Good morning, everybody. Open your Bible this morning to Genesis 2. We’re looking at verses 18-25. The title of our message is, “The Creator’s Marriage Blueprint.” There is lots of talk today in the culture about marriage and redefining marriage. Maybe we ought to go back to the owner’s manual at some point and see what God said about marriage—and the very first marriage that He Himself performed even before the Fall here in Genesis 2:18-25.
We have embarked, as you know, on a verse by verse study through the Book of Genesis. The first 11 chapters are all about the beginning of the human race, and that section has four subsections. Lord willing, we may even finish sub-letter A today, Creation. That’s what we’ve been studying: the doctrine of Creation.
Genesis 1, as you probably know, is a description of the whole six days of Creation. God, there at the beginning of Genesis 2:1-3, is resting on Day Seven. Now Genesis 2 comes along so skillfully and doesn’t retell the whole story, but it focuses on Day Six, the pinnacle of God’s Creation. This is the beginning of the human race, the image bearers of God.
A human being is different than anything that God had created because they bear His very image. And now we get a description (Genesis 2) of Day Six. So we have studied verses 4-7 of Genesis 2, the Creation of man.
Last week we saw verses 8-14, how God placed man in a garden—the Garden of Eden. Then, verses 15-17, He gave Adam responsibilities in that Garden. Eve, at this state of the game, so to speak, has not been created yet. God is dealing specifically with the first man, Adam.
Now we get a description of the first marriage and how Eve came into existence in verses 18-25. We can outline verses 18-25 as follows:
God says there’s a problem. Everything that we’ve read seems like everything is perfect, and yet God says there’s something imperfect (verse 18). The problem with Adam—and most men in general, I might say—is that we have a difficult time recognizing the problem. There’s a relational deficiency that you don’t recognize. And in verses 19 and 20 God gets man Adam to recognize the problem.
Then, in verses 21-25, after the problem has been identified (verse 18), recognized (verses 19-20), God now solves the problem. It’s hard to appreciate God’s solution until we first understand there’s a problem.
A lot of our lives God spends just trying to communicate to us that there’s a problem. Once you understand a problem, then you start to reach out for the solution. But the solution won’t make much sense to us unless we understand what the solution supposedly resolves. And in the process what we get is a description of the first marriage.
Marriage, as you know, in the Bible is very significant. In fact, our relationship to the Lord as His church is described in marriage terms (Ephesians 5:22-33). He is the groom; we are the bride. If you want to understand our whole relationship to the Lord, you have to view it through a marriage grid or lens.
It’s interesting to me that in John’s Gospel, Jesus performed seven signs. John focuses on seven signs that Jesus performed to communicate to his audience Who Jesus is. The very first sign that Jesus performed was the water to wine at Cana of Galilee; Jesus performed that particular sign at a wedding.
It’s interesting to me that Jesus would choose to launch His entire public ministry from the standpoint of a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It shows you that Jesus, 2000 years ago, had a very high view of marriage. And why wouldn’t He? God gives us information here in verses 18-25 of the very first marriage in history.
The reality of the situation is that a lot of people want to rewrite marriage; they want to redefine marriage, as if it’s ours to rewrite and redefine. How do you redefine something that you didn’t create? God is the author of marriage, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden.
Let’s begin with verse 18 where the problem is identified. Verse 18 says, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good…’ ” If you’re and underliner, you might want to underline those words “not good.”
“ ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper…’ ” That’s another word worth underlining there: helper. “ ‘…suitable for him.’ ” Now, this is sort of striking as you read it because everything that we have read thus far is good! God has said, “Everything is good.”
In fact, do you remember what He said at the end of Day Six? At the end of Genesis 1 at the end of Day Six, God says it’s not just good—everything that He had made—He says it’s what? It’s very good!
Then, all of a sudden, you get to verse 18 and suddenly run into something that is not good. Well, what is not good? It’s simply this: man, when he was designed, was not simply designed for a vertical relationship with God; he was also designed for a horizontal relationship with someone else.
In fact, 3000 years ago, roughly, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, outside of Christ, writes this in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. He says, “Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (NKJV)
I realize that there are always exceptions to the rule. But, by and large, God intended us to be in an intimate relationship with someone else, and that’s why we have marriage being described here in Genesis 2:15-25.
