I don’t know, maybe it is just me… I have always assumed that there are male angels and female angels too. But the more I thought, pondered what I had found in all my reading of the Bible… Well, I think there are only male angels, good or bad. And, sitting on this low wall up in the angel court, I guess that is what I see.
It is hard to know which parts of the creation process are the most important. In my humble opinion, it was the creation of the woman, discussed briefly towards the end of Genesis 2. And Moses is recording this mind you, and his first wife Zipporah, she seethed disdain for Moses, and pretty much drove Moses out into the wilderness for long periods of time. And when Yahweh God tried to kill Moses, because Zipporah would not let him circumcise her boys, well everything was Moses’ fault, he was the ‘husband of blood’, according to Zipporah. All those years of pain and anguish aside, Moses wrote what God told him to write. And, I think Moses understood many of the implications of these brief verses, even if he wasn’t exactly able to enjoy them at the time. Maybe Zipporah’s battering helped Moses to understand these words even better…
The creation of the woman out of Adam’s rib is recorded in Genesis 2:18 and 2:21-29. The result of this, Yahweh God’s creative process, was a woman, a being who shared much in common with the man, but who was also distinctly different from man. Adam’s first words at seeing her are testimony enough… “This! This is now bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh…” Anything we say can only barely scratch the surface; volumes could easily be written… And Moses wasn’t present for this, but Yahweh God was, so He told Moses exactly what to write. Still, it seems easy enough to discern some crucial components of these short verses that cover such an important part of creation!
a. Lo Tove (not good)
The events leading up to the creation of the woman start with a clear problem. The man that Yahweh God had created, Adam, he was alone, by himself. Yahweh God Himself says, asserts without Adam even saying anything; Adam being alone is not good. And the word used here for good is not some generic word, but the Hebrew word Tove, which refers to what is very good, complete, compellingly whole. All alone, by himself… Yahweh God knew Adam wasn’t that! As Yahweh God created Adam, Adam had a glaring lack, a clear need. What Adam needed is discussed next. But it is so clear… Adam by himself was deficient, lacking, needy! And the account of the creation of the woman takes place to directly address this need. In the intervening verses, Yahweh God creates the animals, then has Adam name them. The conclusion from this task was (is) that no other created thing can resolve the lack, the gaping hole that Adam had (has) inside.
b. Yatsar vs. Yaben
All the animals, in the field, in the air, in the sea where “made” (chasah), then, adding more detail, they were “formed” (yatsar) by Yahweh God. And if you think of a potter forming things with clay, you probably won’t be far off for this word. And it must have been amazing fun for Adam to watch Yahweh God form each animal, one at a time, breath life into them, then send them on their way after Adam gave them names.
Out of everything running around on Planet Earth, the woman was, is the only being who was “Built” (yaben, from banah). And the main emphasis of this Hebrew word, in its general usage, is to expand and/or improve, with an emphasis on detail, such as building up, expanding a city. And Yahweh God certainly “built up” the entire woman from just a chunk of Adam’s rib. And the possibility that Yahweh God actually improved on His original design (Adam) when he rebuilt / built up / improved Eve is also worth considering. But it was, is also abundently clear that, looking at both Adam and Eve, Yahweh God really did build up and improve humanity with Adam and Eve together!
c. Etzer Kenegdoh (Suitable Helper)
The Hebrew word etzer for “helper” is straight-forward, making no attempt at classifying the actual magnitude or character of the helper. This word is applied to Yahweh God’s help after all! The concept behind “suitable” is a little more subtle, and probably more important. I was taught that this Hebrew word (neged) meant accounting, probably based on the meaning in related languages. And, put together, suitable would mean according to Adam’s accounting, indicating that Yahweh made the woman according to the man’s very being. All that Adam was, Eve was custom designed just for him. This meaning could certainly be included.
The real question is what would the original audience have understood? Looking at the usages of this word that Moses and Joshua wrote, with 2 from the book of Judges, we find these occurrences (you can look them up):
Gen. 21:16 (facing) away, (facing) in front of her (i.e. she turned so her Neged was pointed away from the child.)
Gen. 31:32, before, in presence of (shall not live…)
Gen. 33:12 to your front, ahead of (I will go… …you)
Ex. 10:10 before (your face) — in front of you? (evil is…)
Ex. 19:2, before, next to, facing? (…the mountain)
Numbers 2:2 in front of them away from, afar off (tent of meeting)
Num 22:32 to me, before me, in my view (your way is contrary…)
Josh 6:5 in front of, where he is (each shall go up)
Judg 9:17 from before him (my father cast his life from his neged.)
