We are looking at God’s introduction of himself to the world. God reveals who we are and who he is. We learned in chapter 1 why we are here. We are made in the image of God which means we are to rule over the creation as God’s representatives. This is the mission God has given to humans. But chapter 2 spends even more time explaining the creation of humans, which continues to emphasize how special humans are over the rest of the creation. Each aspect of the creation gets only a few sentences in chapter 1. Not only does the creation of humans have a longer paragraph in chapter 1, nearly all of chapter 2 is about the details of the creation of humans.
Chapter 2 begins by describing God completing his creating work on the seventh day (2:1-3). Then the conditions of the earth are described, as a mist was watering the surface of the ground (2:4-14). We see that Eden is an actual place in a particular location. Eden is the location and there was a garden in it (2:8). The Lord God formed the man from the ground, breathed life into him, and he became a living being (2:7). God put trees in the garden that were pleasant to look at and were good for food (2:9). In the middle of the garden was placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The directions are given by God to the man to eat from every tree in the garden except from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (2:16-17).
The Problem (2:18-20)
But then God observes a problem. All of the creation is good. But for the first time something is declared to not be good. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (2:18). God knows this but man does not know this yet. So God brought the beasts of the field and the birds of the air to him to see what he would call them. The man gave names for the animals but there was something lacking. “But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him” (2:20). We are learning that humans were created for relationship. It is not good for the man to be alone and only have animals to spend his time. I think social media has proven that humans are created for relationship. We need to be connected to other humans. But the man is alone in the garden. We learn that we are made for relationship with God and made for relationship with other humans. Therefore, we should not take the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7 to mean that marriage is a concession to sexual weakness. Marriage is the answer to the human need for relationship.
So God declares that he is going to make someone suitable for man because animals are not suitable for the kind of relationship that humans need. Verse 20 highlights that animals are insufficient to solve this problem. So God “will make him a helper fit for him” (2:18). Now it is important to point out that this Hebrew word for “helper” has nothing in it that indicates being lesser or subservient. In fact, God is frequently described with the same Hebrew word as our helper (cf. Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:7; 1 Samuel 7:12; Psalm 20:2; 46:1). God is saying that he will provide for the man what is lacking. That is how we should read the word “helper.” Just as God provides what we lack in the passages noted above, the woman will be able to provide what is lacking for the man. She will correspond to him. She will be his counterpart. She will be a fitting complement in the way that animals cannot be a fitting counterpart or complement. God was establishing a complementary relationship.
God’s Answer (2:21-23)
God puts the man to sleep, takes one of his ribs, and forms the woman and brought her to the man. The man then exclaims with poetry, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for because was taken from the man” (2:23). God showed the man’s need and then solves the need. God knew the problem and created the solution. Man and woman were uniquely designed to complement each other in a partnership to be God’s image in all the earth. God made male and female. God made males and females different so that they could uniquely fit together and supply what is lacking in one another.
I hope we are able to see the beauty of what God did. I hope we can see the beauty of God, not creating another man, but creating a woman who would uniquely complement him like no other animal could. This is hard for our culture right now but it takes very little observation to see that men and women are different. Our bodies are different. We learned early in school that women have different body parts and men have different body parts. Those body parts have different functions. Not only this, men and women are composed with different levels of hormones. As hard as our society will try to fly in the face of the obvious, it is plainly obvious that men and women are different. Women are uniquely created for childbirth and nursing. It does not matter how much men may want their bodies to do differently, men cannot naturally bear children and nurse. Men were not given the physical capacities. In the same way, men have different bodies than women. Men have different hormones like testosterone that changes his body in a way that is different from a woman. It is just simple science that men and women are different. Because of these differences, it made sense for men and women to work together by highlighting the unique abilities and capacities for both women and men.
Let us go back in time and think about what God made for us by nature. When a baby is born, by nature who is equipped to care for the baby? The woman because she was equipped by God for nursing. A man could not do that. But the man did have something he could do. With his physical differences he was able to go and work the land, providing for the family while the woman provided for the family in the way no other person could. Why would anyone be upset that we were uniquely created to care for each other and care for the family in different ways? It was obvious. It was natural. It was God-created. Man was thankful to provide for the family the way he could and the woman was thankful to provide for the family the way she could. God made us to fit together in this way. This was God’s design. Technology has made it easier to distort the obvious.
