Last week I started a Friday book series and introduced the first book, Frank Viola’s “From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God.” Chapter one ended with these words: “God has authored the most incredible love story ever written. It is a story that has set the standard for all romantic literature to follow.” In chapters 2 and 3 he continues to build the suspense, but in an unexpected way. He goes back to Genesis 1 and 2.
In Chapter 2, Frank uses some divine imagination to tell the story of Adam’s search for his counterpart among all the animals of the earth, and of this burning passion or longing to have a partner and someone on which to lavish this love. That passion was God-given, a reflection of the passion God the Father has for God the Son and vice versa. After seeking his counterpart and not finding her, God states that it is not good for man to be alone, and God forms the woman by “splitting the Adam” and taking her out of the man. In Frank’s retelling, all of this happens on the eighth day, after the conclusion of creation. (Interesting note — she isn’t named “Eve” until after the Fall. Frank explains in a footnote, “In Genesis 1:27 and 5:2, the implication is that the female was created inside the male at the time that Adam was created. Later, God ‘split the Adam’ and took the woman out of the man. But before that, ‘they’ were Adam.)
Adam had stood on this earth alone. He had been the loneliest creature on the planet. Single and solitary. But now, on the first day after creation, he stood in the presence of one who was just like him. She was Adam in a different form. And in a blinding flash of insight, Adam realized that his loneliness had vanished. His passion had a place to break forth. …Adam loved his new bride. And as he loved her passionately, a passion for him awakened within her own bosom.
This is mind-bending stuff, especially for a woman who has grown up with these stories, recently realized that Genesis isn’t documentary or journalism, and is now trying to understand what that means for my understanding of these stories.
Chapter 3 begins to reveal how Frank sees the story of Adam and Eve. In considering the woman, Adam’s bride, I began to see things that reminded me of language the Bible uses to describe the bride of Christ. A couple of points that jumped out to me:
- She took Adam’s name. According to Genesis 5:2, God called the man and woman “Adam.” After the fall, Adam would name his bride “Eve.” But before the fall, she took her husband’s name.
- She was always in [Adam]. She preexisted in Adam before she made her appearance on earth. Adam roamed this earth with a girl hidden inside of him. His body constituted the womb from which she would one day come forth.
- She was Adam’s glory. In 1 Corinthians 11:7, Paul says, “The woman is the glory of the man.” This means that Eve reflected Adam. The woman was the glorious expression of the man. When you saw her, you saw him.
Chapter 3 ends with another teaser. “I have not been telling you the story of Adam and Eve. I’ve been telling you a story far greater….”
This story, of the first couple, is a type or shadow of the divine story of the love of God the Father for God the Son, and the love of God the Son overflowing and seeking someone to overflow into.
And this is where the metaphor, which you see all throughout Scripture, gets uncomfortable. Words like passion and lavish and bride have a sexual physical connotation to us. These words are much more comprehensive than that, but because we aren’t used to thinking of them in that way, it can be bizarre to use these words in connection with God, to describe the way God interacts in the Trinity and towards us.
But then I think of the way my heart burns with passion at injustice, and how loneliness has its own burning. I see all the places in Scripture that use words like this to describe God. I think those words are right and good. So I’m hanging in there and waiting to see how Frank builds this in the next chapters.
Have you ever considered the story of Adam and Eve to be bigger than just them? What about the idea of Eve preexisting in Adam?