Judg 20:34 facing (Gibeah before them) (and the army came…)
What Moses and Joshua understood was that the focus of the word neged seems to be on close proximity, favoring directly in front of. And the leading Kaph just clarifies that the man Adam is the frame of reference for this proximity. Yahweh God made the woman as a helper that could be close to, in front of the man. The woman’s help was different, not just occasional as some animals could help. And this phrase makes no time distinction at all, indicating… always… The woman alone could always be with the man, always right next to and even in front of the man. The man by himself was not good, Yahweh God said that. Yahweh God’s solution was a woman, a helper always close, in front of if need be… in short… a helper Adam could live with.
However we look at this phrase, Eve was specifically created (built) by Yahweh God Himself to be Adam’s helper, exactly what, how and where Adam needed, not just occasionally, but all the time. This arrangement didn’t make Adam any better than Eve; this is just the way Yahweh God chose to work things out. Yahweh God would later put the man in charge, but the point is the same; Adam was not better than Eve. In clear fact, as Yahweh God created Eve — Adam desperately needed her! It is almost certain Eve desperately needed Adam too, and just as much. Adam would be Eve’s neged just like Eve would be Adam’s.
d. Echad Bosar (One Flesh)
The Genesis account about the creation of the woman includes a clearly pan-historical description, really a prescription, from Yahweh God Himself, about how this Man and Woman thing is supposed to work. “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his woman, and the two will become one flesh.” And note that Jesus also reaffirms this crucial passage! This is the heart and soul of marriage, and Yahweh God instituted that Himself, regardless what cultures all down through history have tried or continue to try to say, to do to the contrary. But the key phrase is “one flesh.” I would guess that the most common understanding of this phrase is that it refers to the brief physical union that results from sexual intercourse. I would think that Yahweh God would have had Moses phrase this passage far differently if that was all Yahweh God had in mind. This passage is phrased in such a global way; Yahweh God intends the man and his woman to be (continuously) one flesh. I am convinced this phrase, and the meaning it is intended to convey goes far beyond mere sexuality. It includes that important aspect, but goes far beyond.
How could they be one flesh? How could that phrase constantly characterize a man and his woman? This phrase really only has meaning if — the man and his wife are always together. They do everything together, they talk about everything together, they think about things the same way, increasingly at the same time. They both increasingly reflect one another, not to diminish their male and female differences. It is just that when someone thinks of the man, or the woman, they think of both the man and his woman, because they are always together, always on the same page, always enjoying each other’s company, and yes, enjoying each other’s bodies in private. The man and the woman are one flesh because they are always one, always together, spatially as close as possible (neged). Having children might complicate this spatial togetherness some, but only temporarily. And such togetherness is much easier in the largely agrarian economy that was home to both Old and New Testaments. But the goal, the prescription; if you get one, you get both. They are one flesh, always together. The two, each is the other’s Neged! And, of course, the man and the woman, they absolutely need to leave (abandon) their own mother and father behind, away, to begin with, so they can “cleave” together, with each other, from then on.
Ok, so when a man and a woman first find each other, what do they want? Always together, that is what they want. And if you ask them how long they want it to last… They will look at each other, smile, say “forever” together… This is a dim reflection… Yahweh God made us to want this, to need this! And yes, it is to be permanent, by decree.
Does this happen automatically? Is such bliss easy to maintain?
[Big sigh…] Sadly no on both counts. The creation account clearly shows what Yahweh God wants for us, but how to actually do that, get that, keep that… I think I will need to sit here on this low wall in the Angel Court for a while… read… and ponder that some more… It is just that…
— c2018 by ACR
As Yahweh God finished working through the creation of Adam, then Eve, He surveys His handiwork, noting that it was very good (tove meode). At His side was “the anointed cherub that covers”, perhaps the head angel of all.
Yahweh God sighs with clear contentment.
The anointed cherub looks on as well, deep in thought. “Exalted King, you gave them… Devotion Linkages?” his voice raised at the end, this was a question, then trailed off.
Yahweh God answered right away. “Yes, just like I gave you, oh elevated created son! We can enjoy so much together!”
The anointed cherub is still deep in thought for a while, and almost sheepishly tries to put his words into place. “Well, King, yes… But you gave them… well, Devotion Linkages, but… between… each… other?”
Yahweh God sighs again, much more deeply. “Yes… And when they find that, their lives together will be… amazing!”
As Yahweh God beams like the proud Father he is…
…The anointed cherub… thinking… “But… Why can’t we… You gave them… How could you… ?!?!?”
In the twinkling of a rebellious eye… the lying destroying evil one… is cast down… away… from everything he was… because… like an arrogant, impudent little child… he couldn’t have… what he suddenly, desperately wanted…
Some time later, a second, a year… a dragon speaks…
“Angel hoards, you must listen… Our so-called king has given the… very best… THE very best, to these scum creations Adam and Eve… Why can’t we even… And me of all angels… I am so angry…
“Well, if we can’t have it, we need to stop them… destroy them…
“Who is with me?”
Some time later, a second, a year… a serpent speaks…
“Surely God said you shall not eat from any tree in the garden!”