to rely on prayer as their means of relating with God. How dear that was to her and how callous so many of us treat prayer. As an afterthought or a last resort!
And finally I marveled at her ability to accept that people blamed her for the downfall of mankind and realize that God had forgiven her thus refusing to accept what is not her own to accept. I had a new respect for Eve now and I intend to explain to my daughter that being referred to as a “daughter of Eve” doesn’t mean something negative.
It was also good to know that mothers have been tired, very tired since the beginning of time!