Man’s Complement

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.” So the Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found as his complement. Genesis 2:18-20 (HCSB)

For some reason, I’ve always viewed Genesis 2:19 as some kind of weird animal popularity contest. As if God responds to Adam’s alone-ness with a string of contestants, named and judged, yet each found wanting as a helper.

Perhaps my thinking here grew out of some vague notion of how cool I thought it would be to have a sidekick tiger, or maybe a monkey to pull heists with. Seriously though, the story has some profound implications I didn’t realize.

At a marriage conference recently, speaker Matt Chandler pointed out some fascinating aspects of this passage I wanted to share.

First, this is the first instance in which God pronounces something not good. Throughout the creation narrative, we’re told repeatedly how good things are, but when we get to Adam being alone, God says it isn’t. Now, it wasn’t like God is creating everything and suddenly looks back at Adam and realizes He made a mistake. I think the proclamation is more an observation for the reader. As Chandler says, notice how Adam wasn’t the one who recognized his need. Don’t miss this. Even in perfection within the Garden, man is not all-knowing.

Second, God gently and graciously reveals the need for a companion to Adam. God makes the ‘not good’ observation, then proceeds to form all of the wild animals and present them to Adam. Presumably for the purpose of finding a companion, but also for naming.

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I think at the end of this process, Adam is finally aware of his lack of companionship. How incredible is it to read of God’s instruction and revelation to Adam through this naming parade?! God didn’t just make his observation, create Eve, then present her to Adam…problem solved. Instead, God makes His statement, reveals to Adam his state of ‘alone-ness’, then provided. I’m also sure from Adam’s perspective, God was giving him more than he could ever ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20) in Eve.

Speaking of providing more than we could ever ask or imagine…have you ever wondered why Eve was created last? Again, I reference the fact that God didn’t throw all of creation together willy-nilly and Eve just happened to be at the end. So what was His purpose in this particular order, then?

In God’s economy, the first will be last and the last will be first. Eve wasn’t created last only to complement Adam, but to provide God’s route for mankind’s redemption.

When I think of Eve as the avenue for the Messiah, and combine that reality with God’s statement about it being ‘not good’ for Adam to be alone, I think that God didn’t just provide Eve as the perfect companion for Adam…God cured Adam’s alone-ness for all eternity with the provision of Eve, because through her we are provided with Jesus Himself.

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Prior to Eve, I imagine God looking upon His creation with eager anticipation and joy. I picture God placing Eve, as a cook might place the final cherry upon a dessert, and knowing full well everything that will result from this point forward.

God knew of the Fall, knew of the pain and suffering, knew of His Son’s sacrifice, and knew that ultimate redemption would all be worked in the world through ‘her seed,’ by His action.

Eve doesn’t just complement man, man is completed by Christ. Creation itself is completed.

Praise God that even before the Fall, we begin to hear the stirrings of the most compelling and spectacular symphony ever played, that of the glory of God, and mankind’s ultimate joy, through Christ.

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