A little more than two years ago, right in the middle of covid craziness, joy upon joy, Holly and I welcomed a new baby girl into the world. The moment still seems so vivid to me. We did not find out the gender of this baby like we did the other two, and so as the moment neared for her arrival I was eager to know if we would have a third son or our first daughter. When she was born I saw I had a daughter I was overwhelmed. All kinds of life events flashed before my eyes. Daddy daughter dates soon to be enjoyed, ballet recitals soon to be watched, and of course, gloriously intimidating any undeserving young boy who would ever think of taking my little girl on a date. And then I thought of her wedding, of the possibility of me walking her down the aisle to give her away. All of this happened in the first second I got a glimpse of her, and it was simply too much. It was so much that I couldn’t even answer when Holly asked me the gender of our new baby, the nurses had to tell her.
What a day. That day makes me think of this day in our passage this morning, where we see the first wedding in history. Where God gives away the first bride, to the first groom, uniting them as one, and forever setting up a pattern that would extend forward throughout Scripture ending in the New Heavens and the New Earth at another wedding, where Christ and His bride the Church, would be forever united.
Remember where we’ve been Church. We’ve seen the account of the creation week given to us in chapter 1, and now we find ourselves in chapter 2 which, is not a separate contradictory creation account, but an expansion or commentary on the creation account, specifically focusing on the creation of mankind. Last week we saw God the Potter form Adam, and God the Planter create the garden. Which brings us to Genesis 2:18-25 where we see the first wedding.
There are four headings to work through today, each begin with the word ‘Not’ which you’ll see is a unifying theme throughout this whole passage.
Not Good (v18)
“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
During the creation week we continually heard God’s conclusion be “good” and “very good.” Six times we heard this repeated refrain, which got us used to hearing God take great delight in His creative work. Then He raises the bar by declaring the unending day seven to be holy. But when we arrive at v18, we ought to be surprised and startled as we hear God pronounce something to be “not good.” It’s the first time God has given a negative or deficient status about anything in all creation. And to highlight this, Moses makes it emphatic in the Hebrew word order. While the phrase not good is near the beginning of our English word order in v18, the Hebrew word order of v18 literally flows like this, “Then the LORD God said “Not good, for man to be alone…” It jumps out at us in the text and alerts us to something that is wrong and must be righted.
Notice this is not Adam’s opinion in v18, but God’s. You see that? At no point in this passage do we ever hear Adam’s judgment about his initial solitude. At no point does Adam file a complaint with God for being alone, as if he could do such a thing. To be honest, we don’t really know what Adam believed about this situation, but we do know what God says about it. A world full of just men isn’t good. Adam on his own isn’t good. In this behold what God is for His people. He’s not only Omnipotent Creator, He’s Generous Provider. See this in v18, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” God will right the wrong of Adam’s alone-ness, by making not just a helper, but a helper fit for him. Fit for him means custom made for him, entirely suitable to him, and a perfect match for him.
But first God will lead Adam through a process of discovering this need for himself. So see next…
Not Narnia (v19-20)
“Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.”
Here, as I mentioned, we see God lead Adam through the process of discovering his need for a helper. So God brought the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens to him for the purpose of naming them. Most likely this is not Adam just thinking of a name and giving to a creature, as if he walked up to a creature and casually said, ‘Ah, this shall be the wallaby,’ no. This is also not Adam as Dr. Doolittle here. Nor, sadly, is this the land of Narnia, full of lively and vibrant talking beasts and birds, no. It was probably Adam taking time to study and know each creature as it was and finding a suitable name to match its unique shape and features. I say this because only when we’ve arrived at a true knowledge of what a thing is, are we able to state what it is and what it is not. This is Adam naming the creatures and whatever Adam called them, that was the creature’s name. God brought the animals to Adam to be named so Adam could realize his solitary state. He sees how none of the beasts act like him, speak like him, or relate to him in a manner resembling his own nature. And he would’ve clearly seen how each animal has its mate, while he did not. This is why God said it was not good for man to be alone in v18. God already knew that, and this naming process was God’s way of revealing this to Adam. And it succeeded, the end of v20 cries out in lack, “…there was not found a helper fit for him.” In this way, Adam knows the unsuitable nature of being alone, and will greatly appreciate, rejoice, and praise God for the great gift of Eve.
