When God made a corresponding part for Adam, he completed something that was incomplete (Genesis 2:23). And that completion reaches beyond Adam to humanity itself. Male and female are made in God’s image (Genesis 5:2). Eve was not composed of spare parts. She was an integral part of humankind. Yes, she was Adam’s wife. But fulfilling her dominion call was not limited to wifehood.
As I sit down to sort my thoughts for this column, I want to say so much about so many women.
I want to talk about the “cool Christian girl” we so often paint in our heads—the one who belittles us for failing to live up to her (mythical) perfect marriage, family, or home. I want to talk about the Proverbs 31 woman and how she’s not a law for our day-to-day lives, but a tableau for all kinds of facets of womanhood. I want to talk about Deborah. Priscilla. Phoebe.
But first, we need to start with Eve.
Dear Eve, the only woman to know how it felt to be perfect. The first woman to see the tenuous nature of perfection.
Not Just a Love Story
When I was in ninth grade, my humanities teacher assigned us with retelling stories from the Bible. I rewrote Genesis 2 as a love story.
In my version, God created Adam to fulfill a specific earthly calling, but he couldn’t accomplish it alone, because he needed two things: companionship and the means to create other little Adams.
Yet reading Adam and Eve as a love story made my teenage self feel like I needed to be married in order to really glorify God as a woman. After all, God created the first woman as the helper to the first man, her husband. How could I own my created purpose if I wasn’t a helpmate?
In my teen mind, Adam was lonely until Eve arrived. Companionship was her top priority.
When I thought of my own story, I was convinced that my real life wasn’t going to start until I found my Adam. I saw myself as Eve the moment before God woke Adam up to show her off: waiting.
Fifteen years later, I’m convinced that’s not the whole story.
More Than a Marriage
Adam’s need for Eve went beyond that of a warm body and a uterus.
And Eve was not created to simply satisfy Adam’s loneliness. Her story centers on the fact that he was alone.
“It is not good for man to be alone” has more than a romantic meaning. The concept is repeated throughout the epistles, particularly in Paul’s call for community among believers (Romans 12:1–5). We were not made to walk through this life alone, even if we do have a spouse. We were made for scriptural community (Ephesians 4:15–16). Our growth happens best in that context (Hebrews 10:24–25).