The Shameless Woman

In the second account of creation, God has formed man and placed him in the garden of luxury. He has given the first man one command, not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The man is by himself in the garden. Today, we see the creation of the first woman.

Genesis 2:18-25

18 וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים לֹא־ט֛וֹב הֱי֥וֹת הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְבַדּ֑וֹ אֶֽעֱשֶׂהּ־לּ֥וֹ עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃

19 וַיִּצֶר֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים מִן־הָֽאֲדָמָ֗ה כָּל־חַיַּ֤ת הַשָּׂדֶה֙ וְאֵת֙ כָּל־ע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַיָּבֵא֙ אֶל־הָ֣אָדָ֔ם לִרְא֖וֹת מַה־יִּקְרָא־ל֑וֹ וְכֹל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִקְרָא־ל֧וֹ הָֽאָדָ֛ם נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה ה֥וּא שְׁמֽוֹ׃

20 וַיִּקְרָ֨א הָֽאָדָ֜ם שֵׁמ֗וֹת לְכָל־הַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּלְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּלְכֹ֖ל חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה וּלְאָדָ֕ם לֹֽא־מָצָ֥א עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃

21 וַיַּפֵּל֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים׀ תַּרְדֵּמָ֛ה עַל־הָאָדָ֖ם וַיִּישָׁ֑ן וַיִּקַּ֗ח אַחַת֙ מִצַּלְעֹתָ֔יו וַיִּסְגֹּ֥ר בָּשָׂ֖ר תַּחְתֶּֽנָּה׃

22 וַיִּבֶן֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים׀ אֶֽת־הַצֵּלָ֛ע אֲשֶׁר־לָקַ֥ח מִן־הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְאִשָּׁ֑ה וַיְבִאֶ֖הָ אֶל־הָֽאָדָֽם׃

23 וַיֹּאמֶר֮ הָֽאָדָם֒ זֹ֣את הַפַּ֗עַם עֶ֚צֶם מֵֽעֲצָמַ֔י וּבָשָׂ֖ר מִבְּשָׂרִ֑י לְזֹאת֙ יִקָּרֵ֣א אִשָּׁ֔ה כִּ֥י מֵאִ֖ישׁ לֻֽקֳחָה־זֹּֽאת׃

24 עַל־כֵּן֙ יַֽעֲזָב־אִ֔ישׁ אֶת־אָבִ֖יו וְאֶת־אִמּ֑וֹ וְדָבַ֣ק בְּאִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃

25 וַיִּֽהְי֤וּ שְׁנֵיהֶם֙ עֲרוּמִּ֔ים הָֽאָדָ֖ם וְאִשְׁתּ֑וֹ וְלֹ֖א יִתְבֹּשָֽׁשׁוּ׃

The man represents God (v. 18-20)

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.

After placing the man in the garden and giving the garden to him to keep, everything except for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Yahweh God says that it is not good for the man to be alone. Notice from the outset that the word for man (אדמ, adam) includes a definite article (ה). God is talking about the man, and his name is Adam. Why is it not good for the man to be alone? Why is it not good for there to only be one gender or sex? Think back to Chapter 1. We need Chapter 1 for context, here. If we need Chapter 1 for context, it is not likely these are disjointed stories compiled much later. These two accounts are placed where they are in the text purposefully and a correct interpretation of the second account depends on our understanding of the first. What did God do in Chapter 1? He created and filled—establishing natural laws (order, not chaos) by which His creation would become full. He created humankind in His image in order to fill His creation with His image. Something about the man represents God, but it is an incomplete picture without the woman—which is why God created them male and female in His image in Chapter 1. Man without woman is only part of the picture, so it is not good for man to be alone. This has to do with the glory of God and His representation of Himself within His creation for the purpose of His glory.

So, Yahweh God commits to make a helper suitable for the man; He will create the perfect compliment. As we have seen, God is one essence and three persons. The creature that bears His image will mirror this. People will not be one essence and three persons. Their likeness of God’s trinitarian nature will be represented in the marriage relationship. The man is an individual, yet he will be married to his helpmate and they will be one flesh. They will be one flesh, yet two persons. This is the closest illustration we have to understand the transcendent nature of God, yet it is not the transcendent of God because people are not God—they are His image.

