The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
The English word “helper,” does not accurately convey the connotation of the Hebrew word עֵזֶר (ʿezer). ‘Ezer’ does not suggest a subordinate role, a connotation which “helper” can have. Rather, it refers to someone who empowers a person to fulfill a given task. In fact, in the Bible, God is often described as the ‘ezer’, the one who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
In the context of Genesis 2:18, Eve as Adam’s helper expresses the idea of an “indispensable companion.” Eve was created to enable and empower Adam to fulfill God’s mandate for procreation and creation care (Genesis 1:28). She would supply what Adam was lacking in the design of creation and logically it would follow that Adam would supply what she was lacking. Think of this like the wings of a plane. The plane requires two wings to work as counterparts, but not two identical wings. If the manufacturer sent the assembly crew two left wings, they would have problems, requiring them to return one of the wings. Both must be designed and shaped so that they correctly work alongside each other in cooperation and contrast. They are very similar but also importantly unique and different.
So the meaning of “helper” does not mean that Eve is inferior to Adam, as his “little assistant” any more than one wing of a plane would be the ‘helper’ of the second. Rather, they help each other do what they do but do so according to their unique and essential design. In the same way, only as mankind work together as male and female, will we be able to accomplish God’s good purposes in creation.
(1) While God has designed for male and female to complement each other, we often end up striving against each other. How do you see this happening in our midst?
(2) Do you see both men and women doing their part and working together in your family and church?
(3) In what ways can we complement each other?
O Lord, in your wisdom You created mankind as male and female. Help us each to be secure in who we are, and together serve your good purposes in creation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.