One Flesh


Genesis 2:18-25 (HCSB)
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.’ So the Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found as his complement. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. Then the Lord God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. And the man said:
‘This one, at last, is bone of my bone 
and flesh of my flesh;
this one will be called “woman,”
for she was taken from man.’
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.”

Why would God delay the presentation of the man’s complement? Why would God segue from an immediate debut, parading animals and birds in front of him to see what he would call each creature, rather than just introducing her? I think it’s to help the man realize more intensely what he needs, to see that his being alone (which is by described by God as “not good”), can only be satisfied by one, unique, relational dynamic…

Aside from the union of one man and one women, there exists no other relational dynamic where the parties involved could possibly become one flesh. This is a unique designation. The members of a sports team, an army platoon, or even the best of business partners could never become one flesh. Not even the greatest of friends like David and Jonathan, who are described as having their hearts “knit” together, who loved each other as themselves, and had made a covenant with each other (1 Samuel 18:1-3, NASB), also could never have their relationship identified as one flesh. No… that label is reserved for the one man, one woman relational dynamic. It’s something very, very special.

The first time that poetic language is used in scripture, is when the man first lays eyes upon the woman:

This one, at last, is bone of my bone 
and flesh of my flesh…

The moment that he saw her, the man recognized that the woman was his “complement”. He immediately recognized her as his “flesh” from the line up of all the other creatures that God had created and presented to him, who were not “bone of my bone.” At that moment, the man responded in the most appropriate and poetic manner.

Moses, the author of Genesis, uses the Hebrew word “neged” to characterize the woman (Genesis 2:20). She is described by Moses in Hebrew as “corresponding to” the man. In other words, as the Holman Bible puts it, she was the man’s complement. David and Jonathan, as close as they were, knit hearts and all, they did not “correspond” to each other. They did not complement each other. The man and the woman, in union, were something much different.

How important is the one man, one woman dynamic?

Just look at how Jesus (who is God), answers a challenge regarding the breaking up of a husband and a wife:

Matthew 19:3-6 (HCSB)
“Some Pharisees approached Him to test Him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?”
“Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,” and He also said:
“For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh“?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.””

The world will continually challenge God’s prescribed order until Jesus returns in judgement. This unique relational dynamic of one flesh will be attacked until advent two. We (Christians) must uphold what God has commanded man not to separate. Our mission is simple:

Colossians 1:28 (HCSB)
“We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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