Alfred Place Baptist Church

2:21-23 And God created Woman

Genesis 2:21-23 “So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.”

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, believed that, Females are imperfect males, accidentally produced by the fathers inadequacy or by the malign influence of a moist south wind. I would think that there is a better explanation for the existence of women that the way the wind blows. There was a little girl who was writing on why there were more women than men in the world. God made Adam first, she wrote, and when he’d finished and looked at the man he said to himself, I think I can do better than that if I tried again. So then God made Eve, and God liked Eve so much more than Adam that he’s been making more women than men ever since. That is a cute little girl story, but it is only marginally better than Aristotle’s. They are both myths, old and new.

There are males and females because that is the way God designed the human race. We are told in Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Both male and female were created by God and they share equally in Gods image, but they are different. One of the differences is the fact that they were made in different ways, Adam being created from dust but Eve was made from Adam.

1. EVE WAS CREATED IN A UNIQUE MANNER.

We are told that So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the mans ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man (vv.21&22). Let us put the unique creation of the first woman in the context of other creations. Let me call for some witnesses who’ll tell us about how things are made.

i] Firstly let me summon a medical doctor to speak to us and explain how every woman reading these words was created. He says, The single-celled embryo, at the moment of the fusion of egg and sperm, brings together two sets of genetic information from mother and father – in the form of the DNA code which, when spelt out letter by letter, would fill 24 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica. These 24 volumes are packed into the nucleus of the cell, which is one-5,000th of a millimetre in diameter, which cell has the ability to replicate itself within a few hours and divide billions of times, eventually producing a fully formed human being.

This trillion-times miniaturized, 24 Encyclopedia Britannica volumes worth of DNA information knows first how to instruct the single-cell embryo to form the basic structure of the foetus with a back and front, head and limbs; and then to instruct the cells to acquire the specialized function of a nerve or muscle or liver; and then instruct them to link up together to form the metabolic factory of the liver or the pumping heart or the brain with its billions of connections; and then to instruct them to grow synergistically through childhood and adolescence to adulthood. The extraordinary potential of the biological information locked in the nucleus of each and every cell can best be conceived of as the precise mirror image of the infinite size and grandeur of the universe (Dr James Le Fanu, “The Miracle of Procreation,” Sunday Telegraph, December 19, 1999). That is how God made every one of us. The psalmist in Psalm 139 worships God saying, You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb. The conception and the embryonic development of a baby is mind-blowing and worthy of our adoration.

ii] Let me summon a scientist to tell us how they have succeeded in cloning living creatures. He would tell us that cloning by embryo splitting is a technique that produces monozygotic (identical) twins or triplets. In other words, it seeks to duplicate the process God uses to produce twins or triplets. One or more cells are removed from the fertilized embryo of an animal and encouraged to develop into one or more duplicate embryos. Twins or triplets are thus formed, with identical DNA. This has been done for many years with various species. In addition, there is another cloning technique called cell nuclear replacement (CNR), which can be used to produce a duplicate of an already existing adult animal. Since 1996 it has been used to clone sheep and several other mammals. The DNA from an ovum is removed and replaced with the DNA from a cell removed from an adult animal. Then, the fertilized ovum is transferred to a surrogate womb where it can develop into a new animal, the clone of the original living creature.

iii] Let me ask a theologian how he would describe the little Lord Jesus being conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary? She, as mother, contributed to him all that any human mother contributes to her child, sin excepted. Through the umbilical cord, Jesus is this particular man, the son of this particular woman, the bearer of the whole previous genetic history of her people and the recipient of innumerable hereditary features. He was a unique genotype precisely because she contributed at least half his chromosomes (as any human mother would). How the rest was contributed remains a mystery. The one certainty is that Mary couldn’t herself have contributed the sex-determining chromosome, Y, which is always provided by the biological father. This chromosome, at least, must have been provided miraculously; and it remains possible that all the chromosomes normally derived from the male parent were provided in this way, the divine act which fertilized the ovum simultaneously creating twenty-three chromosomes complementary to those derived from the mother (Donald Macleod, The Person of Christ, p. 162).

