The Process of Forming the Woman: Part 4 of 5 (series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
God identified Himself as a “Helper” to Israel in Deuteronomy 33:7. The word does not imply inferiority. It describes function rather than worth. No one loses value in humbly assuming the role of helper. As a “helper” to the man, the woman became his partner spiritually in the overwhelming task of obedience to God and dominion over the earth. She was also to be a vital part of populating the world—“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen 1:28; KJV). The woman, as man’s ultimate friend, would bring him comfort and fellowship. No one else could encourage and inspire him as she was created to do. She was designed to be the perfect counterpart for the man, and she was neither inferior nor superior, but she was like him and equal to the man in her personhood while different and unique in her function.
Man and woman were both created in God’s image. Just as man was formed from earth, woman was formed from man. She corresponds perfectly to the man, the same flesh and blood, and in “the image of God” just as the man, equal to him in every way. By the creative act itself, she is inseparably linked to the man. The unity of the race is assured (Gen. 1:27, 28); the woman’s dignity and worth is affirmed (Gen. 2:22); the foundation for Christian marriage is set forth in a memorable way— “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2.24).
The woman was not an afterthought. The man was designed and created physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually with her coming creation planned and assured. In fact, God said that the man “alone” was not good; he needed the woman (v. 2.18). God made man from “the dust of the ground,” but He made the woman from “the rib” of the man.
God “brought her unto the man.” God performed the first marriage; He sanctified and blessed the first home and the first family. Jesus interpreted this event in Matthew 19:6: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Believe me, Eve was beautiful. Any woman today who is beautiful inherited it originally from mother Eve. There is no beauty that she did not have. She was a doll, let me tell you! And she was the other half of Adam.
23 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.
And Adam said,
When God brought the woman to Adam, 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.”
This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:
Marriage is honorable, but this must have been the most honorable marriage that there ever was, because God had a hand in it all along. Marriages (they say) are made in heaven: this one in particular surely was, for the reason that the man and the woman were brought together by God; He made them both, and now, by decree, He made them one. This was a marriage made in perfect innocence, a situation that could never be repeated. God, as her Father, brought the woman to the man; she is his second self, and a help-meet. After He had made her, He did not leave her to find her own way; she was His child, and she must not marry without His consent. Probably it was revealed to Adam in a vision, while he was asleep, that this lovely creature that is now presented to him, was a piece of him, and was to be his companion and wife. Adam received her from God, who was also his Father, and then he said “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; now I have what I wanted, a help meet for me, which is something I could not find among God’s creatures.’’ God’s gifts to us should be received with a humble thankful acknowledgment of his act of kindness in bestowing them on us.
This is the Hebrew expression that is commonly employed to indicate family kinship—“And Laban said to him, "Surely you are my bone and my flesh." And he stayed with him for a month” (Gen 29:14; NKJV). The meaning is: formed from the same parents, or from the same family. The bones and the flesh have the same source. This is a metaphor, except in the case of Adam, because the first man could use this phrase in the full sense of the words, including their literal connotation, since the woman was actually bone of his bones
and flesh of his flesh!
she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
He gave her a name as a gesture of his acceptance of her; or perhaps it was not particularly for her, but for her sex in general. The word for “Woman” in the Hebrew language is very similar to the word for “Man.” The word for man is ish, and the word for woman is ishshah, a she-man, differing from man in sex only, not in nature—made of man, and joined to man. She is the other part of man and is to answer to him. God intended man to take the lead—He created him first—and He created woman to follow. The man is the aggressor—God made him that way even physically—and woman is the responder. Do not tell me that a wife has to love her husband. God does not say that. God says that she is to respond to him. If he says to her, “I love you,” then she is going to say right back to him, “I love you.” When a man tells me, “My wife is very cold,” that is a dead giveaway that he is not really the kind of husband he should be. If he is the right kind of husband, she will respond, because he is the one that should take the lead.
Woman has been defined by many as a composite of woman and man, as if she is man's wo because she tempted him to eat the forbidden fruit; but this is not the meaning of the original word, since the transgression had not yet been committed. The truth is, our term is a proper and literal translation of the original, and we may thank the discernment of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors for translating it correctly. The Anglo-Saxon word, of which woman is a contraction, means the man with the womb. A very appropriate version of the Hebrew ishshah is rendered by terms which signify she-man. Hence we see that Adam's observation is appropriate: This creature is flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bones; therefore shall she be called WOMB-MAN, or female man, because she was taken out of man. Others derive it from the Anglo-Saxon words for man's wife or she-man. Either may be proper, but the first seems the most likely.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother,
Verse 24 gives the goal of marriage, based upon the unity expressed in verses 22 and 23. The creation of Adam and Eve teaches us a great deal about the marriage relationship:
1. Marriage was instituted by God, not by man; it follows then, that God’s Word must give us the proper guidelines.
2. Marriage was, and should always be, monogamous; God gave Adam only one wife.
3. Marriage is to be heterosexual; homosexuality does not have any justification in the light of biblical revelation.
4. The husband and wife are to be unified physically and spiritually. The man is to “leave his father and his mother.” This would normally imply leaving them physically and emotionally to become, literally, “glued to his wife.” This implies the permanency of marriage.
5. The husband is to be the head of the wife. The reason is that Adam was created before Eve—“And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Tim 2:12-13; NKJV); and Eve was created as a helper for him. The relationship exists because God instituted it, not because men are superior.
The marriage covenant has three parts, which are all found in this verse:
1. TO “LEAVE FATHER AND MOTHER,” which is a reference to the wedding ceremony or time of public commitment?
2. TO “BE JOINED,” suggesting tender affection and faithful commitment in a permanent relationship of growing and maturing love.
3. TO “BECOME ONE FLESH” in physical union, which suggests the deepest and most exclusive intimacy?
Note, the verbs translated “leave” and “be joined to” are used elsewhere in Scripture to describe covenant relationships (see Deut. 4:4, Jer. 1:16).
God’ plan for marriage is introduced here for the first time, but it is repeated in the Gospels (Matt. 19:5) and in the Epistles (Eph. 5:31). Marriage was perfect when it was established: one man and one woman (both innocent) in a lifetime commitment, for the preservation of the world of mankind. The Sabbath was also instituted in innocence, for the preservation of the church.
God never intended for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). The very bone from which woman was crafted came from man (Gen. 2:23). Woman was taken out of man, and then presented to man in order to complete him. God created the man and the woman in His image (Gen. 1:26) with physical and emotional needs that only another human being could meet (Gen. 2:18).