Saturday, January 13, 2007

Genesis 2:18-22

18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Apologies to both of my readers for the hiatus, I expect I'll post more regularly in the coming weeks.

Anyhow, in contrast to the first creation story, this one clearly establishes the male dominance of Hebrew society. Woman, it turns out, is a mere afterthought, provided as a helper to the man once God realizes that he screwed up initially by failing to provide an assistant.

God also needs an editor, I would say. After mentioning the need for a Girl Friday, God digresses to deal with the naming of the animals. Then he has to repeat himself to reintroduce topic 1. I guess the point is to make sure that the man gets to name the animals without having to put up with any yadda yadda yadda from the woman.

God performs the first surgery, although again, since he's an all-powerful being, it's not clear why he needs to take the rib. (Apparently the original Hebrew doesn't necessarily imply a rib -- it could be some other body part.) Obviously he still needs to magically multiply its weight a few dozen times, then transmute the material into all the organs of the body. Why couldn't he have used a chicken bone or even just a clod of dirt? Evidently it's all about the symbolism. We are to think of the woman somehow as a minor body part of the man, I suppose.

Anyway, were I female, I would find all this deeply insulting. God is just a male chauvinist pig, as far as I'm concerned.