God Creates Family
Lesson and Read: Genesis 2.18-24; 4.1, 2
And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.”
Genesis 2.22-23 (NRSV)
Genesis 1.27 tells us that God made humans, both male and female, in his image. In our last lesson we saw “who” made Adam (God) and “how” the man was made (from the ground). In this lesson we will see not only “how” God made the woman but “why.”
God made Adam, placed him in the garden and gave him the command to tend it, and avoid the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was God’s decision to make a helper for the man. Some early commentators have mispronounced God’s intent. Genesis 2.18 does not say “helpmate” but “help meet,” i.e., a helper who is meet or appropriate; a suitable helper who, along with Adam, would tend and till the garden (2.15). God then made a host of creatures and brought them before the man to see if any were suitable. Adam named them (a demonstration of human dominion over animals) but found no meet helper. Finally, God put the man to sleep, took a rib from his side and fashioned it into a woman. Adam was asleep; he did not consult with God on the woman’s creation. Once again, the Lord was the sole creator. When Adam saw her, he immediately recognized his appropriate partner—they were made of the same stuff, bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh (v. 23). In fact they were one. Family began from then and would be extended when Adam and Eve added children to the fold (4.1-2).
It is wise not to interpret too much significance to the order of creation. Males are not superior because they were made first. (Consider that if humans were the pinnacle of creation because they made on the last day, Genesis 1.27-28, then woman was the pinnacle of creation in chapter 2). Theologian Matthew Henry said it best, “The woman came out of a man’s ribs. Not from his feet to be walked on, not from his head to be superior, but from his side to be equal, under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved.”
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence