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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”—Genesis 3:20 (NKJV)
As we make our way through Genesis, we come to a pivotal moment in the story of the fall of mankind. Prior to verse 20 in Chapter 3, we read how Eve was deceived by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and how both she and her husband, Adam, ate fruit from the Tree of Knowledge from which God forbade them to eat.
In the verses that follow, we see how devastating the consequences of their sin truly are, as God pronounces a curse on them for their disobedience. From this day forward, the sin they introduced into the world created pain, death, and distance from God.
And yet, it’s at this moment we see Adam do something interesting. In stark contrast to his earlier attempt to blame his wife for his own sin (verse 12), Adam shifts his attitude toward her by blessing her with the name Eve. What’s so significant about it?
First, it’s important to note that in Scripture a name “often connotes purpose, authority, makeup, and character,” according to Dr. Tony Evans. “In fact, a person’s name is frequently seen as the equivalent of that person.” Dr. Evans suggests a name is so important in biblical settings that “Scripture frequently mentions God Himself changing someone’s name to reflect a new reality.”
Here, Adam is the one who redefines Eve’s reality by changing her name. Previously, in Genesis 2:23, after God creates Eve, Adam calls her ishhah, or woman (literally, “man-ess”), affirming her relationship to him as his wife. In Hebrew, Eve is the word hawwa or haya, which means “live.” Immediately following the most tragic moment in their lives, when death became a reality, Adam pronounces a blessing over Eve with this new, life-giving name as the mother of life.
As Bible commentator Matthew Henry explains, Eve’s name was an act of faith in God’s goodness and an affirmation of His blessings: “If this was done by divine direction, it was an instance of God’s favor, and, like the new naming of Abraham and Sarah, it was a seal of the covenant and an assurance to them that, notwithstanding their sin and His displeasure against them for it, He had not reversed that blessing wherewith He had blessed them: Be fruitful and multiply.”
Indeed, despite her sin, we see that God is faithful to His promises to Eve by making her a mother, the first of a long line through which all of humanity—and ultimately, Jesus the Savior—would be born.
DIG: Why are names so significant in the Bible?
DISCOVER: What does this passage reveal to you about God’s heart for His children?
DO: As you reflect on your own moments of disobedience like Adam and Eve’s, consider the ways in which God has blessed you in spite of them. Give Him thanks and praise today for being faithful to fulfill His promises!
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.