The Story Begins
Very little is known about Eve in the Bible, so some of what we have to do are extrapolate. However; Eve was considered the mother of all humanity, and her name literally means “life-giver”. Eve was the mother of all creation (minus Adam). Because of this, she would have a deep connection to all of humanity. We do know that Eve walked with God in the garden until the fall, we also know she was the “first” of a lot of things. Among these “firsts” she was the first woman, wife, mother, sinner, etc.
In Genesis 4, we see the story of Cain (Eve’s eldest son) and Abel.
“In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. (Genesis 4:4-5a)
So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4: 5b-7)Genesis 4:5b-7, New American Standard Version
In this verse above, we see our first glimpse of what may have transpired previously between Eve or Adam and Cain. God told Cain “If you do what is right” (vs7). Where had Cain learned what was “right”? We do not see a dialogue between Cain and God on the matter, so one can assume that Adam and Eve, being loving parents would have instructed and trained their children in the way and command of The LORD. However; we know that Cain turned from this and became bitter and angry, leading to extreme violence by killing his own brother out of jealousy (Genesis 4:8)
Eve’s response to the murder of Abel
While we are not privy to the response of Eve to the murder of Abel, we can extrapolate some things from what we know about Mothers, about their bonds to their children, grief, and biblical mourning. Let’s start with what we DO know about The Bible regarding the aforementioned things.
- Eve was a mother. She gave birth to not only Cain, Abel, and Seth but many other sons and daughters. She and her husband Adam were charged with populating the world. God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply”. (Genesis 1:28)
- We know that children are considered a gift from God. (Psalm 127:3)
- We see biblical mourning as early as Genesis when Jacob’s son Joseph is sold into slavery (Genesis 35). From this, we can assume that mourning was not only standard practice but was part of the healthy grieving process.
Knowing that Eve had given birth to her son, that children are a gift from God, and that mourning was standard practice during the time of The Bible, we can safely assume that she had a grieving process when she found out Cain slaughtered Abel. Did she cry? Weep? Wail? We don’t know for sure, but imagining her being a distraught mother puts these things in perspective. Her son was just brutally killed. What loving mother would just ignore that or let it go?
We do know that Eve remembered Abel at the birth of Seth. “Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, ‘God has granted me another child in place of Abel since Cain killed him.”. (Genesis 4:25)
Other emotions & feelings of Eve
We know that Eve was the first sinner. Genesis tells us that Eve was deceived by the serpent and partook of the “forbidden fruit”. When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:6). Knowing this, I wonder if Eve would have carried the guilt and sin with her throughout her life. Looking at the chain of events, Eve was indirectly responsible for the death of her son Abel.
How is this possible? The answer is simple. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. They were given free choice and free will but chose to disobey what God had told them. Because of this, they were banished from the garden (among other punishments). The Anger and Jealousy that Cain had toward Abel were not sinful in and of themselves, but his reaction to it (murder) was sinful.
Eve’s Identity as a mother
Interestingly enough, it was after this fall that Adam finally gave his wife a name. (Genesis 3:20) Before the consumption of the fruit and the subsequent fall of man, she was simply called “woman”. This indicates that until God declared she would give birth to children, Eve had no identity as a mother. We see throughout the course of The Bible, some other notable name changes during life events. (Saul becoming Paul on the road to Damascus, for example).
We may not know a lot about Eve, but those who have lost a child can relate to what may have been some very real grief and sorrow she felt. We are not told when or how Eve died or how long she lived. So what can we learn from Eve to apply to our life today?
- We are likely to always sin (Romans 3:23)
- Those who are parents have a loving example of God being a parent to Adam and Eve. He forgave them of their sins, so we can anticipate that Eve would have forgiven Cain of his sin, and forgive herself.
- Finally, we were promised a savior all along. Even though Eve may have thought it was Cain, Jesus still came in his full glory revealed.