Now, when you talk like this it automatically takes people that are singles and it seems to put them under some sort of a guilt trip that they are somehow less than what God has designed. And we have to be very careful of that, because there are certain advantages to the single state.
Paul himself accomplish what he did for Christ as a single man. Paul would write in 1 Corinthians 7:7, concerning his single state, “For I wish that all men were even as I myself.” This is speaking of his singleness. Paul could do more—he could accomplish more—as a single person that he could as a married person. So, if you’re single and listening to this, you’re not somehow deficient. You haven’t somehow missed the will of God. God could be preparing you for your future marriage, but God can and will use you as you are. In fact, you can accomplish things as a single person that a married person cannot accomplish.
But with that being said, by and large marriage is a good thing. Marriage is designed by God for the human race to be a blessing. The Apostle Paul acknowledges that in 1 Corinthians 7, and that’s why we have a description of the first marriage in Genesis 2:18-25.
So a problem has been surfaced; a problem has been recognized; God has brought it to Adam’s attention. “Yes, you have that vertical relationship with Me, but there’s more I have for you. I want you to have a horizontal relationship with another.”
Now the problem with men is that we’re somewhat deficient in this regard. We don’t see our needs necessarily in this area as fast as we should. So now God has to put Adam through a process so he can see this deficiency. And He does it through having Adam name the animals.
The naming of the animals is not just a lesson in zoology. This is a marriage context, and you see that described there in verses 19 and 20. It’s not just randomly thrown in there; it deals with the subject of marriage.
Notice what it says in verses 19 and 20. “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…” That’s very important! “…to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.”
Verse 20, “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.” Why in the world would God then bring animals to Adam, prior to the creation of Eve, and put him through this process of naming the various animals?
What in the world would that have to do with marriage ? I think the answer is very simple: God is trying to get Adam to see his own need. “Hey, Adam, did you notice that there’s a Mr. and Mrs. Rhinoceros that you just named? Did you notice that there’s a Mr. and Mrs. Giraffe? Are you seeing a problem here? There’s no Mr. and Mrs. Adam.”
Adam, blinded to his own need, is put through this process so he could see his own need. “Mates exists in the animal kingdom and in the animal world. Where is your mate?”
This is interesting, because there are a great many high-ranking scholars that do this. It’s shocking the number of people who have very good reputations in Christian circles, yet they don’t believe in six 24 hour Creation days.
One of the arguments that they’ll give is, “This could not be a 24 hour day because Adam didn’t name all of the animals—could he?—in 24 hours. I mean, that’s a ridiculous idea to think that he named all of the animals in 24 hours! Therefore, this sixth day—just like the other six days—must be an age of time.”
In response to this I would say that people just are not reading the Bible. This never says Adam named all the animals, does it? What it says is, “He named the beasts of the field.” You’ll see that in Genesis 2:20, meaning he didn’t name every beast. Because Genesis 1:25 talks about the beasts of the earth. Adam is not naming every beast of the earth; he’s naming a subset of the beasts, first of all.
Number two, it never says that Adam went out and started naming every single animal. The Bible is very clear that Adam only named the animals that God brought to Adam. Well, how many animals were there? I don’t know, but it’s not as big a category as every single animal.
Beyond that, think about Adam’s mind. The Fall of man hasn’t happened yet. You know, the scientists tell us that we only use a small fraction of our mind. And I think a lot of that fractionalization of the intellect has to do with the Fall of man. We’re not really in our full potential as fallen human beings.
But the Fall hasn’t happened yet. And think of Adam’s mind running in its state of maturity and completion; think of the intellectual feats that he could accomplish. So naming the animals that God brought to him could easily be done in a 24 hour time period.
The problem with us is we are what we would call uniformitarians, where we take what’s normal for us in terms of our own intellectual abilities and we read that back into the Bible. The reality of the situation is we can’t do that because we are living post-Fall. Adam is living pre-Fall.
We have a diminished intellectual capacity today because of the Fall that Adam didn’t have. So when people complain that there’s no way Adam could have named all the animals in 24 hours, what they’re really saying is, “You couldn’t name all the animals in 24 hours!” But Adam was different in his pre-fallen state; his intellect was at a state of full capacity. He wasn’t using just a section of his mind or a fragment of his mind.
