This article on Genesis 3:20 is about the promise of life that God gives and that Adam believed.

Source: The Outlook, 1979. 3 pages.

Genesis 3:20 - And Adam Called Her Eve

And the man called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

Genesis 3:20

Was Adam a Christian? Is he in heaven today? Is the first man who is the human cause of all sin and misery that this world has seen throughout the ages, saved?

The answer is beyond any doubt a positive one. How do we know? Surely there isn't much evidence of his faith in God's grace. No, but evidence there is, of strong faith in fact. There are more men of faith in the Old Testament about whom we read little, but enough to know they were men of God. Adam is one of them. And it is this kind of faith that gives us blessings in the Christmas season.

The beauty of God's grace immediately comes to the fore following the fall of our first parents. Even before God pronounces His judgments upon them, He comes with that classic passage of Genesis 3:15, in which we find the great mother promise.

All of this is about the promise of the Christ whom God would bring in His love in the fulness of time. Then we read what the results of sin would be for man. The woman would have great pain and sorrow, also in childbirth. Every birth pang, would as it were, be a reminder of the lost Paradise. Her hus­band would dominate over her. The whole earth would be cursed. Man would work and toil in the sweat of his brow, just to make a living and then die, returning to the dust of the earth. There would be death in their bodies, death in creation. Nothing would remain. That was their future. And from a natural viewpoint there is of course no hope beyond the grave.

It is at that time, in this setting that Adam makes a drastic change. He changes the name of his wife, now calling her Eve. She will be the mother of all liv­ing. This he firmly believes. With the word "living" he surely cannot have in mind physical life. That they already have. Besides, all of the context speaks of death and its results. In that kind of context it doesn't make any sense to speak of physical life. No, Eve would be the spiritual mother of living children, children who would live forever. And she would be that kind of mother of all living children, of all Chris­tians, even to this day.

How can Adam do this? Because he takes hold of that great promise of God in Genesis 3:15. In the midst of sorrow and tears there is joy and hope. "Life is coming, Eve." So he must have comforted her. There's no doubt about it. God has promised it in His great love for us. And he changes her name. But what does that have to do with it, one might ask. It has meaning when we know what the Hebrew names were for Adam and Eve as male and female. The man God calls "Ish" and woman is called "Ishshah." This is very important. Notice carefully that the woman is named after the man. Ishshah is named after Ish. He was to be the head, and she as flesh of his flesh is to be called after him. He is first, the responsible one. But now Adam changes that name, she is no longer to be called after him. She is going to be the mother of all living. Not because of anything special in her, but all because of the great promise of grace, and grace alone.

This whole world would bring forth nothing but death, but there is the covenant promise. And Adam as king of creation must be and is humiliated. The promise is not first of all to him, but to the woman. Adam recognizes this. She is no longer to be named after him. As the first Adam he is a failure. And so he willingly recedes into the background. Not through him as father but through her as mother, by the Spirit and the promises, would they have spiritual, living children. The head of the first cove­nant becomes a member of the covenant of grace, just an ordinary member. Well does Adam realize that salvation will not come by works or merits, but only by faith in the promises of miraculous grace.

It must have been a faith of joy. For Eve to be the mother of the Second Adam and all those in Him, would be much greater than to be a helpmeet of the first Adam. How much Adam saw of all this at that time we don't know. Likely not too much. But he did have the "basics," a simple faith in the promises, also removing himself from his prominent place in the covenant. Already here he understands that basic truth, that man is saved not by his own works, but only by the promise of God's wondrous grace in Christ.

Now let us look at the development of the history of the church and of God's promises centuries later.

Mary appears on the scene, the future mother of our Lord. God still has life brought forth into this world through the woman, through "Eve" and the promise of life, by His grace. "Eve" is still wife and mother. Mary has the promise of becoming the mother of the great promised One. But her problem is that she will be pregnant without sexually know­ing a man. How can that be? But Mary doesn't realize that this is a part of the great program of revelation of salvation by grace alone.

"Adam" doesn't enter into the picture here at all. Joseph has nothing to do with it. Man must recede entirely into the background. It's by a wonder, a miracle, a miracle of love and grace. For totally undeserving people. And "Adam" here can stand on­ly in amazement at the Wonder of life. But also Mary must see and marvel at the way in which she would become pregnant and become the mother of her Lord, the Savior of sinners. She has nothing in which she can boast. God only can boast, in the fulfillment of His promises throughout the ages of His faithful grace and love.

But God isn't finished with His teachings of this precious truth. As the boy Jesus becomes a man, and soon takes up His great work given Him of the Lord, Mary is there with Him. She will help Him, with one of the very first works He does, at the wed­ding in Cana of Galilee. She thinks that surely she can make some contribution and see to it that the cause of Christ will prosper. But she must learn that the cause of salvation by promises and grace are not only not the cause of man, but not the cause of woman either. And Jesus said to her "Woman, what have I to do with you."

Something like this happened later during Jesus' ministry. The mother of life must also recede into the background that her Son may become prominent and He alone must shine in all His glory. Not through blood, not of man, nor even of a woman, but through faith and spiritual blood ties with this very seed of the promise is there life for sinners who are exiled from Paradise. Later at the cross Jesus cuts all ties with his mother, when He commits her to the keeping of the apostle John.

That find of faith in the promises we see first of all in Adam. Try to imagine how these first parents had to exercise this faith and often had to live complete­ly by faith in these promises.

The power of sin became strong in their family. Can we imagine what it means to have one son kill another, his brother, as Cain did? What a sorrow for parents, what struggles of faith they must have had. Adam became nine hundred and twelve years old. He must have had hundreds of descendants. Without a doubt many of them became a part of the "daughters of men," of the world. Sin developed so tremendously before their very eyes and in their own lives. And death finally seemed to conquer all. Where was their hope and comfort? Only in the faith of the promises of the faithful gracious God of Genesis 3:15.

Today that woman (the church) is in the desert. And the dragon the devil is enraged at her and is out to make war against the rest of her offspring, those who obey the commandments of the Lord. And that church celebrates Christmas. How and in what way? Surely first of all by remembering and seeing how this marvelous God has kept His promises of grace throughout the ages, in spite of the failures of all the "Adams and Eves and Marys." And Christ has come, His work on earth is finished. He is the living Lord today. Part of the promises have been fulfilled, but not all of them. Often it still seems as if He never was here. People still die, sin still so often prevails as the work of the devil, and the church keeps on struggling as the militant church, and often appears to be a hopeless cause. But true Christmas celebra­tion means that we have faith in those rock-solid promises, as we are a part of the church that keeps the commandments of the Lord. And there can be times when what we see, feel, or experience con­tradicts everything of these promises of the future. But let us not become discouraged. Let us stand on the promises. They are always sure. God is faithful. His Word cannot and shall not fail. Such faith makes Christmas meaningful to the believing, struggling child of the Father.

That was the faith of Adam. Was He a Christian? No doubt about it. How much stronger we should be in faith, having so much more of the revelation of the fulfillment of the promises in the Christ of Christmas, His work on earth, Calvary, the open grave, His ascension, and promises of His imminent return!

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.