Greetings once again. I’m Pastor Wilbur Bruinsma and I will be speaking for you on the Reformed Witness Hour for the next several months.
We are going to make a study of a few of the women of the Bible. For the most part, these will be believing women who loved God. But there will be a few wicked women we will consider too. I do not intend to study the entire lives of these women but to consider them from the perspective of a particular passage of the Bible.
We begin our study with the first woman of the Bible: Eve, the mother of all living. We could have chosen several passages that speak of Eve both in the Old and New Testaments. For example, we could have examined her part in the fall of man into sin and the subsequent instruction God gave her after the fall. We will make mention of that today, but will not focus on it. Instead we have chosen to study the creation of Eve. We consider Genesis 2: 23, 24. Let us read that: “And Adam said [concerning Eve], This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” I wish to consider, together with these verses, Genesis 3:20 as well. That verse reads: “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”
Eve is the first woman who lived on the earth, just as Adam is the first man. In Genesis 2:23 Adam identifies this first human female. She shall be called Woman. Before God created Eve on the sixth day of the creation week, Adam had named all the animals. Both genders of animals, male and female, passed before him as he named them. Because of this, Adam noticed there was no female for himself. He was alone. Then God created Adam’s female counterpart: the woman.
But there is something else that becomes evident in this creation of Eve. In verse 24 of Genesis 2, commentary is made on this creation applying it to marriage. In other words, what is taught us concerning Eve in this Word of God is applied to all women by virtue of the fact that Eve was the mother of all living. So, what was true of Eve in her relationship to Adam is quickly applied by Scripture as being universally true of women in marriage and in the church. Much, then, of what we say of Eve’s creation and her identity as a woman can be applied to women in general. We will be careful to establish that on the basis of Scripture. We wish to be well founded on what God Himself teaches us in His Word. After all, God’s Word is truth. It is the standard according to which we judge our place and calling in this world. We will then also discover the beauty and absolute necessity of the place God gave Eve and, in her, all women.
The Woman Eve
Her Inherent Identity
The reason Adam called Eve “woman” was that she was made out of his bones. He recognized the inherent identity of this female counterpart that God gave him. God made Adam directly out of the dirt of the ground. But Eve was created out of a bone of Adam. Her creation was distinct from that of Adam’s therefore. It was unique, and it defined the inherent character of who she was. The designation “woman” literally means “out of man.” The terms man and woman refer exclusively to the two genders of human beings. The account here in Genesis 2 relates to us Eve’s creation. On the sixth day of the creation week God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. While he slept, God took a rib out of him, and from that rib God formed a woman. Literally, the woman was created out of man. By means of her unique creation God made her different from a man. A different being. She was a human being just like Adam, but she was different physically from a man.
That, of course, is obvious from all women born of Eve. According to her inherent nature, the woman was made by God specifically as a counterpart of the man. She was made by God meet for man. That is the word used in verses 18 and 20 of Genesis 2. She was specifically adapted by God through her creation for the man. Not only was she different in her physical features but she was created with the unique ability to give birth to children. The man was not able to do this. Only together with his wife was he able to procreate. Neither may we overlook the truth that after Eve’s creation God brought her to Adam and, by virtue of her creation, Eve became Adam’s wife. In other words, with the creation of the woman, God created the institution of marriage. This is obvious from God’s commentary on this act in verse 24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” God teaches us here that He instituted marriage—and that such marriage takes place between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is not truly a marriage.
But there is more involved in Eve’s creation. God gave to her a certain place in her relationship to Adam. God created her “out of the man.” Again, the end of verse 23, “she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of the Man.” Scripture explains what this means in I Corinthians 11:8, 9: “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” The woman was created out of the man because she was created for the man. From this, Paul explains in that same chapter the relationship in marriage between a husband and wife in marriage: just as God is the head of Christ and Christ is the head of man, so also the man is head of his wife. She was created for the man. This is part of the significance of the unique creation of the woman. This is the God-ordained order established by God. Otherwise Adam and Eve would have been created at the same time and both directly out of the dirt. But Eve was created out of a rib of Adam to establish the rule of the husband over the wife in marriage.