Beyond that, I don’t think God just kept bringing animal after animal after animal after animal to Adam. I think he named them until he learned the lesson. What’s the lesson? Not a lesson in zoology, but a lesson in the fact that, “Everything else in this Garden has a mate, but you do not.”
Now, how long would it have taken Adam to learn this? Granted, we as males and men are a bit slower on these kinds of things, but I don’t think it would’ve taken him 10 billion years to learn this lesson.
You know, it’s interesting that when you actually look at what God did on Day Six, there’s no reason to believe that all of these things couldn’t have happened within a 24 hour time period. After all, we’re dealing with God!
What actually happened on Day Six? Well, God created the livestock, the beasts of the earth, and everything that creeps on the earth. Then He created Adam. God put Adam in a garden. God talked to Adam.
God brought certain animals to Adam, who named these animals, and then God created Eve. Why would this have to take a billion years? When the list is actually reduced to the seven things that actually happened, it’s very easy to see how this could have happened within a normal 24 hour time period.
I’ve given you the reasons why I think the Creation days are normal 24 hour time periods in Genesis 1. And Genesis 2 doesn’t need to be interpreted in any way that would contradict what we said in Genesis 1 concerning the normal 24 hour time period.
But now that the problem has been identified, and now that Adam has recognized the problem, now God steps in with a solution—a solution he wouldn’t have appreciated had he not understood the problem. Notice what it says there in verses 21 and 22 as now God begins to move in with the solution.
“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.” How is the first marriage in the history of the world accomplished? It is accomplished through God taking the man and putting him into sleep. In fact, the Hebrew word here means a deep sleep. Then God did the work from Adam’s side and brought the woman to the man.
One of the things that’s interesting about studying the doctrine of biblical anthropology (which means the study of man) is you see very fast that a human being has three basic components. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, The Apostle Paul writes, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit [part one] and soul [part two] and body [part three] be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
God is triune. We are made in His image. So, to a certain extent, we are triune—or three parts—as well. Adam had the Holy Spirit. He had a knowledge of God at the beginning—a perfect relationship with the Lord. But then he had a soul, or a PSUCHE. The soul would be the seat of his intellect, emotions, preferences, tastes; it’s everything that goes into making up a person as an individual that you can’t see. It’s what we call the part of anthropology which is immaterial. We have a material side and an immaterial side.
The third thing he had is a body—the seat of taste, smell, sight, the tool that God gave him to relate to the world around him. And I believe that when Adam was put to sleep and God brought Eve to Adam, she was comparable to him, compatible with him, at all three levels. She had the Spirit too, because the Fall of man hadn’t happened yet.
There was a compatibility at the PSUCHE (or the soul) level also. There was no great difference between the two in the sense that maybe he wants to go out and be a missionary and she wants to be the CEO of IBM. Nothing wrong with either of those things, but it’s hard for people to stay married under that kind of pressure. There was a compatibility of interests and tastes, vision for life, etc.
And the two were united at a physical level. There was physical attraction between the two. As the joke goes, that’s why he called her woman, “Woah! … man.” So the two of them were united. They were spiritually united, they were united at the soul level, and they were physically attracted to each other.
Now, that’s what God will do in a marriage if you let Him. The problem with us though, is we don’t go to sleep. Do you understand that God does His greatest work while we’re asleep? If Adam had said, “I’m going to meet my own need. I’m not going to follow the pattern and plan of God. I’m going to go out and meet my own need.”
Think about who he would’ve married here. He probably would have married a gorilla, because a gorilla is more anatomically similar to a human being than any other animal in the Garden. You see, this is why people today are married to gorillas; they don’t wait on the Lord!
They don’t wait on the Lord to do the work, and they end up being mismatched with someone. They’ll settle for something at the spirit level, “Oh, he believes in God. He’s used the J word before.”
“Boy, she sure looks good!” “He looks good!” So they’ll settle for something on the body level, but God wants to do the work on the soul level also. He wants to join two people together—body, soul, and spirit.
I have reflected on this often. You know, the divorce rate within Christian circles is just as bad. Did you know that? In some cases it is worse than the unsaved world. Christian marriages dissolve constantly. I’m not trying to put anybody on any kind of guilt trip if they have something like that in their past. I’m just stating a fact.
That’s bothered me for a long time. Why is that so? I think a lot of it has to do with a lack of understanding of the blueprint of God. How people are so eager to get that need met that they’ll settle for something less than what God has for them. They marry someone where they’re joined at a spiritual level. Maybe they’re joined at a body level, but the soul connection is not there.
And when the trial comes—not if, but when—because your marriage is good to be tested by something. When the trial comes, the marriage quickly dissolves. And it has to do with a lack of waiting on the Lord to do His work on the front end.
I know many, many people who are single in the world of Christianity. The number one thought on their mind is, “I need to get married—and I need to get married fast! I need to marry somebody quick because I feel like I’m less than a person unless that happens.” Yet, the fact of the matter is that you’re not less than a person. You haven’t missed the will of God; it’s just that God hasn’t done the work that He wants to do to bring the right person to you.
Adam did not go out and start shaking all the trees. He didn’t go out and start getting on all the dating apps. He went to sleep—God put him to sleep! And in that place of being asleep, God did His work. It has to do with impatience and not waiting on the Lord.
Genesis 15:12, should we ever get there before the Rapture, will teach us about the Abrahamic Covenant. This is the covenant that God made with the nation of Israel which carves out—if you understand it—God’s future plan for Israel. Why God has preserved Israel to this day is in that covenant.
You want to talk about the ultimate real estate deal? That’s the ultimate real estate deal. There is no more fundamental foundational chapter that you can understand, grasping the totality of God’s plan, than Genesis 15! It’s hard to overstate how important that chapter is. And yet, that deal was entered into, as we will discover in Genesis 15:12, while Abram was asleep. Are you seeing a pattern here?
God does His greatest work while we are asleep! We get ourselves into a world of trouble we don’t follow His pattern and we step out in human energy and try to make these things happen. We need to be patient; we need to wait upon the Lord. Not just in this area of marriage and finding the right mate, but in all kinds of areas!
We’re going to see in Genesis 17 how Abram and Sarai just got tired of waiting on God! They decided to fix a problem that only God could fix. What came from that was Ishmael, who begat a group of people that are enemies of the nation of Israel to…this…very…day!
Isaac is the product of faith and waiting upon God; Ishmael is the product of works and impatience and “helping God out.” Here’s the deal, folks. God knows you have the need, but He doesn’t need your help to solve it. In fact, what He needs you to do is to go to sleep and let Him fix the issue. Yet so frequently we don’t do that, and we get ourselves into a world of trouble.
Now, you talk like this, and people will say, “Wait a minute. I’ve already made the mistake. I’m already married to a guerrilla. What do I do now?” The fact of the matter is…there are Scriptures that are for you in those circumstances. One of them is 1 Peter 3:1-6, which talks about a godly wife winning her husband whom she’s married to—not by terminating the marriage.
You talk like this, and people say, “What about abuse?” We’re not dealing with abuse right now. If anybody is being physically abused by anybody, I’m always going to counsel them to get out of harm’s way. The Scripture is not going to deal with every single issue like that.
1 Peter 3 is a situation where a woman is a believer, and the husband is an unbeliever. Maybe she rushed into something that she shouldn’t have rushed into. Or maybe she got saved after they were married, and he didn’t. What do you do then? What you need to do is you need to leave Scripture verses in his lunchbox as he goes to work, and you need to annoy him about Jesus 24/7. The Bible doesn’t say that.
What it says is that if you entrust this situation to the Lord and let Him work in you a Christlike godly character, that man is going to be drawn to Christianity. So here we’re not dealing with every kind of situation, but it is strong exhortation to a Christian man or to a Christian woman as they’re contemplating marriage.
Marriage is a good thing. God wants to have that relational need met, but we’re not to get ahead of the Lord, we’re not to become so focused on the need that we forget the timing of God and the power of God and the patience of God and how God knows what that need is and will meet that need in His timing!
Notice in verse 23 that something also very significant happens. It says, “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.’ ” Something very significant happens here: Once Eve is brought to him, Adam names Eve.
Eve does not name Adam; Adam names Eve! Why go into this? Because, as you know, feminism has got us by the throat. It’s a cultural myth that the woman is somehow greater or more important than the man. The other cultural myth, of course, is chauvinism, where the man thinks he’s greater or more important than the woman.
