A Woman Scorned

Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Corinthians 15:46-49)

We’ve been talking about “intuition,” which is something ascribed more to women than to men. If we relate it to hermeneutics, does this mean women make better Bible interpreters, or is there something deeper going on?

Adam was formed out of the dust, then filled with the “breath” of God. It wasn’t the indwelling Spirit of God. It was a physical breath, the “spirit of man,” if you like. But, like everything God does, it pictured something greater to come. The “earthy” anticipated the “heavenly.” Adam would be filled with the Spirit of God (as a qualified representative) if he was willing to “come and die” under the Law of the Covenant. He was to risk his life to save his bride.

We discussed how Adam failed to anticipate the will of God in the destruction of the serpent. From many later events, where the people of God got the same test right (typologically), we can see that it is most likely Eve who would have provided that “intuition.” The Bride is attacked by the serpent, the Bridegroom steps in and repeats the Law so she is not deceived (as the elect body), then, as co-regent, co-judge, she stands with him and calls down the Covenant curses upon the exposed serpent. [1] Adam obeys and receives the Spirit, which He sends to the Bride. Then Eve obeys and receives the Spirit. We see this exact pattern play out in the first century. Those who hear and disobey the gospel receive an evil spirit from the Lord. Those who hear and obey eventually judge angels.

But let’s take things beyond Genesis 3. How does this observation affect our interpretation of the minimalist narrative in Genesis 4? Genesis 1-3 is a continual process of “forming (dividing) and filling,” except that Adam failed to “fulfill” the Covenant Law. In Genesis 4, Eve has two sons, a new “division.” Eve anticipated the future in the names of her two sons. In his commentary on Genesis 2-4, James Jordan observes:

Cain (Qayin) means “smith,” and relates to the firmness of the earth, while Abel (Hebel) means “mist,” and relates to the heaven – but to which heaven? It is clear from what follows that Abel links with the firmament made on Day 2. So let us look back at Genesis 4:1. Adam knew his wife, and this links with God’s sending His Spirit into dust to make Adam. The “adam” that Adam makes with Eve is Cain, and Eve’s statement that she has acquired a man with Yahweh brings this first event to a close. Cain is the new Adam. [2]

Recently, Eric Greene suggested “a little tweak” for exegeting Gen. 4:1. [3] Eve’s two sons are a new heaven and a new earth, but in “social” terms:

JBJ says that Mr. Vapor/Breath (Abel) signifies heaven. To help substantiate this I would argue that he was named after God’s fatherly vaporous breath. Cain means Mr. Smith-worker, working the metal from the ground, like the Kenites (compare 4:22). I would argue that Cain is named after the motherly earthy dust. Cain and Abel are named after their “Grandparents” for they are some of the “descendents of the heavens and the earth” (2:4).

After God heals their marriage, forgives, and promotes them out of the garden, Eve knows that the Promised Seed is meant to replace her husband. Her husband failed to kill the Serpent, but she knows the Seed will arise replacing her husband in that redeeming/conquering role. It is quite clear from the text that the Redeemer will be the Adam-Replacer; replacing and surpassing what Adam failed to do.

Jordan again:

Similarly, and more interestingly (since we all know that it is not the snake but Satan who is to be crushed), the word “heel” means “replacement.” Thus, Jacob’s name was not just “Heel” but “Replacement” (see Genesis 27:36). Thus, the phrase can be translated, “You will bruise his replacement.” Who is the Replacement for the seed of the woman, if not Jesus? It is each replacement, each new “heel,” who is bruised in the Biblical narrative: Abel replaces Adam and is bruised. Isaac replaces Abraham and is bruised. Ultimately, Jesus replaces all the seed of the woman, and is bruised. Then, as Jesus ascends to heaven, the Church replaces Jesus and is called to be bruised, to carry forth His suffering for the life of the world. [4]

Greene again:

Since the word “heel” means “replacement” we can easily see the poetic point: the Redeemer-Replacer will be struck on His Replacement. Without getting into what that implies, I think Eve would have had the wisdom to put one and one together. The Messiah to come would function as the Mighty Replacer, even expecting His own heel to be bruised.

