Reading Genesis 2:1-20
Did God get wrong? Did the creator who had called everything into existence who had matter to exist, and planets and stars to be, who had settled in his creating plan the very laws that would hold them in their places – Did He make a mistake? Did He overlook a crucial element his plan?
It might seem that way when you read - And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone;(v18)
In the midst of all that was going on, from the creating of the bacteria necessary for life to the burning furnaces of the stars – did the making of a partner for Adam go overlooked and forgotten? After all God declared that his creation was – “very good” 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
However, what you need to remember when you read this account is that Chapter 2 is an expansion on Chapter 1. Chapter 1 tells us that on the 6th day God made man and woman – so what we have here is a picture of Adam being alone and in need of a helpmeet. God didn’t make a mistake – His purpose and plan are progressing exactly as He had determined. Now let’s step into it -
"It is not good that man should be alone;
Firstly Note that it is God who says this
We need to note this because in revealing this, God is making a point, emphasizing a relationship, that is part of his plan - Adam is not even aware of his aloneness. He isn’t consulted for his thoughts on the matter, we read of no complaint being raised by him about his circumstances.
God tells him. "It is not good that man should be alone;
Think back to the account of creation in Chapter 1 - there is one thing God does not pronounce to be "good" when it is first made. At the end of day two, God does not pronounce the sky to be good. Yet, at the end of day six, God pronounces everything to be "very good." What happened between day two and day six that the sky becomes good?
What happened is day four and day five. What happened is the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. What happened is the creation of the birds. What happened is that an empty sky or heavens became a full sky or heavens.
The same thing can be said about the sea of day three; it went from good to very good when it became full of fish on day five. And, the same thing can be said about the land of day three; it went from good to very good when it became full of animals and man on day six.
In the same way as the sky without the sun and stars and birds is incomplete, in the same way as the sea without the fish is incomplete, in the same way as the earth without mankind and animals is incomplete, so man is incomplete without a companion. As a matter of fact, every thing mentioned in Genesis 1 - 2, with the exception of God, is in need of something else to complete it.
The more extreme women's libbers want to believe they don't need men. That they are self-sufficient. A prominent woman's libber dismisses men with this comment: "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." In other words, men are totally unnecessary. But that is not what the Bible says. Men and women need one another because they complete and complement one another.
Secondly Consider why it is not good for man to be alone
Is it not good for the man? Is it not good for the world around him? Is it not good for God? Why?
The answer depends on how we understand "aloneness."
Mostly when we use the word we think that "alone" means lonely or in need of assistance. That is, aloneness is a sign of weakness. And, weakness cries out for help. But "alone" can also mean self-sufficient and independent. That is, aloneness is a sign of strength.
If you cast your eyes back over chapter 1 you read that ten times we are told that God spoke (Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29). His first words were Let there be light, and there was light. God created everything else through speech, named a few of the things He made, pronounced the goodness of what He had made, and spoke blessings to some of what He had made. From beginning to end, the creation story of Genesis 1 is filled with speech – God's speech.
In Genesis 2, the focus has moved from God to man. However, man – created in God's image – has not yet said a word. He has been silent. No comment of any kind regarding the Garden. Nothing about his appointed task to work the Garden and take care of it. Not a word about the first command.
That word "alone" explains why the man is silent. The man is "alone." So, what need is there to speak? With whom does he speak? It’s only after the creation of woman do we hear him speak. When there is someone with whom he can talk. And this reminds us that one of the primary purposes of marriage is companionship and communication. So, I want to say to every husband and wife, there are problems if you do not talk with each other.
So, it is not good for man to be alone. Why? Let’s expand on why man’s aloneness was not good
Look at Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." - He cannot be fruitful alone. He cannot increase in number alone. He cannot fill the earth alone. And, he cannot subdue the earth alone. Ladies your creation was not an after thought in the great scheme of God. God had determined and planned it from the beginning, but the manner of your creation was different and God had a reason for that as well, which we will consider at another time.
Notice in Genesis 1:28 the word "them." "God blessed them and said to them." In other words, it isn't just men who are called to rule, fill, and subdue the earth. It isn't just men who are called to work the Garden and take care of it. Women are called to do all of this too.
Let's think about this a bit further. God's eternal plan demanded that Adam have a mate so children would be born. Children need to be born so a chosen people could be generated. A chosen people need to be generated so the Promised Seed – even Christ – would come. An Adam "alone" means no Saviour and no church and no covenant promise and no covenant sign.
Thirdly Consider How God describes what Man’s need is
Genesis 2:18 I will make him a helper comparable to him. We must understand just what God is saying here– In Hebrew, the phrase comparable to him reads literally, "in front of him," or "opposite of him," or "counterpart to him," or "boldly in front of him," or "in his face." This suggests that what God creates for Adam will correspond to him, will be like him, will be (mostly) the same as him.