When the culture screams at us, sadly the evangelical Bible believing church, in its apostate form, will rewrite the Bible to accommodate the culture. So we have this today within Christianity. I’m not talking here about the left wing of the Democratic Party; I’m talking about a movement within Christianity called evangelical feminism. It’s a rewriting of the Bible to keep up with feminism!
Evangelical feminism can be defined as a theological movement within the evangelical church that seeks to abolish all gender role distinctions within marriage and the church. “I noticed you all at Sugar Land Bible Church don’t have any women on your elder board.” Yeah, that’s true, but there’s a reason for that. It says in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 that an elder must be “the husband of one wife.” How could a woman be that? God put that restriction in there!
That’s not saying that women can’t be involved in ministry. Women are the backbone of ministry. Women supported, financially, the ministry of Jesus. Did you know that? You’ll see that in Luke’s Gospel. There are countless areas of ministry that are open for women. There are a small number that are not.
What happens to so many women is that they start to focus on the one thing they can’t do instead of all of the things they can do for the cause of Christ. From that sort of mindset what starts to develop is evangelical feminism that wants to eradicate all role distinctions in terms of authority within marriage and within the church.
“Go ahead and have a female preacher.” That’s fine according to evangelical feminism. Female elders—on and on we could go. There’s a big church down the road; you might’ve seen it. You drive by on the freeway, and it says, “Mr. so-and-so and Mrs. so-and-so, co-pastors.” That’s the trend also, “We’ll just make them co-pastors.” It’s all a ramification of evangelical feminism.
Evangelical feminism will say, “Okay. There are gender role distinctions in the Bible, but that’s after the Fall—not before. That’s a result of sin—not before.” And I’m here to tell you that that’s not true. There are authority issues taking place in the Bible between men and women that existed before Adam and Eve ever ate from the forbidden tree. They are part of the design of God! They are part of what God always wanted.
One of those things is male headship in marriage. How do I know that? Because Eve doesn’t name Adam; Adam names Eve! And Adam is created first; Eve is created second. You say, “Well, who cares?” You should care, because Paul the apostle, when he’s giving guidelines for the church, says this in 1 Timothy 2:12, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” (NKJV)
Why in the world would you say that, Paul? You must be some misogynistic sexist pig to make a statement like that! But you have to read the next verse. 1 Timothy 2:13, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (NKJV) See, what God is doing here is He’s putting together a blueprint for the hierarchy of authority. It’s very significant that Adam is on the scene first, and Eve is on the scene second.
Paul apparently thinks that order is so significant that he puts a gender limitation within the church at Ephesus on the office of pastor-teacher. It’s interesting to me that so many churches that want to have females at the highest levels have thrown out a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 through 11 a long time ago.
You throw out a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 through 11, you have really no basis for saying there are differences of authority amongst the genders within the church and within the family. But you put Genesis 1 through 11 in its proper place—which is what we’re trying to do here—and you’ll start seeing that Paul bases this whole command on a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 through 11.
My goodness, this man, the Apostle Paul, believed in a literal Adam and Eve! He even paid attention to the chronology about how Adam was created first and Eve was created second—by divine design! Then, looking more carefully at verse 23, it’s very clear that Adam names Eve. Not only was Adam created first (pre-Fall), but he is the one that names Eve once Eve is brought to Adam (pre-fall).
When you study naming in the Bible, that’s a big deal! God did not name Eve. God allowed Adam to name Eve. And when you name something in the Bible, it’s a communication of authority. God names all kinds of things in the Bible. Genesis 1:10, “…God called the dry land Earth.” God is showing His authority over the earth. Just like He’s allowing Adam, through this naming, to demonstrate authority over his wife.
I know some you females are very upset with me right now; just hang in there with me because I’m going to give a big balancing talk in a few minutes. But we have to see this side of the ledger. Go through the Bible and look what happens when someone is given authority to name.
Look at Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You know what their names originally were? Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Jewish names that reflected God and His character in Daniel 1:6-7.
When those three Hebrew youths went into Babylonian captivity, Nebuchadnezzar renamed each one of them. “You’re no longer Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; you’ll be known by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, which reflected the character not of the God, Yahweh, the Hebrew God, but the Babylonian pantheon.
What Nebuchadnezzar is doing is saying, “I own you, Hebrew youths. You don’t work for God anymore; you work for me! I am authority of your lives and not God!” And you know what happens in the rest of the Book of Daniel? God says, “Nebuchadnezzar (Nebbie for short), you’re wrong. I’m the authority here.” But it’s highly significant—the naming the takes place in Daniel 1:6-7.
