Human Relationships In the Beginning

A Helper Suitable

To Give To

 

In working with the people who come for counseling, I see that all have a primary concern. The concern is RELATIONSHIPS! They express concern about how relationships work or do not work. They fear the pain to which relationships make us vulnerable. God suited us, in one way or another, to make and keep relationships. The relationships feed the physical, psychological, and spiritual parts of whom we are. Relationships involve a knowing about each other. Knowing nourishes our natures. The more we know, the more complex the relationship becomes. Look at how complex organisms live. Look at how, when fed well, food sustains them and they work out their purpose. Relationships are purposeful, complex living entities as well. Several different things make relationships complex. Of these different things purpose, personal nature, and energy make the most complexity.

Purpose: No relationship gets going without some purpose in one of the two individuals. The purpose, when shared by both, can sustain the drive to keep the relationship alive. With simple purpose the relationship remains simple. With many purposes, the relationship becomes complex. With different individual purposes, the relationship goes somewhere between rocky and doomed. The purpose can be anything from mutual attraction, which is simple, to making a family. Making a family involves personal desires for mutual things including attention, support, affirmation, energy, understanding, finances, goals, children, families of origin, holidays, leisure time, bathroom space, closet space, cleanliness, spiritual activity, climate preference, clothing styles, and on and on.

Personal nature: You are an individual. You have a way of being and that nature expresses preferences. The expression of preferences helps others understand you. This also helps you understand the other. This functions in your spiritual nature as created by God. That nature and preferences formed in the early years of life starting before you were born. These preferences express your character or personal nature. Though you share preferences with others, the combination in you uniquely expresses you.

Power: Power and energy are related. Energy expression can come down to being extroverted or introverted. How much do you like being around other people? Does it take many people, several people, a few people or just one person to charge your social batteries? What kinds of relationships do you seek? How you get charged or discharged adds to the mix. Power can be considered a part of personal nature but changes cyclically. However, other features of personal nature do not change but become more pronounced. Your power to be you is greatest within God’s original purpose for you. You will sense the greatest power when in close obedience to God.

All these features work in any relationship. Marriage is the most complicated of all relationships. It requires many purposes, personal nature, and energy.  (Please accept the following reasoning as mine and not an attack on the Scriptures or others' interpretations.)

In creating man in His own image, God does not replicate Himself. God has no other like Him. He gives traits to man. These traits display His own glory. God has many traits and surely some traits we have not yet discovered. One of God’s traits always operates in His relationships. That trait gives. He likes to give and give without reservation or expectation of return. The book of Genesis does not say in specific words that God made man to be a giver. The implication of being made in His image means that God made us to be givers. The right purpose(s) will give rightly to the other(s). The personality will want to give and not stop. The power for giving becomes inexhaustible. True delight and contentment comes from giving and giving without expectation of return. Our culture lost this idea. The Redeemer reinserts it into our lives one by one. While the Book of Genesis tells us how giving started, the rest of the Bible tells us about how to give and what will happen if we do not give. The words of Jesus validates giving when he said, Matthew 10:8b"Freely you have received, freely give." and Luke 6:30 &31"Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." and Acts 20:35"It is more blessed to give than to receive."

 

A Look at the First Man

From Genesis One, Two, and Three, we can surmise much about relationships, including marriage. In the beginning of man’s time on earth, God used specific ideas of what He wanted and He created all to match His desires. This does include people and relationships. All of this creation expresses His purposes.

Genesis 1:26Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (NKJV)

God made man in the image or resemblance of God. God created man to have characteristics that match some of God’s characteristics on a much smaller scale. This is important since God wants to have relationships with His people in creation. God created Adam with both male and female characteristics in his original nature. All the characteristics display that the purposes and functions are useful and not recessive. In His likeness, we govern a smaller kingdom containing fish, birds, cattle, and creeping things and the earth that contains their habitats.

