The First Church-Centered Confession of Faith
And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living,Genesis 3:20
Adam made an incredible confession of faith in naming his wife, for "Eve" in Hebrew means "life." Adam had just committed the act of sin that demanded death. In fact, God had announced man's death sentence in the verse immediately preceding the naming of Eve: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return" (v. 19). Moreover, Adam had broken God's covenant, scorned His fellowship, injured His attributes, and renounced himself as His Creator's image-bearer. He had chosen spiritual, physical, and eternal death. How dare he be so bold to speak about life directly after hearing the death sentence of all human posterity? Had he not understood what God said about death?
Yes, he had. But Adam also understood God's message about life. When God intervened in paradise, He did more than announce judgment and death. Uninvited, He came to preach the Gospel of life. God Himself preached the first post-fall sermon. In Genesis 3:15 the Lord said to the serpent, and in the hearing of our first parents: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Simply said, from now on the world would know two seeds: the satanic seed of the ungodly, the divine seed of the godly. Though the satanic seed would harass the godly seed until the end of the world, its destructive power would not rise beyond heel-bruising. Whereas the godly seed, through the strength of the One to come, would fatally bruise the head of Satan and his forces. This One is none other than Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of life, Who, through a law-fulfilling life (active obedience) and sin-atoning death (passive obedience) would destroy the satanic powers which otherwise would possess the power of death (Heb. 2:14).
Adam received faith to believe the Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, would be born out of his wife.
She would be the mother of that Seed through the blood-line of generations to come. Responding by gracious faith to the first Gospel sermon ever preached, Adam turns to his wife in the presence of the Lord God Who had just spoken, and cries out: "Eve! Your name is 'life,' 'living!'"
Adam's boldness was unrebuked by God, for it was well-founded. By faith, he saw that the life sentence in the promised Deliverer as the Second Adam encompassed the death sentence he had merited as the first Adam. The Prince of Life was greater than the man of death. God's righteousness exceeded Adamic sinfulness. In this stupendous realization, Adam's calling out, "Eve!", represents the first Christ-centered confession of faith on earth.
Adam had named his wife before. When he received her out of God's hand, he had exclaimed: "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man" (Gen. 2:23). Indeed, this had been his wedding song. Joyfully, he had embraced "woman" as his God-given helpmeet. But sin, which spoils everything, also undid the warp and woof of this perfect marriage of our first parents. Following sin, Adam and his wife are far from being "best friends" any longer. They no longer live within the circle of God-glorifying intimacy. Rather, Adam looks at his wife with contempt, and says to God, "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat" (Gen. 3:12).
Just when the first marriage was about to break up, God intervened. The result of that gracious intervention was a renewed wedding song, yes, an augmented song: "Eve! Life! Living!" This deeper, more intimate, more personal name, Adam now sung as a song of faith. While all bespoke death around him, and testified of the worthiness of death within him, Adam sung about Life.
Adam understood and believed the Gospel message through God's amazing, sovereign grace. He embraced the truth that God would send a Deliverer Who would be born of that same woman who had given him to eat. In all the simplicity of this faith Adam calls his wife Eve. As it were, he looks at her and says, "I see in you the divine promise realized – life, not death will proceed from your womb. I see God carrying out His purpose of grace in your seed, for such seed shall include the Deliverer. I see through your seed the pledge of divine forgiveness and eternal love. And I proclaim my faith in all this before God and before all posterity, by naming you Eve."
It is hard to say which is stronger: the simplicity or the intensity of Adam's faith. Happily, the answer to this dilemma is that Gospel faith is always exercised in both childlike simplicity and immediate intensity. For God-given faith cannot doubt. Precisely because Adam's faith was God-given, it overcomes all obstacles and believes God fully, simply, intensely. Adam does not question God's Gospel proclamation. He comes with no "ifs," "buts," or "hows." He does not even ask for a sign. He trusts God's Word fully, even when spoken dimly, for he had not yet realized the depths of the divine promise. The cup of grace was unspeakably sweet to the parched lips of this first sinner. No wonder even crumbs from the Master's table were now sufficient for him!
Adam's confession of faith must both shame and encourage us. It shames us when we consider how fully Adam believed when the Lord had only preached the Gospel once to him, and had sketched the details of the coming Messiah vaguely at best. How many times have we heard God's Word vividly in all the detail of Calvary and in all the fulness of Old and New Testament Scripture? Do we also know what it means to cry out personally, victoriously, via Gospel-applied grace, "Life! Living!"?
Adam's faith is also encouraging when we consider the context in which it was uttered. If anyone might have said, "I am too great a sinner; I dare not believe the promise," it was he. His was an enormous guilt. He had ruined not only himself, but the whole human race. He had let in the flood of evil upon the earth, opened the gates of death for all creation, and stained the very ground on which he walked with a divine curse. He had sided against God, and with His arch-enemy. He had destroyed everything, forfeited all rights to grace, and was worthy of nothing but hell and condemnation. If anyone could have pleaded unworthiness and unfitness as grounds against surrendering to God's call and Word, it was Adam.
The message is clear: no sinner is too great a sinner for divine grace to conquer. For grace, no petitioner is too insignificant, no beggar too ragged, no Manasseh too proud, no Saul too blinded, no heart too hard.
In fact, our greatest problem is precisely this: we need to become utterly unworthy and utterly unfit. For it is such that surrender to Christ. Despite the fact that one who entered an empty grave in Bible times was declared unclean, Simon Peter entered Jesus' sepulchre. Do you know why? He was utterly unworthy and unfit. It is the full leper that is pronounced clean, the bankrupt sinner that is delivered, the publican that returns to his house justified.
You and I need grace to fall to God's side with all our unworthiness and unfitness, confessing, "For Thy Name's sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity; for it is great" (Ps. 25:11). With God we shall never be disappointed; with ourselves we shall always be disappointed. From our side, death is in the pot. In our Adamic hearts all is death; in Christ, all is "Eve" life, living. Seek grace to know "self-death"; seek grace to know "Christ-life." In Him is the soul's only answer. He is the Answer: "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life."
Thus, the problem is not: "If only I were a little better, a little more presentable for God, a little less sinful, a little more worthy," for self can never be presentable and worthy. Rather, the problem is subscribing to Gospel-grace which teaches us that only One is worthy: Jesus Christ. Worthy is the Lamb! He died for the unworthy, the undeserving, the ungodly. Seek grace to go to Him as a child of Adam with all your sin, guilt, and hellishness, and ask Him to grace you with trust in His work as the Second Adam. Only then shall you be saved as your first father was saved: by grace through faith. There is no other way; no other Name. "Whoso findeth Me, findeth life ... all they that hate Me love death" (Prov. 8:35a, 36b).