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,
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”
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
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
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
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.