Eve – The Mother of All the Living

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Famous Mothers in the Bible Series

Genesis 3:20

INTRODUCTION: Today is Mother’s Day, and we are starting a new series today on Famous Mothers in the Bible. And so let’s start at the beginning. Today we will look at the very first mother we find in the Bible, and in fact, in all of history.

Eve was a woman of many firsts. She was the first woman, she was the first wife, and she was the first mother. She is the only woman who was ever made without a mother or a father. You know the old joke, “When you get to heaven, how will you recognize Adam and Eve? They are the only ones with no bellybuttons!” Eve is the only human being to have come from a man; after her all other human beings came from other women.

The Bible tells us that Eve was created with Adam in the image of God, she was commanded with Adam to rule over the world, she was commissioned with Adam to be fruitful and multiply, and she was created from Adam to be a partner for him. As Matthew Henry so beautifully wrote: “The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

Eve was also the first to fall into sin. She was deceived by Satan into disobeying God, and then she convinced Adam to join her in her sin. When God confronted her, she blamed the serpent, refusing at first to take responsibility for her sin.

Eve was a woman who knew and understood loss. She experienced the loss of innocence when she disobeyed God in Eden. She experienced the loss of paradise when God removed her and Adam from the garden. She experienced the loss of her son Abel when he was murdered by Cain. Worst of all she experienced the loss of unhindered relationship with God which she and Adam had enjoyed in the garden. Eve’s loss was our loss as well, for we are all born into this world as sinners, separated from God and in need of a Savior.

Our text this morning is a bold proclamation of hope in the face of such terrible losses. Genesis 3:20 records the naming of Eve by Adam after the fall. “Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother all the living.” (Genesis 3:20) The name “Eve” actually means “life or living,” and so every time someone spoke Eve’s name, it would signify life.

This is important, because Adam’s name is related to the Hebrew word for “ground.” Adam was formed from the ground and when God judged Adam for his sin, God told him: “You will … return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19) And so Adam, whose name is a grim reminder that we are all destined for the ground, in faith named his wife “Eve,” a name which means life instead of death. And he did this because she would become the mother of all the living.

So what did Adam mean when he called Eve “the mother of all the living?” I believe there are three ways we may speak of Eve as the mother of all the living, three things that Adam spoke by faith when he gave her the name Eve. First of all she is the mother of all the physically living. Secondly, she is the mother of all the spiritually living. And then thirdly, she is the mother of Christ the Savior. So let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

I. The mother of all the physically living (Genesis 1:28; Genesis 3:16)

First of all, Eve is the mother of all the physically living. God’s first recorded command to Adam and Eve is found in Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Genesis 1:28) Now remember, this was before the fall. This was back in Genesis 1 when God created, and after each act of creation God pronounced that what he had created was good. In fact after creating Adam and Eve and commanding them to be fruitful and multiply, we read that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

So this was part of God’s good plan for his creation. He created the first man and woman and from them would come all other human beings. They would come together as husband and wife, they would bear children, and their children would bear children, and so they would fill the earth with humans created in the image of God to the glory of God. That was the plan.

Then sin intervened. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and suddenly for the first time they experienced shame, guilt and fear. When God came looking for them in the garden, they hid from him for fear that their sin would be exposed. When God confronted them with their sin, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. And then God judged all three. He pronounced a curse upon the serpent. To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing.” (Genesis 3:16) And he told the man that he would return to the ground from which he was taken. (Genesis 3:14-19)

Now these were strong judgments for sin, but in the midst of them, Adam heard a word of hope. He was Adam, representative of all mankind. All men and women were now under a death sentence because of him and his sin. Like him they would all return to the ground. But the word of hope was this. His wife would experience pain in childbearing, but that meant she would still bear children. God had pronounced judgment for sin, but in his mercy he had not abandoned the human race. And he had not abandoned Adam or Adam’s wife. God was not going to start over with someone else. Adam’s wife would still bear children, and so he named her Eve, because she would become the mother of all the physically living.

Now of course Eve was not the mother of Adam, but she would be the mother of all the physically living to come. She would be the mother of the whole human race. Eve is the mother of all the physically living. In God’s grace the human race would continue through Eve. And in that sense she is the mother of us all.

II. The mother of all the spiritually living (Genesis 3:15a)

So Eve is first of all the mother of all the physically living. Secondly, she is the mother of all the spiritually living. There was a second word of hope that Adam heard that day, and we find it in God’s words to the serpent in Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.” (Genesis 3:15) This was part of God’s curse on the serpent, and it was a prophesy that there was a spiritual battle to come. There would be enmity between the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman.

Now I know a lot of you women out there don’t like snakes, and quite frankly a bunch of us men don’t either, but that is not what this passage is talking about. It’s not talking about women and snakes, because the Bible identifies the serpent as none other than Satan himself. The word Satan means “adversary” and that is exactly who Satan is. He is an adversary. He is opposed to God, and he is opposed to God’s good creation. The Bible calls him “a murderer from the beginning … a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) Satan hates God, and he hates God’s people. So the offspring of the serpent are not snakes. Rather, they are those who follow in Satan’s footsteps, those who are also opposed to God and his ways.

