Genesis 2:18-20… Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
God noticed something that wasn’t so good after He placed Adam in Eden: he had no companion. As a result he needed a “helper suitable for him.” The word “helper,” however, is not suggesting that he needed a subordinate. “Helper” is often used of God in the Bible where He does what we cannot do for ourselves. In the above passage the clear understanding of the word is that of an “essential co-worker.” In the same way that good employees need other good employees to perform their jobs well, Adam needed a co-worker to supply what he lacked. The co-worker God was going to make was to be “suitable” for him. This word comes from a Hebrew phrase that literally means “according to the opposite of him.” Though both the man and woman are equal in both form and character, they are opposites who mirror and balance each other. This “helper” would possess all that Adam possessed and share in all God had given him.
Verse 19 makes it appear that God creates animals after man’s creation. However, Genesis 1:20-25 clearly teaches that on days 5 and 6 God made the animals before He made man. The grammar of the passage does not allow the verb form to read “had formed” implying that the animals had already been formed, but neither does it prevent this English rendering. OT commentators Keil & Delitzsch say, “The arrangement may be explained on the supposition, that the writer, who was about to describe the relation of man to the beasts, went back to their creation, in the simple method of the early Semitic historians, and placed this first instead of making it subordinate; so that our modern style of expressing the same thought would be simply this: ‘God brought to Adam the beasts which He had formed.’”
The point of verse 19 is to show how God revealed to Adam his need for a wife. God saw the need and showed it to Adam by bringing the animals to him to be named. Now it’s important to know that all of this is occurring on the sixth day of creation. Genesis 2 is thematic of man in the Garden of Eden, and God is simply taking the sixth day of the Genesis 1 creation account and expounding on it. We know this because Genesis 1:26-27 says that male and female were created in God’s image on the sixth day. At any rate, the animals are brought before Adam, each with its own mate, and God reveals to him that there is no helper yet created that is “suitable” for him. Furthermore, naming all the animals in one 24-hour day would not have been impossible since God brought them to him, and it was only the animals in Eden that came, not the sea creatures.
Food for Thought
God knows our needs before we know them. Matthew 6:8 says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” In Adam’s case, God showed him his need for a wife before Adam saw that need. So it is with our need for Jesus. God knows our need for Jesus Christ, yet we have to be shown that need by having our sins revealed to us. Even if you have already trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation you still have an ongoing need to know Him more. Pray today that God would show you where you fall short of His perfect standard. It is only after we become aware of our sins and our need for God that we actually seek Him. God dealt with Adam in a colorful & unique way. Maybe in the course of your day today He will do the same for you.
Genesis 2:21-23… 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 the flesh at that place. 22 And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 And the man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.”
On day six of God’s creation He created the cattle, the creeping things, and the large beasts of the field. He also created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden which He also had formed on day six. After God brought the animals to man to be named Adam realizes that he, unlike the animals, is alone and in need of a “helper.” So day six is also the same day that God caused Adam to fall into a “deep sleep.” Used 4 other times in the OT referring to God, this relates to God’s causing sleep to come over a man for His own purposes. In Adam’s case, the deep sleep is given for God to perform surgery, as it were. God then takes a rib from Adam. The Hebrew word literally means “side” – “and he took one from his sides.” God then closed up the “flesh” that He had opened. When Adam wakes up from this deep sleep he calls the woman “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (v. 23) as a reflection that God had literally taken an actual rib (hence bone of bones) and actual flesh (“flesh of my flesh”) during the “surgery.”
Verse 22 gives us the origin of women who are also created in the image of God. Whereas God “formed” (used of a potter making pottery Jer. 18:2-4) the man from the dust of the earth (2:7), He “fashioned” the woman from the “side” of man. The word God uses for the formation of the woman is different than what is used to describe man’s formation. The word used for the woman’s creation (Hebrew bana) implies the formation from something already in existence (though the same could be said for man’s formation from the dust of the ground). In the end, both are made from what God previously created and both reflect God’s image in that both have fellowship with God and rule over God’s perfect creation. How God created is not given, but the account creates many problems for those who believe God created humans through evolution (theistic evolutionists). In other words, those who believe that Adam descended from apelike ancestors over millions of years because he was formed from the “dust of the earth,” simply can’t explain the account of the woman’s formation from man.
