Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

The one thing most moderns know about Eve is that she was naked. They have some notion that there was a talking snake, a tree, and some problem, but nobody is quite sure what the problem was.

Evidently God got really mad because Eve ate an apple . . . or something.

What does Eve have to do with Christmas?

God wanted to have fellowship with humankind, creatures made in His image. He loved us and wanted to elevate us to become as much like He is as a being can be. How would God have done this if we had obeyed Him?

We cannot know for sure, but we know He would have done it. There would have been a great Deed, but no great cost. Women and men would have become like God without God having to suffer the indignities of the Cross and of our hatred of justice and love.

Instead of doing well, Eve chose . . . badly . . . and so God created Christmas, but Christmas in the shadow of the cross.

In the beginning God created human beings.  A free God gave a gift that nature could never give, because nature does not have it. He gave Eve a free will. She was allowed to choose to follow God or not follow Him.

Eve was a given a life so good that it must have been hard for her to know if she was really free. If she wanted something, it was at hand. In the Garden, all was good and her will was free and unstained by selfishness.

Eve was loved and could love in return. So she could know her own freedom, she was given a chance to deny her immediate desires. Eve could demonstrate her love for God by trusting him. God had earned her trust and love by giving her a perfect life and by being His good, true, and beautiful Self.

God wanted Adam and Eve to walk with Him and grow. He placed before them a choice to learn good and evil through resisting evil or through choosing evil. If they trusted and love God, they would learn good and evil by choosing good. If Eve and her husband chose to disobey, then they would learn good and evil by choosing to do evil.

Taking what is not yours, just because you desire it, makes you a slave to your passions. Once that slavery begins no woman or man can escape it without help.

Eve stood before a tree and said “no” to God. She would do what seems desirable and not what was rational or good. She followed her gut and denied her mind and heart and so all of us inherited a doomed nature.

We are psychologically broken and cannot live in the world as it is.

God still wanted unity with us and so He did not just start over and wipe humankind out. Eve made a bad choice, but God allowed that choice and all the implications of it. His work was difficult and required that He sacrifice Himself.

God became man so that man could become like God.

Eve chose badly, but later a second Eve, a young Jewish girl from Nazareth, would choose well. She would say “yes” to God and so generations would honor her decision. She acted against her immediate desires and did what was right. She learned goodness through the humility of obedience to sweet Reason and divine Love.

Eve made Mary a mother.

Mary gave Eve hope.

Mary would stand before a second tree after her choice, but the voice she heard was that of her Son and not that of serpent. Mary was not, fundamentally, blessed because she was Jesus mother, but because she heard His word and obeyed it.

Eve heard the word of God and chose to obey the word of a snake.

Mary lived in the snake’s Empire and chose to obey the word of God.

If Eve is your mother, you have inherited a cruel burden. You long for goodness, truth, and beauty, but you never see them really manifested and have no hope of ever seeing them. If Jesus becomes your brother, then you get a new family and there is the sure promise of seeing the Good, the Truth, and Beauty.

This the hope and message of Advent and Christmas. Eve made it necessary, Mary made it possible, Jesus is it.

Dear Reader,

We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.

Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on firstthings.com.

Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.

Will you give today?

Make My Gift

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.

Tags

Loading...

Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles