Advent offering 14 December

Today’s offering revisits another biblical character who invariably makes an appearance in our annual Advent calendars – the ever-fascinating Eve. In the past, I’ve chosen images that capture the moment or aftermath of Adam and Eve’s act of fruity disobedience (Genesis 3), but this year, I have picked instead an artistic portrayal of an event from Genesis 2 – the creation of Eve. According to the biblical traditions, God makes Eve by fashioning her from one of Adam’s ‘ribs’ (or his ‘side’), while Adam lies in a deep slumber (Gen 2.21-22). He then brings her to Adam, whom, we are told, sings out with delight when he claps eyes upon her:

‘This at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!

This one shall be called woman, for out of man this one was taken’ (Gen 2.23)

Solomon Joseph Solomon Birth of Eve 1908
Solomon Joseph Solomon, The Birth of Eve (1908)

In his painting titled The Birth of Eve, Solomon Joseph Solomon has used a bit of artistic licence to retell this story, portraying Eve’s creation as a distinctly heavenly event. While Adam sleeps on the ground, half hidden by shadows, Eve is transported from on high by two angels, indicating perhaps that she has been created by God in the heavens themselves (a point not specified in the biblical text itself). Compared to Adam, who is formed from the dirt on the ground (Gen 2.7), Eve’s creation in this image seems to have been far more lofty; bathed in light, she descends with a gentle spleandour, the two angels handling her with such care as though she were the most precious cargo. Behind these figures, the air swirls and shimmers, heralding perhaps this most marvellous and awesome event. This is a lovely change from those portrayals of Eve which depict her as the duplicitous temptress of Genesis 3; instead, she is a vision of loveliness who is most assuredly heaven-sent.

Back for more Advent delights tomorrow – see you then.

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