Today, I offer you this excerpt from “Searching For God Knows What” by Donald Miller.
When Adam finished naming the animals, after all his work and effort, God put him to sleep, took a rib out of side, and fashioned a woman. I had read that part a thousand times, but I don’t think I quite realized how beautiful this moment was. Moses said the whole time Adam was naming the animals (what could have possibly taken 100 years) he couldn’t find a helpmate suitable for him. That means while he was naming cattle he was lonely, because he couldn’t really communicate in the same way with the cattle, and when he was naming fish he probably wanted to go swim in the ocean with them, but he couldn’t breathe underwater; and the entire time he could not imagine what a helpmate might look like, how a helpmate might talk, the ways in which a helpmate might think. The idea of another person had, perhaps never entered Adam’s mind. Just like a kid who grows up without a father has no idea what having a father would be like, a guy who grows up the only human would have no idea what having another human around would be like. So here was this guy who was intensely relational, needing other people and in order to cause him to appreciate the gift of companionship, God had him hang out with chimps for a hundred years. It’s quite beautiful, really. God directed Adam’s steps so that when He created Eve, Adam would have the utmost appreciation, respect, and gratitude.
I think it was smart of God because today, now that there are women all around and a guy can go on the Internet and see them naked anytime he wants, the whole species has been devalued. I read how very beautiful it was the God made Adam work for so long because there is no way, after a hundred years of being alone, looking for somebody whom you could connect with in your soul, that you would take advantage of a woman once you met one. She would be the most precious creation in all the world and you would probably wake up every morning and look at her and wonder at her beauty, or the gentle silent way she sleeps. It stands to reason if Byron, Keats, and Shelley made beauty from reflecting on their muses, having grown up around women all their lives, that even these sonnets could not capture the sensation Adam must have felt when he opened his eyes to find Eve.
You probably think I am being mushy and romantic, but the first time Moses breaks into poetry in the Bible is when Adam first meets Eve. The thing about Moses was he was the king of understatements. He could pack a million thoughts and emotions into just a few words. Here’s what he said about what Adam thought when he met Eve:
Bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh (Genesis 2:23)
If you think about these ideas they are quite meaningful, and the bit of poetry Moses came up with truly summarizes the scene because, for the first time in his life, Adam was seeing a person who was like him, only more beautiful, and smarter in the ways of love and encouragement, and more deliberate in the ways of relationships. He must have thought to himself that she was perfect, and after a few days of just talking and getting to know each other, they must have fallen deeply in love. After Adam had taken Eve to the distant mountains where they could look down on the four rivers, and after he built for her a home and showed her the waterfalls and taught her the names of all the animals, he must have gone on a long walk with God and thank Him, and I’ll bet that was a very beautiful conversation. I’ll bet Adam felt loved by God, like he was somebody God was always trying to bless and surprise with amazing experiences, and I’ll bet they talked together about how beautiful Eve was and how wonderful it was that the two of them could know her, and I would imagine that Eve felt safe, loved, not used or gawked at, but appreciated and admired.
I know it sounds sensational, but I used to think that story was just a cartoon. But they weren’t at all; they were people and they felt all the things we might expect them to feel. And certainly a lot of this stuff really did happen to them, and certainly Adam was taken aback by Eve, surprised and amazed, and this is summed up wonderfully in Moses’ poem.
Books by Donald Miller