15 December 2017

What happened when…

What happened when… Eve Took The Fruit?

Adam grabbed a rock as he ran from the field toward the agonizing noise. The sound of his wife’s screams striking panic in his heart!

Covering the rough ploughed field at speed, he came to a breathless halt. He groaned at the sight before him, his concern now seeping into the ground as quickly as his dinner from the broken pot at Eve’s feet. There was no sign of wild animals, the fire was still safely contained in its pit: no danger that he could see!

“What’s wrong Eve?” he complained. “The field will never be sown if I have to keep running back to you!” 

Eve’s heart sank. He hadn’t even noticed the tight hold she had on her very swollen abdomen, or the scraped knees caused by falling to the ground as the pain had gripped her. How different to the day when Adam opened his sleepy eyes and saw her for the first time: he had looked longingly at her back then.

“I think it’s time,” she whispered quietly, caressing the bundle still bound in her flesh. 

“How many times have you done this, Eve?” Adam sighed, dropping the rock by his side. “It will be hours yet,” he continued, helping seat her under a nearby tree.

As her handsome husband turned back towards the field, Eve wondered if he would ever stop blaming her… for everything bad that had happened in their lives. The memory of his accusing voice still tore at her heart: “It was the woman You gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it,” were his words when questioned by God on that most awful of days. Yet Eve was only too aware that passing the blame was something she was also good at… it was entirely the serpent’s fault after all!

Aware of the tightening high under her ribs, Eve braced herself for another contraction, pushing her back firmly against the tree trunk.

“Why did I have to listen to that serpent?” she groaned as the pain reached a crescendo. “Things could have been so different if Adam had stopped me… if he had done what God had commanded. I thought the serpent meant no harm… after all, wisdom is a good thing, isn’t it?”

But revisiting that long-lost argument brought her no peace. Her unwillingness to admit to her wrong doing then had resulted in the loss of her paradise home; but worse still was the disappointment she and her husband had brought to the heart of God. As the distance between contractions shortened, Eve could picture her hand, stretching out to take the fruit. It looked so lovely, promised so much and tasted so good!

But the resulting memory added sickness to her pain! The sound of God’s words, “How could you do such a thing?” pierced her with regret: the remorseless pain of childbirth reminding her of His judgement.

By now, the sweat of her brow mixed with her tears before dropping to the ground, while the leaves high above her caught her cries, “If only! If only…I hadn’t listened to the serpent…if only I hadn’t doubted God’s word…if only I’d stopped short of eating that fruit!” And she heard the familiar rustle on the ground nearby and a hiss in her ears, as the time of her delivery approached.

Wave after wave of pain engulfed her! Terror gripped the mother of all living. What if… what if this baby turned out to be like her beautiful Cain, her firstborn? She had put so much hope in one so small, thought perhaps he was the one of whom God had spoken – her offspring that would crush the head of the serpent! She had dreamt that he would be the one who would end this madness; this pain; this separation from God.

Instead it was her dream that was crushed. For Cain had become just like them, determined to do things his way and in his time, paying lip-service rather than obedience to the God of Heaven.

She could never forget that day either! That day when Cain had returned from the fields with a strange mark on his forehead. The picture played out in full colour in her memory. She could see herself reaching forward to try to wipe it off. But it wouldn’t budge! Instead of disappearing, the mark deepened, frightening her and causing Cain to pull away; rejecting the embrace she always had for her favourite son. Instantly she saw the look of anger in his dark eyes; anger that had been simmering inside him so frequently these past days. Anger that had boiled over on the day he had made his first offering to the Lord God, Jehovah.

“If only he hadn’t been so headstrong! If only he had listened to his father!” Eve’s maternal instincts heightened as labour progressed, her longing for her sons deepening as she anticipated the imminent arrival of another child.

Adam had tried so hard with Cain, she remembered: explaining that God was merciful in providing a place of meeting for them…especially after his disobedience in the Garden of Eden. He had told both of his sons how animals had had to die in order that God could make a covering for their shame. It was the sacrifice of blood that had made the difference on that day of judgement for their sin. He told them that obedience was more important than any other single thing as far as God was concerned.

“Hadn’t we both learnt that the hard way?” Eve reminisced. Abel seemed to have no problem understanding that approaching God must be done in His way, at His time and His appointed place…with a sacrificial offering. Any old thing just would not do for the God of Heaven!

But not Cain! Oh, no! He had to do it his way! Eve could hear his voice echoing in her head; words that tormented her now, just as much as on that day when Cain threw a few belongings into a sack before leaving them…forever.

“He’s dead. Mother! Dead!” was Cain’s answer to her haunting questioning as to Abel’s whereabouts? “You might as well know, Mother! That God of yours will probably tell you anyway! Sick of him… I was sick of him… Mr. Goody-two-shoes!”

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children,” God had said. And now Eve knew exactly what those words meant. Two sons… but the physical pain of their births was insignificant by comparison with this constant torture of mind and heart.

“My beautiful Cain,” she sobbed, “destroyed and destroying because of disobedience!”

The afternoon sun was beginning to reach the horizon as the urge to push overwhelmed Eve, “Please, God, let this child be like Abel: a gentle, obedient child; acquainted with sacrifice – understanding what it takes to cover our shame…perhaps a seed to crush the head of the serpent?” she whispered, her strength almost gone.

“Seth” was the only reply she heard. She believed that her prayer had not gone unnoticed by the God who had shown her mercy before.

Meanwhile, Adam dropped his tools as his labouring wife came into view. Rushing to aid her in her bravery, he gently kissed her forehead. A short time later, this man who was created in the image of God, caught his new little son in a piece of rough wool cloth.

“Seth,” repeated Eve as she put her newborn to her breast, “for God has granted me another son in place of Abel, whom Cain killed.” And as mother and child slept they had no idea that from this child the Christ would eventually come – the only Seed that could crush the head of the serpent!

Footnote: Why not check out Genesis 3 and 4 and discover the full story for yourself?

Catherine Campbell