an ascending graph
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." 19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, 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. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.
1. Man on his own is alone, and that is not good.
2. Man has dominion over the other creatures, as shown by Adam naming them instead of God.
3. An animal isn't a good helpmeet for a man.
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; 22 and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he built into a woman and brought her to the man.
1. Man is incomplete without his rib.
2. Woman is formed from the missing rib.
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 leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
1. Man is complete when he gets his rib back.
2. A man may have to leave his family to get his rib. The rib has priority. The rib doesn't come to the man; he goes to the rib.
3. He holds tight to her.
We have fun with this in class, partly because my own marriage has followed this story line. I bring some authenticity to the topic. I was alone and it was not good. I was incomplete without a wife; my life had been a frothy joke. I chased my future wife, not vice-versa (I had to ask her out three times; but having a cast-iron ego, I was not discouraged). I got my rib back. I cling to her, not vice-versa. And we become one flesh.
By the way, she had other suitors. And although she is nothing like Scarlett O'Hara or Marilyn Monroe, here's how I remember the competition:
or maybe this:
and we have a winner
A couple of other bits of Genesis further remind of my marriage. F'rinstance, consider the process of creation:
1. Dead stuff: light, sky, land, water.
2. Living stuff lacking animation: vegetation, plants, trees.
3. Basic life forms: swimming and flying creatures.
4. More sophisticated life forms: wild animals and cattle.
5. Man, made from a dead thing, dirt.
6. Woman, built from a living thing, a rib.
An ascending line, if you graph it. The later the creation, the nearer to God. And nearer the top is the woman. No wonder Man should put Woman up on a pedestal, look up and admire her. No wonder that Woman should be comfortable there. But there's also the one-flesh business, which is illuminated by this last line of Genesis 2:
And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not ashamed.
That's like my life too; well, like my marriage, which I understand as a life-form made of the next highest two, a man and a woman. So even if the woman is on her pedestal, the man and the woman together forming a marriage are higher still.
Finally, because no-one wants to read the full-blown story of our courtship, this video condenses the whole saga into 15 seconds: