God's Image: Male and Female
Adult 1 Sunday School Class Genesis 2:18-25 September 8, 2013
(Due to Youth Promotion this Sunday, this lesson will be reviewed on September 15, 2013)
Theme: Finding a suitable companion with whom one can share life can be a struggle, but it can also bring great joy. According to Genesis 2, God created Eve as a partner for Adam.
Understanding and Interpreting the Scripture (responses are in bold print)
Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses
* Genesis 2:18, "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." In v.8, God places man in the Garden of Eden and he is alone. There God provides all of his needs. "Meet" translates to complementary for him. God, in essence, says that solitude is not good, and wanted to provide for his social well-being. Although Adam was not technically alone, there were other heavenly beings (3:22). Here we see the word LORD God used, which is the personal name for the God of Israel (YHWH). By contrast, God made the creatures by hand in Chap.2, whereas in Chap 1 He spoke them into existence.
*v. 19, "And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." Like man, He formed the creatures out of the ground, but they did not receive the breath of life from God (v.7), nor were they created in His image. The imagery is as a potter sitting and forming the clay into creatures as the wheel spins. Isaiah made the analogy (64:8) that we are all intimately related to God as the creatures which He created. "Living creature" means animals which God brought to man to name, and contrasts the difference between man and beast.
*v. 20, "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." It shows the superiority of man over the creatures, and that he perceived the nature of each. Even with all of the creatures around Adam, he did not have a true complement to his life. The Hebrew verb relating to "help meet" translates to "corresponding to him (Adam)" with the further meaning "equal or adequate to himself". An ancient Jewish commentator, Rashi said that if a man is worthy she would be his partner. If the man was not worthy, then she would be his adversary. Although God made man superior to the animals, there is also an inference that with authority comes responsibility for their care. Even with all of the creatures around him, he still had not found what he had been seeking, or what God had intended for him, one who would truly relate to him.
*v. 21, "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;" In this moment of loneliness in Adam's life, God steps in to provide what he truly needs. Because God took one of his ribs, as a building block of what was to come, the woman would correspond perfectly, though not identically to Adam. Like the man, the woman would possess God's image. The rib that was taken from Adam, which was not a part taken from his foot or from his head, might suggest that he would not rule over her (1 Peter 3:7)nor she rule over him (1 Cor 11:3), respectively. God had to create something that was compatible, yet slightly different.
*v .22, "And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." 23. "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Reportedly, Adam was pleased with God's last recorded creation in the creation accounts. No other piece of divine craftsmanship was singularly suited to man, being bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. There was no evidence on Adam from where the rib was taken, as if it had never occurred. Adam expresses dominion by naming the last creation of God, yet divine order calls for reciprocity exhibited in male servant leadership and female submission, both of which are modeled in Jesus Himself (Ephesians 5:21-33). The word "woman" identifies her as the feminine complement to man.
*v. 24, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." The word "leave" means to loose or forsake. It paints a picture of a man who abandons or rejects his kin to marry and start new families with his female partner. "Cleave" means to keep close, and relates to the sexual union between a husband and his wife. The differences in gender are muted by the unity of a man and a woman. The separateness between a man and a woman when God took man's bone and flesh to create a woman has now been united through their becoming husband and wife. God presents his timeless design for marriage. (Reread Ephesians 5:21-33 from above.) "One flesh" connotes a sexual union, but also includes a husband and wife coming together in spiritual, mental, and emotional harmony. Two becoming "one flesh" signifies this union.
*v. 25. "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." They came into this world naked. Sin had not yet entered the picture so why would two people, a husband and his wife have any fear of what they were (i.e. not ashamed). Toddlers walk around with nothing but a diaper and have no feelings about nakedness. Toddlers, brothers and sisters may be washed in the same tub together and because of their innocence hardly notice the differences. The nakedness of Adam and Eve represents the childlike innocence at the time of the creation. The lack of shame represents their lack of sin at this point. They could look upon themselves without any need to cover themselves or hide from each other. Even without the barriers to shield them from their environment, and each other, Adam and Eve lived without shame. After the fall, God clothes them when their sin brings about shame (Genesis 3:20).
Applications for Life Lessons
* In v.7 (not specifically a part of this lesson), God breathes His breath into Adam and gives him life. That shows the connectedness that we have to our God, that he creates and sustains the life which we have. He is ours, and we are His.
* Genesis 1:26-27, tells us that humankind was designed as male and female in the image of God. So both are modeled after God and our intrinsic value is being identified with God.
* God designed humankind to live in a community. Communities are strengthened when components are working well together. Couples, families, and singles in extended families, such as their churches or close friends, may all make up healthy loving units that honor God and creation.