Eve’s story is usually told as a story about sin. I’m really glad to have been raised in the century I was raised in, because throughout church history, the church has done a great job of using Eve’s story to justify putting women “in their place.” It’s Eve’s fault that sin came into the world, so women shouldn’t take certain responsibilities, shouldn’t be trusted, can’t be trusted. Because Eve’s story is about sin, isn’t it?
This post was originally shared on the Real World Bible Study
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When I teach about the Fall and Sin, I often tell the story in a way that would seem a little different to most folks. I talk about the relationships, and how they were devastated by the sin that took place in the Garden of Eden. How those devastated relationships would have continued to wreak more brokenness in Eve’s story, in Eve’s family. (Someday I’ll share that story in full here). But other than the blame game with Adam, I hadn’t spent too much time pondering it from Eve’s perspective. I hadn’t even really thought of it as “Eve’s story.” So I was excited to read Joanna May Chee’s creative retelling of this story.
3 Things You Need to Know About Eve’s Story
#1 God Planned to Create Eve From the Beginning
Sometimes we forget this part. Or really, it never occurred to us to begin with. Genesis 2 tells the story of how Adam needed a companion, but none could be found, so God created Eve. But remember, God created humans, both male and female, in his own image.
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27 NIV).
And see, God knew, since he had a plan from the start, that Adam would need a companion. He designed Adam to be in relationship. He knew that the perfect companion would be another human, different, but same. He knew that not one of those other beautiful creatures he had made would be enough. So why did he create Eve second? Why not create them both at the same time? I think God wanted a separate relationship with Adam and with Eve before they met each other. He wanted them to know him as Daddy. And I think Adam needed to know his need for Eve, and to experience that longing and desire for her, so he would appreciate her and understand her value when God brought her into the picture. Miss Chee did a lovely job imagining what these might have been like from the clues we have in Scripture and what we know about God’s nature (and human nature!) from the rest of the Bible.
#2 Eve’s Story is More About Redemption Than About Sin
As I mentioned above, when we tell Eve’s story, it’s usually all about sin, her mistake, and the ugly consequences of that sin. And those things are true, and present in the story. But the story doesn’t end there. Humanity expereinces the devastating natural consequences of separation from God, but God also steps in and clothes Adam and Eve. I had never thought about the idea that perhaps he kept them away from the Garden and the Tree of Life in part so that they wouldn’t be trapped in the world they had broken.
Even in the midst of telling Adam, Eve, and the snake the consequences of their actions, God is telling them of his plan for future redemption. And we know that, expelled from the Garden, Adam and Eve were still in relationship with God. He took them back. He made a way for them to worship him, for them to be with him, even though things would never be the way they were supposed to be until heaven. This story is about sin, for sure, but even more, it’s about hope.
#3 God Still Desires that Garden-of-Eden closeness with you.
In the Garden of Eden, God walked around with Adam and Eve, in close relationship and companionship with them. We don’t know the full details from Scripture, but we can imagine what it was like from the way we see God’s heart throughout Scripture. Ms. Chee imagines that Eve even had a special relationship with God in the garden before she met Adam, even if it was only a short time.
That relationship was broken by sin. Or it could have been. It was bruised, for sure, and would require healing and restoration. Things would never be quite the same. But from the moment Adam and Eve encountered God in their post-sin nakedness, God invited them back into relationship with him. And he still wants that relationship with us. It’s not just a Lord-Servant relationship. It’s a sweet, intimate, Father-Daughter (or Father-Son) relationship. It’s beautiful, it’s restful, its fun. And it’s still available to us.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in what needs doing or what is overwhelming us that we can forget to just enjoy God’s presence, to hang out with Papa God and hear him and speak to him and, yes, even have fun with him. It’s supposed to be that way. Maybe this idea feels foreign to you. If so, that’s okay. But maybe take a little time to talk to God about it. Listen to him. Write a prayer journal of letters to him…let him introduce that side of himself to you.
What I liked about Forever Loved, Eve’s Story
This book was a short and easy read – I actually enjoy them longer, but I felt like I could give this one to a friend and have it not be overwhelming if the friend isn’t a word nerd like me. I like that Ms. Chee fleshed out what might have happened, to get us thinking about it. If you didn’t think storytellng like this could be a part of Bible study, think again. It’s a great way to engage with Scripture and use your God-given imagination to have a conversation with God about his Word. I also liked how Ms. Chee used this story to show how all our insecurities and brokenness are rooted in sin – which means there is also a solution!
What I Didn’t Like About This Telling of Eve’s Story
I think it’s totally acceptable to “fill in the blanks” to make a story like this come alive. We don’t know exactly how these events happened, and as mentioned above, thinking about how they might have happened actually helps us to engage scripture, think critically about it, and apply it to our lives. But I do think we need to tell our readers when we’re doing that. And Ms. Chee does. But she does it in a footnote, not in the body of the text. Only nerds like me read footnotes. So someone could be reading this, and either a) think some of the parts of the story are straight out of Scripture (some are, some aren’t), or, b) because of a), assume that Ms. Chee is off on a limb and about to fall out of the tree. I would suggest that she move that paragraph out of the footnotes and into the body of the text, so it is clear to every reader exactly what’s happening here.
It’s not the most grounded book – based in part from Ms. Chee’s spiritual experiences, not just Scripture. That doesn’t make it bad, but I would challenge you to do exactly what Ms. Chee said to do in the aforementioned footnote: read the Scriptures for yourself and join the conversation. And like my friend Joey would say, eat the meat and spit out the bones. Also, the story is told in first person present, which just isn’t my favorite…it’s so hard to pull it off well. If that bothers you, this story might not be your favorite.
Would I Recommend Forever Loved, Eve’s Story?
Yes, even though the writing style wasn’t my favorite, I would recommend this story. I think it could be a valuable tool to reflect on our relationships with God – and with men – in a way that challenges us and invites us to grow, but also surrounds and comforts us with God’s presence. Don’t read it independently – bring it into conversation with Scripture and with prayer, and perhaps you’ll even find some of your own healing and restoration along the way as you discover Eve’s story of healing and restoration.
Forever Loved, Eve’s Story is on Tour with Celebrate Lit
About the Book
Title: Forever Loved, Eve’s Story
Author: Joanna May Chee
Genre: Christian Inspiration for Women
Release date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Heartfelt Publications
Eve. First woman. First to be tempted. First to sin.
But what if there were more to her story than that?
Forever Loved: Eve’s Story is the story of Father and daughter, as told by Eve. It is a story of preciousness and beauty, of tender love and grace. Through Eve, God reveals his Father heart of love for you, his treasured daughter. He whispers to you now, and calls you closer.
- My Story: The author’s personal story of encountering God as Father.
- Eve’s Story: A beautifully creative retelling of the Bible story of Eve.
- Your Story: Encouragement and prayers to take you deeper into God’s presence.
Experience Eve’s story anew. Discover just how loved you are!
Click here to purchase your copy!
Joanna May Chee gets excited about God! She loves to write and is often awake in the night with a million ideas for her next book or project. Joanna blogs at JoannaMayChee.com and MumsKidsJesus.com, where it is her heart to encourage and equip women to love their families and meet with God. She is the author of Forever Loved: Eve’s Story, a creative retelling of the Bible story of Eve, and a #1 Amazon UK bestseller. Joanna lives near London with her husband, 4 teens, dog and 2 cats! Facebook.com/JoannaMayChee | Facebook.com/MumsKidsJesus | Pinterest.co.uk/MumsKidsJesus
Guest Post from Joanna
True or False? Eve spent time with God before meeting Adam.
True or False? Eve wasn’t called Eve until after the Fall.
Does the Bible even say?
Until recently, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you, even though I’ve been a Christian many years, and thought I knew the Bible story of Eve really well!
It was during hot, sticky, jet-lagged nights, about four years ago, on holiday overseas, that God started giving me new and wonderful insight into Eve’s life.Words literally started pouring through my head: the story of Eve, but not as I’d heard it before!
I’d always had negative connotations of Eve – the first woman to be tempted, the first to sin. But the story God revealed to me during my sleepless nights was one of preciousness and beauty. It was the story of Father and daughter, of God’s incredible love for Eve, and His equally wondrous love for me.
As Eve’s story unfolded over several nights, I wrote it down; and God gave me a book I did not ask for (but am forever grateful for): Forever Loved: Eve’s Story.
These new insights into Eve’s story have been life-changing. God has brought me deeper into His love than I could ever have imagined. (In the introduction of ‘Forever Loved: Eve’s Story’ I share something of the deep hurt and insecurity I experienced growing up – including the time I got into BIG trouble with my teacher – my cry to know God as Father, and how God’s love has brought healing and freedom.)
It’s my prayer that ‘Forever Loved: Eve’s Story’ touches the lives of women around the world, that women may come into deeper experience of God as Father, and know just how beautiful and precious they are to Him.
So, back to the True/False questions at the beginning of this post! What do you think?
This devotional explores some of the amazing truths God’s shown me about Eve, and the wonderful implications for us as women today (and includes extracts from ‘Forever Loved: Eve’s Story’). Download the devotional for free here.
I pray God touches you as deeply as He has me, as you explore the Bible story of Eve afresh. May you encounter the love of Father God as never before.
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Real World Bible Study, January 27
Aryn the Libraryan, January 28
Robin is Bookish, January 28
My Devotional Thoughts, January 29
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 29
Margaret Kazmierczak, January 30
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 31
Mary Hake, January 31
Godly Book Reviews, February 1
Lights in a Dark World, February 1
Midnight Bookaholic, February 2
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 2
Bibliophile Reviews, February 3
Pause for Tales, February 4
Texas Book-aholic, February 5
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 6
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 6
Janices book reviews, February 7
Carpe Diem, February 8