|image by naked pastor on etsy|
Sixteen years of Sundays meant I'd heard it all before: Creation, Fall, Redemption. I could teach this lesson in my sleep. Those first three chapters in Genesis were well-tread territory:
To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
There it was: The Curse. But my camp counselor explained it in a way countless Sunday school teachers had not. She said that sin is the root of inequality between men and women. The Curse is not God's desire for how things should be but an explanation for how sin wrecks relationships in a post-Fall world.
A truth bomb exploded in my heart, right there in the dining hall.
In Genesis 1, God creates Eve and Adam in his royal image, charging the couple to govern over the animals and tend the earth together. Their calling was shared, their authority equal, and it was very good.
Only two chapters later, they eat the forbidden fruit, and creation's order is compromised. Characterizing Eve's sin as disobedience misses an integral part of the story: her sin was also a failure of leadership.
The serpent was crafty, but Eve was in charge. When it began casting aspersions (Did God really say...?) and spinning lies (you will be like God), Eve could have expelled the serpent from the garden right then and there. God had, after all, given her authority over the animals. But Eve harbored the lie. She chose words of death over God's life-giving promise, trading paradise for exile, estrangement, and suffering.
The serpent is the first in a long line of liars peddling deception and bent on destroying our relationships with Creator, community, and self. A cursory glance at any screen or newsstand reveals that the Deceiver has been working overtime, fanning flames of jealousy, insecurity, and disorder.
Yet with one empty tomb, Jesus disarmed the powers of sin and death. Christ the Word speaks redemption over every battered heart, shattered relationship, and system rank with decay, and he invites us into that same reconciling ministry. A post-Resurrection world calls the daughters of Eve to remember our identity as image-bearers of One who makes all things new and to govern creation as God intended.
Fashioned by the God of all goodness and beauty, Eve's value--and ours--is unchained to physical appearance or sexual desirability. Worth is not won through performance or achievement, despite the popular lie anchoring the mommy wars and shackling young girls to the hamster wheel of perfectionism. A woman's value is rooted firmly in the imago-dei, her heart uniquely crafted to reflect God's glory, creativity, and strength.
Bearing the image of One who fashioned life from word and clay, women create and nurture life, not just with our bodies but our voices, too. Speaking truth to power like the prophetesses of old, we expose and untangle lies, push back the effects of the Fall, and give birth to another Way.
Where Light shines, shadows flee. And Eve finds her voice.