Not Alone (v21-24)
“So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man He made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Now we come to the first wedding. Man is no longer alone, but has been given a helper suitable to him in every way possible. How did God do this? God caused Adam to go into a deep sleep, and God went to work. Adam didn’t witness this creation, he was asleep for it. Adam didn’t work or do anything but sleep while God provided what he was lacking. Adam was passive here, while yet again, God is presented to us as the chief Actor in view. But while Adam was sleeping it says God took one of his ribs (literally side) and made woman. So, just as Adam was not formed ex nihilo (from nothing) but was formed from the ground God had already made, so too woman was not made ex nihilo but was made from the man God had already made. Matthew Henry has a stunning remark in his commentary on this event. Woman was “not made out of man’s head to top him, not out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”
The text then says God brought her to Adam, much like a Father walking his daughter down the aisle toward her husband, and when Adam saw her he cried out with the first human words recorded in Scripture, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” There is another wordplay to see here. Earlier we saw the man (adam) was formed out of the ground (adamah), here we see woman (ishah) is formed out of man (ish). This wordplay celebrates their unique relationship, for Adam’s own name and nature is restated in hers.And Adam recognized this. He saw her, he rejoiced in her, that at last he had his companion, his full counterpart, his helper; made of the very same stuff he was himself. Notice Adam’s joyful response in v23 is spoken of just Eve, with no children in view. Meaning Eve was valued by Adam for who she was in herself alone, not for what she could bring to Adam. Children would surely come, but here in Genesis 2 it was just the two of them who constituted the first family, full and complete without kids.
We then see what this leads to in v24. Because the woman is the helpmate of man, man will then leave and cleave, forsaking his father and mother and holding fast to his wife, and “…become one flesh.” This leaving and cleaving means a great deal for both the man and the woman. Simply put, Adam’s union with Eve is so great he will leave his own family to be with her. To say more, because of this union Adam’s first priority, first loyalty, first duty, and first delight is now to Eve. Which implies that Adam is responsible for her as the head of his home. He is to protect her and provide for her over and above all else he is called to protect and provide for. God made Adam to tend and keep the garden, yes, but Adam would fail if he succeeded in tending the garden while neglecting Eve. She comes first, always, and without exception.
And this responsibility of Adam to protect and provide is both physical and spiritual. Physically, Adam is to protect Eve from anything that would do her harm, which would soon be a whole host of things after Genesis 3. This might be silly but it gets the point across. Even if Eve had a black belt in jujitsu, Adam should go out to defend his family first, and only over his unconscious body should anyone be able get to Eve. This is his protection of her. Also physically, Adam is to provide for Eve. Provide a home for Eve, put food on the table for Eve, a place for Eve to rest and nest. Which also entails Adam must protect this home from anyone and anything seeking to harm his home or his family. That’s the physical.
Spiritually speaking, all the same stuff is in view. Adam must protect and provide for Eve spiritually as well as physically. To spiritually provide for them means Adam is to be the pastor/priest of his own family, leading his family spiritually by nourishing and nurturing his family in the things of God, as a pastor is to do for a church. And to protect his family spiritually he must guard his family against all that would spiritually do them harm. This implies Adam knows the spiritual state of his own home. How is Eve doing spiritually? Is she growing? Or is she not? And once kids come along, how are they doing? What are they being taught, who is teaching them, who else is influencing them? This is Adam’s responsibility, in v23, as he leaves father and mother to cling to his wife, Adam is called to physically and spiritually protect and provide, while Eve is called to enjoy being protected and provided for in these ways. This is the context in which both Adam and Eve are designed to flourish in.
