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Passage: Genesis 2:18-25

Genesis 2:18-25 – It Is Not Good That the Man Should Be Alone

Summary

God evaluates the current state of creation and determines that, in view of the man's aloneness, it is not good. God engages the man in moving the situation from "not good" to "good." That moment arrives with the creation of woman.

Analysis

That God evaluates God's own work at all invites wonderment; that God would find God's own work to this point "not good" is even more striking. In evaluating, God sees--indeed, experiences--that which has been created. What has been created to this point genuinely affects God, and God moves to set the "not good" situation right. This reference is a witness to an ongoing creative process rather than a punctiliar event. It is important to note that "good" does not mean "perfect." This is shown not least in the fact that God commanded human beings to "subdue the earth" (1:28), that is, to bring order out of continuing disorder. In any case, if the creation was "perfect," how could anything go wrong?

God engages the human being in this creative process. God creates animals and brings them to the man to see what he would name them. Strikingly, God accepts "whatever" names the man decides to give (2:19). Human beings thus have a role in the ongoing creative process, just as God's naming of nonliving creatures in 1:5-10 was part of such a process. Indeed, in view of the human decisions, God determines that another creative response is needed.

When the woman is created, it is the man whose exclamation (2:23) determines that the situation is now "good." It is important to note that for the man to name the woman (2:23; 3:20) does not entail his superiority over her in any way (shown by Hagar's naming of God in 16:13). Moreover, that the woman is made from the rib (or side) of the man does not indicate her subordination, any more than the man's being created from the dust of the ground implies his subordination to it.