Reclaiming Eve

Women in Leadership //

weekly refill welcome

By Suzanne Burden

If Eve is the “type” for every woman-the first female made to reflect God-what do we as women see when we look in the mirror? A beautiful image-bearer of God (Genesis 1:27-28), created as an agent of rescue and a strong power to rescue others from isolation (Genesis 2:18)? Or a woman living forever in the shadow of her sin?What’s a girl to do with the problem of Eve?1. Recognize where we went wrong.God created male and female (Genesis 1-2) with a mutual, interdependent relationship. He didn’t specify strict roles, but a shared responsibility to care for the earth and its creatures as he would. Sadly, the Fall in Genesis 3 brought difficulty into our relationships, and God predicted that the woman’s counterpart would rule over her. Park your thoughts about women in Genesis 3, and women will be forever subordinate to men.Elements of Greek thought, which spread throughout the Roman Empire and affect us even today, taught that women were given to man as a curse and that they were the greatest of all evils. If these thinkers were right, a woman loses her agency: what Webster’s describes as being “empowered to act for another.” As followers of Christ, we might describe it as the ability to fully represent God’s interests as his image-bearer.

2. Recognize how Jesus sets women free.

Now contrast the thoughts of some ancient Greek writers with how Jesus interacts with women in the gospels. As Jesus ushered in his Kingdom, the old way of doing things was done away with; the new had come. So it is that we find Jesus traveling with women and being supported by them; teaching them as he would his male disciples, and engaging marginalized females like the Samaritan woman in deep theological conversation. When an unclean, bleeding woman touched him, she was instantly made whole-rather than Jesus becoming unclean. And in a shocking reversal of convention, Jesus sent out Mary Magdalene as the first witness to the Resurrection. As Scot McKnight writes, “The implications of the fall are being undone for those who are in Christ.”

So what’s a girl to do with the problem of Eve? First, we recognize that both Adam and Eve sinned. Second, we affirm that their sin did not cancel God’s intentions. And, finally, we affirm that in Christ, we are called to restore relationships tragically broken by sin. God’s full interests can only be represented by his original intentions: male and female designed to freely serve him together, side-by-side. To that end, followers of Jesus should work to restore agency to every female God has created-all for the

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About the Author

With a passion for teaching and preaching on themes of brokenness and the power of redemption, Suzanne Burden holds an MA in Theological Studies from Grace Theological Seminary. A storyteller at heart, Suzanne weaves personal narrative and questioning with the grand story of God’s Kingdom purposes as revealed in his Word. Her background includes marketing for Revell/Baker Publishing Group and she continues to provide freelance editorial and content development for a variety of publishers and ministries. Suzanne’s writing has been featured in a variety of devotional products, including the Zondervan True Images Bible, New Women’s Devotional Bible, The Hope in the Mourning Bible and the Heaven Calling gift book. Her stories have also appeared on Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership blog and todayschristianwoman.com and in the Fullfill Weekly Refill. She is currently coauthoring the book Reclaiming Eve: the Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God (Beacon Hill Press, March 2014). Suzanne resides with her husband David in Indiana, where she enjoys serving as a part-time chaplain and mostly enjoys learning to play guitar.