Why Was Eve Created after Adam? by Carol Meyers


The story probably doesn’t say that Eve was created as a secondary critter, as an afterthought.  The first person is created.  The Hebrew term there is a gender-inclusive term.  It means human being.  God created a human being and then divided that human being.  These are two sides of a whole.  Male and female together make up humanity.

One of the terms that the divine figure uses in saying that the second critter should be created is that there needs to be someone who is a suitable partner.  Not an assistant.  But two people who are on the same level with each other.  There’s no built in hierarchy to male and female existence in the Garden of Eden story.  So Eve comes out in relationship to her male counterpart as an equal being if not even one who dominates the scene.  And the idea that she’s a sexy subservient seductress is an overlay from later tradition.  And feminist biblical scholarship helps to peel away that overlay for Eve and for many other female and male figures in the Hebrew Bible.

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Carol Meyers
Professor, Duke University

Carol Meyers is the Mary Grace Wilson Emerita Professor of Religion at Duke University. An archaeologist as well as a biblical scholar with a special interest in gender in the biblical world, she has served as a consultant for many media productions dealing with the Bible. Her hundreds of publications include: commentaries on Exodus and on several biblical prophets; an edited reference work, Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament (Eerdmans, 2000); and Rediscovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context (Oxford University Press, 2013).


Characteristic of a deity (a god or goddess).

Of or related to a social conviction in the equality of women.

A West Semitic language, in which most of the Hebrew Bible is written except for parts of Daniel and Ezra. Hebrew is regarded as the spoken language of ancient Israel but is largely replaced by Aramaic in the Persian period.

The set of Biblical books shared by Jews and Christians. A more neutral alternative to "Old Testament."

A categorization in which people (or other objects) are ranked relative to each other, some higher and some lower.

A woman who uses her sexuality to entice men to sin; often used as a cautionary figure in the biblical book of Proverbs.

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