In Genesis 2:18-25, we have recorded some of the most important facts concerning the creation of the first woman, the first marriage, the purpose of marriage, and what Adam was to do in the garden. Why is this added information given to us in this book of beginnings? There is a very specific message that God wanted to communicate to us regarding the value of marriage and the family, and how this union would be successful. He is teaching us that man and woman are two specific and separate genders, and the fundamental reason why they were made by God. This first man and woman were to be joined together to become the first family unit in this new world. This reveals that marriage, and resulting families, are the most fundamental building blocks of society. Without the family, society cannot flourish or fulfill God’s divine purposes. The Scripture declares, “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam 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.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:18-25).
Why did God make the first woman? Vs. 18-20
God clearly gives us the answer to this question right here in our text. God made the first woman, because He saw that something was not good in His creation. Up to this point the Lord had said after each aspect of His creation that everything was very good. So, what had changed? God saw that it was not good for the man to be alone. He saw that Adam needed a helper, because God didn’t want him to be alone. In the same sense, it is not good for a woman to be alone either. She needs someone comparable to her, so she won’t be alone. Loneliness is something we all have had some experience with in our lives, which enables us to relate to this reasoning by God. This is why Solomon taught, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD” (Prov. 18:22). If you find a good wife or a good husband, you will experience God’s goodness in the most practical way possible. Finding a faithful husband or wife is one of the best ways to enjoy the good and satisfying life God intended for you.
The second reason God made the first woman was because all of the animals had a mate except for Adam. All of the birds, cattle, and every beast of the field had a helper comparable to them, but Adam did not. It is obvious that without a female partner there could be no children or population growth. If there was no helper comparable to Adam, then life would not have continued past the life-span of this first man. Without children there would be no human life on this planet. But, even more important, children are one of the great blessings that results from the marital union of a husband and a wife. Children are also part of what it means to be created in God’s image, as I have already written about in this commentary. Men and women created in God’s image get to be creators too. Human beings get to create just like God creates. What an amazing thing to see the DNA of a father and mother mixed together to form a new human being! As children and grandchildren are born no one has to be alone. This is why God instituted the family unit.
If you are reading this and you are not married, where should you begin to find a good marriage partner? Begin by being friendly to others, which will establish one of the most important building blocks of a good marriage. Friendship is the key to all good marriages. In the Song of Songs, Solomon’s wife said of her husband, as she counseled the young women of Jerusalem, “…Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem” (Song of Songs 5:16)! Friendship is what enables good companionship in a marriage. Solomon’s wife states it so clearly right here in this passage. So be friendly, and find a good friendship with a person of the opposite sex, and you will be taking one of the best steps to finding a good marriage partner. But, the most important part of your friendship should always revolve around spiritual issues. Why? Because your spiritual connection with someone you court is the most basic building block of a good friendship and marriage. Look for a spiritual connection with a person of the opposite sex, because that is the most important connection of friendship. This is why Solomon taught in Proverbs 12:26, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Choosing who your friends will be is a very important thing, because they will either help you or they will hinder you. They will either encourage you in your relationship with the Lord, or they will cause you to go astray. Someone who will be a person that builds you up will be the best friend you could ever have!
As a single person you may question, Why do only 50% of people who get married make it? What makes me think my marriage will make it? This is a question I asked myself as a young unmarried man. The answer is simple. Marriages fail because they do not experience the companionship that allows the oneness God speaks about in these verses. This is why I would encourage you to study the things taught here very closely, and choose wisely who you will court and marry. The first and most important issue you should consider is this; is the person you are dating a committed Christian who has offered up his or her life to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? If you miss this supreme issue, placing it low on your list of criteria, I can assure you that you won’t find the oneness and companionship you are looking for in marriage. Why do I make such a radical statement? Because after 50 years of ministry, and counseling hundreds of couples, I have come to realize that a person who is ruled by the Spirit of God is going to be less selfish and more loving than anyone else on this planet. The more loving and the less selfish you are, the more companionship you will experience. Those who lack commitment to Christ are more self-centered, which will make them very difficult to live with. That’s the bottom line! But, making the correct choice of a marriage partner is only half the equation. The other half of the equation is this; are you also a committed disciple of Jesus Christ? Remember, it takes two people to make a good marriage. So, pursue Christ with all your heart, and choose someone who is doing the same!
What did God promise Adam that He would do for him?
