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100 Years of Memories

The Mother of Us All

This article by Elsie White, President of the Apostolic Ladies Missionary Fellowship, was first published in the End Times’ Messenger March 1969.

“For Adam was first made, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

1 Timothy 2:13,14

In Galatians 4:26—Paul calls Jerusalem “the mother of all.” In an entirely different sense, the first woman ever to set foot upon this earth bore the same name, for Eve means “mother of life” or mother of all who have life.

She is the woman who embodied potentially all that is female. In her there lay concealed as in a kernel a woman’s grace and independence, her susceptibility to Satan, but susceptibility to the faith as well. Adam represented more. He embodies not only all that is male but also all that is human. By Eve the female also came to be through him. Out of him, Eve came, and although Adam is conceivable without her because he existed without her, Eve could not exist except Adam first and was and except he preceded.

Eve was created out of Adam. He must always be thought of as the source and background out of which she arose. But he did not make her. Although she came from him, God created her. He did not take the woman out of Adam, but only one of the elements of human life. Out of that particle, He, not Adam, constructed woman. For this reason, she too, before she appeared upon earth, existed in God’s thought. God saw her, and because He saw He created her. Eve is the product of Divine Creation.

Eve was never a child, never a daughter nor a maiden, such as you and I. In the instant of creation, she stood before Adam in Paradise, resplendent in the full bloom of mature womanhood. She was a full and complete woman whose perfection was owing not to training and culture, but in whom it was the product of Diving Creation.

“[God] did not take the woman out of Adam, but only one of the elements of human life. Out of that particle, He, not Adam, constructed woman. For this reason, she too, before she appeared upon earth, existed in God’s thought.”

Woman should never complain because she is not a man, for she, like him, is the result of Divine activity. Adam existed first; he was her head and the root from which she sprang. But Adam could not get along without her. He was wanting, and she was the help he needed. God created her as a helpmeet for him, but as a helpmeet who for support must lean upon him. Satan knew that and therefore saw immediately that Adam was not to be seduced except through Eve. He recognized her amiableness and grace, but also her natural frailty. He knew she was the most temptable of the two.

Woman represents human grace to a peculiar degree. The beauties in nature enthrall her more than they do man. Her sensibilities are more alert to impression of the concrete and attractive. She is instinctively not less holy or more sinful. Eve’s sin was essentially less profound than Adam’s and it was not her sin but his which thrust the world into perdition. But she was more susceptible to temptation because she was more peculiarly a child of nature than Adam. Eve dragged Adam with her into sin, and instead of loosing her from Satan, Adam permitted himself through her to be attracted to him. Thus Eve’s transgression becomes essential in “the sin with which she caused Adam to sin.”

Because of it, Eve’s happiness was inexpressibly short-lived. At her first step, she slipped. Adam did not grasp her but allowed himself to be drawn down with her. She had been marvelously beautiful. It could be said of her alone among women that she was Divinely beautiful. Now she had to leave that magnificent Paradise to enter a world of thorn and thistles—Genesis 3:18.

The anxiety that anticipated and the anguish that is in child-birth ravaged her being. She lost the self-reliance which God had given her. She was henceforth to be subject to mastery. We do not know how long Eve lived, but it could have been for hundreds of years. Her days must have been tedious and exacting and her suffering at times painful.

She had been glorious once and had lived, be it for a short time only, in the beauty of Paradise. To be thrust thereupon into a world in which nothing had yet been provided for woman must have been an awful contrast. Eve was removed from her estate. Her feminine fullness was completely ravaged.

However, into the profound soul of this woman God sowed the seeds of a glorious faith, and by means of it again permitted a heaven to arise before her.

The seed of this tempted woman was once again to bruise the head of the Tempter. Eve fixed her whole soul to that promise. When Cain was born to her she probably supposed that this child was already the promised seed and she exclaimed, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.” Genesis 4:1

The disillusionment which followed upon that hope must have been bitter when, after some years, the earth imbibed of the blood of Abel.

Yet after many epochs, the Angels of God acknowledged the seed of this woman in the Child of Mary. The sin of Mary was also Eve’s child. It is our privilege that we can acknowledge that Babe of Bethlehem at His crib. Then, with reluctance, perhaps, but also with a glad hope, we can remember Eve. Thinking of her, of that Child, and of ourselves, we can say, “Mother of us all.”

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