Only one president of the United States was a bachelor as president, and
that was Grover Cleveland. All others had wives, and these First Ladies of
our land have had an enormous influence on history. Martha Washington was
the first First Lady of the United States. She, like other wives in those early
days of the Revolutionary War, spent 8 winters with her husband General
Washington in the field. This included the terrible winter of Valley Forge.
She helped keep the Revolutionary Army together. She sewed their tattered
clothes, and she ministered to their needs, and help keep up moral.
When she was not involved in the war, she was at Mount Vernon managing
their 8 thousand acre plantation. She set the pattern as a true help mate.
Many other first ladies have played a major role in the lives of the men who
governed our nation. Lucy Webb Hayes, wife of President Rutherford Hayes,
gained quite a reputation for her influence. When she was informed of an
injustice there could be quick action to rectify the situation. President Hayes
once said, "Mr. Hayes may have no influence with congress, but she has great
influence with me."
Women have always been a major force in history, if for no other reason,
because of their influence on men. Never was this more true than when there
was only one woman and one man. When we go back to the first of all first
ladies, we see a woman centered world. God's attention was focused on the
female, for she was the one that prevented creation from being complete.
Adam was alone, and he had learned all he could about the animal kingdom,
but there was nothing alive that satisfied his need. God said that it was not
good for man to be alone, and so He put the final finishing touch on His
handiwork, and He made Eve.
She immediately became the center of Adam's attention and affection. The
very first poem ever composed on earth was composed by Adam when he saw
what God could make out of a rib. He took one look at Eve and forgot all
about his surgery. He said, "Now this is more like it. This at last is bone of
my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was
taken out of man." Had Adam been an Englishman he may have put it more
She, she is bone of my bone,
And flesh of my flesh is she;
Woman her name, which is grown
Out of man, out of me.
It is fitting that history's first poetry should be in celebration of a woman.
Most poetry since has been inspired by the male female relationship. Woman
came from man's rib, but she has never been a mere side issue with him. She
has always been a central issue because of her influence on men. Not only was
she the focus of God and man, but as we read on in the story we discover she
was also the center of the satanic plot to destroy paradise, and bring about the
fall of man. The fact that Satan chose to make Eve his first target reveals just
how subtle and clever he really is. She was the only living creature that had a
powerful enough influence on Adam to bring him to disobey God. The serpent
would not have gotten to first base with Adam, nor would any other creature
Satan might use to entice him. There was only one choice, and that was Eve.
The Genesis account makes it clear that there is one theme on which God,
man, and Satan all agree, and that is that you can't win without a woman.
God could not stop creating until He created a woman. Adam could not be
content with a perfect paradise without a woman. Satan could not have
penetrated Adam's defenses without a woman. W. B. Riley, the well known
preacher back in the 1930's said,
They talk about a woman's sphere,
As though it had a limit;
There's not a place on earth or heaven,
There's not a task to mankind given,
There's not a blessing or a woe,
There's not a life, a death, or birth,
That has a feather's weight of worth,
Without a woman in it.
That poetry is based squarely on the rock of revelation. Look at the big
events of Bible history, and you will see women as key characters for good or
evil: The fall, of course, and the wives of the patriarchs-Sarah, Rebekah, and
Rachel; the mother and sister of Moses; the wives of David and Solomon;
Esther and Ruth; Mary and Elizabeth; the many women in the ministry of
Jesus, and the women at the cross and the resurrection. These are just some of
the major women who play key roles in the history of God's plan. If we go on
into the book of Acts, and beyond into the history of the church, we see that
women have been, are, and will always be a key and central influence in
everything that happens in God's plan.
We live in a world where some see women as inferior, and where others put
them on a pedestal, and see them as superior. Still others fight to prove that
above all else they are equal to men. The biblical view condemns all three of
these positions if they are held as exclusive truth. No view of women can be
called biblical that refuses to recognize the full revelation that they are all
three-superior, equal, and inferior. All three of these categories fit the first
woman. Some Bible students say if you go to the first use of a term or an ideal
in the Bible, that will be your clue as to its meaning throughout the Bible. I
doubt that this is a fool proof rule, but it does fit the study of women. If you
study Eve, you have the foundation laid for all else that you will find in God's
Word on women.
She was the first woman.
She was the first wife.
She was the first mother.
She was the first grandmother.
She was the first lover.
She was the first to entice.
She was the first person to be tempted.
She was the first sinner.
She was the first to name the name of God.
She was the first woman to loose paradise.
She was the first woman who had to move.
She was the first woman to see a baby, and watch it grow.
She was the first woman to suffer grief.
She was the first woman to see a child die.
She was the first woman to make clothes.
She was the first woman to receive hope of a redeemer.
I am sure that with some thought we could expand the list even further, for
she was the first woman to experience all of the joys and sorrows of human
life. We want to look at this fascinating woman from the point of view of each
of the other three characters that shared the stage of history with her at the
beginning. The universe was vast, and the earth was larger than it has ever
been, for it was so empty of human life. The only persons in existence with
Eve that she was aware of were Adam, God, and Satan. It was a small cast,
and as we have said, Eve seemed to be the star, for the attention of the others
was focused on her. As we look at her from the perspective of each of them,
we see the three fold picture of woman. The total woman is a combination of
these three views. We want to look at Eve in the order in which she is first
confronted by each of these three personalities.