iv] Fourthly, let me ask all of you who read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John how you think the Lord Christ healed every sickness that he came across? For example, we hear of a man whose body was paralyzed, his muscles wasted away and his joints would have been almost fusing together. When he was brought to Jesus the great Physician healed him so effectively that the man could bend and walk away. Think of all that was involved in changing the body of that man for him to respond like that. There was another man who had been blind from birth. Consider what work needed to be done on those eyeballs and optic nerves for them to see. Think of a man who had a withered arm; what instant reconstruction would be needed for that arm with its muscles and tendons and joints to be made like his other arm. Think of the consequences for the corpse of a man called Lazarus of his being dead for three days, for the blood to be motionless three days, and the heart to have stopped beating, and the absence of electrical activity in the brain or nervous system for three days. Divine power overcame all that. How did Jesus feed 5,000 men with five loaves and two fishes? It seems that as they passed through his hands he kept creating and multiplying loaves and fishes.

v] Let me ask Moses – the compiler of Genesis – how God made Eve. It was like this, Moses says, the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man (Gen. 2:21&22). Can God do that? Is Jehovah able to do that? Who are you dealing with? Doesn’t the psalmist say about God, Does he who implanted the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? (Psalm 94:9). If natural birth is so extraordinary, and if mere man can make a clone of an animal, and if the Lord Jesus Christ formed muscles and nerves and new joints, and if he multiplied loaves and fishes then do we have some profound difficulty in believing what we are told here in Genesis 2 concerning the way in which the first woman was made? The more fundamental question is this, Is God? And if God is, God can. The existence of the woman was by an immediate and miraculous action of God.

Do you see the scene? The last of the beasts wanders off with its new name, and Adam turns away with perplexity and a growing sense of being alone in the whole world. Then God comes to him and says, Son, I want you to lie down here. Close your eyes and sleep, and the man falls into a deep slumber. In other words, Adam becomes as helpless as Abraham was when God entered into a covenant with him and Jehovah passed like a moving furnace through the avenues of the sacrificed animals which he had prepared. Abraham did nothing whatsoever; the whole covenantal initiative and accomplishment was Gods. So it here; Adam was not dreaming of women and describing to God how he needed such a helper, and that she should be designed in this way five feet two; eyes of blue. The whole plan and accomplishment was Gods. Woman was the Lords wonderful gift to man. So the Creator goes to work, opening up the mans side, removing bone and blood, closing the wound, and building the woman. Then he raised her up in the form of the perfect helpmeet that Adam needed, finally rousing the man from his sleep to meet her. That is how Eve was created.

2. IT WAS EVE, NOT A SPIRIT GUIDE, WHOM GOD CREATED FOR MAN.

The New Age proponents are keen on spirit guides, trance mediums, figures they call channelers. These men and women claim that they are in touch with, for example, Tibetan teachers of long ago, or Egyptians who served the Pharaohs thousands of years before Christ. These spirits have names like Solara, Maitreya and Ramtha. However, when God saw that man needed a helper he didn’t provide an angel or some form of spirit to help Adam, but an embodied woman. Hasn’t it impressed you throughout these opening chapters of Genesis that we are meeting a God who is passionately concerned about physical realities, the earth, the animals, the stars, men and women with bodies. I refuse to be helped by any disembodied figure! I don’t need spooks to help me for I have the Lord! My God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, has a glorified body today. God made Eve with a body of flesh and blood first taken from Adams side, and this same God is concerned about your bones and flesh. Present your body a living sacrifice to God, he says. Honour God with your body, he says (I Cor. 6:20). How can you do this?

i] Number one, from the way God made Adam and especially Eve and from all I’ve told you today about how God made your body shouldn’t you be convinced that your body is one of Gods most glorious and extraordinary creations? Say to yourself, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You didn’t arrive here as part of a lucky, evolutionary process. Your bodies as not merely material; you are body and you are soul. The human body is the crown of Gods creation. Genesis 1:27 says, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 2:22&23 says Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man. When you men and women think of your bodies, never forget that God made them. Treat that body accordingly. Be careful with the original equipment! Learn about proper rest and proper nutrition and proper exercise. Take care of your body without making a fad of it. Don’t pour beer through it, or drugs, or cigarette smoke. Beware of any excess. Wake up, look at yourself. I tell you that you can bear to look in the bathroom mirror and see yourself. God created your body. He has entrusted you with a marvelous gift. So don’t beat it up, tear it up, misuse it, and wreck it. You didn’t come from a monkey, so don’t act like one! Your body is a unique creation of God.

ii] Number two; obey Gods rules for your body. Any way of life – no matter how much fun – that ruins your body is against the will of God. Just take sensation, for example. All the time were told that we owe it to ourselves to get good vibrations. You and your partner both want them; lets go for it. That is an enormous lie. Those words in I Corinthians 6:20, Honour God with your body, come as the climax of some sentences that speak frankly about sexual immorality. I draw your attention to them; you ignore them at your peril.

