“…the woman is uniquely to the man what no one and nothing else could ever be.”
What’s going on with marriage? How many ways is marriage, as God designed it, assaulted? Divorce. Living with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Same-sex marriage. Term-marriage (married for a predetermined number of years). Group marriage (a group of 3 or more people are married to everyone in the group). Human-animal. Polygamy (man with multiple wives). Polyandry (woman with multiple husbands). Sologomy (marry yourself). Are these legitimate marriages in God’s eyes?
No. Like everything God does in Genesis, Satan tries to undermine. Procreate and fill the earth with people God said. Satan pushes against that through abortion, population control ideas, genocide, etc. Rule over the animals God says. Satan says animals are people too and people are animals. Work and cultivate the earth, make it prosper, God says. Satan makes man plunder and exploit the earth. The earth is God’s creation, as is man. Satan says man is earth’s creation. Look around you today, everything the spirit of the age says is set up to contradict God’s word, like 2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “We stand ready to demolish strongholds and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.”
We are coming to an epic passage in the Bible. Genesis 2 describes to us the glorious relationship of marriage between a man and woman. Together they are God’s creation, made in His image, sovereignly designed for each other, being complete together, and divinely instructed to fill the earth, subdue and rule it, and in combination bring glory to the God who made them.
The progression of the passage is straightforward: Man is alone, the animals aren’t enough, God creates the woman. 🙂 To expand that a little more: Man is in the garden of Eden alone, God determines its not good for him to be alone, he shows the animals are insufficient companions for the man, and then he makes the woman from a piece of the man’s side. God then brings the woman to the man, they are joined together as man and woman and she is God’s answer to man’s alone-ness, the “suitabl e helper” He determined man needed. Only then, I’ll hasten to mention, did God step back, see all He had made, and pronounce it “very good.” In this way, we might see Eve as the crown of creation, and until she arrived everything was somehow not quite as it ought to be.
We are going to go through our passage under 3 headings today: 1) MAN’S ALONE-NESS, 2) ANIMALS INSUFFICIENT, 3) WOMAN’S CREATION
MAN’S ALONE-NESS (18)
Six times in chapter one God declared what he saw as “good.” The light was good, the land & waters were good, the plants & trees were good, the sun, moon & stars were good, the fish,animals and birds were good. Then we get to chapter 2 verse 18 and God observes one thing that in His judgment is not good: “The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’”
The words “not good” are certainly not saying there is an evil-ness about man’s aloneness. This is not a moral evaluation of man. Nor was he physically “not good”. He wasn’t sick or missing a limb and God needed to “finish” Adam somehow personally.
But somehow there is a deficiency, or maybe better said an insufficiency about the man in his “alone-ness”.
What wasn’t good about Adam was social and commissional. Social in that he was alone. He didn’t have anyone. And in God’s divine evaluation, this was not a good thing. I think we can readily see how we are social creatures. I love the YouTube channels where guys go out and live alone off grid to build shelters out in no man’s land. They give you the impression they want to get away from society, be ruggedly independent, living off the land. Then, without the slightest sense of irony, they record it all and start a YouTube channel so the world can see them! There’s still that inherent, human, God-given impulse for society. Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a social animal”.
I think this social-ness is grounded ultimately in the Trinity. God is one, yet, God is 3. God is eternally a Triune God where the Father, Son, and Spirit have forever been in “community”. These three eternal Persons of the Godhead have always been in communion with each other. There has never been only “1” Person, isolated from relationship. There has never been “not relationship”. The nature of man as a social being is grounded in the eternal, uncreated relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit.
It is also not good for man to be alone in a commissional way. Man can’t carry out God’s Creation “commission” alone. Man can’t be fruitful and multiply by himself, he can’t “family” by himself, and, even rule and subdue and work the earth. There is God-designed dependency on other humans. No man can do what God calls him to do without the help of others. If God shows us anything it is our dependence.
Perhaps this thought ought to check any extreme notions of independence we might have, which often times is driven by pride or insecurity. When Jesus came thirsty to a well he asked someone to get him a drink, He didn’t say, “No thanks I’ll get it myself.” Oftentimes intentionally depending on others is one of the best ways to build relationships. So if you’re the type of person who always has to have others depend on you, be careful. Start practicing dependence. (Of course there’s the other end of the spectrum too where there’s the kind of person who always is depending on others and won’t do for themselves. We talked about that a couple weeks ago!)
We should pause and clarify that man’s “alone-ness” was not an oversight on God’s part. It wasn’t as though He was midway through His creative project and it dawned on Him that maybe making more than one human was a good idea. And it wasn’t like he set out to make one, and thought, “Hey, the only thing better than one human is two!” God always knew He was going to make two, and do it in the way we see described here. So its important to note that and clarify it.
It’s also important to ask “Why would God create Adam alone and then say it wasn’t good?”
Well it helps us to understand something about the way God works: he works out his plans in stages. Each stage of his plans builds on the previous stage. And each stage sets up the next stage to come. Anticipation, order, continuity, progression, are all seen in God’s manifold plans as they develop.
It’s like the life of Jesus on the earth: he was baptized at the beginning, then tested in the wilderness, then he began his ministry of preaching and miracles. It would not have been right to baptize him at the end. It had to be in that order. And at the end He had to be crucified, buried, then resurrected, then seen alive, then return to Heaven. Now that He’s in heaven He is building His Church, pouring out His Spirit on those who receive the Gospel and awaiting His return to the earth in glory. It is all done in order, in that sequence, because each phase builds on the last while also preparing the next.
It’s like history. Christ is predicted in history all throughout the OT. Then Christ comes in history to conquer sin and death at the cross. Then He is coming again to establish His kingdom. Then the heavens and the new earth and the new city for eternity. Those go in that order. You can’t mix them up. Each phase, or epoch builds on the last.
