Genesis 2:18-25 (CEV)
The Lord God said, “It isn’t good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him.” So the Lord took some soil and made animals and birds. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give each of them. Then the man named the tame animals and the birds and the wild animals. That’s how they got their names.
None of these was the right kind of partner for the man. So the Lord God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man’s ribs. Then after closing the man’s side, the Lord made a woman out of the rib.
The Lord God brought her to the man, and the man exclaimed,
“Here is someone like me! She is part of my body, my own flesh and bones. She came from me, a man. So I will name her Woman!”
That’s why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person.
Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed.
So here’s the set-up…
God has made a man and is now worried that he hasn’t thought it through and that the man is going to be lonely, what with just trees and plants and some sea and the heavenly dome to amuse him…
so… God’s first idea to solve this unforeseen problem (never mind the obvious problem of how procreation was going to happen!) is to offer him a choice of pets – and he can even name them himself.
(No – you’re right! Adam’s was not the fourth edition – clearly!)
Seriously, though – if this is the story – just what was God’s original long term plan with procreation? If Eve wasn’t part of the original idea and was an afterthought because Adam might get lonely – was the original plan just to have one bloke and a load of plants?
Anyway – Adam is not satisfied with the companionship of pets – despite the entire pet shop to choose from and being able to name them all himself.
Just think… had Eve been created first and God been worried that SHE might be lonely – would we ever have got past cats or koala bears? Would God have needed to create Adam?? hmmmm…. almost certainly not! (also all the animals would have had rubbish names!)
So – God creates Eve – a nudey one – and Adam is happy (men are basically simple!)
That’s basically it, in a nutshell.
Anyone imagining that this story was EVER a serious attempt by ANY culture at describing in any literal or scientific sense the process by which man and woman appeared on earth has seriously missed the point of what kind of literature this is. This is not a story about the “how” but about the “what” and “who”. What is this human life we find that we possess – what are the fundamental things that drive us? Who are we? Whose are we? etc…
Adam craves human companionship. On a deep and fundamental level we all do – it is part of the way we are made – we fundamentally crave companionship on a very deep level. Yes, I include people who might describe themselves as introverted. We all need to be known and loved and noticed, we are not made to be alone. (note: I did not say we are made to be married!)
We are made in God’s image – and maybe this idea of not being made to be alone is part of what that means. The Trinity, if it is worth anything, is a grasping after the idea that God is not a pining, lonely God – God did not create humans because s/he was lonely or bored! However we understand the being of God – it must involve some idea of community – hence, Father, Son, Holy Spirit – three-in-one and one-in-three, like the three musketeers, except not like them before anyone accuses me of heresy! (basically anything you say about the Trinity is by definition heresy of some sort or another!)
So – what am I saying? As it happens, nothing particularly startling… we are made in God’s image – we are not made to be alone, we thrive and flourish best in community, and particularly in community that looks like the Kingdom of God. That’s what churches are called to be…