When Gen 2:18 Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means
You’ve probably heard it a million times, too, right?
“God said it isn’t good for man to be alone. Therefore, singleness is not good.”
Each time I read, see, or hear this argument, I tend to have the same pattern of reactions:
I groan. Then I sigh. Then I get a bit sad. Then I become resolved.
I groan because… well, really? That’s our theology of singleness in a nutshell?
I sigh because proof-texting always elicits that reaction from me.
I get a bit sad at how poorly we contemporary Christians tend to read and understand Scripture.
I become resolved to write something which seeks to more faithfully understand and apply Genesis 2:18 in its immediate and broader context.
Oh. And then I have one more reaction. I get distracted.
Yep, that’s right. I get distracted. I don’t follow through. And then I find myself back on the same bandwagon the next time I read, see or hear someone say, “In Genesis, God said it wasn’t good for Adam to be single”.
Until that time I didn’t.
Get distracted that is.
This week, Christianity Today published my take on marriage, singleness, human community, and Genesis 2:18.
Click the image below to read the whole article. Or, if you need some convincing to click, read on for a sneak peek. (Full Disclosure: CT chose the image. I think I would have gone for one more like this myself 😉)
Indeed, Genesis 2:18 is such a common refrain it might be easy for us to take its importance (not to mention its correct interpretation) for granted. It is worth taking the time to recognize just how significant this verse is. After all, this one short statement changed everything.
In the previous chapter, the author of Genesis had detailed God’s creative acts, step by extraordinary step. But it is only after he made the first human being that God looked and saw something amiss in his creation.
We often read the text as saying that it was not good for the man to be alone, so God made him a wife. Ah, blessed resolution—now we can move on.
But I want to challenge you not to rush past the meaning of this statement and instead reflect on what exactly God identifies as being “not good” about Adam’s situation.
Imagine yourself as Adam. You are immersed in a magnificent garden, a gorgeous creation of lush greenery—the sky overhead, the ocean at your feet, and the mountains at your back. Surrounded by an exotic array of fish, birds, and animals. And yet you are utterly, entirely, cravingly alone as far as fellow human companionship goes.
Do you sense it? That is the “not good”-ness of your aloneness
Excerpt © 2022 Christianity Today
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