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"The Mother of All Living" (Part I)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the church! Together with your husbands, keep up the good and necessary work of “bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Today, I would like to draw your attention to the very first mother – Eve. In fact, the name “Eve” is translated from the Hebrew word “Chavvah,” which means “Life” or “Life-giver,” for Eve was “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20).

What does it mean when the Bible says that Eve was “the mother of all living”? It does not mean that all kinds of plant and animal life were descended from Eve, for Adam and Eve were created after those things (cf. Genesis 1:27, 31). Rather, it meant that Eve was the one through whom all of humanity would descend from. The Bible recorded the birth of her first three sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth (Genesis 4) – these were the first births recorded in the Bible.

Some have suggested that God must have created other people other than Adam and Eve, for after Cain was driven away from the presence of the LORD for murdering his brother Abel (Genesis 4:13-16), it was recorded that he had a wife (Genesis 4:17). “Surely,” these people say, “this indicates that God must have created other people other than Adam and Eve, for how could Cain marry his biological sister or niece? That would be incest!”

Let us recall that the Bible explicitly stated that Eve was “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). This means that God did not create other people other than Adam and Eve, and that all of humanity was descended from them. Next, we must understand that the prohibition against incest was only introduced under the Mosaical covenant (cf. Leviticus 20:10-21), about 2,600 years after the Creation. A law is not binding on those who lived and died before its enactment. As to why the prohibition against incest was only instituted two and a half millennia after the Creation, one possible reason could be because the Global Flood of Noah’s time (approximately 1,000 years before Moses’ time) drastically changed the environment and climate of the world (cf. Genesis 2:5-6; Genesis 7:11), and human lifespans plummeted dramatically after the Global Flood (cf. Genesis 5; Psalm 90:10). It is possible that God, in His infinite wisdom, chose an appropriate time to implement prohibitions against incest, to preserve and promote the health of His people. Today, we know that incestuous relationships tend to result in a greater risk of passing on birth defects due to “inbreeding” – such a situation would not have been present before the Global Flood, for God created everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

On this Mother’s Day, as we remember our own mothers, let us also remember that we can ultimately trace our origin back to the first mother, Eve, “the mother of all living,” whom God created together with Adam on the 6th day of Creation. Let us remember that, just like Eve, we are “made in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), and that we thus ought to honour Him in word or deed (cf. Colossians 3:17).


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