What God will make provide a "helper." Now again we really need to understand this word - There are some who look at that word "helper" and come to the notion that a woman is subordinate or inferior to a man. But that is not what the word "helper" teaches. It does not teach that woman is man's subordinate, man's inferior, or man's servant. Because that word "helper" is most often used in Scripture to describe God's relationship to Israel.
The LORD God is Israel's "helper." And God certainly is not subordinate or inferior to man.
Psalm 10:4 But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.
Hebrews 13:6 So we may boldly say: "the Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
The word points to strength and wisdom. So, the woman who is truly fulfilling the role of helper to her Husband is performing a God-like function to her husband. Woman helps man subdue the earth to the glory of God. This means that a man is wrong who treats a woman as being less than him, as being inferior to him, as being subordinate to him. Men and women are equals; but, as we will find out in the next couple of weeks, this does not mean they are the same.
It is not good for man to be alone because then he has no helper. It is not good, because then man has no one who is opposite of him.
Now, a point of clarification. God observed that "It is not good for the man to be alone." This should not be taken to mean that God intends for every person to marry. Nor does it mean that single people are less complete than those who are married. While marriage is highly regarded, other Scriptures indicate that singleness is valid and must be respected. And, there are times when it is better for a man or a woman to remain single. The Lord can meet the need for relationships through friends and family and the church even if a person never marries. So, if someone single you know seems to struggle with loneliness – and this includes the never-married, the widowed, the separated, and the divorced – then make an effort to befriend that person.
Fourthly – Notice how God Brings Adam to see his need.
And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
Adam still has not grasped that he is alone and so God draws all the animals to him – And Adam, we are told, names them. He would have looked over them, noted their differences and named them. One of the things he would have noticed was that were matched, male and female, that they each had their helpers. As the Lord brought the animals before him, Adam would perhaps have begun to look for one that could be a helper to him – but from all the animal kingdom not one – only a fellow human being could be his helper – there is a vast difference between men and animals - The animals were produced by the land whereas Adam was formed by God (Gen.1:24; 2:7). None of the animals were made in the image of God (Gen.1:26-27). None of the animals were given a command to subdue the earth and rule over the earth (Gen.1:28). None of the animals were given a soul or spirit (Gen. 2:7)
A vast difference that is emphasized by the fact that Adam named the animals - He names the animals but the animals cannot name him, nor do they have right to name themselves – think back to Genesis 1
it was God who named the light "day" and the darkness "night" (Gen.1:5).
It was God Who called the expanse "sky" (Gen.1:8) and the dry ground "land" (Gen 1:10).
However in Genesis 2, it is man who does the naming. In this way, man images God. Man, like God, assigns names.
Adam looks at the animals and the birds and realizes none of them are bone of his bones or flesh or his flesh (Gen 2:23). Adam may not be alone but he is different from everything else in all of creation. So, for Adam "no suitable helper was found" (Gen 2:20).
Adam was the one who named the animals, they did not name themselves - In Genesis 1,
There is a vast difference between man and the animals -
Consider what the act of naming implies. It implies reason. It implies speech –imagine Adam saying the name of each creature out loud. It implies the ability to distinguish and combine. In other words, this first man was not a man in process. He was not the first or second link in the evolution scale. He was a fully developed human, someone like us. Saying NO, of course, to evolution. Saying NO to Charles Darwin. Saying NO to any idea of human development or change from primates to Neanderthals to humans.
To name the birds and animals is to exercise authority over them. To name the birds and animals is to fulfil God's command to rule over the earth. So, Adam was being obedient to what God said in Genesis 1 when he named the animals. He was exercising rule, authority, power, and control.
And so the ground is set for the creation of a comparable helper.
It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.(Gen 2:18).
Adam was brought to realise his need of a helper, to see that in all the wonder of God’s creation, in the midst of the diversity of the animal kingdom that there was none for him – to see his need for His heavenly Father to supply, to bring to be what there wasn’t and could never be if his heavenly Father didn’t answer his need. Adam had no final answer to his being alone. Oh he could fill his time, pass his days, but he could never answer the core need of his life – for there was no helper comparable to him.
Ultimately every man’s need can only be met by God – God provides for Adam, as we shall see next week, It is not good for man to be alone,
But man’s aloneness is by far much greater now than it was when Adam stood in the garden and named the animals – for man is now alone without God! He has turned his back on God, he has gone his own way, he has been cast out of God’s presence and God’s curse is upon him – how much greater is man’s aloneness!
How much greater is God’s mercy and grace – for He has sent His Son to draw man back, to cleanse man’s sin, to pay the price of man’s guilt. He has sent another Helper – His holy Spirit to convict – John 16:7-8 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement: and to comfort and lead into all truth – John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
Man’s needs can only be met by God! It is God who provides for man the helper that he needs, Adam could not do this. And it is God who provides the helper that man needs to be delivered from his sin cursed existence, God who sent His only begotten Son to become a man, to be the Saviour of His people, and it is the ascended glorified Saviour who sends the Holy Spirit, the comforter, the helper.