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Christian Character Marriage

It Is Not Good For Man To Be Alone, Part 3

This is the third and final post in the series discussing the creation of Adam and God’s reparation of his aloneness. In this post I focus on two ways in which Eve specifically fulfills Adam’s aloneness as his suitable helper. You can also read Part 1, and Part 2. I hope this is a blessing and encouragement to you!

Sex

Perhaps the most obvious way that Eve was Adam’s perfect counterpart was in their complementary sexual natures. Men and women are intentionally designed in both mental and physical capacities to attract each other. (Prov. 5:18-19) The cause of physical attraction is deeply rooted in the sexual nature of men and women. This is why it is so easy to fall into both mental and physical sexual sin. Unlike drug or alcohol abuse, our desire for sex is completely natural. It is a part of us. It is something that God has made that is good and meant for enjoyment. But by God’s design, sexually-rooted desires and actions are intended only for faithful monogamous marriage where one husband cleaves to one wife. (1 Tim. 3:12; Proverbs 5:15-16) He holds her close both in his heart and in his physical and sexual desire for her. God’s perfect alleviation of Adam’s aloneness was engineered within a one-man-one-woman framework. Any other model is a perversion of God’s design. This is more clearly understood when we meditate on the implications of marriage as analogous to the Christ-Church relationship Paul talks about in Eph. 5:22-33. In a culture that flaunts its sexuality and increasingly disregards indiscretion by a false notion of freedom, this is challenging, but we must constantly preach to ourselves that the more we embrace and submit to God’s design in marriage and function in our proper roles, the richer and fuller our marriages will be.

Companionship

Another important function of Eve’s creation is companionship. By this I am referring more specifically to the human need to interact with other humans. Even the world recognizes the potentially drastic consequences of neglecting the important creation-rooted necessity of relationships. Throughout Scripture we see numerous examples of isolation from others as undesirable (Lev. 13:46, Num. 12:14-15), while friendship is a highly desired blessing. (1 Sam. 18:1-3; Prov. 17:17, 27:10; 1 Thess. 4:9; Rom. 12:10) In this sense, companionship extends beyond the context of marriage and into other types relationships where companionship also plays an important function by God’s good design. Throughout Proverbs, we see positive emphasis placed on the company and counsel of good friends (Prov. 11:14, Prov. 18:24) and the important influence we have on each other. This theme is repeatedly echoed throughout the New Testament in the context of the Church (Heb. 3:12; Heb. 13:9; John 13:35), emphasizing our spiritual need for human interaction. True friendship is a gift of God by design, because in loving one another we mimic the love of God, and in doing so we worship Him. To shun friendship or isolate ourselves is a perversion of God’s creation. God made Eve for Adam as his friend, one he could talk to and be encouraged by, one he could learn wisdom and kindness from. (Prov. 31:26) Through Christian friendship we set examples to each other. As a result we direct each other to the worship of God. Through open friendships we prevent our hearts from growing hard and cold. (Heb. 10:24-26) We should not underestimate the importance of friendships and the good influence they have on our families and friends. Companionship is a good thing created by God to fulfill our aloneness. May God soften our hearts and squash our fears in seeking friendship, a good thing from God.

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Christian Character Marriage

It Is Not Good For Man To Be Alone, Part 2

In my last post, I briefly discussed how the aloneness of Adam signified an intentionally incomplete aspect of God’s creation. God purposefully made Adam alone with a goal in mind. In this post I want to begin the discussion about how God met that goal with the creation of Eve by addressing the meaning of “suitable helper” in Genesis 2:18.

Genesis 2:18: In the second half of the verse, God makes the statement, “I will make a helper fit for him,” which has been heavily debated during modern times. However, throughout history the passage has been orthodoxly interpreted as Eve being Adam’s perfect counterpart but not inferior to Adam in any sense. I think when we look behind the language and at the context of the verse, this is easy to see. Let’s take a look.

What is meant by “suitable”

In Hebrew this is the word neged. In this context, it means “comparable to” or “corresponding to.” So one possible translation would read, “I will make a helper comparable to him.” This is in fact exactly how the NKJV translators rendered the verse. There’s nothing in the Hebrew that suggests the woman is in any way inferior to the man. If anything, the language suggests the high esteem and value of the woman. Before Eve, nothing in creation compared to Adam. Nothing corresponded to him. Nothing met the standards needed to fix his aloneness. The trees and flowers in all their beauty did not compare, nor did any of the marvelous and wonderful animals. Only the woman, created in her perfect and beautiful feminine form, could compare to Adam. The animals were not suitable to Adam. They were inferior to him, but Eve was not. She was his match, his perfect counterpart, and she suited him perfectly and exactly.

