Genesis 2:18-25

October 20, 2010 at 5:21 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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This week, we will take a closer look at the creation of woman. It is important to understand what happened here in Genesis because it frames the rest of the Bible. It also sets itself up as the standard for what Christians believe in the face of many of the social norms of today. Let’s look at our passage of scripture first:

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 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. 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. 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. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 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.” For this reason shall a man leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Here we see the Lord working on day 6. All of the land dwelling creatures were created on this day, including land dwelling dinosaurs. There are some things that we need to clarify as we go through this passage due to some of the attacks on the Genesis account. The first question we are going to look at is found in the second verse of our passage. It says that God formed the animals and then brought them to Adam for him to name. This seems to contradict the account in chapter 1 where the animals were formed first and then man and women were created. This really isn’t that big of a problem when you understand the possibilities of the word formed in verse 19. The word could easily mean “had formed” (pluperfect) and not stretch the semantic range of the word. If you read it this way, it says that God had already formed the animals and then after He created man, He brought the animals to him to name them.

This leads to another problem voiced by some that don’t read the account plainly. How could Adam possibly name all of the animals in one 24-hour period? The sheer number of animals would seem to make this entirely impossible. This would be the case unless you give the issue a little thought. First, there is nothing in the passage that says that Adam had to name each and every animal of every kind. He only had to name one of the horse kind, one of the cat kind, one of the dog kind, etc… These names would then apply to all of the animals of that same kind. Add to this the fact that there were not nearly the number of kinds of animals then as there are now and it is much easier to accept.

There are some in the Word of Faith movement that claim that the animals weren’t actually alive until Adam named them. It was when they received their name that they became living creatures. This is taught to (wrongly) give man more power than God has actually given. It is used as “evidence” of man’s ability to “speak things into existence” because he’s just like God. There is nothing in the plain reading of this passage that lends itself to this idea and much that contradicts it. Man doesn’t have the power to speak things into existence. He’s not a “little god” either.

There is a greater purpose in Adam’s naming of the animals. As all of these animals were coming to him for their name, Adam had a wonderful opportunity to realize that he is completely different from every other created kind on the planet. He is not part of any other kind and is the only created being made in God’s image. Adam would have realized this as the animals paraded past and would have recognized his uniqueness as well as his loneliness. This recognition began the next part of God’s creative work.

As Adam recognized his need for a helper and mate, God caused him to fall into a deep sleep. As Adam slept, God removed a rib from Adam and fashioned it into a woman. There are some thoughts and questions here that can’t be overlooked. First, it is interesting that God used a rib when creating Eve. The rib is the only known bone in the human body that can regenerate itself as long as its covering (the gristle) is left behind. Also, why didn’t God just mold and shape Eve from the dust of the ground like He did Adam? Because the Bible doesn’t say the particular reason, it is impossible to be certain. Having said this, it is still possible to make an educated guess based on the context of this event as well as the rest of scripture. In the book of Genesis, we see things taking place that become patterns for things to come as well as shadows of Christ. Had God formed Eve from the ground, she would have been individual and separate from Adam. Instead, she was created from him. She is inexorably tied to Adam by this.

The relationship between the man and the woman is also created and explained by the way the woman is created. The woman is created from Adam’s rib. It is cliché now, but it’s still true – the bone came from man’s side, not his head or foot. Therefore, the woman is not superior to or inferior to man in value to God. This being said, she is different. For some reason, this seems to cause problems for many women (although it makes sense in light of Genesis 3). Men and women are different in more than just physical make up. They were made for different roles in God’s plan for mankind. The generalities that are made about men and women exist because many of them are true. Men think differently and react to situations differently because they are wired for different roles. This doesn’t make either one less in value to God. This idea of “different, yet equal” extends to the marriage relationship as well.

In the New Testament (Ephesians 5), Paul talks about husbands and wives and their relationship to each other and to God. Wives are called on to be subject/subordinate to their husbands and to obey them as they do the Lord. Many take the subordination to mean less equal than or less important than the man.  This is not true. The word used for subject (huptasso) is a military term meaning to rank under. This rank is in role, not in value. The woman has the same value as man but not the same rank. This is God’s doing in His order of creation. For those that fear or complain about this, there are two things that should be taken into consideration. First, the man is not exempt from God’s orders on how he is to treat his wife. He is to love her just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. He is to love her as much as he loves himself and is to nourish and cherish her. The second thing to remember is that Jesus is subordinate to God (see Ephesians 5 again) in role but not in relationship. Jesus is fully God, but His role is different.

The marriage relationship is to be a pure and holy one. It is also to be permanent. The man and woman are to be joined together. They are to cling to each other (to be stuck to!). They are one flesh now. The man leaves his father and mother, joins to his wife, and they become one flesh. The idea of purity in the relationship is also reflected in the final verse of our passage. It says that the man and woman were naked and not ashamed. There was no shame for their nakedness because there was no sin. They didn’t lust after each other nor were their thoughts perverted. They looked on each other in purity and not as objects for the others’ use.  It is important to note something very simple and yet seemingly elusive today. The relationship and marriage is between a man and a woman. I realize that this may sound patronizing to some, but it is still important. Having discovered that there is purpose and reason in everything that God has done in the rest of His creation, it would be naïve at best to conclude that there is no purpose and reason in the creation of man and woman. Those who would defend homosexuality as a Biblically agreeable lifestyle neglect this foundational truth in Genesis 2. Man and woman were made together because that is God’s will. They were made for each other to complement each other. They were also made in order to procreate and carry on the human race. This would be impossible in any other way than a man and a woman. God’s standard is one man and one woman for life. Divorce and homosexuality both go directly against this standard. Today many argue about monogamy and fidelity “in the relationship” whether it is homosexual or heterosexual. Others will talk about the rampant immorality in heterosexual relationships as support for their homosexual ones. None of this matters at all. The level of immorality in heterosexual relationships doesn’t have any bearing on what God has set as the standard for how things are to be. God has made it a man and a woman. Period. Anything else is unscriptural, regardless of how someone may feel or what society may think….

This brings our study for the week and the second chapter of Genesis to a close. Next week we’ll look at the Fall and the problems that resulted from it. We look forward to you being here! Any questions or comments on this week’s study can be left below!

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