In the creation account nobody speaks but God until Adam is enlisted to name the lower animals that yield him no partner and then recognizes Eve as his divinely fashioned helpmeet. When Eve appears in silent splendor, escorted by the Lord, she elicits Adam’s exclamation of awe and gratitude: “Now this, at last—bone from my bones, flesh from my flesh!—this shall be called woman, for from man was this taken” (Gen. 2:23, NEB).

God did not bless his completed new work until he had created both male and female in his own image, declaring his creation now to be “very good” (Gen. 1:26–31). Adam’s need for a helpmeet for earthly life was one that he himself obviously could not meet; only God could provide a counterpart essentially similar yet necessarily different. Not of dust nor of the lower animals but of Adam’s own rib God forms the helpmeet; in her essential being she is part of Adam. Man’s role in the creation of Eve is one of patient passivity; Adam’s deep sleep emphasizes that God alone creatively established human bisexuality in unity.

When first recorded as speaking wholly on her own, in costly conversation with Satan, Eve yields to temptation and implicates Adam (Gen. 3:6). It is the man whom God nevertheless singles out and addresses: “He called to the man … ‘where are you?’ ” (v. 9). Much as Adam blames “the woman you gave me for a companion” (v. 13), mankind is repeatedly in Scripture said to have sinned and fallen in Adam as divinely designated head of Eve and of the race (cf. Rom. 5:12 ff.).

Whatever other distinctions enter into man and woman relations, these facts at least are basic: (1) God determines man’s and woman’s existence and station; (2) woman made from man (1 Cor. 11:8) is not inferior to him but indispensable ...

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