The first woman to believe was Eve. How do we know she believed God? She voices her faith in God’s promise when she names her children, and both God and Adam recognize her faith in Genesis 3. Because Eve believed God, she was made righteous by her faith. In the words of Eve’s seed, Mary, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)
Seed as a Metaphor
Throughout Genesis, God makes several promises concerning “seed.” The word in Hebrew is zera. It can be translated literally as the little kernel of life that is planted in the ground. Or, it can be translated metaphorically as offspring, progeny, children, or descendants.
In Genesis 15:5-6, God promises Abraham a seed more numerous than the stars. Abraham believes God, and his trust that God will follow through on his promise is called righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Because Abraham believed what God said, he was considered right with God. In Galatians 3:29, Paul links the faith of Abraham to those who trust Jesus. Paul calls all Christians the seed of Abraham. Trusting what God said through Jesus makes us right with God.
Most Christians have heard about Father Abraham, who had many sons, or “seeds.” But, before Abraham’s promised seed, we have the promised seed of the woman.
The Woman’s Seed
In Genesis 3:15, God responds to the disobedience of Adam and Eve with words of prophecy. He tells the serpent…
“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15 NKJ)
God declares that this particular thing will happen. This is the first promise of God. It has been titled by theologians as the protoevangelium, or the first gospel. This is the first time that humanity receives the good news that God promises to destroy the evil that entered his good creation. He says that the woman and her seed would continue to battle the evil one. Her seed would destroy him, taking a wound in the process.
Even though God’s word was aimed at the serpent, it also includes the woman. And she was listening.
Eve believes God.
Like Abraham, Eve also trusts the words of God would come to pass. Although the text does not explicitly say so, we can reasonably assume that her faith was meritorious as Abraham’s was. Because she trusted God, she was made right with him. Eve’s faith in God’s word made her righteous.
Eve names her first seed Cain.
At Cain’s birth in Genesis 4:1, Eve says, “I have gotten (qayin – Cain) one from God!” She believed she had gotten the seed God promised. Sadly, Cain was not the promised one, and neither was her second son Abel. But Eve still believes God will fulfill his word.
Eve names her last seed Seth.
When Seth is born in Genesis 4:25, Eve directly references God’s word with her explanation in naming Seth. The name Seth is Sheth in Hebrew, which is the same word as the verb shith, which means “to put.” Most English translations use the word “appointed” instead of “put.”
And Adam again knew his wife, and she bore a son and she named him Seth (Put), “For God has put for me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” (Genesis 4:25 my translation)
Eve names her third son after God’s promise to “put” enmity between her seed and the enemy (Genesis 3:15) because she believes God’s promise. Although Seth is not the seed to destroy the serpent, his descendents become the line through whom the nation of Israel descended, of whom came Jesus.
God responds to the woman differently than the man.
Eve’s faith is also evidenced by God’s response to her . God responds differently to her than he does Adam. Did you notice who is not included in the enmity in Genesis 3:15? The man.
When God questions Adam about why he ate the fruit, Adam was weirdly silent about the crafty creature. He never mentions the snake! God recognized that this silence was indicative. God looks at the heart, at motives. The woman challenged the serpent by naming him. The man did not.
Even though the woman was the first to take a bite, the man is held responsible for breaking the rule because he intended to break the rule (Romans 5:14). The woman broke the rule believing she was doing the right thing. She was decieved (Genesis 3:13, 1 Timothy 1:13, 2 Corinthians 11:3). The man was held responsible for sin because he knew what he was doing as he ate. He was not deceived.
You might even go so far as to say Adam was protecting the snake with his silence. Instead of naming the true enemy, he chose to make God his enemy. We get an idea of who was culpable from God’s words regarding the consequences of the whole fiasco. God speaks to all three involved, but his words to the woman lack something.
In Genesis 3:14-19, God addresses both the serpent and the man with the words, “Because you …” God uses the word “cursed” with both the serpent and the man, even though the man is not directly cursed. God does not speak this way to the woman.
God’s words to the woman are different than his words to the serpent and to the man. The woman is not confronted with her actions like the other two are. There is no curse for Eve, no words of culpability.
The man identifies the woman as alive.
Adam recognizes Eve’s life in contrast to his sentence of death. In Genesis 2:17, God tells the man that eating the knowledge fruit would result in certain death. After the man eats the fruit, God affirms that this is so. Although Adam did not physically die immediately after eating the fruit, he had abandoned the source of life, God himself. It was only a matter of time until he was reunited with his birthplace in the ground. “To dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19).” Adam died (Genesis 5:5).
Adam’s first response after hearing these “dusty” words of death is to notice something different about his wife. After Adam hears God say that he would die, he turns to his wife and cries, “Life! (Genesis 3:20)” Eve, Chavah in Hebrew, means “alive.” Notice the contrast. Adam has just received his death sentence, and the first thing he thinks of when he looks at his wife is alive.
There may be two levels of meaning at work here. Adam was the only man to give physical life from his body. From now on, it falls to woman to create life in her body by giving birth. A spiritual meaning is also relevant. Spiritually, Adam doomed his progeny to die (Romans 5:12-19), but Eve’s progeny provides eternal life (Genesis 3:15, Galatians 4:4-5).
Because she believed God’s promise, Eve is truly the Mother of all the Living, who are all those who come to life in Jesus, her seed.
The first woman to believe was Eve. How do we know she believed God? She voices her faith in God’s promise when she names her children, and both God and Adam recognize her faith in Genesis 3.Tweet
One thought on “The First Woman to Believe God”
Oh, that was so beautifully provocative!!