Genesis 2:7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (NKJV)

The prime directive is to "Be fruitful. . . ." Do you find it interesting that the text does not say "do?" It seems that God commands the continuation of the enterprise He created through us. We must be to do. This "being" came first. This "being" tells of the purpose. The Scriptures retell God’s formation of man in chapter two of Genesis with more detail.

Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." 19Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. (NKJV)

Man came to being out of the combination of the substance of the temporal ground and out of the Spirit of eternal God. More important, God purposely constructed man and gave characteristics to fulfill some good purpose. So a man’s purpose is more than just physical and more than just spiritual. God made Adam outside the garden and put him into the garden. I suggest we can say that God did not make Adam for only a temporal purpose. God made him for a combination of purposes and he must be in the right environment for that to occur. In relationships, we have to be in a relational environment so we work well.

Genesis 2:15Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (NKJV)

God gave Adam a place and all the rules he needed to fulfill the purposes written in him. God made Adam a place and rules for the purpose but that is not enough for Adam’s purpose being fulfilled. God knew that Adam was not going to be one-of-a-kind forever. He situated him for the need He wrote into him for relationships. Being one-of-a-kind, kept some purposes from occurring. Adam’s has a very simple job description in this part of his life to work out his purpose. Tend and keep the garden (v.15) and name the cattle, birds, and beasts (v.19). Tending and naming are the specified purposes. How simple could it be? Adam was good at naming. Everything he names bears the name Adam called it. The animals "be" what he calls them to be. With a job to do and a job done well, Adam will not find fulfillment in these purposes. The text implies that every animal had a match or suitable partner. Nevertheless, for Adam there was no such match. He needed a helper comparable to him. What kind of helper did he need? Adam, fixed in God’s characteristics and in both male and female traits and skills, is complete. He could play football, dress the turkey, fix the drapes, barbeque hamburgers, clean the house, mow the grass, fix the light switch, choose the colors for fall festivities and have them perfectly blended. For what did he need someone else?

Dr. Myles Munroe, Bahamas Faith Ministries International, has looked at the Hebrew word for "helper suitable." Munroe says that we can translate the word "someone like himself suitable to give unto." Taking that to the text makes good sense because God made man in God’s image and His nature gives without expectation of return. (We clearly see this giving nature in Jesus’ characteristics being just like His Father’s.) Adam could not give of himself to anyone like himself because no one like him was there to receive. Adam probably realized none of this because he was being what God intended and had not realized any short comings.

 

The First Human to Human Relationship

Genesis 2:21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. (NKJV)

God definitely originated human relationships. He put Adam in a position where Adam could not help Him create what will be perfect for him, Woman. God put Adam to sleep. Now Adam does not get to make any of the choices or decisions about how to characterize this Helper Suitable To Give To. Look at the simplicity of what God does. He does not start with dirt or clay again. God takes Woman from what He already created in Adam. For in what He created, sufficient resources reside for two personal natures. So He made Adam with enough stuff to make Woman too. This simplicity does not mean that we should go and fall asleep and God brings in a mate. He will not take a part of you and assemble a mate. You will get an opportunity to develop who you "be."

Definition of the word for the part (rib) God took from Adam to make woman: a rib (as curved), literally (of the body) or figuratively (of a door, that is, leaf); hence a side, literally (of a person) or figuratively (of an object or the sky, that is, quarter); architecturally a timber (especially floor or ceiling) or plank (single or collectively, that is, a flooring):—beam, board, chamber, corner, leaf, plank, rib, side (chamber). Strongs Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries

God takes a nature out of Adam (see Hebrew definition for "rib" in the above box). An overall idea in this definition is that she was part of a whole and not a part alone. This part could be a rib, will definitely be curved, may be as much as a half or side of Adam’s body. Could it be the beam of Adam or a board from Adam? This word suggests how much she was a part of the structure and a sturdy part. If we use the words "curved side," we see Woman as the shapely part of Adam taken out. So God becomes the first one to split an Adam. (A little humor.)

Genesis 2:23And 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."

Since God took Woman out of Adam, they belong with each other. Human relationships, and especially marriage relationships, build on how much two personal natures work together. For marriage to work, it requires that the two, both, bring something unique to the relationship. If the man and woman are identical in everything, the couple does not need one of them. God does not seem to have built in any redundancy in creation. For what is the union? The union produces Godly seed, as spoken in Malachi. Also the union produces more glory than two individuals produce separately. This requires two personal natures with at least one shared purpose.

God awakens Adam from his sleep and God brought Woman to him. Genesis records Adam’s first actions toward her while using his personal nature. These actions fit his job description. He tends to her by giving her a place with him. Nothing else had his bones or flesh. She is special to him instantly. Secondly, he gives her a name. Adam calls her "Woman." "Woman" means "out of man." She has no dependence upon Adam for her personal nature and appears to accept the identification with him as part of her personal nature. She now has a personal nature of her own associated with and distinct from Adam. Adam establishes her place with him and he has place with her. This relationship is two people, on equal footing, getting ready to share the journey of life or purpose. God has created them both with God’s purpose and He will work that out with them. God had His purpose already written before even one of them appeared. In this paradise of God’s making, His purpose is working out perfectly. People can take courage from what they can see made by God.

Without the interference of sin, man can follow the full purposefulness of God’s perfect design. Personal nature is working out what God has purposed or worked in. Our redemption in Christ brings us back to working from His purpose. We can agree with God that His personal nature is good and that there is no other like Him. We can open up our hearts to accept the way He made things work. We do not have to live with closed hearts to His purpose. We do not have to dwell in what we think will make our personal nature happy or content. God builds this agreement into the purposed personality.

Genesis 2:24Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (NKJV)

So what does this purpose look like for Adam and Woman? First, they fulfill their purposeful personal nature in a one-on-one relationship with the One Who created us for His purpose. For example, by coming away from the purpose of our earthly father and mother, we are free to follow a greater purpose. So a man or a woman must leave the parental desired purpose. They must cling tight to the God who made the child from parents He purposed for His own desires. This is an expression of a unique personal nature. While not joined to another, a man or woman is free to follow whatever God has purposed for that life alone. This does not mean that God does not want them to be married or did not design them to be married. This means that He has a purpose so intricately woven into people that He can use us anywhere and under any circumstance. Still, first, we must leave the parental purpose and nature and find a purpose in personal nature alone with God. This is an act of maturity and faith in trusting God alone for being out there in the big lonely world all alone. God made these creatures one flesh in marriage. The ideas of flesh here are the muscle or working organs. So God joins us to work together as one for His purpose.

From a state of being alone with God, we have a better idea of how dependent we are on God instead of on parents or on others. Alone-with-God is a state of being that will fill the human spirit with trust. That trust will allow God to do very unexpected things within the relationship. What "unexpected" means is that God will take us to a deeper walk by inspiring us to give what we have away to another person. The other person may or may not give away to us. If you can trust God to fill you constantly with His attributes, you will have no problem giving of the outworking of those attributes to others. You can give because you are assured that God will fill you in due time of all you gave away. Then you can give more because the capacity to give increases. If you can trust God to make of you what He desires, you can give it all away. Even if He does not refill you with what you gave away, you can trust Him. This is purposeful personal power. Jesus gave all of Himself and did not hold on to anything except the truth expressed by God. Can we live this way alone? No! Can we live this way in any relationship? Yes! How about in the most intense and demanding relationship of marriage? Oh, yes!  Attempt this principle in any relationship: Try to out-give each other of all you are and receive all the other gives without a sense of obligation.