It’s also worth noting that God did not create another man as Adam’s suitable helper. Presumably this was in the realm of possibility but was not part of God’s design and intention, which was that Adam and Eve would physically become “one flesh” and multiply on the earth. By this context one can understand the complementary reproductive functions of the man and woman, as well as the physical characteristics by which men and woman are attracted to each other by the design of God.

What is meant by “helper”

In the Hebrew this is the uncommon noun ezer, which simply means “one who helps.” There is no use of this word in the context of the helper being inferior to the one being helped. David in fact uses this word repeatedly in reference to God as our helper. (cf. Psalm 33:30, 70:5, 115:9, etc.). This truth is further supported by the man and woman becoming one flesh. Can something be inferior to itself? No. The man and woman are the same. They are one. They are assigned different roles, but they are equal in person and value. The one leads and protects the other as his own body, the other helps in this cause.

Putting it together

Paul reveals some of the hidden meaning concerning the “one flesh” doctrine in Ephesians 5 when he says,

In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:28-33 ESV)

Notice that the husband is to love his wife as his own body. This critical truth must be stressed, because it crushes any notion of verbal or physical abuse, as well as overbearing or dominating leadership. As husbands do we look to take care of ourselves? Do we seek food, proper rest, sources of encouragement, and ways to nurture ourselves for our own development? Absolutely. Then as husbands we must do the same for our wives. As husbands do we speak kindly to ourselves? As husbands of proper mental health do we love ourselves with positive thoughts and actions? As husbands are we patient with ourselves and prone to overlook our faults? Absolutely. Then as husbands we must do the same for our wives. As husbands we are over our wives, but only as they have been put in our charge to be protected, cherished, and loved. It’s such a beautiful relationship that our sin too often hinders. May God help us as husbands and wives to be caught up in this wonderful and mysterious sacrificial and role-specific love.

In my next post I want to address some of the more specific and wonderful ways in which a woman perfectly fits as the man’s suitable helper.

Recommended Reading: John Bunyan’s Family Duty

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Christian Character Marriage

It Is Not Good For Man To Be Alone, Part 1

With the next few posts I want to discuss some aspects about God’s creation of mankind and explore the significance of relationships and marriage from a creation-oriented perspective. In other words, I want to see what can be learned about relationships and marriage from the creation account and then apply. To start, I want to look at Adam’s aloneness in Genesis 2:18.

Genesis 2:18: God says man’s aloneness is not good, which means that He was not satisfied with that aspect of creation. Where it says “alone,” we can think in terms of “separated,” since that is the underlying Hebrew meaning (cf. Gen 21:28, Gen 30:40). But who was Adam separated from? How could Adam be separated from someone when no other human existed? Can a tree be alone if there is only one tree, or if we say, “That rock or that bird is alone,” does our statement not assume that other rocks and birds exist? More to the point, if we say, “So-and-so seems awfully lonely,” do we not imply that so-and-so has needs only met by the addition of another human soul? I think we do. But why is this? The answer to this question is answered in the creation account. God explains that we are designed by nature to be together with each other. When we are separated from one another, we are alone. This is not good, says God. It is not good to be alone. It is bad to be alone. It is unnatural to be alone. God created us to be together, not apart.

Furthermore, if Adam was labeled by God as separated before Eve was ever created, we must assume that God intended to create Eve from the beginning. When we think about aloneness as separation, this makes sense. Could God have created a self-sufficient human? Certainly. But we know that He did not, because after creating Adam, he was not satisfied. Adam was not self-sufficient because after he was created, the fact that he was alone was not good according to God. Adam’s isolated existence was unnatural to creation, therefore the human component of creation at that point was not good, it was bad. But it must be noted that the badness of Adam’s aloneness does not mean that Adam himself was bad. Rather, Adam’s aloneness was the unsatisfactory component of creation. Adam himself was created perfect, but his aloneness left something to be desired. It was unfinished. God would complete Adam’s aloneness in Eve. Since the aloneness of a perfect Adam resulted naturally from his creation, God therefore must have created Adam with Eve in mind. God intentionally created Adam in aloneness, and intended on resolving his aloneness from the beginning. So God created Adam knowing that he would be alone, and God had a perfect solution to Adam’s aloneness in mind, which was Eve, the suitable counterpart to Adam, which I will discuss in my next post.