Monday, April 2, 2018

Genesis 2:18-23 Humans Created for Relationships

KEY TEXT: Genesis 2:18-23 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 

KEY THOT: On the sixth day, after God has created the first human couple, He declared that everything He has made was "good" and "very good". But while in the process of making Adam, he declared that it was "not good" that Adam should be alone (2:18). This is not a declaration of imperfection in Adam but of Adam's basic need for relationship as a "living soul" (2:7, KJV). As Adam was created in the image of a God who is in community as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, so Adam was also created for community. So, it was "not good" that Adam should be alone, without any relationship. He needed a "helper fit for him" (v.18). 

Initially, God brought the animals to see if Adam could find companionship in these creatures. But for Adam, "there was not found a helper fit for him" (v.20). So, God then caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and took out one of his ribs to form Eve and brought her to him. Adam was ecstatic. Unlike the animals, Eve shares God's image, having been made out of Adam. This means that she was able to become not just Adam's help-mate but also Adam's soul-mate. 

With Eve as his soul-mate and help-mate, Adam was in community. As relational beings, we are not meant to live in isolation from others. But marriage is not the only solution for our needs for relationships. For singles who are yet unmarried, there are other ways to companionship apart from marriage: the family, the church and the larger community can also fulfill this basic need in all humans for close relationships. And of course, there is that intimacy with God that we must cultivate, without which we will always feel lonely and alienated from others. 

The marital relationship is just one of many forms of relationships. It is temporal and temporary. Jesus himself has said that in the resurrection, there will be no marriage: "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven" (Matthew 22:30).

The more important relationship that we must cultivate that will last into eternity is the relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ with God as our Father and Jesus as the Firstborn. In fact, Jesus put this relationship higher than even the natural family. Once, when he was told that his mother and brothers were asking to speak to him, he replied: "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?"  And then stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:48-50).

Jesus suggests that we need the larger community of God's family to fulfill His Father's will and purpose for this earth. Companions are needed not just to meet our own individual needs but also to meet the needs of the world within God's larger vision for His kingdom.

If we are unmarried, we don't have to feel alone or lonely: God has provided the Body of Christ as the place where we can cultivate deep relationships that will meet our need for companionship and community. Even if we are married, we still need the community of God's people to keep our family healthy and outwardly focused. Some couples try to find their need for community within their family alone. But this can be putting too much strain on family members to meet our differing needs for a soul-mate, a help-mate, a mind-mate and even a play-mate. Our individual need for companionship in the four areas may not be always be met in our spouse and children--we will need the larger community of God's people to fulfill our relational needs. 

To be honest, there are many spouses who still feel lonely and alienated despite being married. While marriage is one form of God-given relationship to meet our basic need for companionship, it is not everything--we need to be part of a larger community to be completely fulfilled so we won't be lonely. And all these relationships must have its foundation in the most important relationship of all--our relationship with Christ as our Bridegroom.

Abba-Father, thank You that You have created marriage to meet our need for companionship. But You have also created the Body of Christ to meet our needs for a companionship in the larger mission of life. Thank You for Your provision. Amen.

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