God declared a very specific thing that He would do for Adam; “I will make him a helper comparable to him” Gen. 2:18). The word comparable is translated help meet in the King James Version of the Bible, a helper suitable for him in the New International Version, and a counterpart in Youngs Literal Translation. The Hebrew word for comparable literally means the other side of something. This description is a word picture that can best be illustrated by two gloves that are a matched pair, or a pair of boots. It is obvious that a pair of gloves or boots have another just like it, but can only be put on one hand or one foot. They are a counterpart to the other glove or boot. They are alike, but they are also different, and can only fit the other hand or foot. They are a matched pair and the counterpart to the other. If you lose one boot, you are not going to walk around without it. You need the opposite of the matched pair. This was how God intended to help Adam. Eve became a counterpart for Adam, because there was no counterpart in the animal kingdom. This is why it is declared in verses 19-20, that God brought all of the animals to Adam, so that he could name them, and realize that there was no helper comparable to him.
When I talk to husbands and wives about God’s purpose for their marriage, some wives tell me that they don’t like this idea of being their husband’s helper. They tell me they think this is demeaning to be thought of as someone’s helper, and it makes them feel like a second-class person. However, this is why understanding the meaning of the word helper, and the fact that the word means that a wife is a counterpart, colleague, and partner with their husband is important. This usually changes a woman’s whole perspective on this concept. A counterpart is a relational term that should never be seen as something that makes a woman inferior to her husband in any way. Consider the fact that David called God his helper. In Psalm 54:4 David said, “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life.” David called the Lord his helper, for one simple reason; he needed help. Jesus also called the Holy Spirit our helper in John 14:16. Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” When Jesus was asked for His help by the man whose son was demon possessed, did He help this father (Mark 9:22)? Of course He did! Consequently, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are our helpers, because we need a lot of help! Therefore, what Adam lacked, Eve supplied. What Eve lacked, Adam supplied, because they were a matched pair, and counterparts for one another. Without this matched pair, life on this planet cannot continue. This is why I believe the whole institution of marriage is to be protected, cared for, and kept holy as God intended.
How did God create the woman? Vs. 21-23
Now how did God create woman? Notice in verse 21-23 it declares, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam 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.’” Now, when non-Christians read this account, they think that this is just an allegory or a myth. This is not scientifically plausible. Even some believers may think the same way, not having reasoned through these verses. So, let’s consider this account.
First, there is no figurative or allegoric language used in this text whatsoever, so you must take this account literally. Second, is it a big deal for the God who spoke our world, our solar system, and the entire universe into existence to do this simple work of putting Adam to sleep and performing this act? If surgeons today can put their patients to sleep and perform surgery to help and benefit them, why couldn’t our God do the same thing? Do you think that God putting Adam to sleep, and doing the surgery on him, and then making a woman out of his flesh and bone sounds unscientific? Our DNA is held within every cell of our bodies. If a husband mixes his DNA together with his wife’s, a whole new person is created. It happens hundreds of thousands of times a day. God could have created the woman out of the ground and out of the dust like He did with Adam. He created the animals out of the dust as well. But He chose not to do that with Eve. God chose to make the woman out of the man. So why create the woman out of the DNA of the man? I personally believe it was so Adam would realize that she was just like him. This is exactly what Adam proclaimed when He saw her. He declared of Eve, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen. 2:23). This would make her a true counterpart to the man, and convince Adam that she was his equal.
One last thought on this idea of God putting Adam to sleep. Do you realize that this account of Adam being put into a deep sleep is what inspired Sir James Simpson to experiment with the use of chloroform in 1847? He even used chloroform when he performed surgery on Queen Victoria, making him the father of modern anesthesiology. Sir James Simpson did his research because of this account in Genesis. He noted that if God could put Adam to sleep, would it be possible to put people to sleep, and save them the pain of invasive surgery? He took the known substance of chloroform and began testing it. He obviously didn’t think that this story in Genesis was unscientific or just a myth. He went on to change medicine for the better because of a simple story in Genesis. This changed surgery forever, when at that time, all people had for dealing with pain was to bite down on a stick when their leg was being amputated, or when they were having some other invasive surgery.
Did God really use a rib to make Eve?
Scripture declares, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam 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” (Gen. 2:21-23). The word ribs in this passage literally means side. In fact, the majority of times that this word is used in the Old Testament, it is translated as the side of a building, or the planks used as siding on a building. So actually, God took out of Adam’s side blood and bone in order to make the woman. Again, this is why Adam declares “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” because literally that is what happened. God opened up Adam’s side and He took blood and bone out of him, and made the woman. This is a very scientific act to do on the part of God. Why do I say this? Today we know that all of the genetic material needed to clone a human being is in every cell of your body. God took that genetic material from Adam and changed it just a little, and made a woman. This was to remind Adam that he was more similar to his wife than he was different from her. There is an inseparable unity and connection between men and women, as Paul acknowledged when he taught, “Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God” (1 Cor. 11:11-12). In marriage, a man and woman come back to their truest unity in becoming one flesh!
