Studies in Genesis
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Gen 2:18 ESV)
Several things glare out from this verse. God made something “not good”? Hasn’t God already declared everything He has made “very good”? Hasn’t He also already declared, in Genesis 1:27, that when He created man He made them, like all other creatures, male and female? How then can the man be “alone”?
There are some distinguishing features between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Genesis 1 gives the Creation in a nutshell. This is what God has done and the order in which He created all things. Genesis 2 gives some particulars God deems necessary for us to know to fully understand our relationship and position before God and with each other.
Immediately after commanding the man to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, yet given permission to eat from every other tree, including the tree of life, God declares another negative. There is something that is “not good” in His creation. Man is alone. There is no one else like him, no other animal or bird or creature. Even though he has the image of God he is not like God. There are none like God.
“Alone” means to be separated from, as in a branch separated from its tree or a limb separated from the body. The man, made for community, has no community. That which, by its created nature, is supposed to be a part of something, attached and drawing life from the whole, is not attached. Man cannot be whole when alone. The man is alone and it is not good.
God has already told us in Genesis 1 several particulars about Man. First, He created Man male and female. He also blessed them with the desire to reproduce. Reproduction is the natural, innate means God uses to populate the world He gave Man. Reproduction is a natural function of being human. It is also a blessing of God. And it takes a male and a female.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1:27-28 ESV)
Yet, here we see God has created Adam, the male Man, but not the female. He makes a startling statement. “It is not good that the man should be alone.” As we will see, Adam’s world was filled with creatures. But none of them were like him. He cannot reproduce alone. He cannot reproduce with any of the creatures God created. Though he has intimacy with God it is not the same intimacy he will have with another of his kind. There is, as yet, no female.