Can we see that we can have different responsibilities and still be equal? Why is this so difficult to accept in our culture now? Think about it at work. There are all kinds of people you work with that have different responsibilities. When I was in high school I worked at a grocery store. I was the bagger but my official title was a customer service representative. But let’s be real. I was a bagger. I bagged groceries, I took the groceries out to the parking lot, and I brought in the carts from the parking lot. But there were others with jobs there who were different than mine. Some were cashiers. Some counted inventory. Some ordered more grocery supplies. Some stocked the inventory. Some cleaned the floors. Some went through the aisles and straighten up the product on the shelves. Some worked in produce. Some worked in the deli. Some worked with the meat and chicken. Some worked in the bakery. So there are all of these people who all have different roles and different responsibilities. Were any of us better than another? Were any of us more or less valuable? No! Now there would be times when a cashier thought he was all that and then some because he had graduated from bagging groceries to scanning the groceries. When they got a big head, you know what the baggers did? We would help the other cashiers and leave that cashier to scan the groceries and then bag the groceries themselves. This caused it to take more time to get the customer finished and would make the lines longer. It made the cashier have more work. The message was sent: we all need each other. Doing something different does not make you lesser. We need to be doing something different so that the work will get done right. By all of us working together the store ran properly. It was every part doing its share. This is what God created with men and women.
Friends, it is important that we are doing our part to end the assault on gender that is going on in our society. I believe this assault came about in some part because people historically looked at their gender as superior and the opposite gender as inferior. It seems that history is filled with males looking upon themselves as the superior gender and women as considered inferior and sometimes even as property. I want us to see in our scripture before us that there is nothing to indicate any discrimination or inequality for women. Genesis 1 and 2 show women to be made in the image of God and were created because they will fit what was lacking in men. Further, we can go to scriptures like Proverbs 31 and 1 Peter 3 that praise women. God tells men to hold women in honor, which we will speak more about in our next lesson. Here is the point: anything that proclaimed, encouraged, or praised the subjugation of women, the demeaning of women, the devaluing of women, or the dishonoring of women is not Christian and is not biblical. Too often that is laid on the feet of Christianity and I want you to see that treating women in this way is not in the scriptures. Women are equal to men in these two chapters and are held in high regard here as well as in other scriptures.
So we need to end the assault on gender. Here are some ways that we can do that. Men must fight against the suppression, subjugation, and sexualization of women. Men, women were not created for your pleasure. They are not here to be used by you. We ought to be disgusted by the sexualization that has occurred in our culture. Women are not here to be consumed but to be cherished and appreciated by men. Women are not here to get what you want out of them. Men must teach their boys this truths and this ought to be displayed in the home. Men, do not denigrate women. Do not demean them. Do not put them down. Do not act like they are stupid. Do not act like they are lesser than you. Women are not your servants. They were not put on the earth to refill your beverage and clean the house. Find the scripture that says that the women clean the house while the men watch football and lay on the couch. We are created to work together. Women are not to be maligned and abused by men. Men, you must fight against this, speak against it, and be an example of how this is not supposed to be.
Women, you must also fight against what the culture is saying about men. Women need to fight against the Homer Simpson characterization of men and fathers. Most television shows and movies are about how the father is a buffoon and how the mother is the only intelligent one who saves the family from the father’s disaster week after week. Not only must you not buy into this thinking, you must not encourage this thinking. Women should not be talking to other women and how terrible their husbands are. Women must not be saying to their children or showing their children that the husband is useless, foolish, or unhelpful. Our culture has declared that men are useless and fathers are unnecessary. You must tell and show people how utterly ridiculous this is. This characterization of men is actually part of the curse that we will see in Genesis 3 in a couple of weeks. This is not the way God wanted the relationship to be. Women, men are not just a paycheck. Men are not just in the way. Men are not a pain. Men are not to just keep the cars running and yard looking good. Men are to be a critical part of the home.
We are uniquely designed by God to work together with such efficiency that we cannot imagine what life would be like without the opposite gender. This is how we are to look at each other. Not only are all people, both men and women, made in the image of God, but the other gender exists to complete what is lacking. God made life this way. We are different and we praise and glorify our differences as we work together because we need the uniqueness of men and women highlighted, not destroyed. We can be different, as we clearly are as men and women, and still be equal in value, importance, and respect. We are both made in God’s image. We were made for each other.
Why are we here together? We are created by God to be complements to each other as men and women. We were created by God for relationship, a relationship that cannot be had with anything else in creation. As image bearers of God, we were created to work together with our complementary differences to show God’s wisdom and glory to the world. Rather than words of slander, we must have words full of praise for the opposite gender. There is not a superior gender and we should never act as if there is, whether in be in the community, in our marriages, in the home, or in the church. Rather than being at war over our differences and trying to suppress our differences or trying to be like the other gender, let us be thankful for our differences and appreciate how men and women are able to complement each other. Stop trying to have the other gender be like. Stop trying to have them act like you, think like you, and be like you. There was a popular book called Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. We are different and we must work to understand each other and enjoy the differences God has created in us.