So what you start to see is:
You’ll see Eve sinning first (Genesis 3:6). Then you go to Genesis 3:9 and it says, “Then the Lord God called to the man…” Now, why wouldn’t He call the woman? She sinned first, after all. She gave some to her husband, and he ate of the forbidden tree.
Why would God call out to the man? Because God understands what evangelical feminists deny: that the authority rested with Adam. And when Enron goes belly up, you don’t go after the janitor; you go after the CEO. You go after the person in charge. See that?
So what I’m trying to demonstrate here is the nonsensical interpretation of evangelical feminism—this idea that male headship is something that happened after the Fall—doesn’t make any sense in light of the three reasons I’ve given.
“Well, this is the most sexist, misogynist, woman-hating church I have ever been in! And I pray to God that it’s going to turn to 12:30 as fast as it can so I can get out of here.”
With that being said, let me give you the other side of the story. Here is some balance. For one thing, it’s very interesting to me that Eve was created from Adam’s side. Not his foot, to be stomped on. Not from his head that she might rule over him, but from his side.
Why in the world was she created from his side? She came into existence to complete what was lacking in Adam. Isn’t that what verse 18 says? “…‘I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Verse 20, “…but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” She is there to complete him. She is there to assist him. And it is amazing what the right woman can do in terms of that!
I could tell you countless stories from my own life about how my own wife just via kindness has completely completed what was lacking in me. I remember a situation in Dallas. It was a conservative group, and I was becoming a participant in that group. Tyndale Seminary was involved with that; Chafer Seminary was involved with that.
I remember going out the door, rushing off to this event, and my wife said, “You know, you ought to put on a suit and tie.” “I’m not going to put on a suit and tie; I’ll be uncomfortable all day! Why would you want me to put on a suit and tie?” “Well, because one of these days you might be president of one of those organizations.” And that’s happened.
I’ll give you another example. I moved here to Houston, and I was working at the College of Biblical Studies. We were looking for a church. We didn’t even know this church existed. My wife discovered it, “Why don’t we try that little church over there?” “I don’t want to do that.” Well, look at today—the pastor of the church.
I mean, it’s stunning—the influence that the right wife can have on a person. And that’s why the woman comes into existence. She’s not there to tear the man down. She’s not there to rival him or compete with him; she is there to make him a success.
So many younger Christian women who have bought into evangelical feminism are miserable, first of all, because they’re living outside of their design. But they don’t even understand what they’re calling is; they are pursuing their own empire—their own things—the things that they want—and the man is sort of along for the ride.
That’s not a godly perspective. That’s a worldly perspective of the definition of manhood and womanhood infiltrating the church of Jesus Christ. If you’re married to a man as a Christian woman, your job is to make him successful.
I’m not saying that you can’t have your own career—or whatever. I’m saying that your principal responsibility, under God, is to complete what is lacking in him. And the interesting thing about women is that they can see very fast what’s lacking in us—right down to the clothes we choose to put on.
Do we understand, as men, that we have almost no ability to solve our own problems? We don’t even know what they are. We don’t even know where our car keys are 90% of the time. But a woman, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, as she’s brought into that marriage, can complete what is lacking. See that?
That’s what it means, “I will make a helper suitable for him.” I don’t mean to go too far out on a limb. I’ve already gone out on a limb, so I might as well keep walking. Amen? There is a movement today concerning homosexual adoption of children, where it is now becoming legal for a child to be adopted by a homosexual couple.
Why would they do that? because they can’t produce children of their own. Why can’t they produce children of their own? They are living outside of the design of God, that’s why. Think what is lacking in the lives of those children in terms of a male and a female perspective, with men and women on the same team looking at issues through different lenses.
You only have the perspective of two men—or the perspective of two women. I personally don’t think it’s a great idea for our society to move in that particular direction. I think we need to go back to the design of God and the blueprint of God and how God has made men and women differently—by design. And the woman is to be a blessing to that man!
But the problem with the man? And you ladies are saying, “Thank God. Let’s get to that now!” The man thinks that the woman is his slave. And that’s not what the Bible teaches.