It is also interesting that the church, the bride of Christ, was purchased from the blood that flowed from the side of our Savior. Paul declares this fact when he quoted from our text here in Genesis and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:31-32). Marriage is a picture of our relationship with Christ as His body. Even Jesus refers to this passage in Genesis when He taught on marriage in Matthew 19:4-6. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Note that Jesus did not believe that Adam and Eve were an allegory or myth that someone made up. Jesus believed that these two people were real individuals.
Why is marriage so fundamental? Vs. 24-25
The text here in Genesis now turns to the topic of marriage in verses 24-25. Why? There are several reasons which are revealed in other verses of Scripture.
Marriage and family are addressed in this place in Scripture for a very important reason.
I believe that the marriage between Adam and Eve is catalogued here at the beginning of Scripture, because it is the most fundamental building block of society. Marriage is given this supreme position in Scripture above every other human institution. Marriage is placed before human government or any legal justice system being instituted, or any other aspect of society. This reveals how foundational marriage and family are for our world. A society and culture will rise and fall because of its views on monogamous marriage. Joseph Unwin, an English sociologist who studied and wrote about marriage in the 1930s, found this to be a fact of history. He studied the last 5000 years of recorded history and over 80 civilizations of man, and he found that every civilization grew and increased for one specific reason. He also found that every civilization decreased and decayed for the very same reason. This one reason was a society’s view of monogamous marriage. In all 80 civilizations, if a society honored monogamous marriage, it increased and grew, but if people rejected this aspect of marriage, that culture slowly died. This is why I say to you that monogamous marriage and the family are the most fundamental building block of society. Listen to Joseph Unwin and his conclusions from the evidence he found.
“The evidence was such as to demand a complete revision of my personal philosophy; for the relationship between the factors seemed to be so close, that, if we know what sexual regulations a society has adopted, we can prophesy accurately the pattern of its cultural behavior….
Now it is an extraordinary fact that in the past, sexual opportunity has only been reduced to a minimum by the fortuitous adoption of an institution I call absolute monogamy. This type of marriage has been adopted by different societies, in different places, and at different times. Thousands of years and thousands of miles separate the events; and there is no apparent connection between them. In human records, there is no case of an absolutely monogamous society failing to display great [cultural] energy. I do not know of a case on which great energy has been displayed by a society that has not been absolutely monogamous….
If, during or just after a period of [cultural] expansion, a society modifies its sexual regulations, and a new generation is born into a less rigorous [less monogamous] tradition, its energy decreases…. If it comes into contact with a more vigorous society, it is deprived of its sovereignty, and possibly conquered in its turn.
It seems to follow that we can make a society behave in any manner we like, if we are permitted to give it such sexual regulations as will produce the behavior we desire. The results should begin to emerge in the third generation. Joseph Daniel Unwin, Ph.D., “Sexual Regulations and Cultural Behavior,” address given to the Medical Section of the British Psychological Society. (Library of Congress No., HQ12.U52)
It seems very clear to Joseph Unwin, that there is a clear connection with a nation’s sexual morals and the success of that society. Therefore, if a people or nation rejects God’s ordained plan for mankind, it will suffer the consequences! This is why the Prophet Malachi warned the Jewish people saying, “Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, for Judah has profaned the LORD'S holy institution which He loves: He has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, being awake and aware, yet who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts! And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. ‘For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously’” (Mal. 2:11-16). Notice that God tells His people that they have profaned His holy institution of marriage by marrying those who did not believe in the God of Israel, by being unfaithful to their spouses, and because they divorced their mates for selfish reasons. God tells His people they have destroyed the purpose of marriage.
Today our society is at the very same place as in Malachi’s time. Our country and the nations around the world are rejecting monogamous marriage for living together, legalizing same-sex marriage, and seeking total sexual freedom to do whatever lusts they have. These behaviors are tampering with God’s holy institution of marriage. Today married heterosexual couples are now in the minority in the United States. Marriage rates have fallen from 12.0 per thousand in 1930, to 5.1 per thousand of population in 2020. Today over 42% of all children are born to unmarried women. In the 2010 census, it was revealed for the first time in the history of United States that there were more people living together out of wedlock, than were married. So, the trend is very clear. People are rejecting marriage for cohabitation or homosexual relationships. God’s judgment will come upon our nation just as it did with Israel, and just as it did to all of the civilizations that Joseph Unwin studied. May you take this warning to heart and share this message with others.
What is God’s divine purpose for marriage?
God has ordained marriage for very important reasons. Here in our text in Genesis, God declared that it was not good for Adam to be alone (Gen. 2:18). God then made Eve and brought her to Adam to form the first marriage. In the previous passage I just quoted in Malachi, God gave two more reasons for ordaining marriage. He declared that the covenant of marriage was to bring forth true companionship. God declared that a wife should be cared for because, “she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Mal. 2:14). Second, in the next verse God declared why He makes two people one, because “He seeks godly offspring” (Mal. 2:15). These are the most important reasons why God has created marriage.
