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NAME CALLING (from chapter six)

“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20)

Even though we have referred to Eve by name time and time again in this study, her name doesn’t actually appear in scripture until the above mentioned verse. In all preceding references she is called Adam’s “wife”, “female” or simply the “woman”, Ishshah. Ah, the woman of the house. In no way are those references used derogatorily or intended to make her appear less important than the male. God gave them the filial name, Adam or “Mankind” (Gen 5:2), but all other garden management and naming was left to the man.

Stewardship belongs to the family head. Did it come by revelation, did he lay awake thinking of the perfect name or was it a passing whim? I believe Adam looked deep into his wife’s soul to draw out the true person within. Biblical names frequently had prophetic implication or spoke to inner traits and potential of the name’s bearer.

And so it was with Eve – the Hebrew word being Chavva, meaning “life” or “life giver”. This is an extrapolation of chay, used elsewhere for “life”. Adam created his own word, kind of a pet name. A unique creation, she merited her own entry in the dictionary. “This woman is my life!”

In the second chapter when their eyes met for the first time Adam exclaimed, “This is it!” (Gen 2:23 TLB)

He saw life in her, drew life from her, extended life through her, lived life with her, in a way gave his life for her. The one thing they shared was the greatest thing they shared, Life. He could have went with other names, Joy, Grace, Pumpkin or Luvvy Dove but Adam chose the highest word, Life, because she was  supreme, his reason for living.

What a name! In Greek it is eua, used only twice (2 Cor 11:3, 1 Tim 2:13), though as a prefix it means “good, blessed, beneficial”, etc. in numerous words like euagelion, (evangel, gospel, good news), Eucharist (the “good cheer” service) or eulogos (to speak well of, or eulogize).

What he was saying is that she was inherently “good”. The name was reinforcing at a time when Eve really needed the lift. Forget the fall. Forget the disruption of their lives. Even forget the judgment just pronounced. He spoke into his wife’s life a sense of goodness, hope and destiny. Not since the second chapter of Genesis had Adam showed that kind of devotion. “My wife – my life!”

A mother sheep, ewe, shares the same word origin. The wife is a man’s precious “ewe lamb” (2 Sam 12:3). It is a tender, romantic, endearing word.

The text itself interprets the etymology, “because she was the mother of all living”. Life and motherhood are inseparable. As is a mother and her love. Think of our word “evening” and its shortened form, “eve”. The Hebrews had a special way of looking at a 24-hour day. Whereas most people say “day and night” the Hebrew day always began at sundown with the eve. “So the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen 1:5).   Notice the sequence; evening is first then comes morning, for the “Eve” is the mother of the morning. For instance, Christmas Eve gives birth to Christmas Day. Chavva then is the mother of all good things in life.

Which brings us to a key principle regarding successful marriage: God has given us power to name our partners, freedom to speak life, hope and confidence into them. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Prov 18:21) “Whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name” (Gen 2:19).

If he said to a winged creature, “You are an eagle”, an eagle it became. If he said to a stubborn four-legged beast, “You are a donkey”, the animal from then on acted its part. “Thou shalt decree a thing, and it shall be established to you…” (Job 22:28) The same happens with modern-day Adam.

Listen to one mother introduce her children – “This is Bobby, he’s my little bully. And here is Travis, he’s kind of slow. Oh, and, Sarah, hiding behind my dress, she’s the shy one…” Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies; Bobby ends up in juvenile court, Travis flunks third and fourth grade and Sarah sits back in the corner afraid to make a friend.

What we see, say and sow is what we get. To see good things we must say and sow good things.

“We understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Heb 11:3). The Creator operated by faith, now man operates by the same rule. We can frame our worlds with our words. Visible reality is “called” or shall we say “summoned” from an invisible realm.

God “calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Rom 4:17). If you want a happy home fill it with happy talk. The goal is stated in two words, “as though”. We speak “as though” we are millionaires even when the checking account balance is in the red. We speak “as though” we are feeling well even though words are garbled because the nurse has a thermometer stuck in our mouths.

One of the greatest faith statements in the Bible was spoken when Elisha’s servant asked the Shunemite woman of her welfare. “Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?” Fact of the matter, her husband was an old stick-in-the-mud, her son was dead from heatstroke, and she was about to fall apart under the stress. If she were relying upon circumstance and feelings she might have cracked, instead she boldly replied, “It is well!” (2 Kings 4:26) The original Hebrew records just one courageous word, Shalom! She framed her world – “I have peace. We are going to make it!”

Would you right now, mark the book, lift up your hands and by faith say, “IT IS WELL!” Now, didn’t that feel good?

God gave us mouths to fashion our moods. Adam poured self-esteem into his wife through encouraging words. Every time she heard her name, Eve, it reminded her that someone believed in her. She was valuable to her husband.

How different the pet-name Saul had for his wife. In a spat between him and his son Jonathan a very revealing line popped out – “Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman…” (1 Sam 20:30). Modern translation – “You sorry S.O.B.” What words spew from angry lips! No wonder Michal turned out as she did. No wonder the kingdom was stripped from his hand. In the arms of any other man Saul’s wife probably would have been an angel, not what he called her.

Cut it out! “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good to the use of edifying” (Eph 4:29). Name-calling profits nothing unless the name used is something sweet like…Eve.


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