What the woman is called (Genesis 2:18) is not the slave, but the what? Helpmate. My wife tells me this all of the time, “Do you know why the wife is called the helpmate? Because you men need help!”
She is not there to be ruled over ruthlessly or devalued. She is there to be appreciated and embraced based on the high calling that God has given her. In fact, the Hebrew word here for “helper” (Genesis 2:18; 2:20) is the Hebrew word EZER. Watch this now: this is the exact same word used to describe God.
God is called the Helper also. Where is that? We don’t have time to look at every verse. Exodus 18:4, “ ‘The God of my father was my help…’ ” (NKJV) Deuteronomy 33:7, the Lord will be “a help against his enemies.” (NKJV) First Samuel 7:12, “ ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’ ” (NKJV) It’s not a demotion of women any more than that word is a demotion of God.
By the way, you know what the Holy Spirit is called? The Paraclete. What does that mean? “The one who comes alongside to assist.” That’s what a woman is called here in the helpmate. That is not some sort of slur or bigotry against women any more than it’s a slur or bigotry against God Himself.
This is not demoting women; this is elevating women. You want to go somewhere in the world where women are demoted? You go to a part of this world that has not been penetrated by Christianity, and you’ll see it really quick. You even see it here in the Houston area through immigration.
In the middle of the heat of Houston, you have the woman in a full burka, walking 6 feet behind the man? You want to blame that on Christianity? That’s a culture that has never known Christianity!
Jesus did more for women than any historical figure I can think of when He did something so simple as to minister to the woman at the well who was immoral and from the wrong race. In fact, when you study John 4 carefully, you’ll learn that He went out of His way to find her. He went way out of His way because it was within the providence of God for God in human Incarnation to find her and minister to her.
It was such a magnificent thing, and it was so anti-cultural that the disciples themselves even started criticizing Jesus and saying, “Why are You talking to her?!” So this idea that somehow Christianity has destroyed the female gender is about as far removed historically as you could ever discover.
So when the Lord calls the wife or the woman a helper, He’s not devaluing her or demoting her at all. How could He demote her when she comes from the exact same essence as Adam? That’s what he is saying here in verse 23, “ ‘This is now bone of my bones [they are the same essence] And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” (NKJV)
Not from his foot, not from his head, but from his side. From the same flesh; from the same bone. By the way, we learned earlier in Genesis 1 that both genders are image bearers of God.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NKJV) By the way, both Adam and Eve were joint rulers over Creation. Genesis 1:26-28, “…let them…” Who would that be? It doesn’t say, “let him.” It says, “let them.”
“…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.” (NASB 1995) He says, later on in verse 28, to subdue it and rule over it. He said it to both of them!
So what do we see developing here in the Scripture? We see that the woman is not to be abused. The woman is not to be neglected. The woman is not the slave, but she is (1 Peter 3:7) a joint heir of salvation! When I fall into chauvinistic tendencies—which happens more than I wish—that verse comes back to me quite frequently.
My wife is going to enjoy the exact same heaven that I’m going to enjoy; we are joint heirs. In fact, if you go back to the beginning, we were joint rulers! In fact, if you go back to the beginning, we are both image bearers!
Now, does God call men and women to play different roles? Yes. Is there an authority structure? Yes. Is there such thing as male headship before the Fall? Yes. Is evangelical feminism wrong? Yes. All true—but be careful about the balance. She’s not a slave. She’s not less than you. She’s not less valuable than you. She’s there to help. She’s a blessing. She’s a grace gift that God has given you.
Very similar to the Trinity, where God the Son submits to God the Father. Doesn’t Jesus say that over and over again? “Not My will be done,” but what? “Thy will be done.” But when the Son submits to the Father—watch this now—the Son does not relinquish one iota of deity!
The Son and the Father are equal in terms of the essence of deity, but the Son and the Father play different roles. That’s biblical marriage. Your wife and you—or your husband and you—or your future wife—or your future husband—play different roles. The leadership rests with the man.
But just because the leadership structure rests with the man pre-Fall, in no way, shape, or form does it mean that the woman is less valuable than the man. Any more than the Son is of less value than the Father, even though the Son plays a different role in subservience to the Father.
Very confused on this in the culture today! Very easy to hear a preacher say one thing and form an inaccurate conclusion, but I would just challenge people to look at the full balance of not what I say. What I say is not important. It’s what God says.
