At the close of the sixth day of Creation, God had surveyed everything He had made and pronounced it “very good”. But now God says that there’s something in His wonderful world that is not good: the man is alone. In fact, in the Hebrew text, the phrase “not good” is at the beginning of the Lord’s statement.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
Genesis 2:18 (NLT)
Adam didn’t come to this conclusion. God is the one who said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. So, this whole relationship of marriage is God’s idea, and therefore, God is responsible for it. As the Creator of marriage, the Lord hasn’t left us on our own to figure it out. He has given us His Word with ample instruction for successful marriages.
3 Truths The Man Learned About The Woman
- He learned that woman was not to be a mere beast of burden as the animals are, because that would not fulfill his need for a helper and companion.
- He realized that the woman was not to be merely a biological laboratory for producing children. This is what the animals use sex for, but that was not sufficient for Adam’s needs. Sex in humankind, therefore, is different from that among the animals.
- Adam learned that the woman was not a thing outside himself, to be used at the whim of the man and then disposed of. She was made to be his helper, fit for him, corresponding to him, complementing and completing him.
The Dignity Of Woman
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.
Genesis 2:18-20 (NLT)
On the surface, it looks like God brought all the animals to Adam to see if there were any that could provide Adam with the fellowship he needed. But God knew that no animal could ever be the help to Adam that he deserved. However, Adam didn’t know that. That’s why the Lord sent all these animals to Adam. It was to prove to Adam that nothing in creation up to that point could fill the void. Therefore, let no man try and exalt the natural creation to a position above his wife.
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
Genesis 2:21 (NLT)
The Lord anaesthetized Adam, so he was totally out of it and didn’t feel a thing. The woman was taken from a rib (beside), not a bone in the foot (underneath). This symbolizes that the man and his wife are heirs together of life (1 Peter 3:7). He does not lord it over her.
This explains why men don’t have a clue as to what their wives are all about: Man was asleep when God made the woman.
Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
Genesis 2:22 (NLT)
Notice the way this verse is worded. The Lord didn’t just incorporate Adam’s rib into the body of Eve; God made Eve from this rib. That means that everything in woman was at one time in man. She is an extension of man. She is not complete without the man, and the man is not complete without the woman.
It is possible (I believe probable) that Adam originally had feminine qualities in him. He was nurturing, emotional, sensitive, and all the other qualities that are now more pronounced in women. When the Lord removed his rib, He also removed some of these qualities so that Adam was not the same complete individual in himself as he was before. He was not complete without the woman. The two had to cooperate to be the one individual that God originally made man to be. That is a picture of what happens in marriage today.
Though Eve was made to be a “suitable [face-to-face] helper” for Adam, she wasn’t made to be a slave. The noted Bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote:
“She was not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”
Paul wrote that “the woman is the glory of man” (1 Cor. 11:7); for if man is the head, then woman is the crown that honors the head.
The Sanctity Of Marriage
Adam didn’t devise God’s pattern for marriage; as the traditional marriage ceremony states it,
“Marriage was born in the loving heart of God for the blessing and benefit of mankind.”
No matter what the courts may decree, or society may permit, when it comes to marriage, God had the first word and He will have the last word . Perhaps the Lord looks down on many unbiblical marriages today and says,
“From the beginning it was not so” (Matt. 19:8).
His original plan was that one man and one woman be one flesh for one lifetime.
God had at least four purposes in mind when He performed the first marriage in the Garden of Eden.
- He wanted suitable companionship for Adam, so He gave him a wife. He gave Adam a person and not an animal, someone who was his equal and therefore could understand him and help him. Martin Luther called marriage “a school for character,” and it is. As two people live together in holy matrimony, the experience either brings out the best in them or the worst in them. It’s an opportunity to exercise faith, hope, and love and to mature in sacrifice and service to one another for God’s glory.
- Marriage provides the God-given right to enjoy sex and have children. The Lord commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). This doesn’t imply that sexual love is only for procreation, because many people marry who are beyond the time of bearing children; but the bearing of children is an important part of the marriage union (1 Tim. 5:14).
- A third purpose for marriage is to encourage self-control (1 Cor. 7:1-7). “It is better to marry than to burn with passion”. A marriage that’s built only on sexual passion isn’t likely to be strong or mature. Sexual love ought to be enriching and not just exciting, and marriage partners need to respect one another and not just use one another. Throughout Scripture, sexual union outside of marriage is condemned and shown to be destructive, and so are the perversions of the sexual union (Rom. 1:24-27). No matter what the judges or the marriage counselors say, “God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral”.
- Finally, marriage is an illustration of the loving and intimate relationship between Christ and His church (Eph. 5:22-33). Paul called this “a great mystery,” that is, a profound spiritual truth that was once hidden but is now revealed by the Spirit. Jesus Christ is the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45) and therefore a type of the first Adam.
Adam was put to sleep and his side opened that he might have a wife, but Jesus died on a cross and His blood shed that He might have a bride, the church (John 19:33-37). Christ loves the church, cares for it, and seeks to cleanse it and make it more beautiful for His glory. One day Christ will claim His bride and present her in purity and glory in heaven.
When Adam saw his bride, he burst into joyful praise, as though he was saying, “At last I have a suitable companion!”
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
Genesis 2:23 (NIV)
Her identity as “woman” would remind everybody that she was taken out of “man,” and the term “man” would always be a part of “woman.” She was made from him and for him, and he needed her; therefore, they will always belong to each other and lovingly serve each other.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Genesis 2:24-25 (NIV)
Adam didn’t speak these words. They are God’s reflection on the event and His declaration of the principle of marital unity declared by Adam. Woman is one with man both in origin (she came from man) and in marriage. In the sexual union and in their children, the man and woman are “one flesh.”
Marriage is a civil relationship, regulated by law, and should be a spiritual relationship and a heart relationship, governed by the Word of God and motivated by love. But marriage is basically a physical relationship. The man and the woman are not primarily “one spirit” or “one heart,” as essential as those things are, but “one flesh.” Hence, the importance of “leaving” the former family and “cleaving” to one’s mate (Eph. 5:30-31), the forming of a new relationship that must be nurtured and protected.
The phrase “one flesh” implies that anything that breaks the physical bond in marriage can also break the marriage itself.
- One such thing is death; for when one mate dies, the other mate is free to remarry because the marriage bond has been broken (Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:8-9; 1 Tim. 5:14).
- In Matthew 19:1-9, Jesus teaches that adultery can also break the marriage bond. Under the Old Testament Law, anybody who committed adultery was stoned to death, thus leaving the innocent mate free to remarry; but this law wasn’t given to the New Testament church. It appears that divorce in the New Testament is the equivalent of death in the Old Testament and that the innocent party is free to remarry. However, sins against the marriage bond can be forgiven and couples can exercise forgiveness and make a new beginning in the Lord.
We live in a world created by God, we are creatures made in the image of God, and we enjoy multiplied blessings from the hand of God. How tragic that so many people leave God out of their lives and become confused wanderers in an unfriendly world, when they could be children of God in their Father’s world.
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Basic
Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.