Eve created from Adam’s rib
Why did God make Eve from Adam’s rib? After all, if God had so desired, He could easily have formed Eve from the dust of the ground. In fact, He made Adam this way, (Genesis 2:7), as well as “every beast of the field” and “every bird of the heavens” (Genesis 2:19). So why did God make Eve differently? Perhaps He wanted to instruct us not only about the roles of Adam and Eve, but also concerning that of “the last Adam”, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:45).
The first “not good” statement
Before God created Eve, He said: “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). In the creation narrative, the reader should be jarred by this statement, because up until now, every time that God has surveyed His creation, He has pronounced it “good”, as we would expect it to have been before the Fall. Man’s being alone is the first “not good” thing that required a solution.
So God created Eve as “a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18b). The term ‘helper’ (Hebrew ezer) does not indicate a lesser role or status, but rather function. She was to be his counterpart, his complement. Indeed, the term is used of God when He helps us, as in Psalm 33:20; 121:1–2. In fact, this is the basis for the biblical name Azaria(h) = God helped. Adam’s words on being presented with Eve were: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”1 (Genesis 2:23)
The significance of ‘one flesh’
But was it really necessary for Eve to be made out of Adam’s rib? Calvin commented that “if the two sexes had proceeded from different sources, there would have been occasion either of mutual contempt, or envy, or contentions.”2 And he went on to say that “something was taken from Adam, in order that he might embrace with greater benevolence, a part of himself. He lost, therefore, one of his ribs;3 but, instead of it, a far richer reward was granted him, since he obtained a faithful associate of life; for he now saw himself, who had before been imperfect, rendered complete in his wife.” 2
Eve also needed to be related to Adam—if she had been created out of the earth, she would be a completely independent creation. But in a unique way, Eve was descended from Adam, because she was made from a part of him.
Eve’s descent from Adam is also crucial to the possibility of her salvation. The prophet Isaiah wrote of the coming Messiah as being the “Kinsman-Redeemer”4 (Isaiah 59:20), i.e. one who is related by blood to those he redeems. Hebrews 2:11–18 explains how Jesus took on Himself the nature of a man to save mankind, but not angels (nor hypothetical aliens for that matter). Jesus entered Adam’s line to literally become our relative, to be a part of this one human family (Luke 3:23–38).5 If all people are not descended from Adam, this vital kinsman-redeemer concept is undermined. Or conversely, if there are people around today who are not descended from Adam and hence not related to Christ through Adam, they are not able to be saved. Both situations are biblically unviable.6
Adam, being the first human created, was and is the federal (or responsible) head of the human race. He was thus the one whose attitude towards God determined the course of human history. Eve, being made chronologically after Adam, as well as from Adam, is not assigned this responsibility in the Bible, even though she ate the forbidden fruit a few moments before Adam did (Genesis 3:6).
It was Adam to whom God had given the command not to eat (Genesis 2:16–17), and Adam was with Eve when she ate the fruit (Genesis 3:6). However, apparently he did not restrain her other than to pass on the warning (Genesis 3:1–3).7 Sin is basically the desire to live independently of and in rebellion against God.8 The New Testament affirms not only that Eve was deceived (by the serpent), but also that Adam was not so deceived (1 Timothy 2:14). It therefore appears that Adam made a deliberate choice to disobey God, i.e., the overt act expressed the sin that had already been committed within the heart (cf. Matthew 15:19).
The New Testament states that Adam was responsible for the coming of death into the world, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:21–22, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”9 This reminds us that, just as Adam was the head of the human race, the Lord Jesus Christ is the head of redeemed humanity (Romans 5:12–21,10 Ephesians 1:22–23; 5:23).
Roles of husband and wife in a Christ-centred marriage
One reason that marriage was set up by God is so that we would have a picture of what Christ’s love for the Church looks like. Monogamous marriage between one man and one woman serves this purpose in a way that a ‘marriage’ between two men, or two women, or any other arrangement cannot.11 Indeed, when Jesus taught about marriage (Matthew 19:3–6, Mark 10:5–9), He cited the Creation account as real history (Genesis 1:27, 2:24).12
Furthermore the Bible sets specific roles for a husband and a wife within marriage. The longest passage on this is Ephesians 5:22–33. Husbands are told to “love their wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (vv. 25–27), “as their own bodies” (vv. 28–30), and ahead of all other commitments (vv. 31–33). Wives are told to “submit to their own husbands, as to the Lord” (v. 22). This does not contradict Paul’s assertion in Galatians 3:28 that “male and female … are all one in Christ Jesus.”13
Upon marriage, we are meant to leave our parents as if we had none (metaphorically speaking), because Adam and Eve (literally and historically) really did have none.
