Adam's Helper
"Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but 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'" (Gen. 2:15-17). It should be noted that God provided work for the man to do before he ever committed sin! Work was not punishment for sin, though man's work did become more difficult after he transgressed God's law (3:17ff). Man was not designed to be an idle creature. God is not idle (cf. John 5:17; 9:4), and we are made in His image. Keeping the garden orderly should have helped to keep Adam from becoming disorderly himself. Wholesome activity is a fundamental antidote for disorderly conduct.

There is some confusion regarding the punishment that would befall those who ate of the forbidden fruit. A literal reading of the English text seems to indicate that the one who so ate would die the same day. However, we know that Adam lived hundreds of years after his sin in Genesis 3 (cf. 5:1-5). Is this a contradiction? No. Some are quick to point out that "Adam died spiritually" when he partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I believe this is true in the sense that sin became a barrier between he and God (cf. Isa. 59:1,2). Death is separation, and Adam became spiritually separated from God in a very real way after he ate. However, some Hebrew scholars have suggested that the emphasis of the wording here seems to be underscoring the certainty of physical death, not its chronology. Perhaps it could be better rendered as follows: "Once you eat of it, it becomes certain that you will die" (such was not the case previously because of access to the tree of life). So, I believe Genesis 2:17 is about physical death, though spiritual death certainly occurred as well.

"And the LORD God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.' Out 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. So 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. And 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. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And 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'" (Gen. 2:18-23).

Adam's intellectual capacity was obviously very great to be able to name all of the animals God brought before him. Was there another purpose for this exercise, however? I believe it was to clearly illustrate to Adam that something was missing. All of the lower animal forms had a comparable companion, but not Adam. God remedied this problem on the same day (day six). He performed the first "surgery" and removed a rib from Adam in order to create a woman as a "helper comparable to him." She is a perfect companion mentally, physically, and spiritually--and Adam seems to realize this. The one who came "out of man" would be called "Woman."

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Gen. 2:24,25). Here Moses lays down godly principles for the foundation of a great marriage: (1) LEAVE one's parents and set up your own home, (2) WEAVE a new life together with your mate blending your interests, abilities, and experiences and (3) CLEAVE unto that mate as "one flesh." In other words, cling to them even when the going gets tough. Cling to them emotionally as well as sensually. Of course, the first point didn't apply to this marriage, but it has been relevant ever since. Many marriages are doomed to failure because one or more of these three simple points is not followed.