Then the Lord God said “It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him” So he took some soil from the ground and formed all the animals and all the birds. Then he brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and that is how they all got their names. So the man named all the birds and all the animals; but not one of them was a suitable companion to help him (V 18-21)
Proverbs 31 v 10 – 11 says that a man who has a good wife has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Adam had all the food and companionship available from the plants and animals, but it wasn’t quite enough. He needed an equal to be able to enjoy God’s blessing as seen in chapter 1 v 28.
God brought all the animals before Adam so that he could name them . It occurs to me that of course, God knew that none of them were suitable partners for Adam (although many of us enjoy animals and the companionship they often give) I think God wanted Adam to realise that he needed something more personal, more suitable, an equal that he could share his responsibility with. In naming all the animals, God was granting Adam dominion over them and recognising that they were not his equal.
Psalm 8 v 6-8 speaks of how God made man rulers over all of creation, the sheep, cattle, wild animals, birds and creatures in the sea
Then the Lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh. He formed a woman out of the rib and brought her to him. (v 21-22)
The woman was created from the man and was a part of him.
Then the man said “At last, here is one of my own kind – bone taken from my bone, and flesh taken from my flesh. ‘Woman’ is her name because she was taken out of a man. (v23)
God brought her to the man to see what he would call her. We see here and in chapter 3 v 20 where he calls her “Eve” that there is an indication of authority over her. There is a subtle difference though in that Adam recognises that she is a part of him, that he needs the special gifts that she has. When he calls her Eve, he recognises that she has her own place in history, that she was created to work with him. He was given authority over all the animals and birds but with a responsibility to care for them and protect them. Similarly he has the responsibility to care for and protect the woman that he was given. The difference though is that she is a part of him while the animals are not, the animals were created separately and before him. He needs her by his side so that he can fulfill his responsibility to care for the Earth. This grants her a higher status as his equal but he still has the ultimate responsibility to care for and protect her.
In Ephesians 5 v 28 – 30 Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This is not an option, it is a command which goes right back to this point in Genesis. If the man is fulfilling his responsibility as indicated here correctly then his wife would have no problem “submitting” to him as in Ephesians 5 v 22 as with his ultimate task of responsibility for her there is great respect and love.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife and they become one. (v24)
While a man is living with his parents, he is under their protection. When he leaves that protection and joins with his wife, he undertakes to be her protector and to be the protector of any children that they have. They are to become one unit. God clearly intends this to be a union for life, sadly the actions in the following chapters show that this can be broken if we allow ourselves to listen to Satan’s lies.
All quotes from The Good News Bible