Monthly Archives: December 2016

Created Together

Studies in Genesis 2

Then the man said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (Genesis 2:23 ESV)

Scientists have placed the first man and the first woman far apart in time and geography. By examining the DNA of a large sample of men and women some scientists have decided the first humans came from Africa, or East of Israel in the desert, or Spain, or somewhere else. They have decided the first man appeared about 80,000 years ago while the first woman appeared over 100,000 years ago. Or 300,000 years ago. They were not together.

Scientists do not know. And many Scientists look down upon those who believe God worked, specifically creating the first man and woman.

We are given the image of God which includes the ability to intelligently examine, discover and then make decisions and draw conclusions based upon reason. In order to reach a valid conclusion all of the evidence must be examined at its face value. To draw a conclusion without taking into account all of the evidence is foolish. Those who exclude God from the equation cannot come to a valid conclusion about anything. God is always part of the equation.

We know God created a man and gave him the image of God. We know God created a woman out of a piece of the man and she also had the image of God. We know God commanded them to “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(Genesis 1:28 ESV). We know that when God created the man and the woman all was perfect and that God gave a mandate, an instruction, to take care of the Earth and make it productive.

We know that the woman was “taken” out of man but that all people from then on would be born of a woman. The natural laws established by God demands a male and a female to make more “according to their kind” (see Genesis 1:21, 24, 25). They were together in the Garden. We know this not only because God has told us but because reason tells us in order for a population to grow there must be a man and a woman and they must be together, not separated by geography and time.

Man and Woman

Studies in Genesis 2

And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  (Genesis 2:22 ESV)

God has given us the ability to know Him, intimately and intellectually, with the thinking of our hearts. An honest study of God will show the evidence that what He does and what He says, is true. God would cease to be god if He were capable of lying. He does not give an exhaustive explanation of His work of creation but does give people the ability to study and understand the laws upon which creation moves. These laws are as fixed in space and time as He is fixed in eternity.

We do not know why God created the first woman from the first man’s rib. We do not have an explanation for the reasoning behind any of God’s creative action. We can surmise many explanations from the rest of Scripture. Yet, none of the Scriptural explanations will answer the question of why He worked in this order. Why did God create the first man a single male without a female? Every other creature on the earth was created in pairs. The natural law of procreation demands a male and a female. For Him to wait, and then tell us it wasn’t good for man to be alone and that He would make a helper suitable for the first man, strains our desire for a plausible explanation. We want to know why.

God knows what He is doing. He has created the perfect world where all things work together. Even though Man, and the first man, was created perfect, he was obviously incomplete. Perfect does not mean complete. Perfect means having no fault or defects. The first man was created without defect. But he was not complete. God created the woman out of the flesh of the man so Man might be complete. God always finishes that which He begins.

God brought all of the animals before the first man to see what he would name them. None of the animals were designed to help man in the way he needed help, nor to be equal to man. They were subservient to him, just as he was subservient to God. Even though God brought the woman to man it was not in the same way He brought all the animals. Those came perhaps as a parade, most likely in pairs, male and female. God did not parade her before him but presented her as giving a gift, a blessing. Without the woman man would never be complete.

The woman is a helper, a companion, an equal, the other part of Man. Where once there was only a male now there is also female. With God blessing the population of Man will grow from this pair and fulfill the blessing and direction God gave when He first created Man in His image.  Yet, both, together will grow in their completion as they learn about God, about the world and universe in which they live, and about each other.

We know, because God is truthful, that He created the first man out of the dust of the ground and then created the first woman out of a piece of the first man. He gave both His image so that both would have an intimate relationship with Him. All of the people who were born of the first man and woman would also have His image. Everyone who has the image of God is designed to grow to know God both intellectually and intimately. People are also designed to help each other fulfill the purpose given them by God.

Person

Studies in Genesis 2

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:21-22 ESV)

God does something only God can do. He creates. This is not ex nihilo creation. God does not create the woman out of nothing. Instead He takes available material, the first man, whom He had fashioned from available material, dust or dirt, and makes a new person, like the first man yet at same time, unlike him. This act of creation is consistent with the description of God’s other acts of creation.

Adam, the first man, was formed from earth, or dirt. Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7 ESV) Here, the word “formed” means to squeeze into shape, or mould as a potter fashions a vessel at the wheel. It is a different word than the one used by God when He built the woman. “And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22 ESV). In this verse the word “made” means build or rebuild, or to make something continue. It does not mean to add on to an existing thing.

We cannot ignore the word of God when He created Man in His image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). God uses the same word when He created Man as He used when He created the universe, and then the sea creatures. The word “created” means to make something new that did not previously exist using either already created material or creating ex nihilo, out of nothing. Only God can create either ex nihilo or out of existing material He has already created.

