For the first time in our story, the rhythm of things in creation being described as good or very good is broken, and the Lord declares that something is ‘not good’ – namely that the man is alone.
To understand this, it it necessary to note the pattern in creation so far. Things are not created as independent objects, but in life-giving pairs. When heaven meets earth, it brings spiritual life. When the waters above descend to the waters and land below, it nourishes plant life. When the pairs of fish, birds and beasts come together they reproduce after their own kind. Adam was unique in all of creation in not having a corresponding pair.
God decided to make a helper who was ‘fit’ for the man. The word for ‘helper’ (Ezer) is in no way disparaging, and is in fact used most frequently of God himself. The word for ‘fit’ (Kenegdo) literally means one who is like and opposite him. The woman who God creates is like Adam in that she is human (unlike all the other creatures who have been brought before him and he named), and she is different to him in that she is female, not male.
The woman that God made was created from the side of Adam. She is an equal and is made of the same flesh that he is. On seeing her, the man rejoices and sings. Feelings of attraction and excitement are part of how God has created humans as sexual beings. Because of this, Adam marries Eve and enjoys physical intimacy with her. Our passage here is clear that marriage and sex belong together, and that a man is to leave his parents home and cleave to his wife through wedding vows to create the context in which they are to be naked and not ashamed.
Some Key Points:
- Humans were not made to be alone. Both companionship and sexuality are part of God’s created order.
- The appropriateness of Eve as Adam’s partner came from two things – she was human and she was female.
- The right expression of sexuality for Adam and Eve (and for all subsequent humans) is in marriage and sex. The two belong together.
Following the Threads:
- For much of the Old Testament, the ideas of marriage and lots of children were seen as evidence of covenant blessing.
- Isaiah 54:1 & 56:5 begin to move away from this idea, speaking of a name greater than sons and daughters for single people. In the New Covenant, marriage and procreation no longer has the same central place that it did in the Old Covenant.
- Matthew 19:10-12 & 1 Corinthians 7 talk about the idea of singleness for the sake of the kingdom of God. Both marriage and singleness are good, and both a valid options for Christians.
- Ephesians 5:22-33 explains that marriage is about something bigger than itself. It is a picture of Christ and the church.
- The story of the Bible is heading to its climax with the wedding feast of the Lamb. This image of the new creation is used in many different passages.
- In Marriage – For married people, this is a call to grow in their marriage – in the friendship, the physical intimacy and the readiness to put the other first.
- Outside Marriage – This is an affirmation of singleness as a good and blessed choice. It is also a call to refrain from sexual intimacy outside of the marriage context.