There are no timing references when the story reminds us that God caused beast and birds to come forth. This account does not tell us that beasts and birds were created at the same time or after humanity. We should not read that into the text and so try to force a contradiction between Chapters 1 and 2. God did form the beast and birds out of the ground. Instead of using the word for “earth” or “land” ((ארע like he did in Chapter 1, Moses uses the word here translated as ground אדמה), adamah). I think he makes this change on purpose. Symbolically, the first man, Adam, carries the same name as does the ground. The living creatures were formed from the ground. Symbolically, then, they are from Adam. In his poetic form, and in opposition to other Ancient Near East literature, Moses is using wordplay to show that Adam represents God and has representative authority on the earth. With this wordplay, he is setting up the story for the creation of woman (אשה) as a helpmate to the man—to the one from whom all things symbolically are.

God brings the living things that are symbolically from Adam to him to see what he will call them. God is having Adam do the very thing He did each day of creation in Chapter 1. God created and named. Now, Moses has used wordplay to show that all things are symbolically from Adam and God is having Adam name the things that are symbolically from him. Whatever he would call a living creature, that was its name. After naming everything, Adam did not find a helper suitable for himself. This is where you will hear many-a-preacher wax eloquent about how God did all this so that Adam would appreciate his wife. He might not have appreciated her if God didn’t have him go through all this, looking for a helper. I do not see that in the text, and I don’t think we should practice such narcigesis to insist that the story is here about Adam instead of God. Moses is setting Adam up as God’s direct representative and the federal head of creation. This is important for us to understand so that we know what is going on when Christ becomes the las Adam. Christ becomes the final federal head of creation and establishes the kingdom of God. The first Adam will fail in Genesis 3.

When I read this, the philosopher and logistician in me begins thinking about how all this could transpire within 24 hours. In Chapter 1, God created male and female on the sixth day. Now, we are learning that the creation of the female was quite the process. Adam had to name every beast and bird in the span of several hours. Logistically speaking, that would be a nightmare to organize. Today, there are 8.7 million different species of animal present on the earth. When materialists and evolutionists bring this logistical impossibility up, I like to pry a little by asking why they find a problem with the logistics. Do they think there were just as many species on the planet at the beginning as there are today? They have to assume that speciation does not occur in order to question the logistical possibility of the Genesis 2 account. So, it is easy to answer an evolutionist. I, however, am not an evolutionist. I am a biblicist. In Chapter 1, we read that God created according to their kinds. Though the text does not tell us exactly what “kinds” means on a biological level (that wasn’t Moses’s goal, remember), we can assume that they are also named according to their kinds by Adam. “Kinds” does not necessarily mean species or genus. We don’t know how Adam was distinguishing between different types of animals. When we make a guess, like Ken Ham and his followers at The Institute for Creation Research have done, I think we put something in the text that is not present and does not help. In fact, I think it draws our attention away from the purpose of the text—that is to set Adam up as God’s representative by having Adam do the things that God first did.

The woman represents humanity (v. 21-25)

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

God identifies something that is not good, His direct representative is alone without a helpmate, so He does something about it. If we are to be like God, I think we are to do something about the things we correctly identify as not good in this world. That is part of what it means to steward the earth. Where we see injustice, evil, unrighteousness, sin, hunger, abuse, unlawfulness, unsound and unhealthy doctrine and practice, we should do something (hopefully something good). To see something evil and to remain silent is the sin of negligence. God does not neglect to bring good to His creation, neither should we. Sometimes we are guilty of only praying or hoping someone else will do something. No. If we see a need, we should fill that need without sinning to the best or our ability.

God puts Adam to sleep, and he slept. God fashions Adam’s rib into a woman. Beasts and birds were symbolically from the man. Woman is literally from the man. Notice the parallelism here between Chapters 1 and 2. In Chapter 1, the beasts and birds were created according to their kinds while humanity was created according to God’s kind. In Chapter 2, the beasts and birds are symbolically out of Adam while the woman is literally out of Adam. They have the same source, but the woman is not like the beasts and birds. She is set above them like humanity is set above the rest of creation. Moses set Adam up to be God’s direct representative. He is setting the woman up to be the direct representation of humanity; He is doing so through the parallelism of his poetic form. Man and woman are together the image of God, their relationship will reflect the relationship God has with people. Paul won’t invent this idea when he writes Romans, 1 Corinthians, or Ephesians. It will not be new when Jesus speaks about it in Matthew 19. This is the claim from the beginning about the complementarian nature of man and woman.