How about becoming one flesh? Can a person give up all agendas and allow the agendas of the other to be co-eminent? Not likely. A person gives all personal agendas over to God before a marriage can succeed as one flesh. What about the things that you have held for all your life? Those things that you know come from God and now the intended spouse or spouse is not willing? Where is God? Has He changed? No, God does not change. Our understanding of Whom He is and what He wants does change as we mature. We see more of His purpose develop from our personality as it develops. So they must reinterpret all the single-flesh issues to the two as one situation. No one has so entangled God in his purpose that He cannot work out the misunderstandings that we have of Him and His purpose for our lives. I like how Oswald Chambers expresses it in many of his writings in My Utmost for His Highest. In short, Chambers says that when you are aware of what God is doing, you are not really submitted to it. Being willing to give all to the other is not an agenda but a state of being placed, by faith, in God. A one flesh being is not an enterprise taken on by a man and woman. This is a state of faith. The Holy Spirit raises this faith in the two. This is similar to Jesus laying down His life in faith. Yes, this is hard for people to do. No, it is not hard. Accomplishing it without the power of God working it to His satisfaction is impossible. If a person is not willing to allow God to have free reign in the giving of self away, not marrying is better. An individuality has no place in marriage and true personality flourishes in marriage.

Genesis 2:25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (NKJV)

We must give all to God to give away. What does that look like? We have only one passage of scripture that gives us a clear picture of the fully-one-life-of-two-together-in-God, Genesis 2:25. Look first at the simplicity. It is not easy. It is simple. God purposed us to be givers because He is a giver. In marriage, we can give all. We can give physically all that we are. We can give psychologically all that we are. We can give spiritually all that we are. Yes - naked to the max!

So what stands in the way? Do you know what a man typically fears most? A man fears vulnerability. A man has a problem not being the master of his circumstances. He is a power-oriented masterpiece that, in sin, will seek to overpower all comers (or be the most un-powerful of all.) The focus of the man’s seeking is a status not purpose of personality. Men fear having no true strength. A man’s good strength glorifies God. The fear nature is prevalent in women and formed in the fear of not forming or of losing relationships. This amplifies the vulnerability of being found alone without a relationship confirming they are desirable. Yet, this is what it is like to be totally naked in all three natures. The other can undo you because the other can use your weaknesses against you. The other person can make just and accurate judgements about whom you are because they can see all there is to know. A man must submit to God as all-powerful and not to his own individuality as all-powerful nor submit to his wife as more powerful. A woman must submit to God and His design that she has attraction built in. That attraction is not meant for everyone so that she can relate equally to anyone. God made women’s attraction and a man’s strength for His glory. When these two are features of strength and beauty are present with vulnerability, the power of God is available to relate perfectly with each other.

You are more than just a body. You are more than just a mind. You are more than just a spirit. Being a combination of all three things does not mean we have just the total of three natures from which to work. 1+1+1=3 represents this. This is not how the Scripture represents adding at the heart or faith level. (As an example, there is a spiritual mystery at work that puts two in prayer putting ten thousand to flight. Also, we see a mystery when two or three gather in God’s authority, and God is in the midst of them.) So if any two parts of a person’s nature are in full agreement, then they have many options. If the third part of the nature is at odds with the other two, then they reduce the options. If a person is all together, with all three parts in agreement, the options are magnificent. People rarely find this level of self-agreement in this life.

How can a person relate in a naked and unashamed way with another? If a person is naked and unashamed, he can have tremendous agreement within himself for the purposes of God. This is especially true once the spiritual nature comes alive in Christ. As a unity expressing the purposefulness of God, a person can achieve much. This will be just because he is not ashamed of what God has purposed. So two fully-engaged people, who can be naked in everything, are working with great power. God has built two, together in God’s purpose, into a very powerful entity that is serving God for His purposes. This nature is awesome. The energy of God can flow through the two without any hindrances. Can two people achieve such unity without Christ? No.

When a person realizes that God is Sovereign over their life. When they realize that He can accomplish what He wants, the impact of any shame disappears. God’s nature in two lives, acting as one, puts the temporal on a spiritual level of effectiveness. This is when God operates freely. He accomplishes His will. The two lives are clearly being with Him. They do not realize how impossible it is for them to do what is possible for God. So this is perhaps a part of the mystery of Christ and the Church.