I Corinthians 6:13-20 reads The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, The two will become one flesh. But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body. Now, there you have it, straight on the line.

When God gave these opening chapters of Genesis to Moses to write down – about 1400 years before Christ – there was a mountain of confusion about the body in Moses world. There was the same muddle when Paul wrote to the Corinthians, and there’s plenty of it around today. Sexual immorality has been ruining people for thousands of years as it still does. Its destructive power is often displayed in the well publicized activities of all kinds and classes of people, from the small to even those at the highest echelons of government and in the British royal family. No one who ignores the Bible can be exempt from it. People are caught in the trap because they are chasing after sensations for their bodies. The apostle warns the Romans, Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Roms. 13:14), because that’s what they’re thinking about it so much of the time; they agonize over it and lose sleep over it. We say of some people that they have one track minds and that track has just one destination; it leads to hell. This applies to sex; it also applies to drugs; it applies to anything we do to get the sensations we want. When we sin to get these vibrations, our bodies deteriorate, and we deteriorate right along with them.

iii] Number three, if you are a Christian then this is the way you are to think about your body, that it is a temple of the Holy Spirit. God by his Spirit lives in me, and one day through the power of Jesus Christ he is going to raise this body from the grave and change it so that it will be like the glorified body of the Lord Jesus. Don’t you see how you need Jesus Christ to cope with the demands and desires and needs of your body, to save you from abusing it and indulging it and hating it and feeling sorry about it? Christ gave himself on Golgotha as a sacrifice to pay for our sins. If you will have dealings with him, and will confess your sins to him – including the misuse of your body – then ask God to forgive you for Jesus sake and hell pardon you. In Christ we have redemption through his blood even the forgiveness of sins.

You need a divine energy in your heart if you are going to honour God with your body. God created your body and God lives within your body and God sustains your body with daily bread, and God is going to call you to account for the deeds you’ve done in the body. You need God in your life to live for him physically as well as spiritually. What hope we have for the glories of heaven from the word of God, yes, but what help right now does the word of God give us, as it tells us how we survive in our bodies. Don’t let your body, your precious gift from God, ruin you. As Eve helped Adam with her bodily strength, so you must help serve the last Adam Jesus Christ with your resilience and energy. Serve God with your bodies. Present them as living sacrifices to him. So God didn’t make a spirit guide to help Adam, he made an enfleshed woman.

3. EVE WAS PURPOSEFULLY CREATED FROM ADAMS BODY.

Why didn’t God make her from the dust as he had made her husband? Why this kind of miracle with such an elaborate procedure? God knew the offence it would cause in the 21st century and yet he made woman this way. Why? What is the significance of this? There would be a number of reasons;

i] Because it was God alone who made woman in this way Adam could never tell Eve, Remember all you are you owe to me. You came about because of my initiative, my plan, my prayers and my skill. No. Let me again remind you that Adam was in a virtual coma, totally unconscious, and God alone was at work devising and accomplishing the creation of woman. Woman is what she is through an act of God; her design and her gifts are all due to the Lord. I am what I am by the power and love of God, every woman can say.

ii] Because God made woman from man Adam immediately recognized that she was something of himself. This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, Adam said. She was of Adam and from Adam. She was made of the very same substance as himself. She wasn’t made out of inferior stuff, nor was she made of superior stuff. She was the very bone of his bone, and the flesh of his flesh. She was related to him as Adams own limbs were related to him; After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it (Ephs. 5:29). She filled a place that Adam could never have anticipated when he was considering and naming all the animals who shared the Garden of Eden with them. God chose to build her from Adams rib – the word is used everywhere else in the Bible of the side of something. Here alone in the English Scriptures it is translated rib. There are some beautiful familiar comments on this fact and they go back to an ancient Jewish commentary on the Torah, then they were picked up by one or two of the church fathers, and later repeated by the Puritan Matthew Henry in his commentary. Many of you are familiar with them but I will quote them to you because of their truthfulness, Eve was not taken from Adams head that she should rule over him, nor from his feet, to be trampled under foot, but she was taken from his side that she might be his equal, from under his arm that she might be protected by him, near his heart, that he might cherish and love her.

iii] Because God took woman from the side of man Adam had to suffer something; he experienced a loss; there was a removal of a fine, healthy, living part of himself out of which the woman was made. He was no longer what he had been, though if you glanced at him he appeared to be unchanged. Adam had to surrender a part of himself for Eve to be made. Moses tells us that God saw the wound in Adams side and he covered it with flesh, as a loving Father sustaining Adam in a time of hurt like a mother binds the wounded knee of her child. You wouldn’t have been able to find any operation scar in Adam; the Greatest of all physicians doesn’t leave any scars. God did everything to support Adam at this loss, but Adam knew, Part of me has gone. Adam continued working on in the Garden replenishing and subduing it, but until the day he died, centuries later, he knew that by himself he was not complete humanity, and not the unique unchallenged crown of creation. Somebody else was also wearing the Crown of the Divine Image. Something had been taken from Adam and he could never be wholly man until he was joined again to the part that had been taken from him.

