The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Gen. 2:18
I have always read this as a benevolent gesture on God's part to have compassion on the loneliness of man. In a puzzling way, it also seemed to indicate an inadequacy about God's presence with Adam in the pre-fall Garden. But, again, I figured it to be a condescension on God's part to meet the needs of man's weakness in that way. It was only recently that I was struck with how inconsistent my reading of this one statement was in light of all that God reveals about Himself and His plan of redemption in all of Scripture.
Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” Gen. 31:3
There is something in me, just like Jacob, that would rather flee from conflict or settings of discord than run at full speed into them. Like the early church fathers in the monastic movement who set out into the desert to be more holy, I too would be far more holy in isolation. It am easily the most patient person on earth when nobody is around to test or require it of me. I perceive myself to be full of love for all of humanity when there is no humanity encroaching on my space or interrupting my routines or challenging my perspective. But as soon as another voice enters into my monologue, (besides the obvious fact that it by definition can no longer be a monologue), my neatly constructed world gets bumped a bit. He continually sends His people toward His people, to live with one another rather than in escapist isolation.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matt. 18:20
Do I suppose this means that when I am alone, He is not with me? Of course not. In the same way, perhaps Adam's loneliness is not what prompted God's statement before creating Eve. What if God knows it is not good for man to be alone because alone it is easier to feel self-sufficient, complete and lacking nothing? These, of course, describe Jesus alone, yet I am more inclined to feel they describe me when there is nothing to challenge the veracity of that notion. I lack a whole lot less in a space that I can fully control and dictate than in one that must be shared with others with distinct wills of their own.
What if in God's grand plan of redemption, the story of His taking His creation from fallible to infallible, from able to sin to the final state of not being able to sin, the first step was for man to recognize such holiness, righteousness and love is not possible independent from God? And how might I ever come to realize this truth unless confronted with my limitations and selfishness? What if the help we give to one another is both the truth that by myself I cannot produce the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control that I think I might but also the hope that those are still possible by the work of Jesus in and through and despite me?
What if God's declaration was about so much more than my potential loneliness because it is about increasing my dependence on Him, my trust in Him, my knowledge of Him and my love for Him? What if through both the gifts and gouges I receive from others I become more receptive to and aware of the person of Jesus who has promised always to be with me?
Alone, in my self-constructed reality, I can so convincingly become my own god, determining easily for myself what is right and wrong in my own eyes. Alone, it is easy to feel, like the Pharisees did, that I am sufficiently meeting the demands of the Law which are summed up in loving God and loving my neighbor. The presence of my neighbor and my response to him or her reminds me of God's presence, dominion and satisfaction of all that the Law requires even as it shows me how inadequate I am apart from His person and work. It is not good for me to be alone because I need to know how much I need the person and work of Jesus...and how faithfully He meets my need to love others better than I can alone.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25
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