This reading group guide for Eve includes a discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. Topics and Questions for Discussion
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1. In Eve
, we become witnesses with Lilly to a retelling of the Creation story that challenges centuries-old theological interpretations and cultural assumptions. What presuppositions and interpretations did you bring to this story? How did this affect your reading of the novel?
sets up the woman as the hero of the story, saving Adam from himself and a life of loneliness and damnation. Discuss how this shift affects your view on gender issues? Does this story bring relief or confusion to your understanding of your self and your gender?
3. In the traditional interpretation of the story of creation, women are seen weak-willed and not trustworthy. The rational is that since Eve was deceived, and by this deception sin entered the world, women are susceptible to all kinds of malfeasance. Women—how have you experienced this? Men—how have you fallen into this or resisted this way of thinking?
4. As Lilly journeys through physical healing at the Refuge and witnessing creation with Mother Eve, her own story and pain comes to light and spiritual and emotional healing begins. What elements of Lilly’s story or the story of a loving, face-to-face God triggered a response in your heart and mind? Where do you need to find healing?
5. John tells Lilly, “Lilly, words like God
are often meaningless. I don’t believe
in God. I know
God! Once you know someone, believing is no longer a concern.” What do you think the difference between believing and knowing is? What do you believe about God, yourself, this world? What do you know about them?
6. God exists in three persons who experience each other face-to-face, that is, they are in constant relationship with each other. We were created to experience the same triune relationship with God and with each other. Yet so often we turn from the face of God or the face of others. In the novel, John states that when we do, we cast a shadow that we live in, as long as we remain turned away from the other. What is it like when you are living face-to-face with God and other? What happens in your life when you turn away?
7. In the novel, John explains relationship to Lilly: ‘ “When you and I are like this, completely face-to-face, what is one thing that would never occur to you?” Again, it took a moment before Lilly understood. “It would not occur to me that I was alone.” ‘If this is true, why do we so find ourselves alone? What about us as a people and a culture make it so easy to feel alone? How can you overcome this isolation? How can you help others do the same?
8. Creation did not last long in its perfect state. Man and woman turned from God and pain and suffering entered the world. Our struggle to repair relationship with God and each other is essential work in restoring creation. It is part of healing the damage. Do you see the need for restoration and healing in your life? If so, where?
9. After Adam and Eve turned from God, they each looked to something other than God to find their significance. Adam tried to fill that void with work, Eve with Adam. This curse has followed us to this day. How does this affect you? Where do you search for meaning apart from God? Where do you struggle with significance?
10. Lilly finds herself in danger throughout this story—left for dead by the traffickers, bitten by the serpent, poisoned by the mirror—yet it is the loss of hope that is the greatest peril. “What if what Lilly saw in the mirror took away her hope?” . . . “Without hope, even an otherwise healthy person can die.” When have you lost hope in your life? What caused you to do so? How did or can you overcome it?
11.‘ “Do you accept this invitation?” asked Eve. “To daily trust and wait?” ‘ Our invitation, like Lilly’s, is to simply trust and wait. Two seemingly easy yet very difficult things to do. Do you find it easy or difficult to trust? How does that affect your relationships? Are you a patient person or do you have trouble waiting?
12. We are worth loving. The biggest lie we believe is that we are not. It leads us to try to work to gain love, to please others the win their affection, and to never trust the love we do receive. Do you believe that you are worth loving? Do believe that others are as well? How would you live differently if you acted every day on those two beliefs? Enhance Your Book Club
1. Creation stories have a powerful impact on the cultures that embrace them. For example, in many Native American stories, the gods take the shape of animals and natural phenomena, leading to a high regard of nature in those cultures. How has the traditional interpretation of the Biblical story of Adam and Eve and the fall permeated both the church and the broader culture of the western world? How have power structures been built based on these views?
2. Discuss how attitudes and roles toward gender have changed in your lifetime. What positive changes have you seen? Where is change still needed? How can you be a part of that change?
3. Have your book club read Wm. Paul Young’s first book, The Shack
. How do the themes and plot devices in The Shack
compare with Eve
? How do you connect with the main characters in each book? Discuss how the author changes our perceptions about the trinity and the creation story in The Shack
Find out more information and join the conversation at WmPaulYoung.com.