Now, it is exactly this beautiful God-ordained relationship between Adam and Eve, and subsequently between husbands and wives, that was violated in the fall of man into sin. The reason so many rebel against this relationship and insist that God’s way is not the proper way or the only way is on account of man’s fall into sin. We say this because immediately after the fall of man into sin, God came to visit Adam and Eve in the Garden. After Adam blamed Eve for the fall and Eve blamed the serpent, God addressed each one of them. He spoke first of all to Satan through the serpent. He then spoke to Eve these words in Genesis 3: 16: “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” The rule of the husband over his wife was not a punishment God was now leveling against the woman because of her sin, but was a reminder to Eve and to wives that God had given the rule to the husband. Sin was going to mar that relationship horribly. Sin was going to threaten and ultimately destroy that relationship between husbands and wives. Because man and woman both fell into the deep way of sin, husbands would become horrible tyrants in their dealings with their wives. On the flip-side, women, because of sin and unbelief, would be inclined to rebel against the rule of their husbands. What we see in our society and world today is a direct result of man’s disobedience to God.
It is this proper relationship that is, and can only, be restored through salvation in Christ Jesus. He alone is able to cleanse the heart and restore to us what man and woman lost in the fall. No doubt, a sinful flesh still resides in us, and oftentimes even the redeemed child of God steps outside of the proper relationship in marriage and sins. But together they humbly repent of such sin, confess it to God and to each other, and then seek reconciliation to restore what was hurt. This is the work of God’s grace in the heart of redeemed sinners. What we truly can be grateful for is the forgiveness we receive also through the cross of our Savior. To return, then, to Eve herself: because she was created out of the rib of Adam she was created for Adam and was therefore under the rule of her husband. This is fundamental to a good relationship between husband and wife.
Now, Adam did not give his wife her name at the time of her creation. He called her woman in order to distinguish her from the man. But Eve was not given her name by her husband until after the fall of man into sin. In Genesis 3:20 Adam named her Eve. This name too speaks of Eve’s personal identity. Eve literally means “life.” Adam named her Eve because she is the mother of all living. She gave life to all who followed her and her husband, both men and women. The historically real woman named Eve was our first mother. Not a person in this world can claim what Eve could claim. All the nations, peoples, and races of this world have a common source: Eve. Yes, I know, Adam was made by God the representative head of man. But Eve is the mother of all living.
This too explains the relationship between a man and his wife in marriage. We read in I Corinthians 11:11, 12, “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.” This Word of God deals the deathblow to any man who would raise himself up in pride and view his relationship to his wife as that of master/slave; as if he stands on a level far above his wife and she is merely to serve him in his every need, kneeling before his rule. As I said earlier, the fall of man into sin has affected man in his relationship to his wife too. Man becomes by nature a tyrant who, because he is physically stronger than his wife, believes he can force his wife into submission.
We who are redeemed are able to understand the proper relationship between a husband and wife because we understand the Scripture: Eve is the mother of all living! The man is not without his wife or the church without its women. Why? Because the man owes his all to the woman! She gives him life and birth. The man is not without the woman. Moreover, she is there to care for and nurture her children. This was true of Eve, but in her of all women. I am who I am today because of my mother! I do not mean to detract from the importance of my father in my life. But some of my fondest childhood memories were of the tender care my mother had over me. She sat by my side when I could not fall asleep at night. She tended to my hurts. She sang to me and taught me each day. She did it all, not because it was demanded or expected of her. She did it willingly because she loved her children. When she died, there was a knot in my chest so sore that only tears could relieve it. The man is by the woman. She shapes and molds him to what he is in his life. Never ought a man to belittle or think himself superior to the woman.
