What does Genesis 2:18 mean?
ESV: Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
NIV: The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'
NASB: Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.'
CSB: Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him."
NLT: Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.'
KJV: And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
For the first time in the Bible, we hear God describe something as "not good." Until this point, God has seen everything He has made as good or very good, including the first man. All of the created world was perfect in form, function, and potential until this point. Now something wasn't right.
What's especially interesting about this statement is that, at this point, God is wholly responsible for the state of the world. This is not after the fall of man, but before it. Why, then, is something God created being called "not good?" And by God Himself, no less? In short, only God can be perfect. So, anything which is not God cannot be completely perfect. And, we have already seen God choose to create through a process of creation and modification (Genesis 1:9–12). It is not only logically possible, but inevitable, that part of God's creation will be less than perfect, in the sense that God is "perfect."
What, exactly, is the problem which God intends to correct? The man was alone. God didn't design human beings to live in solitude. Specifically, marriage between man and woman was part of His plan for humanity from the very beginning, even before sin entered into the world. God declares that He will make a helper that is fit, or suitable, or "corresponds to" the man. In other words, He will make another person like the man: another human built with the purpose of being the man's helper and companion.
Some see the description of the first woman as the helper of the first man as demeaning. Some assume this means she is lesser in position or purpose. However, God often describes Himself with the same root word used here for helper: 'ezer (Psalm 33:20; Psalm 70:5; Psalm 115:9). In any case, the woman will be provided to the man for his good. She is part of God's provision to him, as he will be to her. God's intention and design is for the man and woman to live and work and walk with Him together.
The following verses will also show that God intends humanity to see each other—not animals—as their true companions and equals. God will create animals for Adam to name, and point out that none of them are a suitable match for him.
Genesis 2:15–25 returns to provide details about the sixth-day creation of human beings. After being crafted out of the substance of earth, man is placed in a garden by God. He is then given responsibility to care for the plants and trees there. God's first and only prohibition to the man is not to eat from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, in the middle of the garden, on promise of death. Man is also charged with naming the animals, an act reflecting his God-given authority. God recognizes that it is not good for man to be alone and makes woman to be his helper, companion, and wife, establishing the pattern of God's design for human marriage.
Genesis 2 begins with a description of the seventh day of creation, in which God rested from His work. Then it returns to the sixth day and describes in more detail the creation of man, the garden God placed him into, and the work God gave him to do. God recognizes that it is not good for man to be alone and makes a helper for him out of his own rib. This woman becomes Adam's companion and wife, setting the original example of God's design for marriage. The two exist in pure innocence, naked yet unashamed before sin enters into the world.
Genesis 2 concludes the description of God's week of creation and then zooms in on the creation of man, his work, his perfect environment, and the creation of woman as his helper and wife. It is our last glimpse of the world before it is ravaged by human sin and death with the disobedience of Adam and Eve in chapter 3. Where chapter 1 gave a full overview of creation, this chapter focuses more on a few specific events. These are crucial to understanding the fall of man.
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 12/7/2023 12:03:51 AM
© Copyright 2002-2023 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.