Shameless giving, without a temporal agenda, is mighty to behold. This is a blessing to the two so involved. God’s pleasure in seeing His created beings doing well in His will is a joyful blessing to Him. This will start in small things that God’s nature in us is willing to do. A kind word, a soft touch, a compliment, a gentle correction, an act of kindness, a bearing of the other’s burden, a prayer for God’s will accomplished, and a life given in living sacrifice, all while not counting the outcome as the significance. These acts are all forms of human endeavor that are pleasing to The Creator.

Did Adam and Woman have this style of life? I believe they did, but not after the fruit incident.

We also have the story of God coming constantly for His own. From the time before time, when He set Jesus ready to be the sacrifice for sin, He has been the lover of mankind. He has prepared and worked all the options to make sure they will work His purpose. Should you think this gets away from the marriage ideas, consider how impossible it is for two to work on any project while at odds with each other. In God, Three have worked together and accomplished far more than we can imagine. That kind of delight is available for the couple that submits without shame and comes naked for the giving to the other. Knowing makes things complex.

 

So What Happened?

Everything seems like it should last forever in the Garden. It does not because they chose to sin and sin they did. In short, The snake enticed Woman to eat the fruit offered by the snake. She offered it to Adam and he ate the fruit. They became able to tell the difference between good and evil. They saw the good and evil from a very different perspective than before the fruit. They were ashamed of the nakedness that was a delight just moments before. They sensed that it was not delightful so went and hid. They hid to avoid God who was coming to be with them in the Garden. They heard Him in the garden and terror swept through them. Faith was no longer active in the foremost of their being. They had no faith to relate to God as they had before. They did not admit to the sin. They made it worse by blaming and denying responsibility, and looking for any way out of the mess they had created. The Helper Suitable To Give To was now not suitable for anything but blame from Adam and he did give her blame. He even had the nerve to blame God. She gave blame to the snake. The snake did not care whom they blamed. (Genesis 3:1-13)

As Genesis tells the story, God continued in control of the situation and told them the effect of their sinful faithlessness. The snake would be cursed, crawl on his belly, his children would fight with Woman’s children, and be under the foot of the Child from Heaven as he bruises His heel. To the woman, He pronounced that she would have grief and pain in bringing children into the world and that her desire would be set upon her husband who would rule over her. To the man, He pronounced that all his mind would focus on is the dirt. His focus would be to dig dirt, sweat dirt, eat from dirt, struggle with dirt, and eventually end in being dirt again. (Genesis 3:14-19)

Did they look longingly at the Garden as God pushed them out in His fury? Did they lament that they had broken the relationship with God? God blocked man from entering back into the Garden and eating from the Tree of Life. The angel with a sword bore the heavy message that you cannot disobey the law of God and do well. Submission to God is the only way to live in the way that life overflows in goodness and mercy. Sin had moved in and the damage was inestimable. Chaos is the view to the sensing man.

Let’s look at the impact of this on them and us. The woman would have a miserable time fulfilling her job description of being fruitful and multiplying. The joy of children would have an awful start. The woman would no longer thirst after righteousness. She would try to find her reason for being in the attraction she found from a man. Under this curse, nothing provides satisfaction or contentment apart from the man in her life. Yuck! This is tough to bear as a woman and tough on a man who cannot fulfill all that a woman needs. She must develop a relationship with God so that He will meet all her needs. God will meet some of those needs through her husband, not all of them. God made a woman’s life centered on God and she is much different from a man. God has made her to be a partner with a different list of traits that complement the traits in a man. Her feelings of success will come from the relationship feeling well and securely connected. She will need to know that she is considered a very valued partner. Her energy will always work toward that connection of the relationship. Out of this experience, a woman finds her value in the work she does to keep relationships maintained in a positive direction. If a relationship begins to fail, she will try to shore it up with attractive measures. If attraction fails, she will likely move to exert negative emotional forces to keep the other person in the relationship. The sad thing is, that exertion usually drives the relationship toward death, not life. Instead of being she is doing. Purpose, personality and power are all in misuse.

