God gave Eve a beautiful form and a beautiful spirit. She expresses beauty in both. Better, she expresses beauty simply in who she is. Like God, it is her essence.
Stasi and I just spent a weekend together in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which boasts the third largest gathering of art galleries in the world. We love to wander for hours through those galleries and gardens, looking for those works of art that particularly capture us. Toward the afternoon of our second day, Stasi asked me, “Have you seen one painting of a naked man?” The point was startling. After days of looking at maybe a thousand pieces of art, we had not seen one painting devoted to the beauty of the naked masculine form. Not one. (Granted, there are a few examples down through history ... but only a few.) However, the beauty of Woman was celebrated everywhere, hundreds of times over in paintings and sculptures. There is a reason for this.
For one thing, men look ridiculous lying on a bed buck naked, half-covered with a sheet. It doesn’t fit the essence of masculinity. Something in you wants to say, “Get up already and get a job. Cut the grass. Get to work.” For Adam is captured best in motion, doing something. His essence is strength in action. That is what he speaks to the world. He bears the image of God, who is a warrior. On behalf of God, Adam says, “God will come through. God is on the move.” That is why a passive man is so disturbing. His passivity defies his very essence. It violates the way he bears God’s image. A passive man says, “God will not come through. He is not acting on your behalf.”
On the other hand, and bear with us a moment, Eve just doesn’t look right in a scene of brutal combat, or chopping a tree down. From time immemorial, when artists have tried to capture the essence of Eve, they have painted her (or photographed her, or sculpted her) at rest. There is no agenda here, no social stigmatizing or cultural pressure. This is true across all cultures and down through time. What have the artists seen that we have not? Eve speaks something differently to the world than Adam does. Through her beauty.