Women, let’s set aside our own distorted views of what it means to help and ask God to show us how he planned this calling to be a blessing to us, to the men in our lives, to our community, and to all creation. We live and serve to please One, and he delighted to make us helpers in his grand plan. Oh, that we may delight in this calling too.
For Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Genesis 2:20)
Helper. Many women in our day have chafed at this word, at this characterization of our calling from God. A helper is clearly not in charge. A helper is not usually center stage. A helper may feel (and rightly!) that she has gifts and talents that enable her to do the work better. A helper rarely gets as much recognition for her work. A helper may feel like a second-class citizen. And we could go on.
Some of these assumptions may be true, some are outright lies, but all of them miss the point. Each of the above statements comes from the perspective of fallen creatures, socialized in the modern world; none seriously attempts to consider what the Creator himself had in mind when he designed and assigned callings to men and women.
When God created male and female, he did not mean to glorify men and demean women, as if helper somehow meant lesser. God created humans — men and women together — as the pinnacle of all creation, crafting both in his very image (Genesis 1:27). He created them with distinct and complementary attributes, inclinations, and gifts that make them indispensable to one another and to his plan for filling the earth with his glory.
Helper with Equal Honor
Now, God did make man first, and he gave man the primary responsibility (and accountability) for the outworking of his plan (Genesis 2:7, 15–17; 1 Timothy 2:13) to extend his glory (Ephesians 1:10). But by giving man primary responsibility and accountability, did God intend for Adam to be a mini-god on earth, decisively higher than his wife, who was also made in God’s image?
No. Before God made Eve from Adam, he humbled Adam by permitting him to discover how impossible his task would be without help — God’s help and human help. God had already indicated that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18), but then he set Adam to naming all the animals, building to the discovery that “there was not found a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:19–20). Then, at the creation of Eve, Adam’s “at last” shows the relief and delight he felt (Genesis 2:23). He knew he needed a helper for this mission.
Woman, then, was not created as a subjugated slave, but as a means of mutual blessing for them both. She was, and is, an essential partner and helper in the grand work of subduing the creation and filling the earth with God’s imagers, giving glory upon glory to the eternally worthy God.
The twisted lie that Adam is more important, that Adam’s call means power and privilege, and Eve’s subjugation, springs out of the pride that human hearts have harbored since the fall. Men too often have been puffed up to lead with domineering power, and women too often have been puffed up with righteous indignation, asserting that they have just as much of a right to power and privilege as men do.
Of course, Adam could not assume responsibility (and accountability) without the associated ability (and burden) to make critical decisions. But all throughout the Bible, and especially in the life of Jesus, we see that every earthly power is subject to the righteous and holy God.