The biblical account of woman’s formation from man appears to be far easier to believe than the evolutionary idea. Evolution teaches that over billions of years everything came into being – all by chance. IF man did come into being that way (a miracle in itself!), then he would have to have had a woman with all of her intricate reproductive abilities to evolve right alongside of him in order to propagate the human race. It’s miraculous enough that one man would evolve over time – but a woman too? That takes great faith indeed to believe!
Food for Thought
After the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the soldiers thrust a sword into his side to determine if he was in fact dead. The fact that blood and water flowed from the wound (John 19:34-36) attested to the fact that he had indeed fallen into the “deep sleep” of death. In the same way that Adam was put into a deep sleep so that God could take the blood that sustained his bones and flesh to form Eve, God also did to Jesus Christ. True believers in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection constitute the “Bride of Christ,” and they have received life from Christ’s blood and have become members of His body, of his flesh, and his bones (Ephesians 5:30). Eve’s life from Adam’s is a perfect illustration of the believer’s life given to him by the blood of Christ.
Genesis 2:24-25… For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
The introductory statement “for this cause” is a Hebrew phrase normally translated as “therefore” or “that is why.” This appears to be an editorial comment by Moses himself (who compiled/edited Genesis) which is added to the account likely written by Adam. The statement does not appear to be an extension of the quotation (“bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”) but is a statement describing what typically happens when a man and woman marry, and Moses, in his office as a teacher, is explaining this by inserting these words. This should not be seen as a commandment regarding marriage… about what will or should happen to all men and women. It is saying, “This is why we do things the way we do.” The NET Bible commentary says, “It links a contemporary practice with the historical event being narrated. The historical event narrated in v. 23 provides the basis for the contemporary practice described in v. 24.” The future tense verbs “shall leave his father/mother” are better translated as a present tense verbs: “they become one.”
There are three actions that a man/woman goes through when they marry. First, they leave their father and mother. Now Adam had no father or mother, and neither did Eve. This is why it is likely that Moses, as the Genesis editor, inserted such a phrase. In many marriages today either one or both of the marriage partners fail to completely leave their parents. Unbroken ties to father and mother often equate to marriage difficulties, and when parents continue to exercise authority over their children through the use of money after they marry, then they themselves, well-meaning as they are, keep the marriage from its intended purpose.
The second action a man/woman goes through for marriage is to “cleave to his wife.” The word “cleave” means to be “united; joined” – to be in close association. It is used of one of King David’s mighty men when his hand “cleaved” to his sword during battle and wouldn’t let go. The whole principle of cleaving in marriage implies a normal continuing bond. So, a man leaves his parents, and he cleaves to his wife – he departs from one and unites with another. The new association between the two people is what God does: “the two become one flesh.” He leaves, cleaves, and now he weaves. The Hebrew words refer to more than just a sexual union, they refer to how the two become a family. They are now “bone of bone and flesh of flesh.” This description is used throughout the OT to describe a blood relation between two or more parties.
Verse 25 says that both the man and woman were naked and were not ashamed. The word for “ashamed” pertains to having a painful feeling or an emotional distress as a result of a condition or an action. It can refer to a social mistake or a serious sin. The man and the woman stand completely naked in one another’s presence, and there is no fear nor is there any anxiety over the mere possibility of exploitation by the other. They stand sinless and free of guilt.
Food for Thought
There are of course no marriages today that even approach the sinless perfection of the first union between a man and a woman. The fact that both people were joined and unashamed shows that there was nothing to be ashamed of. Can this be said of your marriage? There are many things for which we as humans can and should be ashamed of. No one brings an impeccable life into a marriage relationship. However, when Jesus Christ sees his children – those who have placed their trust in Him alone for salvation – since He has declared them righteous, He sees no sin. We stand before the Bridegroom (Christ) naked and unashamed.