Posted by: Ety W. | July 12, 2008

Genesis 2 – Filling in The Details

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Continuing in our look at the first marriage, we’ve seen that Genesis chapter one gives us an overview of creation, while chapter two begins to fill in the details. Chronologically, Genesis chapter 2 fits in between various verses of Genesis 1. In looking specifically at the creation of man and woman, we read in chapter one:

Then God said,”Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gen. 1:26-27 (NASB)

How were they created? In God’s image. Much speculation is made about the word “image”. I can’t add anything to that debate, but I was interested in the definition from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Likeness – Strong’s 6754 – צלם – tselem = from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (fig) illusion, resemblance. Hence, a representative figure, especially an idol.

Remembering from last time that “man” used in these verses refers to the human race, we see that God created representatives of Himself in male and female forms. At this point, nothing else distinguishes them.

The other thing we see from these verses is God expected of them. According to verse 28,

And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule ….. Gen. 1:28a (NASB)

They were:

1. To be fruitful and multiply – this was also give to all the creatures of the earth

2. To rule over the earth – as the dominant species, this was given to them alone

In chapter two we get a few more details.

How were they created as male and female? Gen. 2:7-22 answers that. Rather than write out these verses, I’ll refer you to your own Bible, or to this site, where you can read it online in your preferred translation.

We can ask these verses the “how” of their creation and make a list of the order of events:

1. God formed man (the male) from the earth (v 7)

2. God created the garden for him (v 8 )

3. God allowed man to look among all the animals for a suitable companion (v 18-20)

4. God created woman from the man’s flesh as his perfect companion (v21-22)

Why did He create woman out of man’s body rather than from the dust of the ground as He did man? Because they are literally of one flesh. Even though the Lord created all the animals from the earth, only woman was of the man’s kind.

Verses 2:18 & 20 also use the term “helper suitable” or “help meet” (KJV) to describe woman.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” And 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. Gen. 2:18-20 (NASB)

Help – Strong’s 5828 – עזר – ezer = aid

Meet – Strong’s 5048 – נגד – neged = in front of, part opposite; specifically a counterpart or mate; corresponding to, parallel to, suitable

Woman was a counterpart to aid man. With what?

1. Being fruitful, multiplying, and filling the earth.

2. Ruling over the earth

These are things man cannot do alone.

Why didn’t He create male and female simultaneously? My opinion is based on chapter 2 verses 18 – 20, because in context, Adam was naming the animals to see if he could find a suitable companion. God was the observer of Adam’s reactions. For some reason, Adam had to see for himself that there was no suitable companion amongst the animals. Woman alone was his equal.

Next, Leaving and Cleaving.


Responses

  1. Ety – you really do a great job on these detailed posts. I get so impatient doing mine, I just want to spit it all out at one time. Thank you for being so thorough and patient. Your attention to detail really teaches me a lot!

    Laura

    Thanks for pointing out that Help Meet is two words – not one noun. “Helpmeet” is a Christianese pet peeve of mine. 🙂

    Husband and I joke that it’s what Adam must have said when he was hungry …. “Help! Meat!”

  2. Good post. Very interesting. I found the explanation of “meet” particularly helpful. I look forward to the next installment!

  3. Laura, I tend to be impatient too. But the more carefully I go in my own study, the more interesting it becomes.

    Thank you Razzler!

  4. Laura,
    I am impatient too which leads to some notorious rambling…

    Ety,
    I only recently started thinking about the reasons why God took Eve out of Adam’s side.
    Most teaching I’ve heard on this account of Adam and Eve’s creation assumes that Eve was created from Adam, to be in subjection to Adam. I think that’s what Calvin taught. ( I won’t go into what I think about that)

    The translation “Helper Suitable” is my favorite. It seems to convey the meaning a lot better than help meet, which is so easily converted into helpmate.

  5. I’m not sure who first came up with that idea, but it definitely appeals more to men it seems. But really, if the first man and woman were perfect, and in perfect harmony with God and His creation, then everything they would have done would have been perfect. There was no need for subjection until after the Fall!

    I like “helper suitable” too. 🙂


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