Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Importance of Friendship

By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Priscilla Du Preez

"The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” ~Genesis 2:15-18

At the end of each and every day of creation as outlined in Genesis 1, these words are proclaimed: “And God saw that it was good” (see verses 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). Never was something deemed by God to be “not good,” until Genesis 2:18, following the creation of Adam: It was not good for the man to be alone. Another interesting aspect of all this is that once a woman was created, and the sixth day of creation was completed, God did not again state everything was merely “good.” Instead, in Genesis 1:31 we read, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed” (emphasis added).

God went from deeming the creation of each day “good,” to seeing Adam all alone and saying that situation was “not good,” to finally saying it was “very good indeed” when Eve was also created and Adam was no longer alone. That’s pretty telling, I would say. Someone being alone is viewed by God as something that is “not good,” while someone enjoying partnership is deemed to be “very good.”

The problem, however, is that we have stunted our understanding of all that God is attempting to teach us in this passage because we have viewed His proclamation in Genesis 2:18 as merely pertaining to marriage. Time and time again, you will hear podcasts, read articles, and study books that address Genesis 2:18 only in light of marriage, with teachings about a wife being a help to her husband and including quotes from Proverbs about the one who finds a wife finding a good thing. 

As important, true, and applicable as each of those teachings may be, marriage truths are not all that God is trying to teach us in Genesis 2:18. Truly, the proclamation that it is not good for man to be alone is a principle that does not just apply to marriage. Rather, here in this passage at the beginning of time, God illustrates a point that He then weaves throughout the entirety of Scripture: None of us is meant to do life alone. Instead, we need each other and are meant to walk this path of life together. 

This does not mean that everyone is called to marry. We know that part of God’s plan is that some of us will be given the gift of marriage, while others will be given the gift of singleness. What it does mean is that God designed us to be communal, walking through life together in fellowship with those whom we can encourage and be encouraged by through each of life’s various seasons. We see from the very beginning not only the reality that God created and designed us for friendship and fellowship, but we also see one of the purposes of friendship: It serves as a protection against loneliness.

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