Thursday, May 8, 2008

Eve, The First Woman

The Seventh Day—Rest

Genesis 2

1So the sky, the earth, and all that filled them were finished. 2By the seventh
day God finished the work he had been doing, so he rested from all his work.
3God blessed the seventh day and made it a holy day, because on that day he
rested from all the work he had done in creating the world.

The First People

4This is the story of the creation of the sky and the earth. When the LORD
God first made the earth and the sky, 5there were still no plants on the earth.
Nothing was growing in the fields because the LORD God had not yet made it
rain on the land. And there was no person to care for the ground, 6but a mist
would rise up from the earth and water all the ground.

7Then the LORD God took dust from the ground and formed a man from it.
He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nose, and the man became a living
person. 8Then the LORD God planted a garden in the east, in a place called Eden,
and put the man he had formed into it. 9The LORD God caused every beautiful
tree and every tree that was good for food to grow out of the ground. In the
middle of the garden, God put the tree that gives life and also the tree that gives
the knowledge of good and evil.

10A river flowed through Eden and watered the garden. From there the river
branched out to become four rivers. 11The first river, named Pishon, flows around
the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12The gold of that land is
excellent. Bdellium and onyx are also found there. 13The second river, named
Gihon, flows around the whole land of Cush. 14The third river, named Tigris,
flows out of Assyria toward the east. The fourth river is the Euphrates.

15The LORD God put the man in the garden of Eden to care for it and work it.
16The LORD God commanded him, “You may eat the fruit from any tree in the
garden, 17but you must not eat the fruit from the tree which gives the knowledge
of good and evil. If you ever eat fruit from that tree, you will die!”

The First Woman

18Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will
make a helper who is right for him.”

19From the ground God formed every wild animal and every bird in the sky,
and he brought them to the man so the man could name them. Whatever the man
called each living thing, that became its name. 20The man gave names to all the
tame animals, to the birds in the sky, and to all the wild animals. But Adam did
not find a helper that was right for him. 21So the LORD God caused the man to
sleep very deeply, and while he was asleep, God removed one of the man’s ribs.
Then God closed up the man’s skin at the place where he took the rib. 22The
LORD God used the rib from the man to make a woman, and then he brought the
woman to the man.

23And the man said,

“Now, this is someone whose bones came from my bones,

whose body came from my body.

I will call her ‘woman,’

because she was taken out of man.”

24So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and
the two will become one body.

25The man and his wife were naked, but they were not ashamed.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version

THE CREATION OF EVE (Genesis 2:18-23)

One of the truly fascinating passages in Scripture is the report in Genesis 2 of Eve's creation. God created the first man, Adam, and placed him in Eden. There Adam explored the wonders of God's creation. But wherever Adam looked, he was reminded that something was missing. He could not find another creature like himself.

And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

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."

"A helper comparable" (Gen. 2:18). One of the fictions on which the view of women held by some Christians rests is that women were created subordinate beings. The NIV translates this phrase as a "helper suitable for him," offering further support to those who argue that as "helpers" women were created to be subservient to men and to meet men's needs. The implication is that it is men who count, and women's concerns are to be subordinate to men's.

But the Hebrew phrase here is ezer k'negdu, which is best understood as a "helper corresponding to him." Commenting on this phrase, the Expository Dictionary of Bible Words (1985) notes,

In Eve, God provided a "suitable helper" (Gen. 2:20). Eve was suitable because she shared with Adam the image and likeness of God-the image that permits human beings to relate on every dimension of personality (emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical, etc.), Only another being who, like Adam, was shaped in the image of God would be suitable.

The word for "helper" here is ezer. It means "a help," "a support," "an assistant." Before we understand this concept to imply inferiority or subordination, we should note that the root is used in the Old Testament to speak of God as helper of His nation and of individuals. God is man's helper in all kinds of distress (Ex. 18:4; Deut. 33:7, 26, 29; Pss. 20:2; 33:20; 70:5; 89:19; 115:9-11; 121:1,2; 124:8; 146:5; Hos. 13:9). We do not conclude from this that God is inferior to the person He helps (p. 433).

"That was its name" (Gen. 2: 19). A fascinating feature in the story of woman's creation is the way God prepared Adam for his mate. The text tells us that God brought Adam every beast and bird to name. In the Old Testament names were more than labels. Names were understood to capture and express something of the essence of the things named. The implication is that Adam carefully observed each creature over a significant period of time so he might understand something of its peculiar nature. Then Adam assigned that creature a name that accurately reflected that nature.

In the process of carefully studying birds and animals, Adam made a significant discovery. As wonderful as living creatures were, none among them corresponded to him. There was no creature suited by its nature for him to relate to it.

It was only after Adam had made this discovery, and had begun to feel the emptiness of his isolated life, that God caused him to fall into a deep sleep and set about preparing Eve.

"Flesh of my flesh" (Gen. 2:23). Genesis 2:23 records Adam's words when God brought Eve to him. We can sense his wonder and excitement. "This, at last, is flesh of my flesh!"

What Adam is saying, of course, is "Now, at last, here is one who shares my identity-one to whom I can relate because she is everything I am, and I am everything she is. Here at last is another person!"

Again, we have the strongest kind of biblical affirmation of the essential identity of men and women. In terms of essential identity, men and women alike bear the image-likeness of God, and because of it, men and women can relate to each other on every level of the human personality.

The creation story in all its details strongly affirms woman as the full equal of man. Woman's "otherness" or her inferiority and subordination to man simply is not supported by the story of creation.

(From Every Woman in the Bible by Sue and Larry Richards).

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