In Advent we celebrate the coming of the light. We hold our candles and watch as together they push back the darkness. But there was a time when there was no darkness–only glorious light.
Eve walked in that light.
Eve lived in the golden dawn of an infant world. She and Adam lived in a world with no sin, sickness, or sorrow. God walked with them in the garden. Everything she needed was provided for her; every day was a new journey of wonder and discovery.
There was no fear.
There was no shame.
And then she threw it all away.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).
It was an innocent sounding question with venom lurking beneath the surface, if only she had seen it. What kind of God would put his people in a garden filled with fruit and refuse to allow them to eat any of it? What else was there for them to eat? It would have been the act of a cruel sadist, not a loving and good Creator.
But Eve didn’t recognize it. Nor did she perceive the poison in the serpent’s next words: “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4). The serpent lied. It’s what Satan, the father of lies, does best. More than that, the serpent implied God was not good. “God’s hiding something from you. He’s keeping secrets. He doesn’t want you to know.” They knew God and all that was good. Why did they want to know evil?
Eve looked at the fruit. She took it, ate it, and gave some to her husband who was with her. He ate the fruit. Sin entered the world.
The man and woman realized they were naked and hid. For the first time, Eve knew shame. It’s been our constant companion ever since.
And then God came back to the garden. He called to them. And Adam blamed her. “It was the woman you gave me!” What could she do but point to the serpent? When shame whispers in our ears, often the first thing we do is look for someone to blame.
The Lord was not so easily distracted. They had sinned and broken fellowship with God. He was loving, but also just. Adam would have to toil for his food. She would experience pain in childbirth. The serpent would crawl on his belly. Yet the Lord did not leave her without hope.
“And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Oh, she could believe that there would be enmity between herself and the serpent. She could see it now for the poisonous, conniving thing that it was. Standing in the presence of the Lord, Eve recognized good and evil. She would teach her children to recognize it and look forward to the day one of her children would crush the serpent’s head. There was hope there, though not a hope without cost.
And so Eve waited for hope. She waited as they left the garden and tried to coax the thorny soil to produce food. She waited as Cain slew Abel and was himself banished. She waited as she grieved the loss of two sons. She waited, and wondered, and yearned for the promised hope. And then God gave her another son. She called him Seth, “God has given.” She waited in hope. Seth had a son, Enosh. And in his day people began to call on the name of the Lord.
The darkness did not triumph. And the world waited for the Light of Hope.