Why men and women need each other (Genesis 2:23)

Genesis 2:23

The phrase “suitable helper” in the Bible has been misunderstood. In Genesis 2, the Bible says that out of all the creatures God made, the only suitable helper for the man was the woman.

When you think of a helper you may think of a parent telling a child what to do. “We are going to do some gardening today, and you will be my helper.” The parent essentially means, “I have authority and call the shots; you do as I say.” The Hebrew word for “helper” in Genesis 2 means something else. Would you dare to guess who this Hebrew word refers to more than anyone else in the Bible? God! Psalm 33:20, for example, says, “We wait for the LORD; he is our helper and our shield.”

The phrase “suitable helper” consists of two Hebrew words. In the context of Genesis 2, one biblical scholar interprets the phrase, “suitable counterpart.” Woman relates to the man as suitable counterpart. We might even say man relates to woman as suitable counterpart. Men and women need each other.

There is something beautiful about femininity and masculinity. Every human soul has some imprint of suckling their mother’s breast and looking into her tender, loving eyes. Every human soul has some imprint of being held in father’s firm hands and being bent down and given some fatherly piece of advice.

Those who never received these things know all too well what others take for granted. They long desperately for these things they never had. Mothers and fathers who poorly steward their masculinity or femininity leave a gaping wound in their child. Thanks be to God that, though we call him he, he embodies perfectly all the qualities of masculinity and femininity. Through our union with Christ, afforded to us by his reconciling work on the cross, he heals our wounds.

The phrase “suitable helper” as applied to women indicates no inferiority or lack of dignity. Humanity needs both the masculinity of man and the femininity of woman.

The man seems to know all this all too well. The first words uttered by a human being in the Bible are an Ode to Women sung by the man. “This is now bone of by bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man (Genesis 2:23).”

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