I. GOD'S PERSPECTIVE.
From God's perspective we see the superiority of woman. God saved the
best for last. She was the crown of creation, and as Lockyer says, she was
likely the most beautiful woman to have ever lived. She was God's best gift to
the ideal man. She was made like him in the image of God to reflect God's
glory. The male is usually the most beautiful in the animal kingdom, but God
chose to reverse that pattern when he created humans. He chose to make the
female more beautiful than the male.
The Jewish Talmud said, "All women in comparison with Sarah are like
monkeys in respect to men. But Sarah can no more be compared to Eve than
can monkeys be compared with men." Milton wrote of Eve,
O fairest of creation, last and best
Of all God's works, creatures in whom excelled
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed,
Holy, divine, good, amiable or sweet.
God in His mercy kept her weight and vital statistics in the dark lest women
all through history live in despair for not being able to match the ideal woman.
Eve was not superior to Adam in every way, of course, but only in those ways
that made him glad. She supplied what he needed to make life complete. She
was God's first wonder drug, for she cured Adam of his loneliness, and she
gave him a love for life. She was man's first savior, for she came that he might
have life, and have it abundantly. God was the author of this plan, as He is of
all plans of salvation.
Someone has come up with the top ten reasons that God created Eve, and
though they are designed for humor, there is still much truth in them.
10. God was worried that Adam would frequently become lost in the Garden.
9. God knew that one day Adam would require someone to locate and hand
him the remote.
8. God knew Adam would never go out and buy himself a new fig leaf when his
wore out and would therefore need Eve to buy one for him.
7. God knew Adam would never be able to make a doctor's, dentist, or haircut
appointment for himself.
6. God knew Adam would never remember which night to put the garbage on
the curb. 5. God knew if the world was to be populated, men would never be able to
handle the pain and discomfort of childbearing.
4. As the Keeper of the Garden, Adam would never remember where he left
3. Apparently, Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God
caught him hiding in the garden.
2. As the Bible says, It is not good for man to be alone!
And finally, the Number 1 reason why God created Eve...
1. When God finished the creation of Adam, He stepped back, scratched his
head, and said, "I can do better than that."
Woman is also the unique means that God used for His ultimate plan of
salvation for fallen man. Jesus came into this world by means of a woman.
"In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son born of a woman." The virgin
birth was a team effort, not of God and man, but of God and woman. The
woman is superior to man in that she alone has the capacity to bring forth life.
Man is still essential, but he cannot bring forth a new life. Woman was a
necessity in God's plan of salvation that called for His Son to be born of a
virgin. We do not know if God could have saved man another way. All we
know is that the way He did do it made it impossible to be accomplished
without a woman. To blame her for the fall of man without blessing her for
her role in the restoration of man is to ignore God's perspective on woman.
In Gen. 3:15 God in His judgment of Satan says, "I will put enmity between
you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your
head, and you shall bruise his heel." From the start God said, in this first hint
of the Gospel, that the seed of woman was the key to victory over Satan. God
had made the female primary in His plan of redemption. As we study biblical
and Christian history we will discover that this is not only theory, but fact that
the mothers, sisters, and wives of great men have been the key to their
victories. It is folly not to see this perspective on women. Next we look at-
II. ADAM'S PERSPECTIVE.
Even Adam saw Eve as one superior. She was superior to all that had been
created. He eventually saw her as superior even to himself, for he was willing
to risk all, including his relationship to God, to follow her in disobedience.
The primary perspective of Adam, however, was that at last there was
someone who was his equal. Bone of his bond and flesh of his flesh. She was
not a creature above him like God, nor below him like the animals, but she
was just like him. She was on his level. This what Adam most needed. He
needed an equal, and this is what God gave him. She was not taken from his
head to rule over him, nor from his feet that he should trample on her. She
was taken from his side that she might be his equal.
God's ideal is male and female equality. They stand side by side in life.
Anything less than this is the result of the fall of man, and is not a part of
God's original plan. Ruskin said, "We are foolish and without excuse in
speaking of the superiority of one sex to the other, as if they could be
compared in similar things. Each has what the other has not; each completes
the other, and is completed by the other." God made woman for man, and so
the ways in which she differs is not bad for man, but good for him. To refer to
the differences in sexes as superior or inferior is, in itself, a part of the fall
where all that is good is perverted, damaged, and made a cause for conflict.
Bible commentators all through history have pointed to Gen. 1:27 as the
basis for sexual equality. It reads, "So God created man in His own image, in
the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Male
and female are equality part of the image of God. This opens up doors we
can't begin to enter now, but keep in mind, the Bible clearly reveals that God's
nature is both masculine and feminine. For now we just want to briefly
describe what this means for the equality of the sexes. It means that Eve had
these characteristics that made her equal to Adam.
1. Rationality. She was not a creature of instinct, but, like him, one of
intelligence. She too was given the capacity to think and reason.