It is interesting that the Hebrew word for companion in Malachi 2:14 literally means on whom you are knit together with. This is a word picture for how God takes two people and unites them together. Each of you have seen someone knitting a sweater or an afgan at some time in your life. It is the process of one stitch at a time, taking yarn and intertwining it together to become one. This is exactly what God described in Genesis 2:24-25. God said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” God gives very clear commands in this passage. A man is to leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The Hebrew word for leave is a very strong word meaning to forsake, leave behind, or abandon. The word joined is equally a strong word, meaning to follow hard after, cling to, or to be stuck together with glue. If you want to find true companionship with your spouse, then you must obey God’s commands. You must forsake the control of your previous family unit and form a new family that is stuck together like glue. One of the great problems in marriage today is the influence of in-laws within a new marriage. God, knowing this potential problem, guides couples to avoid this pitfall. If you would like to read more on the pitfalls of allowing in-laws to influence your marriage read my article on this topic: https://www.covenantkeepers.org/online-articles/47-general-marital-issues/345-dealing-with-in-laws
In addition, the idea of a covenant between a man and woman who marry is equally important to the success of a marriage. When you stand before God and make a pledge of love and commitment to your spouse, you are making a covenant before God, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, so long as you both shall live. You are making a covenant to be your mate’s companion for life. This is the ultimate purpose of marriage. Your responsibility is to be the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, communicative, recreational, parental, and sexual companion for your mate. This is the covenant and promise you have made for what kind of a companion you will be for your spouse. When people are young and thinking of marriage, they think oneness is just about sex. But that is only one aspect of companionship in marriage. When a person is one-dimensional like this about marriage, it causes problems in the relationship because the other areas of companionship will not be met. Therefore, don’t wait for your mate to become your companion in all areas of your relationship; no, you be the one to step forward first to meet your mate’s needs for companionship.
If you are not yet married at this time, these are the issues you should be thinking about. Do you have multi-dimensional companionship with the person you are courting? Do you connect with them spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, communicatively, and recreationally? Are you staying sexually abstinent in your relationship? Is there constant sexual pressure from your partner to compromise your morals? If you are in the dating or courting process, I would encourage you to read my article entitled, “Issues to consider before choosing a mate.” You can find this article at: https://www.covenantkeepers.org/online-articles/48-pre-marital-helps/369-issues-to-consider-before-choosing-a-mate In addition, I also have several audio studies on many different singles topics that are also available to help you at: https://calvarychapelag.libsyn.com/biblestudies/category/Singles+Ministry
Naked and unashamed.
In verse 25, the chapter concludes with, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” This is a passage that describes the innocence of Adam and Eve before the fall. The word ashamed is always something that results from sin and guilt. The reason they were not ashamed is because there was no guilt because they were innocent and had not yet sinned. Note that I didn’t say that they were righteous. They were innocent before God. There is a big difference between the two designations. Innocence was their state before sin. Righteousness is only imparted to men because of their faith in God as with Abraham, and in our case, only after we put our faith in the work of Christ’s death and resurrection (Gen 15:6; Rom. 3:21-22).
Before I came to faith in Christ, I was not innocent, because I have a sin nature, and because of the sins I had committed. God declared me righteous only after I put my faith in Jesus. Adam and Eve were innocent, because they had never sinned, and had no concept of sin. This was the perfect setting for this first marriage. In addition, you must remember that there were no other people around either. The Garden of Eden was a place of extraordinary beauty, a place of bounty, and a place completely unmarred by sin and its corrupting and heartbreaking effects. It was a place of marital intimacy, and of total intimacy with their Creator God. It was all good from God’s perspective and a place enjoyed by Adam and Eve. Nothing could have been better. This is why the Scripture declared, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
However, can being naked ever be shameful? Yes, it can. You can find plenty of examples in Scripture where nakedness is disgraceful and abhorrent. Consider a few of these examples. In Genesis 9:22 it says, “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.” Seeing the nakedness of Noah by his son brought grave consequences upon his family. We are also told in Leviticus 18:6 that, “None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the Lord.” Again, this verse reveals that this behavior is shameful for any family member to purposely engage in. In Habakkuk 2:15 the Prophet declared, “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness.” In other words, God is prohibiting someone from getting another person drunk, so that they might take advantage of them sexually. These verses and others are also why the viewing of pornography should not be engaged in, even by a married couple. The only time there is no shame in seeing the nakedness of another is when those two people are married. The only other exception for others seeing a person’s nakedness would be for a medical procedure being done. Obviously, a medical procedure would negate any purely voyeuristic or sexual motivation on the part of the medical personnel. Each of these biblical examples should bring insight and warning to all who read these words.