A Hole of a Different Shape

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

...So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,
"This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman,'
for she was taken out of man."

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
-Gen 2:18-24

Something struck me today. The first couple chapters of the Bible describe God's "very good" creation, which included a man living in a very intimate relationship with God. God apparently had verbal conversations with Adam, gave him instructions, attended to his needs, and even walked in Adam's garden. This, according to the Bible, is paradise - the way God meant the world to be before the corruption of sin and death. But immediately (likely within minutes of Adam's creation, if you're a literalist) God senses that there's something missing.

"It is not good for the man to be alone."

In fact, Adam is not alone. God himself is near at hand - physically present. Few Biblical figures, and likely few people in history, have experienced anything like the kind of intimacy with God that Adam had. But it wasn't enough. Adam needed "a helper suitable for him."

I'm amazed by what this suggests about human fellowship. (It may also say something about gender roles, but I'll look past that for now.) I value my relationships, but I tend to think of them as a dim reflection of the relationship I hope to have with God. There may be some truth to this (particularly when human relationships are unhealthy) and I don't think friends or lovers were ever meant to fill my "God-shaped hole". But I think this passage suggests that there we also have "human companion-shaped holes" which even God Himself cannot adequately fill. That's pretty powerful statement about the importance of community.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Every concept that can be entertained as Truth must be consistent with the context of Scripture. Your idea of a human need for relationship that only a human can fill seems valid enough. The idea that there might be a relationship need that God can not fill might be harder to defend. It is true that there are things that God cannot do. God cannot sin because to sin would be out of character and counter character for Him. So in the sense that having given us the capability of choice, He will not take that "right" of choice from us. He built us in His own likeness with the ability to enjoy and thrive in relationships both on a human and a spiritual level it would be consistent to conclude that the horizontal (human) and the vertical (spiritual) relationships cannot replace each other. The only thing that might corral this thinking would be that we are promised that God can meet our every need, and that in Christ we can do all things. I can only put these two concepts together in the sense that we know that Jesus fully understands all the human responses and emotions in a personal way. I still believe that it will be seldom if ever that God expects us to be fulfilled relationally in a way that excludes deep human relationships. Equally as important God knows that we can not be fulfilled in our human relationship if we try to exclude God from our daily human relationships.
"Dr. DEE"

Filth- Man said...

Jacob, somehow what you found doesn't surprise me... perhaps in heaven, or when Jesus was a human being, perfect fulfillment can be had in God... but for now, God is not only invisible, and therefore somewhat hard to contact, but he's also friggin' God... I can't imagine ever feeling totally at peace in a relationship with someone who knows everything and can/has smite whole nations that piss him off.

David Hengen said...

That's a really interesting point of view.

Jacob said...

Dr Dee: Personally, I'm quite willing to entertain concepts that are inconsistent with the context of scripture. I don' know if I'd go as far as to say that we have relational needs that God can't satisfy, but the passage certainly seems to say that Adam had relational need that (for whatever reason) God didn't personally satisfy. And if the unparalleled intimacy that God had with Adam was insufficient to meet all of his needs, how much less should we expect God to directly meet all of our needs!

Jacob said...

Filth-man: I agree with you about the difficulties of forming a satisfying, intimate relationship with God. (Not the least because of allegations that He has smote many who pissed him off.) But what amazes me about this passage is that it describes a paradise in which God is visible and seems to have a fairly intimate relationship with Adam. If we take this story seriously, Adam's relationship with God is probably quite similar to what we look forward to after death. Even so, Adam needed a human companion. That's what surprised me.

Filth- Man said...

Jacob; even in a context where we have no fear of being "smoten" such as paradise, I still think it would be wierd to be "friends" with God because He's just sooo much bigger than we are. Perhaps what we need (in addition to God) is relationships at our own level, like human ones...

On a side note, I'm not even sure that Jesus would be entirely comfortable to be around. He seemed to love messing with people's heads, and didn't hesitate to cut his disciples down to size.

Jacob said...

Right.

Anonymous said...

The collection of your comments indicate that you most certainly have a different concept of God than do I. I trust that is due to my having a few more years of trying to figure things out. When I say that I acknowledge the need of trying to figure it out. Keep on. It is a little like a group of teenage boys trying to figure out what it would be like to have a girlfriend. Until personally experience it is hard to define how that relationship affects the way one looks at life. (Please understand I am not implying your immaturity!) I am observing the lack of having entered into how deep and how satisfying a personal relationship with God actually is.

The important thing is to desire and pursue until you achieve it. I have been married 27 years to the only girl I ever dated. The lack of experimenting with relationships or checking out the options before I made my choice has never made me think I was cheated. I have never sensed the need to flirt with others to keep my sense of attractiveness and fulfillment. At the age of 19 I gave my life to God starting a monogamous spiritual relationship. I have never felt that decision was in anyway a rip-off. With the deepest friendship a man could wish for on a human level and being allowed the equivalent or better on a spiritual level I have experienced the deepest admiration and awe for a wonderful, powerful, just, and all knowing God. I used to get a love letter from my sweetheart every week. I learned more about who she really was through her letters than I did in her presence. I used to read each letter over several times and think about what she was saying. I think the same is true of God. Though I enjoy a sense of His presence many times a day I learn who He is by reading and studying His letter (The Bible)
Dr.DEE

S.O.Dr.D said...

I understand the battle that you wrestle with. It seems difficult to find the balance. Being the christian but also understanding and living the life of a seeker. How does one know where to walk most days, wresteling between what you know is right and what you want to do. How do you find for yourself the truths that you have been raised with, and reach a dying and decaying world. I know for myself that I have been raised with lots of "Head" knowledge but as Dr. Dee has often told me that there are times where I feel I am 18 inches from heaven. The distance from my head to my heart. How do I make my heart understand what my head is saturated with. Head knowledge without heart application is a dangerous combination, one I am in the midst of. And don't get me started with women, it seems very difficult for a young man to walk in the path of rightousness and to find the companion that will walk with him. How does one find the "One" that God would have for him. How does he stay content with his singleness in the mean time.

+Buy a dirt bike+ :)

But seriously, it is something that I myself have been through, I have loved 2 women of God, and yet here I am once again single, and wondering.

Well that is it for my rant of the day.

Until later.

-Son of Dr. DEE

Jacob said...

Dr. Dee: You're certainly right that I haven't achieved a deep and satisfying personal relationship with God. In fact, I wouldn't say I have any kind of relationship with God at all. But not for lack of trying.

I've more or less given up on my active pursuit of a relationship with God, because it got me nowhere and it hurt me far more than it helped me.

I won't get into the details, because I've written about this at length already. See posts labeled Seeking God. The top three will give you a good idea of where I'm at. Laura, I Love You will give you a taste of where I've come from.