Entry Level Theological Truth [17]

“And Adam said: This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:23

The past four decades brought about much strife over the so-called “battle of the sexes.” Gender issues remain highly contentious and creep into the academic and business worlds, to say nothing of literature and the nightly news. Many polemicists affirm that there are deep divisions between men and women that are irreconcilable. Others contend that there is really no difference between males and females – all of the apparent differences are culturally conditioned (one wonders about their home life, but never mind – that’s another issue.) In reality, men and women are quite different; yet at the same time they are indissolubly linked. When the Creator’s proper order is acknowledged then they live together in wonderful harmony. To flout creation order, however, is to court disaster. Let us consider the closeness of the sexes based upon the verse listed at the top of this post.


Needing More Than A Higher Primate


Adam’s classification of the various animal species accentuated his uniqueness and aloneness. As the Scripture says: “But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:20.) One thinks of the mythical Tarzan contenting himself with his trusty chimpanzee pal “Cheetah.” Nonetheless, in his series of books even Edgar Rice Burroughs had the foresight to bring Jane to the jungle to brighten up “the Ape man’s” world.

Humans are created to be social creatures. The man needed a counterpart – “a helpmeet” as the older versions put it. When the Almighty brought Eve to her husband, he exclaimed with great delight: “This is now [some authorities translate this word “at last”] bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” In other words, she is my kind – not dissimilar like the animal creation – but really suited and alike to the male.


When A Body Meets A Body


The bond and similitude of the pair is showcased by the assonance of their Hebrew names: “She shall be called woman [in Hebrew, Isshah, NKJVmg.] because she was taken out of man [Hebrew, Ish, NKJVmg.] Certain older writers thought that the two terms were linguistically related, but it seems that the connection is more in the similar spelling and sound of the two words.i In any case, the indissoluble union between male and female in humanity became a permanent aspect of life in the current order of things.

Rather than compete and quarrel, man and woman were fashioned to know and serve the Lord together. Collectively they form a partnership for glorifying their Maker by obedience to His Word. They possess different roles – later delineated with greater specificity in Scripture – but are intrinsically equal in their worth to God. He made them to live in fellowship and to mutually serve Him with their different, but complementary characteristics.


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i“‎The marg. by pointing out that the Hebrew for ‘woman’ is Isshah, and for ‘man’ Ish, shows the resemblance in the sound of the two words. This is fairly reproduced in the English words ‘Woman’ and ‘Man’; and in Luther’s rendering ‘Männin’ and ‘Mann.’…As a matter of philology the derivation is inaccurate. Probably Isshah is derived from a different root, anash. But nearly all these popular derivations of words prove to be inaccurate when judged by scientific etymology. They are based upon the assonance, or obvious resemblance in sound; and this, while it cannot fail to catch the ear and cling to the recollection of the people, is notoriously to be distrusted for supplying the real derivation.”Herbert E. Ryle, The Book of Genesis in the Revised Version With Introduction and Notes, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, 38-39 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1921). A footnote in The New English Translation also points this out: “‎She is bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh. Note the wordplay (paronomasia) between ‘woman’ (‏אִשָּׁה‎, ’ishah) and ‘man’ (‏אִישׁ‎, ’ish). On the surface it appears that the word for woman is the feminine form of the word for man. But the two words are not etymologically related. The sound and the sense give that impression, however, and make for a more effective wordplay.”


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