So if that is who the serpent’s offspring are, then who are the woman’s offspring? Well, it can’t mean all her physical offspring, because that would include all humans, and we’ve already seen that many of the woman’s physical offspring would follow Satan rather than God. And so we must take it in the spiritual sense of only those people who love and follow God. The Bible often speaks of the righteous and the wicked. The righteous are those who love and follow God, and the wicked are those who do not.

And so we have these two groups of people pictured in Genesis 3:15: the offspring of Satan, and the offspring of Eve. And there is a great spiritual battle that goes on between the two.

The battle continues to the present day but it began back in Genesis as soon as Eve bore her first children. In Genesis 4 Eve gives birth to Cain and Abel. Cain murders his brother Abel because Abel’s heart is right with God but Cain’s is not. It is a sign of things to come. As we continue through Genesis Cain’s line produces further violence and rebellion against God.

Meanwhile Adam and Eve have another son. We read in Genesis 4: “Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, ‘God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.’” (Genesis 4:25) That word “child” in verse 25 is the same word “seed” or “offspring” that we have been following from Genesis 3:15. The promise of the seed of the woman had not been fulfilled through Cain. Perhaps it would be fulfilled through Seth?

Verse 26 answers with a resounding “Yes!” “Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.” (Genesis 4:26) And so the book of Genesis presents us with the godly seed of the woman represented by Seth and his offspring as opposed to the ungodly seed of the serpent represented by Cain and his offspring.

We find a dramatic picture of this battle in the vision given to the apostle John in Revelation 12. In his vision John sees Satan pictured as a dragon and we read: “The dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (Revelation 12:17)

God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.” (Genesis 3:15) Adam heard God’s words and named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the spiritually living. She is the mother of those who follow God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

III. The mother of Christ the Savior (Genesis 3:15b)

And that brings us to the third reason why Adam named his wife Eve. She would become the mother of Christ the Savior. This was the third word of hope Adam heard that day, and we find it in the second half of Genesis 3:15. God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) This is the earliest prophesy we have of Christ in the Old Testament. It is an amazing testimony to God’s grace. No sooner had mankind sinned than God promised to send a Savior.

The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) God had told Adam: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) When Adam ate from the tree, he did not die physically that day, but he died spiritually. He became separated from God by his sins. He needed a Savior. His wife needed a Savior. The human race needed a Savior. And God promised that the Savior would come through the offspring of Eve.

It is a fascinating study to trace the line of Christ through the Old Testament, It begins with Adam and Eve, then passes through Seth, and eventually through Noah and Noah’s son Shem, and then through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It then passes through Jacob’s son Judah and on through David. Finally Christ was born of Mary who was pledged to be married to Joseph. Both Mary and Joseph stood in the line of David but through different lines of descent. Of course Joseph was not the physical father of Christ, but he was Jesus’ adoptive father, and it was through Joseph that Jesus received the right to rule in the royal line of kings.

Eve was the first to sin, Adam soon followed, and through their sin death came upon the entire human race. And yet Adam, hearing God’s promise of a Savior, does not call her the mother of all the dying. Rather in faith believing God’s promise, he calls her Eve, the mother of all the living. Adam’s name meant “ground” and was a reminder of our death. But Adam called his wife Eve because the promised Savior would come through her.

Two thousand years ago Jesus came into our world. The eternal Son of God became flesh. He was born into our world as a human being. Satan struck at Jesus’ heel, tempting and attacking him in his humanity. But Jesus crushed Satan’s head, dying for our sins on the cross, and freeing us from Satan, sin and death, so that we could live with God forever.

So why did Adam name his wife Eve, the mother of all the living? Because she is the mother of all the physically living. She is the mother of all the spiritually living. And she is the mother of Christ the Savior.

CONCLUSION: Let me leave you with three words of application from our study on Eve this morning.

1) First of all, we are all part of one human race. This is an important truth to grasp, because we tend to divide people into different races, and historically people have been mistreated or discriminated against because of their so-called race. But God’s word shows us that we are all one human race. We all have one common mother, and so we are all related to each other. There is no room for racial prejudice or discrimination in the Christian faith.

2) Secondly, we are all sinners by nature and need a Savior. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, their sin was passed on to all their children, and to all their children’s children. We are all sinners, and the just punishment for sin is death. The apostle Paul puts it this way in Romans 5:12: “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) When we say that we are all sinners by nature, we simply mean that we are all born with a nature that naturally sins. No one has to teach us how to sin. As soon as we are old enough to sin, we sin. Every one of us. We are all sinners by nature and need a Savior.

3) Thirdly, Jesus is the only Savior for all mankind. Jesus is the promised offspring of the woman who crushed the serpent’s head. He is the Savior God promised to send, and it is only through him and his death on the cross that we may be forgiven for our sins. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Yes, Adam’s sin brought death to all, but in faith Adam named his wife Eve, life, the mother of all the living. The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus is the only Savior for all mankind.

Moms, how would you like to receive the greatest Mother’s Day gift of all? There is no greater gift than the gift of eternal life that comes by putting your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Of course this invitation isn’t just for moms. Dads, you don’t need to wait for Father’s Day! The Bible says today is the day of salvation. Will you come to Christ today?

© Ray Fowler

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