The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living (Gen 3:20).
Adam’s name is mentioned prior to the fall, but the name “Eve” doesn’t appear until after God’s judgment outlined in Genesis 3:14-19. Prior to that she is known as “the woman” or “his wife.” But in 3:20 she receives her name, and her husband is the one who gives it.
The significance of Adam naming his wife is twofold:
- (1) An exercise of headship. Adam named the animals he would exercise dominion over (Gen 2:19-20), and now he named his wife as her covenant head and leader. Prior to Adam naming the animals and his wife, God showed authority by naming the light Day, the darkness Night, the expanse Heaven, the dry land Earth (1:5-10), and so on.
- (2) An act of faith. Adam’s act of naming is the first response recorded after he heard the specifics of God’s judgment. God told the serpent that the woman would have offspring (Gen 3:15), and he told Eve she would bring forth children in pain (3:16). What did Adam do with this information? He believed it. He believed God’s word and “called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (3:20). Her name wasn’t chosen for no reason. This act was an act of faith in God’s promises.