And lest you think this is all well and good and off at a distance from us, this is the pattern for us. All of you husbands are to be to your family what Adam is here while all of you wives are to be to your family what Eve is here. Husbands, you are the heads of your homes, and must protect and provide for your families physically and spiritually. Whatever else you might be called to in this life, however great or small, your family is ministry number one. To succeed in other things while failing at home is to fail in the most important calling. And so too, wives, you must seek to be glad and willing to be protected by and be provided for physically and spiritually by your husband, to live underneath the home he provides, to find rest there in the shadow of his wings, to help and support in all he does, as his lifelong companion and best friend.
Isn’t it the case that all kinds of problems rush in when these things don’t happen? When a man desires to forsake his wife to protect and provide for another woman? Or when a woman desires to be protected by and provided for by another man? We must ever return to, remind, and retell this Genesis 2 pattern to ourselves and to one another in the Church. This is pattern Church. It remains, it stands, even though the whole world cries out against it.
Not Ashamed (v25)
“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
v25 is the fruit of this kind of one flesh union. No greed, no shame, no distrust, and no dishonor. Fully known and yet fully free and at peace with one another. v25 doesn’t only end chapter 2, it anticipates the events to come in chapter 3. How? There is one more wordplay to see in the Hebrew here. The word naked is the Hebrew word arummim, which is very like the word crafty (arum) which of course describes the serpent in 3:1. This wordplay connects the serpents deceitfulness with the result of his deceitfulness, the loss of Adam and Eve’s v25 innocence.
What are we to say as we end Genesis 1-2, especially after a text as we’ve explored today? Three things.
First, marriage is good. It wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. God knows and God has told us of the goodness of Eve and their one flesh union. In v18-25 we see the God ordained complementary roles of men and women in marriage, and whatever the cultures of this world do to redefine or remake this in a new way, it must be the Church who ever embraces and enjoys this model.
Second, singleness is not bad. A wrong conclusion to arrive at after such a text is that singleness is sinful. It’s not, not at all. How do we know this? Jesus Himself was single, as was Paul. Paul even explains this in 1 Cor. 7 saying those who are married are divided in heart, anxious about pleasing husband or wife as well as pleasing the Lord. While the single man or single woman is not divided, worried only about pleasing the Lord.
Third, Christ is better than all. Church, marriage is good. Singleness is also good. But you know what’s better? Being married to Christ. Paul also states this saying marriage points far beyond itself to something greater. After quoting from Genesis 2 and talking about marriage he says in Ephesians 5:32, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” So see and rejoice Church, the glories of the gospel. Jesus is the greater Adam who ever protects and provides for His bride, the Church. He is head over the Church and will always tend and keep us. And the Church is to enjoy being protected by and being provided for physically and spiritually by Christ, living and finding rest in and under the shadow of His wings. Church, we belong to Him, and one day He will take us home to be with Him forever.
 Kenneth A. Matthews, Genesis 1-11:26, NAC (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H, 1996), 213.
 Victor P. Hamilton, Genesis 1-17, NICOT (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1990), 175.
 John D. Currid, Genesis 1:1-25:18, EP Study Commentary (Holywell, UK: Evangelical Press, 2015), 109.
 R. Kent Hughes, Genesis, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2004), 59.
 James Montgomery Boice, Genesis 1-11 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1982), 113.
 Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, WBC (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1987), 68.
 Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Academic, 2001), 89.
 Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 69.
 Hughes, Genesis, 61.
 Derek Kidner, Genesis (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2008), 70.
 Hughes, Genesis, 62.
 Sam Storms, Women’s Study Bible (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2020) 12.
 Kidner, Genesis, 71.
 Matthews, Genesis 1-11:26, 225.
 Waltke, Genesis, 88, footnote 31.