God Creates the Family - Genesis 2:18-24 & 4:1-2
Introduction/Seeing the Need
Introduction/Seeing the Need
God wants to have fellowship and live in a conscious relationship with humans. That relationship is manifested in the tasks God gave to the first humans: to name the animals, the birds, and all the other creatures. God created us to live in vital relationship with the earth itself and with all the creatures that fly, walk, swim, or crawl on this planet. And God created us to live in special relationships with other people in families.
In , God gave function, order and meaning to his creation. He consistently saw that his work was good. The pinnacle of his creative efforts was human beings, male and female, in his own image. The ‘image of God” entails a number of aspects, and among them is being granted dominion over the fish, birds, and all other animals, wild and domesticated. Though all of life is valuable, human life alone is sacred because of God’s image.
God desires people to multiply to the ends of the earth. He created humans out of his goodness, not out of whim or necessity. Human population growth was never a problem; it was a command! God desired humans to flourish thrive, and give him glory in abundance. Families, biological or chosen, allow us to extend the love of God in the ways we support and care for one another and for all of creation.
When you think of “family,” who comes to mind? How is your family an extension of God’s love and mercy?
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Family Not Possible -
Family Not Possible -
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.
After seven evaluations of creation’s elements being “good,”we come to something that is not good: the solitary existence of the man. We glean from this passage that God creates us to interact within a context of companionship and community of our own kind. This aspect of the human makeup also relates to the above-stated purposes to increase in number and fill the earth.
The divine assessment It is not good for the man to be alone therefore doesn’t count the fact that the man is technically not alone given that he already has the companionship of God and the creatures of the garden. The assessment we see here must involve an additional purpose of God that the man is unable to fulfill by himself. Increasing in number and filling the earth won’t happen if there is only one human.
What factors will you consider when determining whether a context of life indicates that being alone for a time is a good thing or not?
In verse 18b, the description establishes both the woman’s similarity to the man and her equality with him. The woman to be created will possess all the qualities of humanity and personhood that the man does and will likewise be distinct from every other animal or vegetable. The description of her as helper to the man in no way diminishes her dignity or standing, for “helper” is a term also used to describe God in relation to people . The woman will be equal in personhood though complementarily opposite in her procreative role.
In verse 19, the sequence of events here appears to differ from the account of creation in , in which the animals are created before humans. Though the animals are formed out of the ground just as the man is, none of them is created in God’s image.
In verse 20, the text reveals that the parade of animals involves not only naming them but also searching among them for a suitable companion. Even though all the animals are formed from the same material as the man and by the same good Creator, no animal is adequate as a proper helper.
Family Now Possible -
Family Now Possible -
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
God places Adam under heavy anesthesia while God removes a certain part of him to make woman. In and 2, women bear the image of God as men do, serve as co-rulers of God’s creation, and play equally important roles in advancing God’s purposes. Perhaps the seeming delay in creating the woman was intended by God to allow Adam time to sense the depth of his need for a companion of his own kind. In verse 23, we see the first record of a human’s words. It is also humanity’s first recorded play on words, as the terms for a man and woman sound even more alike in Hebrew than they do in English.
Adam’s mention of both flesh and bone confirms the nature of the man’s bodily material used to form the woman. In verse 24, whereas the creation of the woman involved a surrender of part of the man’s physical person, the joining of the two in marital union serves as a reunification. In that light, the account of the first meeting between a man and a woman ends with an affirmation that the first marriage is to be viewed as a paradigm for all subsequent marriages in at least two ways.
First, marriage is to demonstrated the enduring reality that marital love surpasses even the love between parent and child. Family commitments remain important, but the commitment inherent in marital vows supersedes them.
What lessons will you pass on to others regarding lessons learned from observing marriages where one person did not honor that relationship above other family relationships?
Second marriages are to reenact, in a sense, the joining that took place between the first man and woman. Every married man is to embrace his wife not only sexually but also in the sharing of property, plans, and purpose. Marriage is intended from the outset to be lifelong and monogamous.
God is the author of the institution of marriage, and he grants to the first couple the gift of sexuality. In effect, God creates the original family. The male-female basis for marriage as instituted by God is apparent in this passage and is taught and assumed thereafter in Scripture.
God’s creation was then and is still designed to be self-sustaining, self-perpetuating. Designed to be in concert but not identical, each had and has special roles to play in the perpetuation of humankind. The fact that society has sometimes abused the gift of sexuality does not alter God’s plan for this gift, for the first two verses of Chapter 4 of Genesis affirm that procreation is part of God’s infinite plan.
In what ways can you be fruitful (productive) in addition to or instead of parenting children? How can you continue to be fruitful even in advanced years?
Family Expanded -
Family Expanded -
Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.” Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.
We live not only in relationships with other people in families, God is in a permanent relationship with us for we are God’s, “the sheep of God’s own pasture” (). It is evident from both Creation accounts in Genesis that God created all things, especially human beings, to be in a life-long relationship with God.
But relationships are always multidimensional - give and take is involved on both sides. Neither side in a relationship does all the taking or all the giving, although at times it may seem that way! God created us and placed us in a world in which we have all we could ever need for life abundant and life everlasting. But now God expands the family in the 4th chapter.
Here we see underway the God-ordained imperative to multiply. The sexual function between husband and wife is God-ordained. Adam and Eve now become parents of Cain and Abel.
God bestows on us many blessings and gifts, the best of which is the capacity to have relationships. Aloneness is not good for us. Life is about relationships - with God and with each other. Relatives, friends, and acquaintances can partner with us in God’s work. Animals can provide meaningful company, but the marriage relationship stands above all.
God desires that humanity flourish through the marriage relationship. The church must continue to uphold the biblical ideals for holy matrimony and to celebrate it as a gift from God. May those who enter into this most sacred of earthly unions remain faithful to their spouses and give glory to their Creator.
What are some things that husbands and wives can do to glorify God through their marriage?
Lord and Creator God, we praise you for all your acts of creation and for the ways you summon us to join with you in creation. May we relate to you in spirit and in truth; may we relate to one another as sisters and brothers under your parenthood, and may we relate to the world in which you have placed us with thanksgiving and care. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.