The woman is not an extension of the man but one of two persons God uses to begin building the human race. It takes two, a male and a female, to make the population of people grow. Though God could fashion everyone out of the dust of the earth or from the rib of anyone, He does not work this way. He works, and fashions people according to the natural laws of procreation, in a way that requires one know another physically intimately. We are not told whether the first man knew what God was going to do to make a helper for him. As a servant of God the man would be willing to do whatever God wanted done.

God caused the man to fall into a sleep so deep he would not know the pain of the surgery performed. Taking a rib out of a person is a painful procedure. It would have been much easier for God to create the woman out of the dust of the earth. In the surgery is the act of giving oneself completely to another as an act of selfless love to both God and the woman, his helper.

Servant

Studies in Genesis 2

I will make him a helper fit for him.” … But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Genesis 2:18, 20 ESV)

There is an implication in the word “help” or “helper” often ignored but for which we must give an account. Man, both male and female, when created by God were given the task of dominion over the earth and all its creatures.  Neither the earth nor the creatures belonged to Man. All belonged to God. It was Man’s task to take care for the earth and its creatures for God. Now, God is fully capable of taking care of everything Himself. He does not need Man to do anything for Him. Yet, God created Man for the express purpose to grow in knowledge of Him. Man grows to know God by serving Him in the fullest capacity of the image of God given Man by doing that for which he was designed.

By taking care of the earth, having “dominion” over it, Man learns about his Creator. Man was not created to demand the earth and its creatures serve him. Man is not designed as a malevolent dictator. That is not what “dominion” means. Some have suggested “dominion” means to rule by treading upon. It is true the word for “dominion” means to tread upon or tread down, as in to dominate. These are all legitimate uses of the word in Scripture. Yet, in Genesis 1, in the context of the creation story, Man, given the image of God, acts and works toward blessing creation, especially all the creatures. To “bless” means to kneel before, as a father kneels before his child, to give a gift even when the child does not know the value of the gift.

Man was created to serve God by serving the earth and all its creatures. No where do we see Man created to be subjugated by other people. Nor do we see the earth and its creatures existing solely to serve Man. The earth and its creatures do serve Man just as Man serves God, but not by force or under compulsion. It is the inherent characteristic of Man, all men, to serve God, and to serve each other. Man was created to serve and to grow in the intimate andc complete knowledge of God.

Our ultimate example must be Christ, not Adam, the first man. When Jesus Christ came He had the morphe of both God and a Servant coming in the likeness of a man.

Though he was in the form (morphe) of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form (morphe) of a servant, being born in the likeness (homoiōma) of men. And being found in human form (schēma), he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-9 ESV)

Jesus had those essential characteristics and qualities which make God God and a servant a servant. He is Man as Adam was before the fall, the perfect servant while completely God.

When God creates a helper for the man it is so the man can serve the helper as the helper serves him, and so both can serve God by serving the creation for which they are responsible. To be and do anything less or other than what they were designed to do and be is inconceivable.

Help

Studies in Genesis 2

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Gen 2:18, 20 ESV)

It was never God’s intent there be only one person working His creation on earth. He has already told us He created Man male and female. This story is not meant to teach that God instituted a hierarchy in creation with the male of the species Man having more control and authority over the female. He states He created them both in His image and equal in Genesis 1. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). We cannot understand Genesis 1-3 without all of Scripture yet Genesis 1-3 could be viewed as foundational to understanding all of Scripture. God’s Word is whole, not fragmented. Jesus and Paul have much to say about the roles of Man, both male and female. I will examine their teaching, especially that of Jesus, at a later time.

God knows intimately what will happen throughout history. He does not make mistakes He has to fix by manipulating the course of history or the details of a person’s life. Those created in His image are intelligent, have a moral—emotional self and self directed will to act. They are a higher creation than the animals. God knows sin is coming to His perfect creation and will corrupt everything it touches. So He tells us, in a way we can understand, that when Man was first created He made male and female equal in His image. This is not a contestable interpretation, though some will try to devalue some of those created in the image of God.

God tells us that the woman, even though created second, is meant to help the man do that which he could not do alone. “Helper” means one who renders assistance vital to the workings of the assigned task. The Authorized Version uses the term “help meet” which means to succor, to run to support with assistance designed to relieve and deliver from want. The first man did not have the ability to do the task all by himself. Man is not designed to do that for which he is designed by alone.

What is woman supposed to help the man with? Man, the male of the species, cannot propagate the species without his counterpart. Man, as a people, cannot fulfill their God directed purpose of filling the earth and subduing it (see Genesis 1:28) if there are only males, and specifically, only one male. There must be a male and a female for there to be children. It is not the first man who will subdue the earth but the children, and the children’s children to the greatest generation that will accomplish and fulfill God’s ultimate design.

The perfect fit and match for the woman is the man and the perfect fit and match for the man is the woman.