Mary and Eve

Genesis 3:8-19

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The LORD God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
     cursed are you above all livestock
     and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
     and dust you shall eat
     all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
     and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
     and you shall bruise his heel.”

To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
     in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
     but he shall rule over you.”

And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
     and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
     ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
     in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
     and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
     you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
     for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
     and to dust you shall return.”

In the beginning of the Bible, there is a place called Eden where a river flowed. In the middle of Eden there is a Garden where all kinds trees good for food were made to grow. In the middle of the Garden there is a tree on a hill that gives life.

God placed the man and woman whom he had made in the Garden to work it and keep it and to eat of its fruit. They could even eat the fruit of the tree in the center of the Garden, the one that brings life. But there was another tree near it that brings death.

Given the choice of life and death, the man and the woman chose death and so have continued ever since.

In a single grasp, the perfection of Eden shatters. Sin enters the world and casts mankind away from the holiness of God. Innocence is corrupted by shame, and fear overtakes the rightful place of intimacy. Those who once walked with the Lord God through the Garden in the cool of the day now hide from him among the very trees he made for them.

Man did not fall alone, but brought all of Creation with him. The world that was once called good became collateral damage of man’s rebellion. Peace was replaced by the enmity of the serpent. The safety of the Garden was taken away, and where before fruit had grown in abundance, there was nothing but thistles and thorns. A world that had never known sorrow would now be subject to disaster and tragedy, to storm and flood, drought and famine, to violence and war, pestilence and pandemic. Humanity would would sustain and perpetuate its own existence through suffering; eating by sweat and toil, multiplying through pain of childbearing.

Creation itself began to groan, to ache for what it once was and for what it just might somehow be once again. Because even before the dust from the Fall had settled, there’s a whisper of hope, the promise of an offspring of the woman who will come to crush the head of the serpent.

And so the man and the woman, exiled from paradise with the wilderness before them, begin to wait for a baby who will be born of a virgin in stable in Bethlehem. He will be the one who can resist the serpent’s tempting, though it strikes his heel. He will choose a death of a different sort, crushing with finality the head of the serpent, forever defeating death through dying on a tree on a hill outside Jerusalem. That tree is for us the same as the one in the center of that Garden in the land of Eden.

Reflect

Spend some time reflecting on this painting, “Mary Consoles Eve” by Sister Grace Remington.

Eve’s head is bowed in shame, still clutching the apple, even as the snake crawls down from her leg. Mary offers her comfort, showing her the hope of the child in her womb, the head of the serpent crushed beneath her foot.
“Mary Consoles Eve” by Sister Grace Remington, OCSO, from Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey in Dubuque, Iowa.
Copyright to Sister Grace Remington.

Pray

Father, I have known the shame of my sin and how it has separated me from you. I know the burden of mistakes that seem world-ending. Let me find comfort in the hope within the virgin’s womb, that there is grace enough in cross of Jesus for the redemption of my sin and all the sin of the world. Lord, be near to me even as I anxiously wait my Savior’s return. Through Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

"Mary Consoles Eve" by Rain for Roots

Eve, my sister
The one who took the fall
Eve, my sister
Mother of us all
Lift up your head
Don’t hide your blushing face
The promised One
Is finally on His way

Almost, not yet, already
Almost, not yet, already

Eve, it’s Mary
Now I’m a mother too
The child I carry
A promise coming true
This baby comes to save us from our sin
A servant King, His kingdom without end

Almost, not yet, already
Almost, not yet, already

He comes to make his blessings flow
As far and wide as the curse is found
He comes to make His blessings flow

Almost, not yet, already,
Almost, not yet, already...soon

Eve, my sister
The one who took the fall
Eve, my sister
Mother of us all
The promised One
Is finally on His way

Taylor Whitson, December 8, 2020
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