By Sam E. Stone
“First Things” is the theme that ties this quarter’s lessons together, using excerpts from both Genesis and Exodus. We will see not only the first days of creation, but also how God formed his people Israel as the first nation, and then how their first freedom came about.
Moses wrote Genesis. Inspired by God, he recorded things that only the Creator could know. Because of this, Scripture gives the only definitive account of creation. Each day is described in Genesis 1. Today’s text provides more details about what happened on the sixth day, when the Lord created land animals and the first humans (1:24-31). It explains in particular God’s relation to men and women. At each step of creation a single refrain was heard: “And God saw that it was good” (vv. 10; 12, 18, 21, 25). The Lord declared, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over . . . all the creatures that move along the ground” (v. 26). The entire creation process is described as “very good” (v. 31).
God made a striking observation, however. One thing was not good! “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Woman can provide the perfect counterpoint for man. She can meet his physical, emotional, and social needs, as he can hers. Together they are able to reproduce and carry out their responsibilities in the world.
God placed Adam in charge of all the animals. Naming them was his first duty. James E. Smith points out that this process “enabled man to (1) exercise the gifts of language and reason, (2) manifest his sovereignty over the inferior creatures, and (3) discover for himself his loneliness. . . . Adam saw clearly that for him there was no suitable helper among the animals” (2:20).
E. F. Kevan notes that here Adam becomes truly a proper name. “‘The man’ is now seen developing the latent personality which is himself. The narrative shows the personality of Adam in contrast with the non-personal animals.” This also helped stir within him the desire for human and personal companionship.
The Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. God was both the anesthesiologist and the surgeon in removing a rib from which to make Eve. Although Adam had been made from the dust of the earth, Eve was made from Adam’s side (1 Corinthians 11:8). When Adam awoke, God brought the woman he had made to him. Adam did not complain about his missing rib. Instead he experienced a new sense of completeness with this perfect companion that the Lord had provided for him. “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” Adam was both joyful and astonished upon seeing his new helper and companion.
C. F. Keil wrote, “She was formed for an inseparable unity and fellowship of life with the man, and the mode of her creation was to lay the actual foundation for the moral ordinance of marriage.” The apostle Paul uses the marriage relationship to show the fellowship of love and life that exists between the Lord and his church (Ephesians 5:32).
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Jesus applied this divine directive when speaking of marriage (Matthew 19:5). This is God’s plan (Luke 17:27). Marriage is to be monogamous. Instead of remaining under the protective custody of his parents, a man leaves them in order to establish a new family unit with his wife. Ronald Youngblood adds, “Together they were to form an inseparable union, of which ‘one flesh’ is both a sign and an
Adam and Eve were completely innocent at this time. Sin brought shame. Shame comes from a guilty heart. “Shame entered first with sin, which destroyed the normal relation of the spirit to the body, exciting tendencies and lusts which warred against the soul, and turning the sacred ordinance of God into sensual impulses and the lust of the flesh” (Keil).
Many marriage ceremonies include the well-known words of Matthew Henry. Speaking of Eve he observed, “She was not made out of his head, to rule over him; nor out of his feet, to be trampled on by him; but out of his side, to be equal with him; under his arm, to be protected; and near his heart, to be loved.”
Sam E. Stone is the former editor of Christian Standard. He continues his writing and speaking ministry from his home in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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