We are meant in marriage, at least ideally, to be as close to one another as if we were ‘one flesh’ (metaphorically speaking) because Eve really was (literally and historically) taken from Adam’s flesh.
A bride produced by a wound
When God made Eve from Adam’s side, Genesis 2:21–23 tells us that God put Adam into a deep sleep. So Eve, the bride-to-be of Adam was (literally and historically) born from the wound in his side.
When Jesus, the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), died on the cross, His side was pierced by a spear thrust, in fulfillment of prophecy (John 19:34, 36–37; Zechariah 12:10). This was just after His death—a death made necessary by the sin of the first Adam. Flowing from that wound in the side of God’s Lamb (John 1:29), sacrificed for sin, was the precious blood (1 Peter 1:19) by which believers are cleansed from sin.14 These believers will constitute Christ’s bride, the church. So, metaphorically speaking, the church, Christ’s bride to be, was ‘born’ as it were from the spear wound in His side.
The heavenly Bride and Groom united
The Book of Revelation speaks of the ‘wedding feast of the Lamb’ at Christ’s return after the final defeat of death and evil (Revelation 19:6–9). The Good News is that although all of us have sinned ‘in Adam’, the first husband, we can all be redeemed through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the ‘last Adam’ and the Bridegroom of the Church, and through Him we can receive “the forgiveness of sins”, “the free gift of righteousness”, and pass “from death to life” (Colossians 1:14; Romans 5:17; 1 John 3:14).
References and notes
- KJV. Some versions incorrectly regard happa’am as having a time-suggestive meaning, so they include the words “at last”. But the word pa’am with the definite article ha means “this time”, or Gideon asking God “once more” for a test (Judges 6:39) or Abraham asking God about Sodom’s destruction “this once” (Genesis 18:32). Return to text.
- Calvin, J. Genesis, Translated and edited by John King, p. 133, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965. Return to text.
- Note, however, that Adam’s loss of a rib may well have been only temporary, since ribs routinely regenerate after surgical removal, as long as the outer membrane (periosteum) is left intact. See Wieland, C., Regenerating ribs: Adam and that ‘missing’ rib, Creation 21(4):46–47, Sept., 1999, creation.com/rib. Return to text.
- Hebrew goel, the same word used of Boaz in the book of Ruth, one of Jesus’ ancestors (Matthew 1:5). Return to text.
- Cosner, L., The genealogies of Jesus, creation.com/jesus-genealogies, 25 December 2012. Return to text.
- This section adapted from Wieland, C., One Human Family: The Bible, Science, Race and Culture, pp. 146 ff , Creation Book Publishers, 2011. Return to text.
- A correspondent has asked if either Adam or Eve lied about not touching the tree; however, a better explanation is that Adam passed on the warning not to eat the fruit to Eve, and then possibly added something like, “So don’t you even touch it, do you hear now!”, which Eve interpreted as coming from God. See Wieland, C., Did Eve lie before the Fall? creation.com/eve-lie, 17 March 2007. Return to text.
- See Grigg, R., Dawkins’ dilemma: how God forgives sin, Creation 34(1):32–34, 2012, creation.com/dawkins-dilemma. Return to text.
- Cosner, L., Christ as the last Adam: Paul’s use of the Creation narrative in 1 Corinthians 15, J. Creation 23(3):70–75, 2009; creation.com/1-corinthians-15. Return to text.
- Cosner, L., Romans 5:12–21: Paul’s view of literal Adam, J. Creation 22(2):105–107, 2008; creation.com/romans5. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., One man, one woman: Does the Bible really teach monogamy? Creation 31(4):12, 2009; creation.com/monogamy. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Jesus on the age of the earth: Jesus believed in a young world, but leading theistic evolutionists say He is wrong, Creation 34 (2):51–54, 2012; creation.com/jesus-age-earth. Return to text.
- While debating the detailed issues surrounding gender roles is outside the scope of this ministry, see Cosner, L., The Bible’s high view of women grounded in the creation account, J. Creation 23(2):53–58, creation.com/women, 2009. Return to text.
- The water which also flowed might be viewed as a picture of the life-giving Holy Spirit, just as the water flowed from the smitten rock in the wilderness at Horeb. 1 Corinthians 10:4 identifies that “spiritual rock” as Christ, who also promised to give “living water” (John 4:10). Return to text.