The Process of Forming the Woman: Part 3 of 5 (series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Not only did God recognize that solitude was not good for man (vs. 18), he also took steps to make the life of man one of joy and fulfillment. We are told here, “the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.” The “deep sleep” was a divine anesthetic administered by the Great Physician. This sleep is usually produced by a supernatural act—“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram…” (Gen 15:12; KJV). “Deep sleep” probably denotes an ecstasy or trance like the prophets experienced, when they had visions and revelations from the Lord, for the whole scene was probably visible to the mental eye of Adam, and that led to his rapturous exclamation—“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh (v. 23)”.Observe,
1. THAT ADAM WAS CREATED FIRST, THEN EVE—“For Adam was first formed, then Eve” (1 Tim 2:13; KJV). Man was made to serve as the Lord of this lower creation. He was placed in the Garden, and the woman was made from a rib taken from his side, and then she was given to him, not as a lord, but as a companion. All the circumstances combine to show the subordinate nature of her rank, and to prove that she was not designed to exert authority over the man—“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Cor 11:8-9; KJV). She was made from a rib taken from the man, and she was made for the man, which indicates her status and the reasons for the humility, modesty, silence, and submissiveness, of the female sex in general, and particularly the subjection and reverence which wives owe to their own husbands. However, man being the last of the creatures made and the best and most excellent of them all; and Eve’s being made after Adam, and out of him, puts a high honour upon that sex; since the best things are usually made last, she ranks above all the other creatures as the glory of the man — “he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man” (1 Cor 11:7; KJV). She is the honour and the ornament of man. She was made for him; she was made after he was; she was taken from him, and was "bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh." All her charm, loveliness, and purity, are therefore an expression of his honour and dignity, since all that beauty and loveliness were made from him and for him. If man is the head, she is the crown, a crown to her husband, the crown of the visible creation. The man was refined dust, but the woman was double-refined dust, one removed further from the earth.
2. THAT ADAM SLEPT WHILE HIS WIFE WAS BEING MAKING, so that no room might be left to imagine that he had in any way directed the Spirit of the Lord, or been his counselor—“Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counselor hath taught him?” (Isa. 40:13; KJV). God knows no equal nor is there anyone to whom He can go for advice. Someone has asked the rather facetious question, “What is it that you have seen that God has never seen?” The answer is very simple. God has never seen His equal. I see mine every day.
Adam had been very clear about his need for a mate; but, when God undertakes to provide him one, he does not appear concerned about the results; he lies down and sleeps sweetly like he may have cast all his care on God, with a cheerful acquiescence to his Maker’s will and wisdom. If we graciously rest in God, God will graciously work for us and do all for our good.
3. THAT “GOD CAUSED A DEEP SLEEP TO FALL UPON ADAM,” so that the opening in his side would not bring him pain; as long as he knows no sin, God will take care to insure he feels no pain. When God, by His providence, does something to His people that is harmful to flesh and blood, he not only considers their happiness in the issue, but by his grace he can so calm and compose their spirits they become comfortable under the worst circumstances.
4. That the woman was made on the sixth day, which was the same day He placed Adam in the Garden, although it is mentioned here after an account of the seventh day’s rest; but what was said in general in Genesis 1:27 that God made man MALE AND FEMALE, is more distinctly related here. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM” (Ge 1.27: KJV).
5. THAT THE SUPERNATURAL SURGEON IMMEDIATELY “TOOK ONE OF HIS RIBS, AND CLOSED UP THE FLESH INSTEAD THEREOF.” The Hebrew word
for rib is tsēla˓ and it is used elsewhere in the Old Testament to mean “side,” “wing of a building,” and a “panel.” There are those who feel it should be translated “side part,” possibly to indicate the bisexuality of man and woman. But the same word appears in Akkadian (the eastern Semitic language, now extinct, of Assyria and Babylonia), meaning rib. It probably includes the surrounding flesh (See v. 23). But it is immaterial whether we render ”tsela” a rib, or a part of his side, because it may mean either: some part of man was to be used on this occasion, but it does not matter whether it was bone or flesh; though it is likely, from verse Genesis 2:23, that a part of both was taken, for the reason that Adam, knowing how the woman was formed, said, “This is flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone.” God could have formed the woman out of the dust of the earth, as he had formed the man; but had he done so, she may have appeared in his eyes as a distinct being, to which he had no natural relation. But since God formed her out of a part of the man, he saw she had the same nature, the same identical flesh and blood, and the same configuration in all respects, and consequently having equal powers, abilities, and rights. This immediately guaranteed his affection, and excited his respect and admiration for her.
"She was not made out of his head to surpass him or from his feet to be trampled on, but from his side to be equal to him, and near his heart to be dear to him."
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
God created woman out of Adam’s rib, which had been removed from Adam’s side, in order to show that she may labor alongside of him. The absolute unity of the race in its descent from one ancestor is established in this manner, and now it is a vital doctrine of the Scriptures--“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Rom. 5:18; KJV). This is the underlying principle of the imputation of sin and the imputation of righteousness. This is the doctrine of the federal headship of the race in Adam and Christ. But along with Adam’s lofty position, the true dignity of woman-kind is guaranteed: she is not an inferior substance. She is of his bone and his flesh. The unity of the race explains why Eve did not experience spiritual death until Adam ate the fruit in Genesis 3:6.
The woman was made from a rib taken from the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, or out of his feet to trample upon him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. Adam lost a rib, but that did not decrease his strength or attractiveness (since, almost certainly, the flesh was closed without leaving a scar); but in lieu of a rib he had a companion, which more than made up for his loss. From this we learn that what God takes away from his people he will, in one way or another, restore it with benefits and improvements. In this (as in many other things) Adam was a figure of Him that was to come; because out of the side of Christ, the second Adam, his spouse the church was formed, when he slept the sleep, the deep sleep, of death upon the cross. It was there on the cross that his side was opened by a Roman spear, and there blood and water came out of the wound; blood to purchase his church and water to purify it for himself—“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:25, 26). God never asked a woman to submit to any man who doesn’t love her and love her like this. Oh, this is Christian love on a high plane. Today young people are finding out about sex, and there are innumerable books on the subject of marriage. I may sound to you like an antiquated preacher when I say that they are nonsense. Only the Christian can know what is real love in marriage, because it is carried to the high plane of the relationship between Christ and the church. There is nothing else like that, my friend. “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”—that is in the past. In the present, He is sanctifying the church with the water of the Word of God. The cleanser, which is the Bible, is better than any cleanser advertised on radio or television. The Word of God will not only take out the soiled spots, it will keep you from getting further spots in your life.