Genesis 2:18-25 - The First Woman: Man’s Companion, Eve
God’s creative work was not complete until he made woman. He could have made her from the dust of the ground, as he made man; however, God chose to make her from the man’s flesh and bone. In so doing, he illustrated for us that in marriage man and woman symbolically become one flesh.
Throughout the Bible, God treats this special partnership [marriage’ seriously. If you are married or planning to be married, the question is “are you willing to keep the commitment that makes the two of you one?” The goal in marriage should be more than friendship; it should be oneness.
A. God’s plan to create woman (v.18).
1. “The Lord God said, it is not good that man should be alone…” (v.18a).
a) Because it was not good for man to be alone (v.18a).
(1) The Lord God regarded Adam’s situation as incomplete and deficient while he was living without a companion or a proper counterpart. The Lord said “It is not good.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 expresses this same opinion about aloneness.
The wise writer Solomon advised: Two are better than one.... If one falls down, his friend can help him up.... Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
(2) True, in (Jeremiah 16:1–9) the prophet Jeremiah is commanded by God to remain alone, but this is meant to be a sign that God’s judgment on the people is so near that it will not be worthwhile to get married.
(3) Without woman, man would not be able to reproduce, nor to work and subdue the earth as God had instructed (Genesis 1:28).
(4) Man was only half of God’s plan for human life. Woman was the other half. God’s plan was not complete until woman was created. Woman was as much a part of God’s plan for human life as man was. Therefore, it was not good that man should be alone.
b) Scripture gives numerous reasons for marriage.
(1) First, marriage is for procreation. God commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). God intends for mankind to reproduce itself. Marriage is also for pleasure. Proverbs speaks of a man’s being “exhilarated always” with the wife of his youth (5:18–19), & the Song of Solomon centers around the physical attractions and pleasures of marital love.
(2) Marriage is a partnership. Woman was created for man to be “a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18). Friendship between husband and wife is one of the key ingredients of a good marriage.
(3) Marriage is a picture of the church. Husbands are to have authority over and to love their wives as Christ has authority over and loves the church (Eph. 5:23–32).
(4) And marriage is for purity. It protects from sexual immorality by meeting the need for physical fulfillment. Although celibacy is good, it is not superior to marriage, and it has dangers and temptations that marriage does not have.
!!!! c) Celibacy is Good (1 Corinthians 7:1-9).
(1) To touch a woman was a common Jewish euphemism for sexual intercourse. The phrase is used in that sense in passages such as (Gen.20:6; Ruth 2:9; and Prov. 6:29).
(a) Paul uses it to state that it is a good thing for Christians not to have sexual intercourse, that is, to be single, unmarried.
(b) He does not say, however, that singleness is the only good condition or that marriage is in any way wrong or inferior to singleness. He says only that singleness, as long as it is celibate, can be good.
d) Celibacy is not for everyone (Matthew 19:3-12).
(1) Singleness has its own problems and temptations, and not every Christian is capable of living a godly single life. Paul said that it is good to remain single for spiritual purposes, but that it was “better to marry than to burn” with lust (1 Cor. 7:8–9).
(2) Jesus proceeds to mention the only three categories where there can be successful singleness.
(a) First are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb. These are people who are born with congenital deformities that involve undeveloped sexual capacity.
(b) Second are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men. In some ancient religions, castration was considered a way of pleasing and serving a pagan deity, and parents sometimes even had their infant sons castrated for that purpose. Obviously, castrated men do not have normal desires for a woman.
(c) Third are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Unlike the other two forms, this one is not physical. Mutilation of the flesh in order to please God is a purely pagan idea. Jesus is speaking of the voluntary celibacy of those to whom that gift has been granted by God (v.11). In that case, celibacy can indeed be for the sake of the kingdom of God and be pleasing to Him and used by Him.
(3) Singleness cannot be wholeheartedly accepted simply by human willpower or sincerity. Nor can it be successfully lived out simply by applying the right biblical principles. Celibate singleness is a kind of spiritual gift (1 Cor. 7:7), and only those to whom it has been given can hope to spiritually survive in it, much less find happiness and be effective in the Lord’s service.
e) No record of Adam complaining about his loneliness.
(1) There is no record of Adam complaining about his loneliness. He fellowshipped with God. God was all he knew, all he had. He made it enough.
(2) When and if we are forced to be alone, God will make His presence enough.
Jesus said "I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen." (Matthew 28:20, NKJV)
The writer of Hebrews says to "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”" (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV)
Speaking to Moses, the Lord said "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." (Ex.33:14).
(3) If you are single and desire to get married, pray, seek the Lord, serve Him, and in the midst of doing this, allow God to bring that person in your life.
!!! 2. “I will make him a helper comparable to him…” (v.18b).
a) Because man needed a helper, a companion (v.18b).
(1) The Hebrew word “meet” or “suitable” means fit, corresponding to, adapted to, agreeing with, counterpart, opposite, equal to.
(2) The word “helper” – the customary translation of “helper fitting him” is almost certainly wrong as R. David Freedman states.
(a) Recently R. David Freedman has pointed out that the Hebrew word ˓ēzer is a combination of two roots: ˓-z-r, meaning (1) “to rescue, to save,” and ǵ-z-r, meaning (2) “to be strong.”
(b) The difference between the two is the first letter in Hebrew. Today that letter is silent in Hebrew, but in ancient times it was a guttural sound formed in the back of the throat. The ǵ came to use the same Hebrew symbol as the other sound. But the fact that they were pronounced differently is clear from such place names which preserve the g sound, such as Gaza or Gomorrah.
B. Man’s need for woman (v.19-20)
1. “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast… But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him…” (v.19-20).
a) God’s purpose: To show man his great need for woman (v.20b).
