Mary, the New Eve
When Adam and his wife were expelled from Paradise, Adam gave her the name Eve (mother) “because she was the mother of all living” (Genesis 3, 20). In 1 Corinthians 15, 22 St. Paul teaches us: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Just as we have a new Adam in Christ, we have a new Eve in Our Blessed Mother, Mary. Eve could not avoid passing the sin of Adam to all her descendants after the Devil used her to introduce death in the world. The wisdom of God provided Mary so that through her we could receive Jesus and be redeemed from the original sin. Eve was tempted by an evil angel to distrust God. Mary responded with total trust in God when a holy angel asked her to be the mother of Christ.
John 2, 1-11 — On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
The ministry of Jesus in the Gospels starts with the wedding at Cana. Mary approaches Jesus because she sees that the family is going to be embarrassed when they run out of wine. She intercedes, so to speak, on behalf of her friends. Perhaps Jesus can do something about this. The response of Jesus is not disrespectful. Jesus could not be disrespectful to his mother, that would have been an offense against the God’s law. We know that Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly because in Him no sin was found.
What is then the meaning of his response? John renders that word in the Greek as gunai which is similar to the classic use of the word “my lady”. The International Standard Version translates this phrase as follows: “How does that concern us, dear lady? My time hasn’t come yet.” The phrase in the original was not disrespectful at all. Perhaps Jesus was not inclined to show himself in such a public venue as someone able to perform miracles. Yet Mary prompts him to help and he agrees to solve the problem. At the same time he calls Mary “My Lady” the title that many generations of believers will use to identify Mary. The term gunai was used by God in Genesis when He condemned the Serpent, He said “I will put enmity between you and the woman (gunai)”. When Jesus addresses Mary in that way, he is revealing to us her coming role in the history of salvation. She is the gunai whose seed is going to defeat the seed of the “original serpent,” Satan the Devil (Revelation 20, 2).
Genesis 3, 1-20 — Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, `You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, `You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.” The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
From the point of view of God, all human history can be reduced to three great events: creation, fall, and redemption. In this passage we see how the fall took place. Satan appears to Eve first and fully seduces her into sin by lying to her. Later on Adam is also drawn to sin. In this way, Eve who was destined to be the mother of a perfect race, became the mother of an imperfect, sinful race destined to die as a result of Adam’s deliberate disobedience, because he was not deceived but acted purposefully. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2, 14: “Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”
In Genesis 3, 15 we see how rapidly God announces the redemption of the human race, as soon as Adam and Eve fall. The foolish offense of Adam requires a satisfaction or redemption that sinful mankind cannot provide. God will provide a “new Adam” (1 Corinthians 15, 21-22; Genesis 22,8) a perfect man to accomplish the redemption of humankind. God will also provide a “new Eve” the “lady” or “gunai” who is going to transmit life to her children instead of death. Her seed or descendants will not be deceived by the serpent but crush its head instead. That woman, mysteriously hidden in God’s purpose from the times of Genesis is the Virgin Mary, Our Blessed Mother. She is the perfect opposite of the original Eve, just as Jesus is the perfect opposite of the original Adam. Eve gave the fruit of the forbidden tree to her husband to eat, thus passing death to all their descendants. Mary, Our Blessed Mother gives us life through her son Jesus, the fruit of her womb, the one destined to redeem mankind by hanging on the Cross.