The Awesome Identity of Woman

In a world of identify confusion, it is worth a few moments to consider that Eve was created to be a suitable helper to Adam. Let’s see what this means by considering Genesis 2:18-25.

At the end of each creative day, God observed that it was good. Then we are surprised by It is not good! Adam, as he was, was incomplete. The creation of human was incomplete. Man lacked a counterpart, a suitable or complementary companion. He needed someone with whom to share all of himself. Of course, God never intended for man to be alone. It would seem that the reason for creating Adam first was to teach a very important lesson to him and all of us. It was a sort of premarital counseling, a preparation for marriage that lead Adam to realize the awesome value of the woman he was about to be united with.

In v. 19 before God created the woman as a companion he gives Adam an assignment. Whenever you see such a disjunctive in a passage of Scripture it is good to ask what the purpose is. Here we have planned pause to enable Adam to see and appreciate the companion God was about to create for him. Can you imagine Adam as he considers all the land animals as the pass before him. He watches the interaction between them and as he does, it begins to dawn on him that there is no one like unto himself. This task besides indicating a position of authority caused Adam to be observe the similarities and differences between species. I am sure it did not take long for Adam to notice that all the animals had a companion, and were created as male and female, made for each other. Adam, however, did not have a suitable or compatible counterpart. He felt the loneliness, the lack of companionship, the need for someone like him. Then, God anesthetized Adam and formed the woman. Note, he did not fashion her from the elements of the ground, as He did for all the animals and even Adam himself.

The two key words which give shape to her identity are suitable and helper. Let’s consider each word.

Suitable. A counterpart to him, literally, translate a front or over against. That is she is a matching opposite. The Hebrew word has the idea of things that are set opposite to each other to be compare or complement each other. The concept of being alike here is not in the sense of being identical, but rather of being compatible or complementary. Man and woman were created different not only in their bodies, but also in their emotional and personality traits (more of this at the conclusion)..

Helper: A helper or one who enhances. This should not be considered alone, but a function of the qualifier “suitable” which expresses the concept of a complementary counterpart. The design of God it can be seen is that the woman is a complementary counterpart to the man. This design included not only in her physical and emotional makeup, but also in her function. This, of course, is reciprocal. She was created to supply him with the help and the companionship he needed, but he was also to minister to her.  This role as a helper should not be seen as a sign of inferiority to man. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a simple study of the Scriptures will reveal an abundance of passages where this word applies to God who is praised for being a helper to humans. God is the helper of Israel (Deut. 33:29), a helper who cannot be substituted by anyone else (2 Kings 6:27). He is the helper of the orphan and of those in need (Psa. 10:14; 30:10; 33:20; 40:17; 46:1).  Those who trust in Him and on his help are said to be blessed (146:5). In the New Testament, Jesus uses the word “helper” to refer to the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7). Jesus regarded himself as a helper as well. When He promised to send the Holy Spirit, He referred to the Spirit as another helper (John 14:16-17). See also: Heb. 13:6. In a sense, then, in her office of helper, the woman has the opportunity to fulfill a God-given ministry that is very similar to Jesus’ ministry to the Church—little wonder the church is spoken of as the bride of Christ.

There is no meaning of superiority or inferiority implied in this verse. Rather, there is a strong complementary meaning that would indicate equality in their value. Man was incomplete without his counterpart. She is not an add-on to man. She is not a mere addition to him to complete him. She is the image bearer of God as he, only a counterpart, a complementary being, having in her what he does not have in himself. She is in need of him to flesh out what she does not have herself. Hence the two form a unit, become one flesh..

One further thought that represents my opinion regarding this awesome creation. As I wrestle with this text it appears to me that what God did was to take half of the being he created in Adam represented by the literal rib and created a female body as the “container” to house it. Then he performed the first wedding ceremony and announced that they shall become one flesh—putting back together what he has separated. Just as their bodies were complementary and made for each other, so were their qualities of character, personality and emotions. In a fallen world that become one flesh becomes becoming one flesh.

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