Do you see the significance of that for the Christian understanding of marriage? The Bible is telling us that marriage is more than a union, it is a reunion. It is not a union of alien persons who do not belong to one another and cannot appropriately become one flesh – sexual congress with beasts is exactly that. When Adam and Eve were united it was the union of two persons who originally were one, and then had been separated from each other, and now in marriage had come together again. That is the glorious mystery of marriage; the union of husband and wife is not focused on their bedroom activities. There is in marriage a blending of complementary personalities in the rich oneness of husband and wife, the outward union symbolizing a much deeper spiritual complementarity. Adam lost part of himself in the creation of woman; when they came together in marriage that oneness was restored.

iv] Because God had made woman from the man there was fusion between Adam and Eve for the rest of his life. There were unbreakable bonds attaching him to her and he couldn’t isolate himself from her because she was part of his being. Adam might ignore the animals and birds in Eden, and the fish in the rivers. He might never even see some of the shy nocturnal animals from one year to another, and still Adam could live a rich complete life, but that was not possible if he were to ignore Eve. She was inalienable. He couldn’t disinterestedly distance himself from her without enormous damage to himself. To deprive himself of her was to deprive himself of himself.

Eve too was attached to Adam. She could not go to a hidden corner of the Garden and build a little single woman’s house there and fill her life with her own tastes. That would be to deny her origin and her place in Gods design for her and him to be joined together. That is not his plan for every person; it was not his plan for his only begotten Son, but it was his plan for our first parents and they knew it. God made man and woman interdependent and there was nothing these two could do to escape from that. That was Gods doing; his grand design. He made them for each other. Each could protest and deny their dependence on the other, but that would be to their irreparable loss. Do you remember that there was a man possessed of a legion of demons who was delivered by the Lord Christ. He begged Jesus to allow him to spend his future in the presence of the Lord. Go home! the Saviour commanded him; Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you (Mk. 5:19).

v] Because God made the woman from him Adam was made more aware of his awesome responsibility as the federal head of the human race. All the next generation, Cain and Abel and all the other children and grandchildren and great-grand-children came from him. His decisions would have a massive impact on them. All mankind, including Eve, the first woman, came from one source, Adam. He was the beginning of humanity and he was also the representative of humanity, and so the New Testament can say, As in Adam all die (I Cor. 15:29). Every single person is dead in sin through the defiance of rebel Adam, and Eve became no exception. Together this reunited couple fell, and together they died.

vi] By this divine way of making woman Adam without any doubt knew that Eve had been prepared from him, and she was made after him, and she was made for him, to be his unique wife and helper. Adam and Eve were, of course, equally in Gods image and likeness, but the timing and purpose of their creations indicated they were going to share a difference of function. The woman was created to help her husband; her vocation in life was dependent on that. He was made first and she followed his lead in the creation process; I was made for him, Eve thought to herself. He needs me and is incomplete without me, just as I am without him.

So as Christians you must believe in the creation of Eve in this way. Some people say they believe the New Testament but not the Old Testament, but what does the New Testament say about this incident? It binds you to believe it; it is quite specific in two places. First, in I Corinthians 11:8&9, For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. The second is I Timothy 2:13, For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Paul the apostle of Christ was filled with the Spirit of Christ when he wrote those words.

4. THE CREATION OF EVE CAUSED ADAM TO REJOICE.

The man said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man. (v.23). The little girl I mentioned at the beginning of the sermon would have had Adam look at the woman and nod his head approvingly to the Lord saying, You’ve done better. She is prettier and sweeter and smarter than me, while the misogynist would have Adam say the very opposite when he first glimpsed Eve, Oh no, not this . . . surely you could have done better . . . please put me on the committee and we could come up with something really great . . . put me back to sleep. Adam didn’t cry at the sight of Eve, Oh good! Now I’ve got someone to boss around. He neither said anything ego-reinforcing nor anything degrading to Eve. Adam just needed one look and in his unfallen state he saw that only Gods glorious sense of beauty and his creative power could have brought to him so perfect a partner. The woman-sized void in his life that no other creature could satisfy was filled.

