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Misplaced Instructions: Day 3

It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him.                    Genesis 2:18
But  for Adam no suitable helper was found.  
Genesis 2:20


Genesis 2 is a close-up lens concentrated on the supreme event of the Creation narrative from the perspective of the Creator: the creation of mankind. Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are two views of the same event. There are no contradictions, only complementary truths to be learned by putting these two narratives side-by-side. 

Although Genesis 1 says that mankind was made male and female, we learn in Genesis 2 that the first of mankind was of the male gender. Anyone who has read Genesis 1 remembers that God’s closing benediction at the end of each day was, “and God saw that it was good.” Man’s aloneness at the end of Day 6 was the first time God pronounced some aspect of His work “not good.”

In Genesis 2 we learn that the female was created—not simply because God wanted to try His hand at something different—but for two important purposes: companionship and completion. To misunderstand the fullness of meaning in these important words is to miss God’s original blueprint for marriage.  

Adam didn’t need a faithful horse or a good dog. Remember, he alone of all creation was made in the Divine image. God understood that Adam’s unique position also created a sense of solitude that a good horse or dog (or giraffe or alligator) could not satisfy. He needed a companion who because she shared his nature could share his life. This companion would be a helper.  

The Hebrew word is ezer, Hebrew for helper, is one who supplies strength in the area needed and neither stronger or weaker than the one helped. In the Psalms (33:20, 70:5, 115:9) God Himself is called an ezer because He comes into a situation and supplies crucially needed resources. By her nature, through her presence and through her shared likeness in the Divine image, Adam’s helper would be perfectly suited to satisfy the “aloneness” that God said was not good.

 Nancy Shirah

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