It seems plausible to me that Eve would have known that her first-born son would not been a messiah/redeemer. According to blueletterbible dot org, “Cain” is a play on the word “cana” (possession), since Eve said, “I have possessed a man…” Cain is also the root word for the Kenites who were metal “smiths”, hence you are right, Cain also carries the meaning for “spear”. Thus, Tubal-Cain dug up iron ore from the ground to make “spears” as a “metal-worker”.

Jordan again:

“The first son of Adam and Eve was named Cain. The name Qayin means “smith, metal-worker,” and recurs in the name Tubal-Qayin, the father of the forge, in 4:22. There is also a pun on his name, since Eve associates the name with something acquired (qanithi). Metal is but hard ground, and so Cain as one who serves the ground is also one who forges metal. Digging up the ground so as to plant crops is close to digging up the ground to find ore to forge into metal. “Cain,” thus, is a name that connotes strength. Adam was set to serve the ground (2:15, “to serve and guard” the garden). As we saw last time, Cain is the new Adam, the first from Adam, the continuation of the generations of the heavens and the earth.” [5]

Greene again:

So, she named Cain, associating him with earth, thanking God that He multiplied her conception, saying, she “acquired a man from the LORD”. Then, implicitly, she named “his brother” associating him with the hope of God’s vaporous heavenly breath.

Anyway this makes me think that while Eve was first pregnant she said, “Hey sweetheart, Adam, let’s name this baby ‘Cain’ – since our Yahweh made you from dirt. The baby can work with the hard dirt and make things. But, darling, let’s name our second-born ‘Abel’ – since our Yahweh breathed His heavenly vapour into your dust. Maybe when this life-breathing child grows up he will replace you and his brother by killing that Devil.” Then Adam, said, “Eve, you are very wise, and even right this time!”

Ironically, he came to symbolize the brevity of life, not the life-giving power of God’s breath. And yes, later, even Eve’s hope in Replacer-Abel was replaced with Seth.

Just like his name, “Cain” himself also became a “spear,” the bloody sword that comes out of the smith’s furnace. This would mean that the two sons are knife and fire, forming and filling, earth and breath, Old Covenant (the time of knives) and New (the time of fire). The New Covenant could not fully arrive until all the innocent blood that was shed from Abel to Zechariah was avenged upon the Land. Only then could knife and fire be united as a flaming sword in the hand of a new Adam. The “filling up” of the sufferings of Christ in the saints completes the sacrificial process (Colossians 1:24).

But back to Bible interpretation. God speaks, Adam listens. The serpent speaks. Hopefully, nobody listens. Then Adam speaks, Eve listens. Eve curses, Adam strikes. She is his intuition. This is exactly the process we see in the first century, presented as liturgy in the Revelation. The martyred saints know that their redemption (resurrection) can only occur through vengeance upon their murderers.

And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the [Land], and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and a [Land]quake. (Revelation 8:3-5)

So, Jesus is the Church’s obedience, and the Spirit-filled Church is then the “intuition” of Jesus, the “friends of God,” courtly advisers ruling the world through worship and prayer. As His body, our blood is Jesus’ blood. As His body, our corporate foot is Jesus’ foot. [6] And this crushing foot is gathered, united and enabled by the Spirit.

Interpreting the Word correctly comes gradually as a result of the Spirit of God. And if I were the devil, watching the Church figure things out over the centuries would make me even more disturbed. Indeed, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

[1] See Esther and the Ten Words.
[2] James B. Jordan, Trees & Thorns: A Commentary on Genesis 2-4, Volume 12, N0. 132. Available from www.biblicalhorizons.com. Documents also included in the complete James Jordan library, available from www.wordmp3.com
[3] From a discussion on the Biblical Horizons forum. Reproduced with Eric’s permission.
[4] Jordan, Volume 9, No. 96.
[5] Jordan, Volume 11, No. 123.
[6] See Under Your Feet.

Art: Eowyn and the Nazgul by bluefooted.

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2 Responses to “A Woman Scorned”

  • Eric Greene Says:

    What do you think about putting II Thess.2:8 into this argument? Eve was expecting Abel to function as the conquering “breath” of God on her behalf, just as Paul said “the Lord will consume them with the breath of his mouth…”

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Yep – I can see that. After thinking about it, I can also see Abel riding alongside Jesus in Rev. 19 to avenge his own blood upon the Cainite Herods and the Gentiles they had co-opted in rebellion against Christ and His servants.

    “He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.”