And said YHWH Elohim, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make for him a helper corresponding to him.” Genesis 2:18
Helper – God is a God of order. That is one of the central themes of the creation account. Everything is done properly, without conflict and in order. So, when God says that it is not good for man to be manifest alone, He is commenting on the requirement for orderliness. Creation remains unbalanced because there is no suitable “helper” for the man. Man is designed to be a social creature. Things have to change.
Do you think that God didn’t know this before He paraded the animals in front of Adam? Of course not. God always knew that there would be a helper. That’s why the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis provides the summary remark, “created them male and female.” There was never any doubt that Havvah was an essential part of creation. So, why the parade?
God knew, but Adam didn’t. Adam had to discover for himself that there was no suitable helper for him. Why did Adam have to discover this fact? Because the rest of God’s creatures were placed under Adam’s authority and Adam had to realize that not a single creature under his authority could provide the kind of companionship that he needed. In other words, nothing that Adam had command over would fit the bill. This implies that Havvah is not part of the order under Adam’s control. When she arrives on the scene, she is not beneath him. She is not under his authority. She is not part of the animal kingdom. She is exactly equal to him. That’s why Adam exclaims, “This one is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.” In other words, this one is exactly like me.
Of course, this is what God had in mind from the beginning. There is no suggestion of a hierarchy of authority in this perfect balance. Remember this when you read those difficult passages in Paul’s letters. Paul is a Hebrew Torah scholar. What he says about man as the head (Greek – kephale) must be consistent with what the Torah says about this relationship. Since this is the basis of Paul’s argument, we better know precisely what these Torah texts say. And the first thing we recognize is that Adam is not created as the authority over Havvah. Even Adam himself recognizes her equality.
There is one other factor that must be added to this equality. Nahum Sarna points it out in his commentary on Genesis. It’s really pretty obvious. Havvah is the last of God’s creations. Sarna says that there are no other ancient creation stories that include the creation of the first woman. Hebrew is unique in this. Furthermore, the Hebrew text gives priority to the woman’s creation, spending six times more detail on this event than on the creation of adam. The creation of woman is the capstone of all God’s work, signaling that the entire plan is now complete. The creation of woman is the most important event in the whole story. Chew on that for awhile.
Topical Index: woman, creation, Havvah, ‘ezer