What do you not see at the beginning? You don’t see feminism where the woman is trying to control the man and assert her authority over the man. What also you don’t see at the beginning is chauvinism—where the man mistreats the woman and devalues her. You see, in this, a beautiful symmetrical relationship respecting the value of both parties in this marriage. But at the same time, there’s a hierarchy here.
Now, the Fall of man hasn’t happened yet, so how can an evangelical feminist blame male authority as a result of the Fall? No, this is in existence before the Fall! This is the design of God; this is the pattern of God. And unless two people are committed to walking this out—moment by moment, by faith, through the resources God gives—a marriage can never work.
Quite frankly, once we step outside of the design, how can you be fulfilled? You’re living outside of the way God designed things; there’s no fulfillment in that. Fulfillment, or meaning, only comes from pressing into the blueprint of the Creator.
We conclude here with verses 24 and 25. Notice what it says. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Leave and cleave. A new relational priority has now been created which transcends all other relationships. It even transcends the former relationship between parent and child—and that’s a strong one! But once the marriage comes together biblically, that now is your priority—not what mom and dad think. “Am I fulfilling my ministry to my wife?” that’s what’s important.
Jesus said, in Matthew 19:6, quoting these verses, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” That’s pretty heavy language. That’s a new relational priority that has come into existence.
“So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6, NKJV) Then you have the concluding verse, verse 25. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” That’s a hinge verse, that’s a transition verse, because both of them were unashamed. That raises the question, “How did they become ashamed?” What went wrong? Moses says, I’m so glad you asked that, here’s Genesis 3, explaining what went wrong.
There is a similar hinge verse at the end of Genesis 1 which says, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Well, wait a minute; now we’re learning about something not good, Genesis 2:18. So “very good” is a transition from Genesis 1 into Genesis 2, where we discover something not good—the relational deficiency.
Genesis 2:25 is the hinge into Genesis 3, where now we learn how sin, and how shame, entered God’s perfect picture. So that takes us out of Genesis 2. I can’t believe we finished it; it only took us 10 sermons to get there.
But how would we sum up the whole thing? Man and woman are living in a perfect environment. Man and woman are the pinnacle of God’s created order, and they are functioning as theocratic administrators, governing God’s creation on God’s behalf.
So what went wrong? Genesis 3 is what happened. And the ramifications and consequences of Genesis 3 are spelled out in Genesis 4 and Genesis 5. And if you don’t understand Genesis 3-5, you have no understanding as to why we need Jesus. Because Jesus came into the world to get us back to Genesis 1 and 2! Do you want to be on a fast track in life, where you’re going back to Genesis 1 and 2? Which is better clarified in Revelation 21 and 22?
Do you long for a day where humanity—and you and your life—returns to what God wanted from it originally before man’s rebellion entered the picture? I don’t know about you, but I sure want that! Yet you only get that by receiving, by faith alone, what Jesus did for you on the Cross 2000 years ago.
There is no other way to get it. There’s no other way to be fast tracked back to the original design. That’s why Jesus came into the world: to reverse what went wrong through the first Adam. He came as the Last Adam to undo the problem, and He paid a horrific price to do that.
And He only asks us not to try to save ourselves. Adam and Eve, we’re going to see in Genesis 3, are trying to save themselves. And the great lesson out of Genesis 3? You can’t fix yourself at all; you have to rest in what God did. So that’s our exhortation to people here at Sugar Land Bible Church: rest (or trust) exclusively in what Jesus did.
Becoming a Christian is that easy. It’s a condition of the heart, where the Spirit convicts us of our need to do this. And we trust—not in our own ability to save ourselves but—in what Jesus did for us 2000 years ago. And if that happens? Just like that—snap of the fingers!—you’re saved. And it can’t be reversed.
It’s very simple. The world of religiosity and denominationalism has made it so complex. Yet, when you go back to the Scripture, it’s not complex at all; it’s simple. So our exhortation for people is to receive that even as I’m talking. If it’s something you need more explanation on, I’m available after the service to talk. Shall we pray?
“Lord, we’re grateful for Your blueprint. It explains to us why so many times we are unfulfilled, because we neglect the owner’s manual. Help us to walk these things out this week. We ask these things in Jesus’ name.” And God’s people said? “Amen.”