The man would have a miserable experience in everyday life as everything in him orients to dirt. Dirt orientation will not orient him toward faith. He listened to Woman in the sin and will not be naturally willing to listen to her again. The ground is now under a curse. Doing dirt day after day and not having any help from the Creation God provided will be the focus. Eating will be the result of toil not just gathering and eating. The dirt will interfere with sharp, mean weeds that will compete with him for the dirt. Only by the dirt struggle will he eat and feed his family. Even his interest in Woman will come down to her physical nature made from the dirt. Dirt will always be the source of a struggle. Instead of being he is doing. Purpose, personality and power are all in misuse.

If all men can see is dirt, then men need to lift their view to Heaven and see the Lord of Glory. His seeing God changes all that comes into his life. No longer will he have a dirt conscience but he will have a spiritual conscience. He visualizes choices as the Lord visualizes choices. He builds on the strength of God instead of his own strength. He gives up his strength to God so that he does not compete with God.

Out of the great sin experience, a man finds all his value in his work or ability to fashion things from the earth. If a relationship begins to fail, a man will try to force it to stabilize unilaterally. He may make physical barriers, intellectual barriers (reasoning from his perspective only). He will fall apart emotionally or become totally unemotional. He will gather all the earthly things to secure them or just give them all away. He may just give up in a pile and do nothing after withdrawing alone or to another person who will agree with him. Instead of being he is doing. Purpose, personality and power are all in misuse.

(A repetitive cycle begins here in Genesis and remains unaltered until The Curse Breaker arrives. As this process continues, human relationships will remain very broken. Since relationships are of God’s design, only the God Solution will fix them.)

When Adam first saw Woman after the spiritual surgery in the Garden, he moved with inclusive purpose and behavior to be one with her. He saw her as out of him and identified her as made from him. Now, outside the Garden, he will move in a different direction regarding her. He renames her Eve (life-spring), which connotes the mother of all to come. He will be the only person in the genealogy of earth to not come from her. He has now shown the separation from her and from the oneness they used to have. Sin breaks relationships so badly that they are never the same. Adam no longer identifies with Woman but with Eve. Are the two the same? No. Sin changes things and the change is always in a bad or evil direction. Every relationship that suffers a sinful act, on either or both parts, has to be worked back to health. That restored level of health is not as delightful as before the sin. Flee the sin before you sin!

 

If We Have Sinned, Then What?

Confession, repentance and reworking the failed attitudes are the only way to restore a good relationship to a workable level. The work will be long and hard. The work will relate to the nature of the damage. The Curse Breaker must enter the healing process so that the original attitudes and ignorance do not recreate the same sinful cycling. God’s original purpose for the relationship has to be foremost on the people’s agenda. They must discover, develop, and nurture the real personalities of the people designed by God. They must prioritize the power of the relationship to God’s purpose and personality development in the people.

In the transformation of the unhealthy relationship, both people should move themselves from a self-centered attitude of having their own needs and wants met. They must move to an attitude where they are focused on God and how God wants to meet the needs of the other person. When a member of the relationship can rightly meet the need, God will use that person. This does not always happen.  How many times have you done good, without expecting a return, and felt good afterwards. This is evidence of the give-unto nature God gave us.

The focus of a restored relationship will be on the giving to each other from the heart. This giving will have no sense of getting a return. God originally created us to be givers unto others. This focus is hard to hold because we want our own needs met. As God focuses them on meeting the other person’s needs, the relationship will move to help the suitable person to be free to give to the other. Eventually the relationship becomes Helpers Suitable To Give To. Purpose, personality and power are all restored.

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