2. Volitionality. She had the freedom and power to choose. She was given a
free will by which she could make decisions for good or evil.
3. Emotionality. She had the same capacity as Adam for feelings of love and
affection, and the ability to develop personal relationships. She had the
capacity for anger and hate to break relationships.
4. Morality. She had the same capacity as Adam to feel shame and guilt, and
to fell peace and pride when she chose the good rather than the evil.
These 4 do not exhaust the image of God, but they give us enough of the
picture to see that Eve was made in that image, and was Adam's equal. The
nearer we get back to paradise and God's ideal, the nearer we get to the
equality of the sexes. Much of the evil of history has been due to the lack of
equality of women. We will see this more clearly as we continue our studies.
Examples of women who are superior to most men in their field area
abundant. We will look at just a couple to illustrate.
1. Grace Hopper. She was born in 1906, and was convinced that girls were
equal to boys in math. But girls were not encouraged. They were told when
they faced a tough problem that girls just can't understand. Her father was
different, and he encouraged his girls to believe they were equal. She became
a professor of math at Vassar, and when she joined the Navy she was assigned
to work on the first computer in the United States. It was called the Mark I.
Nobody knew anything about computers then. It was 51 feet long. Today a
computer with the same capacity can be held in your hand.
She developed the computer language called COBOL. This stood for Common
Business Oriented Languages, which is the language used in data processing.
No one would believe it could be done by anyone, let alone a woman, but in
two years she had the Navy convinced because she built a computer, and made
it work with her language. She became the head of the Navy Programming
Languages Section in the Pentagon. She was superior in her influence, and
equal to anyone in her knowledge of computers.
2. Cecelia Goposhkin. She was born in 1900, and was a pioneer
astronomer. Her studies enabled astronomers to understand the history of the
stars, and the structure of our galaxy. In 1956 she became the first woman to
be made a professor at Harvard.
After reading widely in the field of female accomplishments, I am
convinced that there is no field of knowledge where women have not proven
their equality with men. Whenever women are given equal opportunity, they
become equal, and often superior to men. Adam saw this equality in Eve from
the very beginning. Next we consider-
III. SATAN'S PERSPECTIVE.
Satan also saw the superiority of woman, but he saw it as a means to bring
about the degrading of mankind, and because of his success we have a whole
history of the negative influence of the female. Because of her superior
influence Eve became the doorway of evil into the history of man. She was not
more evil than Adam, but she was more influential than Adam. He did not
influence her to obey God, but she influenced him to disobey God. He failed to
protect Eve from the intruder into paradise, and then failed to rescue her
when she was ensnared.
A bad woman has always seemed to be more fallen than a bad man. No
nation is considered to be hopeless until it is established that the women have
become totally corrupted. Satan knows that his bitterest enemies are
righteous women, but he also knows that his best allies are fallen women.
Numerous are the victories he has won by the aid of women. The fall of many
great men and nations can be shown to revolve around women. We need to
make it clear, however, that as in the case of Adam, all men who fall because
of women do so by choice, and are fully accountable for those choices.
Bathsheba is never blamed for the fall of David. He is held fully responsible
for his actions.
One of the great mistakes of history has been the folly of blaming women
for their powerful influence on men. The ideal of God is equality of the sexes,
but sin lead to inequality, and the subjection of the female. Men have used this
all through history to suppress women, and by so doing they have fallen into
Satan's trap, for as long as women are kept inferior it is impossible for men to
rise, and climb back toward the ideal. When you study the history of women,
you will discover where women are treated like animals you have a low
civilization where sin and darkness dominates the culture. The greater
equality women gain, the higher the civilization, and the more light and
freedom everybody enjoys.
The equality and freedom of women, however, leaves them wide open to the
same temptation that Eve encountered. To use that freedom to chose evil, and
so use their highest value to influence men to follow them in departing from
the will of God. Many fight for women to be equal in order that they might
have the freedom to be as corrupt as men. So what we have is another of life's
great paradoxes. Women's equality is both beautiful and terrible. To deny
one or the other is to be blind to reality and biblical facts. Was Eve beautiful
or terrible? She was both. She was both the best resource for good, and the
best for evil. Both are always possibilities, and it is the challenge of every
Christian woman to dedicate her life to being the best she can be for the cause
of Christ and the glory of God.
God has used fallen women to win this fallen world back to Himself. He
used Eve to go on and give the fallen world its first children. She was clearly
forgiven and restored to fellowship with God, for she thanked God for her
children, and taught them to offer sacrifice to God. She became the mother of
all living, and began that line that led to the Savior, who was the seed of the
woman who made it possible for all people to rise above the fall and be
restored to God. Eve was the first lady of our world, and as far as we know,
the first lady of our universe. She was in some ways superior to Adam; in
many ways equal to Adam, and in some ways inferior to Adam. She
represents the women of all time in these 3 categories. This is the full biblical
view of women in terms of their relationship to men. If women want to be all
they can be, they need to focus on God's view of their superiority, and Adam's
view of their equality, and avoid Satan's view of their potential for degrading
all mankind. Eve fell, but she was also a great example of the two higher
views, as the first lady.