I’m sure that Adam would have taken the language of the Song of Songs if he could have known it and said to the woman, How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song 4:1-7)

What Adam did say was this, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. These are the first recorded human words, and they are poetry. What do they express? Dr. Raymond C. Ortlund says, The joy of the first man in receiving the gift of the first woman: This creature alone, Father, out of all the others – this one at last meets my need for a companion. She alone is my equal, my very flesh. I identify with her. I love her. I will call her Woman, for she came out of man. The man perceives the woman not as his rival but as his partner, not as a threat because of her equality with himself but as the only one capable of fulfilling his longing within (Raymond C. Ortlund, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Male-Female Equality and Male Headship, Crossway, 1991, p.101).

When Adam meets Eve he is asked to make two choices, first, to accept Gods plan for Adam to be united to Eve alone, and then, secondly, to go ahead and be joined to the woman. Firstly to acknowledge, God has made her for me, and then secondly to act and take her to himself. In theory Adam could have taken her while rejecting Gods plan that from that moment on he and she should be one. In other words he would use her, but that would have been the way of exploitation and selfishness. Of course Adam didn’t disobey God concerning Eve. He accepted Gods plan for his wife; he was joined to her; he was complete in his oneness with her. When you marry you display that obedience to God, not just that it is better for you to marry than to burn, not just agreeing with all the economic and social benefits of marriage, but that marriage is Gods will and Gods plan for you both.

It was not until Adam saw the woman that he understood what he was for the very first time. In all that time he had worked in the Garden, before God had made the woman, Adam never thought of himself as a male. Being male had no meaning for him at all. He was simply Adam. It was only when he met the woman that he realized, I am different; I am male and she is female! Adam experienced what he was when he first met the opposite, and he accepted the female as complementing his maleness. This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.

Adam was exclusively a male, and every bachelor will readily acknowledge that that results in a certain deficiency, but it need not be an impossible lifelong deficiency. I see a bird and I am aware of a deficiency that I’m not able to fly. Meeting a bird and studying it does not help me; I still cant fly. That is a lifelong deficiency. I see a fish and I’m aware of my deficiency that I cannot live under water, and seeing the fish and studying marine biology only underlines that I am always deficient there. But when bachelor Adam saw Eve he realized she was wholly sufficient to overcome his deficiency, complete his humanity and fulfil his needs. In marriage God brings a member of the opposite sex to us and true marriage is being completely satisfied with just that other one alone. We appropriate Gods provision of this one man or this one woman, this particular member of the opposite sex, and we are complete as a husband and wife until God separates us by death. Eve was there to share Adams life, to double its joys and its strengths. She could draw Adam out of his isolation and make them heirs together of the grace of life. What she did for him, he also did for her. Adam was restless after seeing and naming every animal. Eve was restless standing alone in the Garden, but then God brought her to him, and Adam and Eve saw one another for the first time. It was when Adam saw what God had done with the rib, and when Eve knew from whom she had been made and got under his arm that they were finally complete.

How glorious was Eve! She stood before him in the image and likeness of God, as free from sin as the angels themselves. Here was transfigured humanity. Adam saw her as a full human person. The sight of her must have been like the appearance of the man Jesus on the mount of transfiguration to Peter, James and John. All that the might and the aesthetic sense of God could do to make her beautiful had been done. What nobility! What perfection! How she transcended all that Adam had seen in the rest of creation. Her glory and honour didn’t come one bit short of his own. She was Gods special gift to him. She completed mans humanity. She opened up to Adam the possibility of life greater than anything he’d known so far, richer, fuller, the total human experience. Yet what humility each possessed. Eve knew, I was made for him, and Adam thought, I’m only complete in union with her. Both share honour and praise, and yet each shared a humility before the other, needing the other.

Together they could say Thou! to the living God. They could be agreed on everything and could say We when they spoke to their Father. In no way did Eve fall behind Adam in redemptive privilege. Hour by hour she could speak to the Lord as openly and lovingly as Adam. She could lift up her heart and voice to him and tell him everything about her days and her plans for the future.

How should you respond to all this? Believe the Bible. Take the original marriage as your pattern for what marriage is, and isn’t. Repent of all sins that violate this pattern. Believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord, the designer and Saviour of sinners and their marriages.

7th May 2006 GEOFF THOMAS