(1) Note: see what (v.19) does: it switches from God’s decision to create woman to God’s creation of animals and to His instructing man to name the animals. Why? Why inject the creation and naming of animals right in the middle of God’s creation of woman? There are at least three reasons:
(a) God reemphasize a critical fact: He is the Creator of all man’s companions, of all living creatures. If man was to have a companion with his very own nature—God was the One who had to create her to be perfectly suitable for Adam.
(b) God shows man that he is superior to the animals. His authority is seen in the fact that God brought the animals to Adam to be named. God had given man dominion over the earth & over the animal world for man to begin exercising that authority.
(c) God show’s man his great need for woman, for a companion just like himself. Think about this: Adam is looking at the animals and seeing that they all have a mate (companion) just like itself – except him. He realizes that creation is not complete. Not two very significant points:
(i) This method of showing Adam his need for woman was bound to have a tremendous impact upon Adam. It was bound to make Adam love and appreciate his wife far more than if God had created her at the same time.
(ii) This method of showing Adam his need for woman was God’s way of showing man and woman were created as equal beings.
(d) The point is this: man and woman are equal in person and being. They differ only in that they have different roles and purposes upon earth.
!! C. Woman’s creation by God (v.21-22a).
1. “The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam… and took one of his ribs… and He made into a woman…” (v.21-22a).
a) Several beautiful meanings of creating woman this way (v.21).
(1) Woman came out of man’s need. Therefore, she was to come “out of man’s” being (Genesis 2:18, 21-23).
(2) Woman was to be the object of man’s cleaving. Therefore, woman was made out of man’s being in order to cause a natural clinging,
(3) Woman was to be one flesh with man. Therefore, she was made out of the very flesh of man so that man and woman would have identical natures and stand as the counterpart to one another (Genesis 2:22-23).
(4) Woman came out of man’s flesh so that both would cherish and nurture the other. No person hates his own flesh. The very opposite is true: he cherishes, protects, and cares for it.
Ephesians 5 says "Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." (Ephesians 5:28-29, NKJV)
(5) Woman is the glory and crown of creation, the being who brings more refinement to the world than any other creature.
Paul, speaking to those in Corinth said "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man." (1 Corinthians 11:7, NKJV)
b) She is the glory and crown of both man and nature.
(1) Think about this: the animals were just created by God (Genesis 1:20-25). After their creation, man was created out of the dust of the ground.
(2) He who was created after was more excellent and of more glory than the animals. But woman was made after man, and she was not taken out of the dust, but out of man himself. Woman’s creation may, therefore, be said...
(a) to be more excellent and more glorious than man’s, for she was twice removed from the dust of the earth.
(b) to bring more refinement, beauty, and glory to the earth.
(c) to be the summit, the crowning glory of creation.
(3) Woman was created from the rib taken from the very chest of man, that which protects his heart.
Matthew Henry puts it this way: That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; 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 beloved.
(a) Woman is that which gives so much meaning to man, that which brings warmth, tenderness, and encouragement to man.
(b) She is either a protective force or a destructive force in his life.
!! D. Man and woman were brought together by God (v.22b-24).
1. “He brought her to the man…” (v.22b).
a) The union was of God (v.22b).
(1) God created both man and woman: man first, then woman (Genesis 2:7, 22).
(2) God brought man and woman together (Genesis 2:22b).
(3) God established the law of marriage (Genesis 2:24).
The writer of Proverbs says that “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord” (18:22) and “House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord” (19:14).
b) God provided for the need of Adam.
(1) God brought the woman to the man. God provided for the need of Adam.
(a) We must depend upon God to meet our need for a wife or for godly companionship.
(b) God wants a voice in choosing our companion and spouse.
(c) Don’t be unequally yoked with an unbeliever.
2. “She was taken out of man…” (v.23a).
a) Woman was equal to man in being (v.23a).
(1) She was made of the same flesh and blood, the very same material as Adam. She was “like Adam” in every respect: in the physical, mental, and spiritual being.
(2) She was “taken out of man”
b) Man was created before woman (v.23b).
(1) This does not mean superiority and inferiority, but order and priority. Neither man nor woman is superior or inferior to the other, not in being or person.
(2) As persons, man and woman are equal in God’s eyes, and they are to be equal in each other’s eyes. Jesus Christ has made us all equal as well:
Paul said "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28, NKJV)
3. “Man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife…” (v.24a).
a) Marriage is the first institution of society (v.24).
(1) To leave parents (v.24a): The union between husband and wife is to be the primary and strongest relationship between persons. It is to be so strong that the man and woman will leave their parents, be married, and build a family of their own.
(2) To cleave (v.24b): The union is to be intimate and permanent—as lasting as “one flesh.” The marriage bond is to endure as long as the flesh lives.
(3) To be one flesh (v.24c): He is to be hers and she is to be his—so much so that they are as one flesh, as one person. there is to be a physical intimacy and a spiritual union as well.
!! E. Man and woman were created perfect, innocent, and without shame (v.25).
1. “They were both naked… and were not ashamed…” (v.25).
a) They were without shame.
(1) This verse is laying the groundwork for what is to follow in the next passage: the fall of man (Genesis 3:6-8). Sin brings shame.
(2) That man and woman were naked, yet they were not embarrassed or ashamed. Why? Because they had nothing about which to be ashamed.
(3) They had done nothing wrong. They sensed no guilt or shame whatsoever. There was no sin, guilt, or shame—nothing whatsoever to hide from each other nor from God.
b) We ought to be without shame.
(1) There are many Scriptures which talk about us being without shame:
Jesus said "Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8, NKJV)
We ought to be those that may "become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world," (Philippians 2:15, NKJV)
To the Thessalonians Paul said "And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, NKJV)
And "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen." (Jude 24-3:25, NKJV)