Jason and Melissa O'Rourke Wedding Photo

Growing up in the church, I always heard that God made woman for man. This led me, as it has countless others, that woman was created for me, to meet a need of man. The argument was that woman was to help man, kinda like an assistant. Men and women have been taught this as a justification for patriarchy, that God designed man to be the ruler of all, including woman, the logical conclusion being that the only thing separating woman from animals was that she was given to man, and taken from his side, made to look like him, and to help HIM in HIS work. Other than that, man ruled over her, as well as all other creatures and all of nature. Thus woman is simply a glorified creature of nature?  Yea...I have grown tired of the explanation given me as a child, the application of this interpretation I have seen throughout my life, and the implications for what it has meant for the women in my life. I simply wanted to know if the Bible was actually saying what I had been taught. What exactly is a “help-meet”?

Gen 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

This word, Help-meet, has given humanity challenges since it was pronounced. In Hebrew, the world is "ezer kenegdo" (transliteration). While English translates ezer as helper, with subordinate connotations, Hebrew does not: of the 21 times the word is used in the Hebrew Bible, 16 address God as the "ezer" of Israel (a superordinate). 3 other times denote military allies. Enter now "kenegdo", from the root word neged, meaning opposite or counterpart. There is nothing in this phrase that says God was to make a subordinate for Adam. God was making "a power equal to the man" (R. Davidson, Flame of Yahweh)

"Neged” is from the root word "nagad", which basically means to speak. Thus Eve was to be the voice, the word, of Adam.

Point: God, after defining boundaries, decided to give mankind the kind of existence that would supersede any desire to disobey, an intimate community.

Point: God decided to preempt the lie of the serpent (you shall be as Gods), by making mankind in the image of the singular plurality which is the prerogative of God alone.

Point: God decided to preempt the lie of the serpent by making mankind so in the image of God, that as the Godhead has its Word, equal in power and value, so the humanity would have its "word", woman, who is the power equal to the man.

As a man, cultured by a patriarchal interpretation and application of this phrase, patriarchy says the strongest man rules, and machismo says that I am always in competition to prove my value and strength. If I see I am in relationship with someone of equal strength, as a man, I am to figure out if they are to lead or I am. However, this competitive way of thinking is disastrous to a marriage. I have found that I have needed a learning curve in my marriage. Melissa has the God created and ordained right to look me in the eye, have equal voice, hold me accountable, assert direction, as much as I do. Melissa is a power equal to me. 

Comment