3 November 2012

Genesis 2:18-25

"This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." (v. 23)


Man's first recorded words (according to this story) are "... at last ...". Now he has a companion, in a form that he can recognise as like himself. He already has fellowship with God, but it isn't enough; there remains within him a longing for something, someone, that as yet he can't identify. And God's words to him, though astonishingly generous, have also carried more than a hint of command and menace, with the warning of dire consequences should he eat of the forbidden tree (Genesis 2:16-17).

Now that he has a human companion, is the man looking forward to being the one who gives orders, rather than always receiving them? Is he now recognising (and is God now accepting) that the man needs relationships on a human level as well as with the Creator?

The Bible mentions 'balance' only in the context of trade; a merchant's balances must be true and fair (Proverbs 16:11). Today we use the word in a different way; 'on the one hand' must be balanced by 'on the other hand', so that listeners are swayed only by fairly presented evidence, not by persuasive skill selectively applied.

There appears to be, in this story, an implicit question of balance. The man needs his human companion, but that does not eliminate his need for relationship with God. In this human relationship there is the prospect of completion and fulfilment (at last!) but there is also the danger of imbalance - which is what eventually happened, when human relationship took precedence over relationship with God.

To Ponder

  • What for you is the bigger challenge-your relationship with other people or your relationship with God? Having pondered and acknowledged your answer to that question, what is Christ calling you to recover a proper balance?
  • Is the hermit as misguided as the 'party animal', because each of them is denying a vital component of his humanity? Why?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr John Ogden

John Ogden spent most of his life (he is now in his late 60s) teaching Computer Science in the universities of Glasgow and Reading. A local preacher since 1964, he served the Reading and Silchester Circuit as a circuit steward in the 1980s, then candidated for (non-stipendiary) ministry.