Genesis 2:18-25 is one of the most wonderful–as well as most neglected–portions of Scripture. It contains the first recorded human words spoken: “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man” (Gen. 2:23). No doubt modern ideas about feminist egalitarianism and misogynistic abuse have stolen something of the glory of the passage from the minds of many readers. However, be that as it may, the non-mythological account of the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam contains a plethora of rich lessons about the institution of marriage as well as the redemptive-historical nature of marriage. Just as the various parts of Genesis 1:1-2:17 form a foundational pattern to teach us about God’s purpose for man in creation and redeemed man in the new creation in Christ, so Genesis 2:18-25 helps deepen our understanding of the work of God in creation and new creation. The First/Last Adam structure of Scripture (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:20-23; 47-49) is the key to understanding the Divine purpose when coming to this passage. Here are a few observations on the meaning and theology of Genesis 2:18-25:
1. Marriage is a Divine institution. The fact that the Lord put Adam to sleep in order to create a wife out of him and for him teaches us that God instituted marriage. The Lord brought Adam his bride. It was not man who devised the institution of marriage out of any sort of societal evolution. This also teaches us that we are to seek the Lord to bring us the godly wife that He gives His sons in this world. God brought Eve to Adam as a comparable helpmate for him. Here the words of Proverbs 18:22 and 19:14 ring true: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord” and “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” This also shows that the Lord would sovereignly bring a bride to His Son, the last Adam. Jonathan Edwards famously put it this way: “The spouse of the Son of God, the Lamb’s wife…is that for which all of the universe was made. Heaven and earth were created that the Son of God might be complete in a spouse,” and “God created the world for His Son, that He might prepare a spouse or bride for Him to bestow His love upon; so that the mutual joys between this bride and bridegroom are the end of the creation.”
2. Adam needed a wife to fulfill Him, mankind’s purpose on earth and God’s creational mandates that God. When Adam first attempted to fulfill the creation mandates, he quickly realized that something was missing. After naming the animals and seeing that God had created male and female animals, Adam realized that “there was not found a helper comparable to him.” As King, Adam needed his Queen to help him fulfill the creation mandate of populating the earth and taking dominion of it. The Genesis 2 account is the first time that we are told that something was “not good.” All throughout the creation account, God pronounced divine blessing when he looked back at what he created and said, “It is good.” Now, in 2:18 we are told that the Lord looked at Adam and said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” In this sense we must insist that Adam was incomplete without Eve. It was not possible for man to fulfill the mandates that God gave him at creation without the woman. Even Eve being taken from man shows that he is incomplete without her.