It’s like a wedding. The Bride is not the first one down the aisle! The bridal party comes down first, then the flower girl and ringbearer, then with great climax the doors open, the music changes and the bride appears and makes her way down the aisle. Everything builds up to that moment! And she doesn’t kiss her man until everything in the ceremony is performed. (And if they’re my daughters they’ll never kiss him!) See the Order? See the Progression?
So what in the order is God setting up next when He makes Adam? What is being anticipated? What will God progress Adam’s life to next? Ladies you know you wanna hear it. The creation of the woman of course! You’ll notice the last half of the verse, which says, “I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Let me draw out a few points about this suitable helper from this verse.
First, it is God who identifies the problem, not man. Man’s alone-ness is not sensed by Adam here. He’s probably roughhousing with the gorillas and riding on rhinos having a good ole time completely blind to his alone-ness. It’s God, in His perfect wisdom, makes the determination that Adam needs someone.
Second, God determines that He will provide the solution to the problem. “I will make a suitable helper”. God declares He will do it. He doesn’t say to Adam, “Well, hey, why don’t you go find a buddy” and leave the problem to the man. God identifies the problem and God provides the solution. Can you see the predictive rumblings of Redemption? God has decided what our problem is: Sin. And God has determined He will provide the solution: A Savior.
Third, the words “suitable helper” in the Hebrew give the sense of someone who is a helper like him, a counterpart to him, a match for him, a perfect fit to him. Think about that for a moment because it sheds light on what’s happening here. Someone who is equal to Adam is needed, who is a compliment, a counterpart, who comes alongside him. The very fact that God said someone else was needed meant that God did not consider Himself what Adam needed. God was then going to show Adam that the animals he was rollicking around with also were not suitable companions for him as a man. See the progression here? It’s almost like a process of elimination where God is progressively showing Adam not only his own insufficiency, but that of the animals as well.
Fourth, this is not a demeaning role as the very same phrase, “Suitable Helper” is used of God numerous times. Exodus 18:4 says, “My God was my Helper”. Same word. In Deuteronomy 33:7 says, “Oh LORD…be his helper against his foes!” Psalm 33:20 says, “We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield” “He is our help”. Again same word. Or how about the famous Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”
The idea in these passages is that God is the perfect, suitable helper to His people meaning he is uniquely as their God the only one fit for giving the help they need. There is no one else that can help them in the way they need help. And back here in the Garden, man is alone, and the woman is uniquely to the man what no one and nothing else could ever be. What help the man needs cannot be given by anyone else except by the woman.
Fifth, as his suitable helper, she is the perfect companion for man because she completes him. They both have something to offer each other that no one else can provide. Not the animals, and, not God.
Lets look now at the animals in verses 19-20. Here God is going to show Adam, not necessarily ceremonially, but procedurally, that animals are not going to be the suitable helper for him. The dog, the lion, the eagle, the lemur, the turtle, that hairless one with a long tail he doesn’t quite know what to name yet – none of them will sufficiently complement him. He needs something or someone more than an animal. Let’s draw a few things out here.
First, notice God brings the animals to Adam. He didn’t send Adam out to find them and document them. God brought them to him. Is there anything significant about that? Yes. It shows God’s sovereignly directing this whole process. He’s bringing the situation to a certain end – an end that He has designed.
Second, Adam gave names to the animals. This is important. God didn’t give the animals names. Adam did. This shows two things: authority over and ownership. Adam was given rule over the whole earth and all the creatures. They belonged to Adam in that sense of his rulership. They fell under his dominion. Psalm 8 so worshipfully declares:
“What is man that you are mindful of him? You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all the flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our LORD, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
We can notice too that Adam named the animals before the woman was created. Interesting, isn’t it? Why didn’t God make Adam wait until Eve was there and they could name them together? Probably to avoid marital conflict I imagine. Can you imagine them not agreeing on what to name the animals! “No Adam, we are not calling it a Platypus.” “Oh yeah, well I’m in charge around here so…” and you can imagine how it goes downhill from there. Do you think Eve criticized the names he had given the animals on their way out of the garden after the fall? “And another thing! I never liked the name “Elephant”!”
Third, the other purpose here is to make Adam realize he didn’t have anyone like him who was his companion. Notice verse 20, “But for Adam, no suitable helper was found.” Now God already knew this. It was not like God was trying to see if one of the animals would be a perfect match for him. It wasn’t like Adam and a bear looked at God and were like, “How about this?” “Nope, lets try the ostrich” God knew none of the animals would be fit for Adam. But Adam needed to realize it.
Maybe an application here is this: sometimes God blesses us before we even know we need Him. But I think lots of times in life, in different seasons, God will take us through a process where our eyes open up to another particular need we might not have realized – or admitted. Some things God wants us to realize first before He provides. “Hey Phillip, where are we going to get enough food to feed all these people?” “Why don’t you guys go across the lake tonight, I’m going to go pray for a while and catch up to you.”
Fourth, one of the reasons God is doing it this way is to emphasize the equality the woman has with man. Man is being shown that he does not have an equal. And he needs one. God is superior to him, and the animals are inferior to him. The woman is equal to him. You may see this same pattern again like I do a few verses later when we see the woman is taken from the man’s rib. It signifies equality, partnership, at his side. She wasn’t taken from his foot, suggesting inferiority to and getting walked on. She wasn’t taken from his head, suggesting superiority to, and walking all over him. She came from his side, because at his side is where she belongs.
We come to the point now where God is going to put Adam to sleep. And before I put anyone to sleep I’ll close it here. Next week we’ll come back and explore the actual creation of the woman.
When it comes to your salvation there is only one suitable helper: Jesus Christ.