The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living (Gn 3:20)
The book of Genesis begins with the account of creation of all realities – physical and spiritual. In this blog post, we will focus on the topic of the seed in creation and its aftermath. We meet the seed for the first time in the second part of the third day of creation: “And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Gn 1:11-12). We meet the seed again in the corresponding element of the sixth day of creation “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” (Gn 1:29).
Note that, as we mentioned in the podcast episode, the days of creation are organized by two groups of three days – with day one corresponding to day four: the coming-into-being of l/Light) and the creation of the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, stars); day two corresponding to day five: the creation of the firmament and the separation of the waters and the creation of birds (who “fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven”) and water-living creatures; and day three with its two parts corresponding to day six with its two parts: the drying-out of the earth to the earth bringing-forth land-animals and the sprouting of vegetation to the creation of man.
Therefore, the creation of man – man’s nourishment – corresponds directly to the focus on the seed. Now, one would expect that when the text comes to deal with vegetation to maybe speak of its nutritional value and its beauty etc. – as it will do in chapter 2 for example (“And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” Gn 2:9). However, the text chose to focus exclusively on the seed.
We meet the seed again in chapter 3: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Gn 3:15). This verse was seen by the early church as the “protoevangelium” – the first-gospel, or the first-good-news, since it preaches God’s intervention in the course of human life – “I will put enmity…”. Whereas man’s propensity after the fall is to be drawn to sin – directly or vicariously – God will intervene to make us hate our sin. In addition – and this is the most amazing revelation: there will be a s/Seed of The Woman who will eventually destroy the devil and his works: sin and death. Upon hearing this breathtaking revelation Adam renames his wife – the Prototypical Woman – “Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Gn 3:20).
This is arguably the most startling revelation given to mankind and its effects are felt to this day – the Jewish people still await a Messiah daily with an yearning that does not cease, while Christians know that the Messiah of all peoples has come in the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
At the end of the parasha “Bereshit” which we studied last week, we find the first human genealogy (I say first ‘human’ genealogy, since we actually had the “generations of the heavens and the earth” in Gn 2:4). This genealogy traces the line of the s/Seed. There will be according to St. Luke’s gospel, seventy-seven generations between Adam and Christ – and these are beginning to be traced and followed in Gn 5. The line goes from father to son – and the reason that women are not mentioned in it is not because they are unimportant in Scripture – as some say – but rather because the role of genealogies is to trace the story of the s/Seed. We will continue to study this key element of Genesis (and, of Scripture in general) in the following lessons – where we will find out the breathtaking circumstances this s/Seed will pass through.