The Words of Eve – Genesis 4:1-2

I’ve decided to slow down a bit. Tackling whole chapters just wasn’t quite achieving what I wanted out of these posts. I wanted to have room for reflection and a bit more than just the facts, but doing a whole chapter at a time made the length longer than I’d like.

So instead I’m just going to do parts at a time. Yes it will make things go slower, but I feel that I’ll be able to think about things a bit better and reflect a bit more. I’ll also be focusing on parts that intrigue me, not every one is going to be only about two verses like today. Doing it this way may even make the posts shorter… maybe.

It’s kind of funny if you think about the transition between Genesis 3 and 4. The Bible moves fairly quickly from Adam and Eve’s removal from Eden to the next generation. We get almost nothing about how Adam and Eve became used to living outside of the garden. The only information we do get is about how they made love; became pregnant with their son, Cain; and then had another son, Abel. Talk about moving right along eh?

For some reason the words of Eve here have always intrigued me. Eve says after giving birth to Cain, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” It just seemed very positive, especially after just being removed from Eden by God. I guess I thought that she might hold a bit of resentment between the exile and the indication that child birth was going to be more painful due to their sin. It just always struck me odd.

Reading John H. Sailhamer’s commentary on Genesis in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary series, I found that there is another way that you can translate Eve’s quote. He says that you can also translate it as “I have created a man equally with the Lord.” He believes that this gives the impression that “Eve’s words are taken as a boast that just as the Lord had created a man, so now she had created a man.”

While he favors this translation and posture regarding Eve’s statement, and gives his reasons, he also says that “Within the immediate context it would be difficult to decide between two such diverse readings of the passage.”So depending on your reasoning you can turn Eve into one who despite the events of the Garden of Eden, was still looking to God as the creator of life while realizing that she is playing an active part in it; or you can turn Eve into someone who hasn’t learned their lesson from Eden and is still trying to seek equality with God.

I guess personally I lean a bit more towards her words being positive, but I honestly think you can find potential support for either reading. While I have reasons that are more contextual, one of my reasons is that I’d like to think we can learn from the consequences of our sin. That our only reaction isn’t to be angry with God or to simply repeat the issue that got us into trouble in the first place.

The positive response is what I want to have. It’s all too easy to be angry at the consequences we receive or to continue in our error. Due to this fact, both of the potential responses of Eve are certainly possible. They are both very human. We can learn from our mistakes and continue to praise God and we can easily fail to learn from our wrongdoing and continue that road even after consequences are felt.

Am I the only one who’s ever found Eve’s words here intriguing? Which way do you read her words? Positive? Negative? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

 

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