Made For More
“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, 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 cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he 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; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.’” (Genesis 2:18-23)
The most fascinating aspect of the creation stories to me is the creation of humanity. We recognize that humans are the pinnacle of creation in the Genesis 1 telling. They crown creation as the last things made, and they are made together, male and female. Genesis 2 tells a different story, with the man being made first. Adam walked the world with God, until God planted a Garden in Eden and put him there to till it and keep it. Our Scripture above picks up the story at this point.
What caused God to declare that “it is not good for man to be alone?” I wonder if, one day, while walking in the Garden, Adam happened upon a pool of water. Up to this point, Adam only knew through direct experience. God walked with him, and he worked the land, but he only knew what he knew by experiencing it in the moment. Adam looked into the water, still and clear as crystal, and saw himself. Adam now knew through reflection. Being the creature that he was, made in
the image and likeness of God, Adam saw that he was beautiful. He was captivated by himself, and became absorbed in the image he saw. God recognized an unhealthy passion in this pre-occupation with self. So God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
God brought the animals to Adam. Setting to the task of naming the animals, Adam looked into their nature. He now had the capacity for reflection, for interior thought. He had seen himself and thus known himself in a new way. With this ability awakened, he looked into the soul of the animals and called forth who they were by giving them names. Yet he found none with a soul that matched his, none that could properly receive the love he had for himself.
So God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam. While sleeping, God took from Adam a rib, a piece of him that was near his heart, that which Adam loved so deeply in himself, and formed a woman. God put all that Adam longed for into this other person, who was compatible with him. When Adam awoke, he was staring face-to-face with a new being, one whom he loved more than himself, for she had all the qualities that he had loved in himself, but so much more. She had qualities that Adam didn’t have, and that made him all the more infatuated with her. She could interact with Adam, not merely as a reflection of him, but as a fully-formed and functioning“Other.” Eve drew Adam’s love from himself outward.
I suspect that although this little story I’ve told around Creation is complete conjecture, it may reveal to us something about ourselves. We are prone to love ourselves, to reflect only on ourselves, to become infatuated with ourselves. It will rot our souls if the only thing we think about is ourselves. God knew this. So he made us for one another. He crafted us to be not “individuals” but persons defined by our relationships with others, with those who bear both the qualities we love in ourselves and also new qualities that we do not possess but find intoxicating all the more because they are new and different. We are made for more than just ourselves; we are made for each other.
Cody Nygard Associate Pastor