“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and 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, because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Ge.2:18-25)
In Genesis 2:18-25, we have an account that provides added detail to the more direct statement, “‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” found in Genesis 1:26-27. The approach God takes with Adam as He prepares to create woman is quite revealing. It offers insight into the significance of human beings having been created as moral agents with creative abilities. God’s preference for human beings involves our being governed by the influence that comes by way of truth, understanding, influence and response as opposed to direct causation or coercion. In this early account of God’s interaction with the first human, we see an example of this.
In preparation to make a “helper suitable” for Adam, God gives Adam a project. I would suggest that in His wisdom, God often accomplishes many things by way of one endeavor, so I do not suggest that this article covers every dimension of that which is taking place. However, the task of naming the other animate creatures results in Adam gaining a very important insight. Before addressing the insight and its significance, consider; God provides an occasion for Adam to use his creative abilities that are part of being created in the image of God. This is also an aspect of Adam exercising his role of ruling over the other animate creatures. Having been invited by the Creator into the creation project, God was pleased to allow for the outcome that “whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.” Often, when it takes a few minutes to read such a text, we might have that tendency to see such an endeavor as a relatively quick and easy affair. This project would have been lengthy and involved, calling upon Adam to evaluate and identify varying aspects of the different order of creatures as he labeled them.
After much analysis and reflection, Adam arrives at a conclusion that was, both, accurate and useful for God’s goal of leading the male human to recognize his need and prepare him to appreciate the female human He was to create for and from the man. We recognize that after each aspect of creation God declared that it was good. It is only in the text under consideration that God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” He follows this declaration with the revealed intention, “I will make him a helper suitable for him.” However, instead of simply doing so, God assigns Adam the task of naming the animals. The conclusion is, “…there was not found a helper suitable for him.” Adam had capabilities and capacities that were not present in the other creatures. There was no sufficient way for him to have meaningful relationship with the creatures he had just evaluated. With this realization in place, God proceeded to create the woman and present her to the man to be valued, appreciated and loved.
Though much more could be said of this account, I will conclude by drawing attention to an important concept that has many applications, not the least of pertaining to human redemption. The animals that Adam named are designed to be governed by impulse and instinct. Human beings, on the other hand, regulate their choices and behavior due to a realization that inspires and prepares us to see the value of something. This involves the usage of our abilities to use our intellectual powers to evaluate, analyze, draw conclusions and assign importance and value to something. We either do this well or poorly. This is an aspect of moral agency of which the other creatures are void. In our text, it applies to Adam valuing and appreciating Eve. However, this applies to all areas of life.
I close by emphasizing that this is the essence of the parable of the treasure hidden in the field. It is not until a human being “sees” the significance and value of God and his kingdom that he is willing to make everything else subordinate to its value. We cannot effectively “cause” people to be reconciled to God but, rather, must help them see the significance of who He is with the use of truth (in word and deed). When teaching a course entitled, Elements of Evangelism, I begin by stating, “Our task is to help people fall in love with God.”