Eve: Mother of the Living

Perhaps no figure in the Bible today is more maligned, cast aside and unappreciated than Eve. To secularist and non-believers she is nothing more than a myth. To many modern “feminist” she is viewed as a passive “sexist” symbol of female submissiveness. Sadly, even in the orthodox (Bible believing) Christian community she does not receive her proper due. Instead, she is cast aside and seemingly only mentioned to convey the message of how Original Sin entered the world. Once more, she is often accused of being the agent of that original sin. Therefore, in this post I would like to clear the air and give Eve her proper due.

So what can we say about Eve? For starters, the modern secular world may discard her as a mere myth, but to those of us who believe the Word of God, we know her story to be true. Eve was the first woman to walk the Earth. Taken from the side (rib) of Man (Adam) and enclosed with flesh, God gave her life. Like Adam before her, she too was made in the image of God. As stated in Genesis: God made Mankind in his own image, both Male and Female he created them (Genesis 1:27).

In fact, Eve’s role in creation cannot be overstated. Along with Adam, she is the patriarch of all humanity. Created by God, Eve was the only woman that walked the earth without a biological mother and father — and together with Adam, they would fulfill God’s purpose of populating the Earth. But her creation is even more significant than this. For with Eve, God brought human relationships into the world, i.e. friendship and marriage. Indeed, her story is not one of scandal, but quite a compelling one: Eve was the first woman, the first friend, the first wife, the first mother — and the maternal patriarch of all mankind. And yet although her accomplishments are quite remarkable, very little else is known about her. This leads us now to the very thing that virtually everyone the world over does know about her: her role in the Original Sin, and the Fall of Man.

The story of Adam & Eve and the Fall of Man from the Garden of Eden is so well known — even among non-believers — that I will dispense with reviewing the story in this post. Suffice to say, Eve, historically, has taken the bulk of the blame for this fall and the origin of sin. But is this fair? Let us explore the issue.

It is absolutely true that Eve was the first to eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden at Eden. And like Adam, when confronted with her sin, Eve choose to blame someone else instead of taking personal responsibility for what she had done. In fact, in this regard, Adam was actually the first that refused to ask forgiveness for his sin, by blaming Eve. Eve simply followed suit and blamed the serpent. To that end, we must always remember that it was the Serpent (Satan) that was the agent of that original sin. It is he, that is the adversary of both God and the human race. Satan’s goal is to lead us astray and place a barrier between us (mankind) and God — and by introducing sin into the world he thought he had succeeded. However, this was not the end of the story, but the beginning. Once more, Eve’s story has more to teach us about sin than just simply how it came into the world. For just as we learn from Adam’s life, Eve also teaches us that God wants us to freely choose to love, follow and obey him. Once more, we learn that nothing we do is ever hidden from God. Therefore, it does not benefit us to blame others for our own failings, shortcomings and sin. Instead, we must accept personal responsibility for what we do. But most importantly, we also have God’s promise to Adam & Eve that mankind would be redeemed through her (Eve) seed (decedents). Moreover, Jesus Christ fulfilled this very promise through the Cross: crushing the head of the serpent’s seed (sin), and giving redemption once and for all to anyone who will simply repent and accept it.

Finally, I would be remiss for dedicating a post to Eve and not discussing the elephant in the room concerning the patriarch. As touched on earlier, there is a growing belief by many today (including some in the Church) that Eve never existed, but was merely an ancient myth. As I have noted in previous posts, ever since Charles Darwin popularized the theory of evolution over a century and a half ago, it has become the major dogma of the emerging secular “religion” called Naturalism. Naturalism is the belief that only natural laws operate in the world (not God).  As a result, many Christians today who profess to believe that the biblical account is God’s Word, are nonetheless real quick to abandon the Genesis account of creation in favor of modern scientific theories. Now I do not want to get sidetracked on this post and argue topics such as Science vs Religion or Evolution vs Creation. Although, for those interested in such topics, I would recommend “The Case for A Creator” by Journalist Lee Strobel.  Instead, I thought the best way to address this subject would be to share a recent scientific discovery related to the topic at hand: Eve.

It may be neither here nor there, but science has seemingly validated the existence of Eve — although the science community would NEVER agree with such a statement. Nevertheless, here is the case (from a variety of sources):

Inside a human cell’s mitochondria (the tiny organelles that provide energy) there is a tiny unique chromosome. This unique loop of DNA is passed down from mother to child in every generation. Moreover, it provides geneticists with a valuable source of information into our past. A few decades ago, some geneticists began examining this information in an attempt to determine exactly “if” and “when” a common mother to all humans may have lived. This alleged maternal ancestor (mother) they termed: “Mitochondrial Eve”.

Studies involving this mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) raised a number of questions for geneticists. First, is it even possible to reconstruct a putative first mother’s mtDNA sequence? And if so, is there enough information in today’s mtDNA to deduce when (from their view) “Mitochondrial Eve” actually lived?

Amazingly, when investigating these questions, geneticists found that all human beings do in fact have trace amounts of common mtDNA. Meaning mtDNA indicates that ALL human beings on Earth do indeed descend from a single woman in the ancient past. For geneticist, optimism was now running high concerning the possibility of pinpointing a date for when this common maternal ancestor lived. But studies have since shown that the data alone is not sufficient enough to provide an answer. For starters, a certain number of starting assumptions are required to even begin calculating such a date. Specifically, when different starting assumptions are applied to the calculations, the data can yield very different results for the age/time of Mitochondrial Eve. For instance, a review of the earliest calculations, published in the Evolutionary Journal of Science in 1998, observed the following:

“Regardless of the cause, evolutionists are most concerned about the effect of a faster mutation rate. For example, researchers have calculated that “mitochondrial Eve” — the woman whose mtDNA was ancestral to that in all living people — lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago in Africa. Using the new clock, she would be a mere 6000 years old. No one thinks that’s the case, but at what point should models switch from one mtDNA time zone to the other?”

In other words, to align the age with current evolutionary theories of human origins (in the deep past), subsequent calculations have started with assumptions that ensure at the outset that Mitochondrial Eve would have lived more than 100,000 years ago. Thus, Mitochondrial Eve research is largely characterized by circular reasoning, i.e. starting assumptions in favor of deep time evolution, which are subsequently used as an interpretive filter that (not surprisingly) then yields deep-time results. Nevertheless, some scientists (paleontologist) were so concerned by these results, that they have started to take issue with the findings in general, leading to an ongoing debate among scientists.

However, most fascinating from our perspective (as believers) is not so much the debate on how long ago this maternal ancestor lived; but rather that geneticists have found all humans (regardless of race or region) have traces of this common mitochondria DNA. Meaning our DNA shows we all descend from this single common maternal ancestor. But without any scientific data, believers have always known this truth. Once more, we also know that it is not some “figurative” Mitochondria Eve from whom we descend, but the actual biblical Eve.

Therefore, let us review the case for Eve’s existence against the charge she is mere myth: Science has proven that all humans living on Earth descend from a single common maternal ancestor called “Mitochondria Eve”. However due to their persistent reliance on theoretical models of evolution, they estimate she lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. Although other scientific models factoring in faster rates of cell mutation over time place her life at about 6,000 years ago — which many scientists exclude outright and discount due to their prejudice for Deep Time Evolutionary models. Interestingly, the 6,000 date would actually be on par to various mathematical calculations based on scripture for the biblical Eve’s existence. However, we can never say for sure (as believers) how old the Earth (or Mankind) is due to certain biblical omissions, i.e. scripture does not tell us how long Adam & Eve were in Eden prior to their sin and exile. Once more, some theologians also argue for a creation/recreation theory that makes the Earth millions if not billions of years old, which would conform to age estimates also held by scientist following Deep Time Evolutionary models. Nevertheless, the results yielded from models factoring in faster rates of cell mutation are quite interesting. Of course, none of this proves that Mitochondrial Eve was the first living woman on Earth per Genesis, but it is consistent with it. In any event, all we can say for certain (and most importantly) is that all humans have a common maternal ancestor. It is a fact, and though science may choose to refer to her as the “Mitochondrial Eve”, we know her name was Eve.

But enough already, it is time to wrap this post up. To many secularist and skeptics, Eve is nothing more than a myth. However, I have shared some scientific proofs that should give such skeptics pause. The short synopsis of proof: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) indicates that all people have descended from a single woman, called mitochondrial Eve. This does not prove that she was the only woman alive at the time, but is nevertheless consistent with it. Once more, high mutation rates indicate that this ancestor lived at about the same time as the biblical Eve (by some calculations). Thus affirming for believers what we already knew, Eve is the patriarchal mother of all human beings. Therefore, her significance in human history is quite remarkable, although little else is actually known about her. But here is what we do know: Eve was the first woman on earth, the first companion, the first friend, the first wife and the first mother. She was not perfect, nor had a perfect family, but no doubt did the best she could. It was Eve who completed Adam, and shared in his responsibility over all creation. She too was made in God’s image, therefore displaying a portion of the characteristics of God. Only together could Adam and Eve fulfill God’s purpose in the continuation of creation. This is one reason why she is known as the “Mother of All the Living.” Therefore, it is about time we all give Eve her proper due.

Thank you for reading. I hope some may have found this post insightful.

JDN

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