Eve Genesis 2:21-24


Genesis 2:21-24

Adam was not long left by his indulgent Creator to that feeling of disappointment which he must have experienced when he realized the conviction that there was not among the creatures of the earth one suited to be his companion. As he one day awoke from a deep sleep which the Lord had caused to fall upon him, he saw before him a creature whom he at once recognized as the being his heart had sought—the one wonderfully suited by her bodily frame and mental constitution to fill up the sole void, the only want, of his happy existence. Whence came she? Adam knew: for when he saw her he said, “This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” It is therefore probable that the “deep sleep” was supernatural, or a kind of trance, in which he had been conscious, although without pain, but rather perhaps with rapture, of the whole process of her formation. This is the idea generally entertained by the Jewish writers, and by the old Christian fathers, and it has been adopted and beautifully brought out by Milton—

"Mine eyes He closed, but open left the cell
Of fancy, my internal sight; by which
Abstract, as in a trance, methought I saw,
Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape
Still glorious before whom awake I stood;
Who stooping opened my left side, and took
From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm, 
And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound,
But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed:
The rib He formed and fashioned with his hands,
Under his forming hands a creature grew,
Man-like, but different sex; so lovely fair,
That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now
Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained
And in her looks; which from that time infused
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before.”

This is in close conformity with the Mosaical description of our first mother’s origin, which, however, it amplifies into circumstances. He says the rib was taken from the left side, probably for the poetical association of that part being nearer the heart; but the Jewish Targumist makes it the right side, and says that it was from an odd or thirteenth rib on that side.

Many have been offended at this account of woman’s origin, being unable to make out, or unwilling to receive, the circumstances as related. Some have rejected it altogether. With such we have nothing to do. To us the Bible is the Word of God; and these pages are designed for the use of those who receive it as such, so that we are relieved from the necessity of discussing the cavils of unbelievers, though willing to notice the difficulties which occasionally embarrass the sincere inquirer. This is perhaps one of the passages which does offer such difficulties; whence some very well-meaning people have been disposed to regard the whole recital as an allegory. But we must not be too ready to admit of allegories, lest we give the enemy occasion to turn into allegory, or myth as they call it now, whatever he does not wish to be plainly understood. Besides, if we take this to be allegorical, what is there in this history of creation that we are to take as real? If we admit the allegorical in one place, how can we shut it out in others, where we would less readily allow it? Who is then to distinguish between the allegorical and the real?

There seems to us no more difficulty in taking this part of the history of the creation literally, than in so understanding  many other parts of it; and sooner than allow an entrance for the dangers which attend the admission, that one portion of the same narrative is real, and another part allegorical, we should be inclined to allow the whole history of the creation to be an allegory. You might then allege that this, from the remote antiquity and peculiar nature of the transaction, needed to be veiled in allegory; but if you admit the account to be substantially literal, and yet admit of allegorical incidents therein, you preclude yourself from denying that there may be allegorical incidents in other and later portions of Scripture which you desire throughout to be literally understood. In this case, is there any greater difficulty in taking literally the creation of woman than the creation of man? Adam was made of the dust of the ground. Why? Had it not been quite as well that he should at once have started into being at the Divine word, without any intermediate process like this? It is a sufficient answer, that God thought fit it should be otherwise; probably because, all modes being equal to him, he chose that which might impress upon man a moral lesson, even by the physical fact of his origin: a lesson important to repress pride, even in the unfallen man; but which became terribly emphatic when, after the fall, man heard the awful words, “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return!”

If we admit this to be sufficient in the case of man’s creation, why not in that of woman? Whether there was some peculiar organization in Adam (such as an additional rib), in order to provide for the formation of woman, or that God substituted another rib for the one he had taken, it is not very important for us to know; but it is important to understand, that He to whom all modes are the same, chose one which should serve vividly to impress upon the minds of man and woman, their peculiarly intimate relation to each other. In other creatures there was no natural connection between the pairs in the very act of creation. The sexes were in them created independently of each other. But in the man the union was to be of peculiar solemnity and significance;  it was even to set forth, as by a symbol, the union between Christ and his church. The fact of her derivation from man—a part of himself, separated, to be in another form reunited to him, was calculated to indicate and to originate an especial tenderness in their nuptial state, and its indissoluble character. See how beautifully St. Paul works out these ideas; and understanding, as he manifestly does, the account of woman’s origin to be literal, as given in Genesis, his inspired authority ought to be conclusive on the subject—“So men ought to love their wives as their own bodies: he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth it, and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”—Eph_5:28-30. Surely, to teach such lessons as these, was a sufficient reason for the mode of woman’s creation. She was to be created in some mode or other, and however created, in that would have been the miracle. The mere mode was a lesser matter, and might be determined by circumstances comparatively unimportant; and indeed, when the world was new, it might have been difficult for the most astute of those who take upon them to question the ways of God, to have found circumstances more important for determining the mode of operation than those by which, in this case, it appears to have been influenced.