Happenings around Antioch

God made Woman

During the pandemic I watched the first two seasons of a show called “Alone.” Ten individuals are dropped off, alone, in different spots on Vancouver Island, Canada, with a limited supply of survival equipment. They must keep a fire going, find their own food, and build a reliable shelter that will protect them from the nearly constant rain and cold, and the one who can survive the longest without using their satellite phone to call for rescue, wins the prize of $500,000. The first winner made it 52 days, I believe, but what surprised me was this.  A lot of the people tapped out not because of injury or the elements or even because of hunger. They called for rescue because of loneliness. We need human fellowship.

It is the first negative statement in the Bible. God said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” The problem was lack of human community. God the Father has eternal fellowship with God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. One God in three persons. Man was created in God’s image so the plan all along was that man would also have fellowship. First and most importantly with God, but second and also vital, with other people. We see from this foundational text about our need for human companionship that animals are not a substitute. God shows Adam that important truth by initiating an awareness program, if you will. God will make a perfect companion for Adam but first he brings every animal and every bird to him to see what he would name them. Can you imagine? And we know that Adam wasn’t just going through a book of names that God had loaned him, starting with the A’s: “Aardvark, Ant, Antelope.” No, it took time and thought and Adam had to study the creature, as Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzsch pointed out, which led to “a deep and direct insight into the nature of the animals.” At one point Adam may have said, “A wonderful bird is the Pelican, His bill will hold more than his belican.” Sorry, Dixon Merritt actually said that in a poem.

As Adam named the animals, he became more and more aware that there were none like him. Ladies, you may think your husband is more sloth or ape or playful otter than human, but he is not. He is the man God made for you. The other thing Adam saw as he observed the birds and animals was that they had companionship that he lacked. Maybe he envied Mr. and Mrs. Chimpanzee and Mr. and Mrs. Cockatoo as they cuddled and cooed. And it is reasonable to assume that Adam began to long for someone like him, but not like him. Kent Hughes writes, “God was preparing him to value his helper.” Man’s need leads us to God’s supply.

God said, “I will make a helper fit for him.” The first thing we see here is that God is the solution to our loneliness. God is the great problem solver. God is the initiator whom we can and must absolutely trust. The second thing we must see here is the fullness and the power of the word “helper.” God said he would make a helper for Adam and the word is ezer in Hebrew. It means “one who supplies strength in the area that is lacking.” It does not imply someone who is stronger or weaker. In fact, the same word is used to refer to God in many places, including 1 Samuel 7 where God helped Israel defeat the Philistines and so Samuel set up a stone and called it Ebenezer, “stone of help.” Perhaps the most familiar verse is Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

The third thing we must understand is that God made woman “fit for man.” The word there means, “corresponding to; matching but not like.” There is relative difference but essential equality. Kent Hughes writes that when Adam first laid eyes on Eve, “He saw her as a mirror of himself, with some very agreeable differences!”

We know that trouble came to paradise through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, but before that they lived as God intended. “The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” There was no shame. There was innocent delight in one another and in God. The first marriage did what God calls all marriages to do: it put on display the relationship that God has with his people. Paul wrote, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Marriage is a picture of how Christ and his bride relate.