Her Lofty Calling
All of this points to the high and lofty calling of Eve, and again, in her of every wife and mother in the home and church. You see, there is a reason behind the creation of the woman. There is a reason Eve was created uniquely the way that she was. We read in Genesis 2:18 that it is not good that man should be alone. To accomplish the purposes for which God placed man in His creation (in society, in the church, and especially in the home) man needs a wife. He needs the woman. God did not create Eve for Adam in order that she might wait on him hand and foot, that is, to take orders from him as a slave would from his master. God created Eve because Adam could not otherwise possibly accomplish all the responsibility God had placed upon him. Adam had to labor in creation. He had to see to it that he, and later his family, were fed and cared for. As society grew of itself, as it did, he would need to play a role in the running of mankind. He would need to rule in the church and in the world. He would need to see to it that creation cooperated in the sustenance of his own family and society at large. He would need to take care of his tiny children and their needs. He would need to see to it that his household ran well, that there was a house to live in and clothing for his family. In fact, God gave man the responsibility to see to it that his children were instructed and carefully nurtured in the ways of God. This was man’s responsibility in creation.
Now, I do not know about you, men, but a task of that sort is overwhelming to me. I could not possibly accomplish that on my own. It would not be good for me to be alone.
This is why God created the woman. Verse 18 of Genesis 2 again states, “I will make man a help meet for him.” Eve was created as a help for Adam. She was specifically created out of the man, out of his bone and flesh, because her calling in life was to be a help for Adam. A help—an assistant. That word comes as a relief to a man. My wife is a help for me. I look at my place and calling in life and I cry to God: “Help!” And God answers my prayer by bringing to me a wife to help me. With gratitude I receive her from the hand of God. I need her! For everything! For my physical needs, yes, but for a whole lot more than that! What fools when unbelieving men look for a one-night stand with a woman as if all she is good for is to fulfill his physical desires. How demeaning that is to the woman! How foolish when a woman begins to view herself as those same young men do, and desires nothing but to satisfy her own physical lusts! The worth of a wife is far above rubies. She is priceless!
Husbands ought to realize that! It might change their attitude toward their wives and the way they deal with them. Wives are priceless! Eve was priceless to Adam! She supplied his needs in every way. Where he was weak, she would be strong. Where he lacked (and let’s admit it, men, we lack in plenty of areas), she would fill in for him. Where Adam could not do it all, Eve would assist him in order that he might be all that he could be! Proverbs 31:23: “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land”—because of his virtuous wife! This is why the position of a wife and mother is an honorable one. And when she is overwhelmed with life and all she takes on herself, the husband ought to be the first one there to relieve her. Why? Because she is doing his work!
This is why Scripture speaks of the role of the wife and mother in such lofty terms. Eve had a lofty calling. She was created as a help for her husband. Yes, Adam was created a head. That is a grave responsibility. The human race stood and fell in Adam. He bore the responsibility for the fall of the human race even though Eve was the first in the transgression. Yes, the man rules in his marriage. But he is not a dictator. He rules with the advice of his wise counselor—his wife.
I know that our present society chafes at this calling of a woman in marriage. A woman who cares for the needs of husband and children is considered a menial slave. But this is true only because the world in unbelief in the past has made this of a wife and mother in the home. A believing husband ought never view his wife in this way. He is redeemed in the blood of Christ and must view his wife as bearing an important office. A husband praises his wife in front of his children, and children then rise up and called her blessed. Eve: the mother of all living.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.
Her Indispensable Place
Verse 24 of our text has been used throughout our consideration of Eve today. But it says something also regarding the indispensable place of the woman in the family and in the church. A man reaches a certain age. His desire is to marry. He then leaves the home of his father and mother and seeks a wife. When he marries that wife he cleaves to her. The word cleave means “to adhere to” or “to of become attached to.” The idea is that of being glued together with something. If I desire to have some things become one, then I glue them together. But the glue that is spoken of here is unbreakable—it is a gorilla glue. You know, that type of glue that once it adheres it cannot be broken. The New Testament speaks of it as welding together. A husband must adhere to his wife in such a way that he becomes one flesh with her. Just as literally as Eve was bone of Adam’s bone and flesh of his flesh, so also is marriage. Eve was by virtue of her creation bound together with Adam. Such speaks of the indispensable place of Eve but also of every woman who marries. She becomes a part of her husband: emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically. A head cannot function without a body! Man cannot function without his wife. Such is the bond of marriage. When Adam and Eve by virtue of their creation were bonded together, their mutual need for each other could not be broken. Eve: the first woman—the mother of all living. What her creation teaches us is valuable and encouraging. The first woman of the whole human race!