It Is Not Good To Be Alone!
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” Genesis 2:18
The Bible begins with two stories of creation, which are told in the book of Genesis. In the first story of creation in the first chapter of Genesis, after God has worked wonders in creation, God evaluates the works of creation by saying it is good. By the last day of creation, in this first story God’s assessment of creation is elevated to being very good. In the second account of creation in the second chapter of Genesis we are told of the intimate creation of the man, formed out of the dust of the earth, brought to life by the breath of God, placed in the beauty of God’s new garden of creation. This newly created man is given a task, to till and care for the garden, in this he becomes the first farmer.
As we read this story of creation, by all outward appearances, things seem to be fine, or as God might evaluate the situation, very good. There is a beautiful garden, water, trees, plants, and a caretaker to watch over God’s garden of creation. Yet, God observes that not everything is in place yet. God’s assessment is that something is missing. “It is not good,” God says, “that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” In this self-critique of creation, God sets the course of creating and valuing relationships. So afterward, all sorts of animals are created, which the man is given the task of naming, but none of these are suitable partners for the man. So out of the man, God creates a partner, a woman. “At last,” the man exclaims, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”
It seems clear to me, that God has created us to be in relationship with others. God’s evaluation that it is not good for us to be alone recognizes the importance of our interdependence with others. It really isn’t good that we should be alone. We need to companionship of a close friend, a spouse, parents, children. As God’s creation, we are social creatures who find meaning and understanding in our relationships with those who differ from ourselves. And as hard as we might sometimes try, we cannot live in isolation. God has created us in a way that causes us to depend upon the presence and giftedness of the other. I happen to believe that we need others in our lives , not just for the purpose of survival, but so that we might just get a glimpse of the face of God.
This Sunday (The Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost) we will hear the story of God’s creation of the gift of relationship as it is told in the second chapter of Genesis verses 18-24. In this time of political discourse about marriage and what constitutes marriage, we could all too easily boil this scripture down to a defense of marriage. (please note that I am not saying that is a bad or unacceptable approach) However, I believe when we do that we miss the greater gift that God gives to us in this creation story, and that is that it is not good for us to be alone. So God creates us to be relational beings. We are created in the image of God, so that we can be in relationship with God. We are created in the image of God, so that in relationship with others we might reflect God’s image to the other. We are created in the image of God, so that in relationship with others, God’s image might be reflected back to us.
It is not good for us to be alone. So God gives us one another, partners and helpers and reflections of God’s wonderful and amazing grace.
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