The First Woman to Be Deceived
SHE was unique among women. Infancy, childhood and the change into womanhood were never a part of her life’s experiences. From the very beginning she was a mature woman. In fact, the first day of her existence proved to be her wedding day.
On seeing her, the man Adam was moved to say: “This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one will be called Woman, because from man this one was taken.”—Gen. 2:23.
Why did Adam make this statement about the first woman that he had ever seen? For a time, the man was the only member of the human kind to live in a beautiful paradise, garden or park that provided him with all the necessities of life. As he observed the various animals and then selected appropriate names for them, he could see that all had mates. But among these, he saw no one of his kind with whom to share intimate companionship and love. (Gen. 2:19, 20) Hence, he recognized immediately that the woman was a suitable mate for him, his complement. Later, he called her Eve, meaning “Living One,” as she would become “the mother of everyone living.”—Gen. 3:20.
Unlike other humans that had their start from a tiny cell, Eve had her beginning with a rib that the Creator removed from Adam’s side. In the light of present medical knowledge, the choice of a rib seems most appropriate. When the periosteum (the membrane of connective tissue that covers the bone) is allowed to remain, the removal of a rib is not permanent. The rib will grow again. Certainly it was no difficult thing for the Creator, who made it possible for a human to develop from a fertilized egg cell in the womb, to take the many cells making up a rib and to build these cells up into a woman. Since Adam was in a state of deep sleep when this rib was taken from his side, he must have learned from his Creator about the way in which the woman came into existence. This would explain why he referred to Eve as ‘bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh.’—Gen. 2:21-23.
A grand prospect lay before Eve and her husband Adam. This was to fill the earth with their kind and to transform the land outside their garden home into a beautiful paradise. (Gen. 1:28) However, their continuing to enjoy life in paradise depended on obedience to the command of their Maker. The Most High had declared the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and bad” as forbidden to Adam and Eve. (Gen. 2:16, 17) That tree symbolized the Creator’s right to determine what was good and what was bad for his human children. How inappropriate it would have been for the creation to set the standard for good and bad!
DECEIVED BY MEANS OF A SERPENT
Nevertheless, it was in connection with the “tree of the knowledge of good and bad” that Eve fell victim to a deception. One day, while not in the company of her husband, she had a very unusual experience. A cautious serpent had seemingly been made wise and had been empowered to speak. Unknown to Eve, a treacherous spirit son of God was using that serpent much as a ventriloquist employs a dummy. (Compare John 8:44.) This lowly serpent raised what appeared to be an innocent question: “Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1) Eve replied correctly, for Adam must have told her about the “tree of the knowledge of good and bad.” She said: “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But as for eating of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that you do not die.’” (Gen. 3:2, 3) The serpent’s inquiry, however, had subtly put a question in Eve’s mind, a question that she may not have entertained previously. That question was, Why was the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and bad” prohibited on pain of death?
The serpent had a ready answer: “You [in plural number, thus including Adam] positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.” (Gen. 3:4, 5) Now Eve was faced with a decision. Would she come to the defense of the Creator to whom she owed her very existence and who had given her and her husband all the essentials for an eternity of happy living? Or, would she heed the words coming through a lowly creature that had never done a thing for her? Eve had not been left ill-equipped for making the right decision. She knew God’s law and had unmistakable evidence of her Creator’s love for her and her husband. So Eve should have concluded that there must have been a good reason behind God’s command and that it was in her best interests to obey. Besides, since her husband was one flesh with her, it would have been only right that she first consult him about this matter.
Sadly, however, Eve had apparently failed to develop the needed appreciation for her Maker to think positively about the divine command. The Bible record reports: “Consequently the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree was desirable to look upon. So she began taking of its fruit and eating it.” (Gen. 3:6a) In a spirit of independence, Eve chose to decide for herself what was good and what was bad instead of submitting to God’s decision in this. She was completely deceived by the lie spoken to her through the serpent. Thus, when partaking of the forbidden fruit, she did so in anticipation of bettering her condition.
Eve lost no time in approaching her husband, intent on getting him to share with her in transgressing God’s law. Adam knew that partaking of the fruit would mean death for him. He did not believe the serpent’s words: “You positively will not die.” But, finally, Adam gave in to his wife’s urgings to partake of the fruit.—Gen. 3:6b.
What was the result? The immediate effect was an unpleasant one. No longer could Adam and Eve look upon each other’s unclothed bodies in a pure way. Their guilty conscience made them feel unclean, giving rise to sensations that they had never experienced before. With fig leaves, they made loin coverings for themselves.—Gen. 3:7.
Later, when hearing the voice of God, Eve joined her husband in hiding among the trees in their garden home. In answer to the Creator’s question respecting their actions, Eve admitted: “The serpent—it deceived me and so I ate.”—Gen. 3:8-13.
Tragic consequences befell that first human pair. Eve had stepped out of her God-assigned role and had assumed the capacity of a teacher with reference to her husband. The sentence that the Creator pronounced on her revealed the damaging effect that this course would have on her marriage. Adam would “dominate” her, indicating that from then on his headship would be exercised in a domineering, tyrannical way. Yet she would have a craving, an intense feeling of need, for him.—Gen. 3:16.
Motherhood, too, would be accompanied by problems. The divine decree was: “I shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy; in birth pangs you will bring forth children.” (Gen. 3:16) In her now imperfect state, Eve may have undergone such pains in giving birth as to make her realize that death could result to herself and to her offspring.
Eventually both she and her husband would die. Their bodies would decompose and return to the elements of the ground.—Gen. 3:19.
Furthermore, Eve and her husband were ousted from their beautiful paradise home, to begin a life under difficult conditions in an uncultivated area. However, the Creator kindly provided long garments of skin for them.—Gen. 3:21-24.
In time, Eve became the mother of Cain and Abel, as well as other sons and daughters. (Gen. 4:1, 2; 5:4) Imagine how she must have felt on learning that Cain had murdered his brother Abel. What a shock that first human death must have been! Thereafter, when Adam was 130 years of age, Eve gave birth to another son. She called his name Seth, saying: “God has appointed another seed in place of Abel, because Cain killed him.”—Gen. 4:25; 5:3.
How forcefully the case of Eve illustrates that disregard for divine law leads to serious problems! Whenever attempts are put forth to make wrongdoing appear attractive to us, may we not forget what happened to Eve. Happiness simply cannot result from disregarding our Creator’s standard of what constitutes good and bad. May we not be like Eve and succumb to deception, to our lasting harm.