God literally takes the woman out of Adam and brings her to him. Adam exclaims, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” This is where many careless preachers will say something like, “Adam saw her, thought she was hot, and exclaimed, ‘Woah man!’ That’s why she is called woman.” That is not what the text means, not even close. Considering Moses’s parallelism, we read the Bible in context. The woman is bone of Adam’s bones and flesh of his flesh. She is after Adam’s kind. What did we see in Chapter 1? Humanity was created according to God’s kind. Well, in perfect parallelism, the woman, who represents humanity, is created after Adam’s kind. Adam is the direct representative of God. Adam recognizes what God is doing and celebrates it. Finally, someone after my kind, a suitable helper! He names her woman (אשה, īssah) because she is taken out of man—in man’s image like humanity as a whole is in God’s image.

The woman’s name does not sound like “woman” in the autographical language. It sounds more like “īssah.” Here, I notice a difference between Adam’s name and the name of the woman. Adam has his name because of his nature. He was crafted from the ground, adamah, so his name is Adam. To speak of the man and Adam is to assign the same designation. Adam’s name is what he is. But the woman is specially named, here. She is called īssah because she is taken from man. Because of her special place in the sight of the man, she is given a special name.  This is how God chooses to reveal the way He perceives humanity. We are after His kind. We are special in His sight above every other creature. God is named according to His own transcendent nature, Yahweh God—one essence and three persons. Therefore Adam is named according to his nature—ground. God treasures people who are made in His image, after His kind. So, īssah is given a special name. She is the apple of Adam’s eye like people are the apple of God’s eye. Everything about creation reveals something about God because God is creating for His own glory (cf. 1:1ff).

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

For this reason, because the first man is, at this juncture in Genesis 2, the federal head of creation and God’s direct representative on the earth, a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife. Here, Moses neglects the definite article he has previously used to refer to a particular man, Adam. He know speaks generically about a man instead of the man. So, this verse applies to all men instead of only the first man. A man shall leave his father and mother because he is God’s direct representative on the earth. There comes a time when a man becomes an adult and leaves the instruction of his parents in order to fulfill his purpose as God’s representative on the earth. God does not have parents. Eventually a man must leave his parents. That does not mean he has nothing to do with them. He takes up God-intended purpose to the glory of God.

When a man leaves his parents, he is joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. God’s statement, here, is a matter of sexuality and overall relationship. We know from Chapter 1 that people are to multiply, fill the earth, and rule over creation. The becoming one flesh is how that happens. God gives children so a man and his wife can again experience what it means for someone to come into the world after their kind and know something about the natures of God and people. From the beginning, sexuality, intimacy, between a man and his wife is a good thing and to be celebrated. Sexuality is greatly abused in the world today. Basically and in its natural form, sexuality is something to be celebrated. As already mentioned, a man and woman become one flesh, yet they are two persons—painting a wonderful picture of God’s transcendent nature as trinitarian, one essence and three persons.

The man and his wife are both naked and unashamed of their exposure. They are fully exposed to each other. They are fully exposed before God. The human form is wonderful and beautiful, something to be celebrated in its natural, created state. There are many ways nudity is abused today, subject to human lusts and pornographic material. But, basically and naturally, the human form is wonderful. Again, we see that when people are rebelling against God, they first twist and abuse His institutions by loudly denying natural sexuality and abusing the human form as it was created. They try to redefine marriage so that it exalts and glorifies people and their lusts instead of God and His purpose.

At the end of this second account of creation, we see that everything is good. There is order. People are fearfully and wonderfully made, the image of God. They are exposed and unashamed, living in perfect unity and justice. The scene is set for humankind to plummet into sin, which we will begin to see next week. Why is the world the way it is today? This Genesis 2 paradise becomes a Genesis 3 world.

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