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Vignettes of Women of the Bible


by Darlene Austin

Do you know what it's like being the first woman God created? No, I didn't think so. You know the story, or do you? When God created the first man, God said it was very good. Since that man couldn't live alone, God took one of the man's ribs and fashioned Eve. Right? Almost.

Actually, when God created Adam, He created him complete, male and female together, as one unit. That's right, one body contained both male and female elements, parts, characteristics, emotions, everything; then He said it was very good. Adam (whose name means "ground") was placed in the Garden with instructions to tend it and guard it. There was one not-so-little condition, however. Adam could eat of any tree in the Garden, including the Tree of Life, which would allow him to live forever.  However, he was not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

God told Adam that he had a counterpart coming, a mate and a companion. But before he could receive me, he had to know that the one God had for him was not like any other living creature. He then paraded all of the created animals before him and as they passed, Adam gave them each names. He did notice, as they passed, that each of the animals had a companion, a mate. In all of these, none was the one God had for him. As he watched, he became very lonely. You see Adam had to know that the promised one was very special, just for him alone.

Afterwards, God put him to sleep and took the female part out of him. Adam was created complete, but then made incomplete. I became that separated part. He was so excited when he saw me! He cried out, "This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!" He knew that what God had made was perfect for him! The two of us together became one unit again, each complementing the missing part of the other.

Daily we tended the Garden and communed with God, our Father. Everything was perfect. Then, the craftiest of all the animals, the serpent, approached me one warm afternoon. Yes, I was deceived into thinking that what I was about to do was a good thing; but did you know that Adam was right there with me? Yes he was. Now, wouldn't you think that since God had given him instructions concerning the tree, he would have corrected my conversation with the serpent? Wouldn't you think that he might have stopped me from eating that dreadful piece of fruit? Well, he didn't.

 You know, of course, that curiosity is just as much a gift from God as free will, and we had both. You know the rest, don't you? No, I don't think so. You only know part of the rest. That day, when God came to meet us in the Garden as always, He had to look for us. When He found us, He asked just one question, "Why did you hide from Me?"

Then the whole dismal story came out. Having eaten of the fruit of Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, our eyes were opened and we saw that we were naked. We were ashamed. Adam blamed me, and in so doing, blamed God for giving me to him. "The woman You made for me gave me a piece of the fruit, and I ate."  He didn't even mention Satan who had come into the Garden.  But I did.  I showed Satan's character right to his face and created an enmity between us.  God widened the gulf between the serpent and me when He said to Satan, "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."  What a wonderful promise He gave me!  God didn't punish me right away but said that I, along with women after me, would suffer some consequences as wives and mothers in the days ahead.  Adam would also have to deal with consequences for his sin.  by laboring to bring forth food from a cursed ground.  We were no longer going to be given food or shelter. We were going to have to work for it.  Along with the ground, God cursed the serpent.  The serpent was condemned to crawl on his belly and to eat the dust of the earth all the days of his life.  Although I'm sure God had anticipated failure on the part of His creation at some point in time, I know our sin had grieved Him deeply. Throughout history, the serpent has been trying to deceive men into thinking that their wives are their enemies, and he began with Adam.

The first animal sacrifice began when He clothed us with an animal skin. Don't you know when He did that, all the animals became afraid? They became, not just afraid of us, but afraid of one another. When The Fall happened, creation was forever changed.

But that wasn't all. We were driven from the Garden, and He placed angels to guard the entrance so no one could return. That's not the whole story. You see, in all of the mess we had made, God had a redemptive plan in place all the time. He knew that because of free will, some day we would need it. When He cursed the snake, He also spoke of The Plan. The Seed of the woman bringing the Redeemer would bruise his head, and the seed of the serpent would bruise the Redeemer's heel. Even as the serpent would strike at His heel, His foot would come crushing down on the serpent's head.

The first Messianic prophecy was spoken in this plan, the promise of redemption. When Cain was born, I truly thought that he was the fulfillment of that promise. Of course, you know about the first murder when my firstborn son killed his brother Abel.  Ah, but what you may not know is that God gave us another son, Seth. Down through the generations, through Noah, through David, and on down through Mary and Joseph came the fulfillment of that promise of redemption. His name was called Jesus, the Word of God.

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