IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
It comes from Elaine. She gets a free book for asking it.
Question came up in Sunday School today: Why did God make woman from the rib of man and not from dust?
OK, Elaine, this is going to come as a shock.
Not all Christians believe that story is an accurate report of what happened.
Most Christians do, if Gallup polls are right. But many Christians wouldn’t bet a slab of Kansas City BBQ ribs on it.
Let me answer your question as though the ancient journalist got his facts right.
For those Christians, here’s the best answer I’ve seen so far. It comes from the long-dead Bible commentator named Matthew Henry (1662-1714). I’ll paraphrase him.
Eve wasn’t made out of Adam’s…
- head, to top him
- feet, to get trampled on.
She was made from…
- Adam’s side, to be equal with him
- under his arm to be protected by him
- near his heart to be loved by him.
Now, about those Christians who say they don’t believe the writer reported legit history.
Why don’t they believe it’s history?
They say they think it’s more like a parable. A myth with a meaning.
They say the writer sounds like he was trying to create word pictures inside the heads of readers to help them understand that the Creator was God, not one of the many other Middle Eastern gods getting credit at the time.
With that in mind, as the theory goes, the writer used poetry and metaphor to get his point across.
The entire story about God creating Eve has poetic flair written into it.
Not just one flair.
- Sound. The Hebrew word for “animal” (hayyah) sounds like the Hebrew word for “Eve” (hawwah).
- Parallel meaning. Each animal has a partner, but Adam doesn’t. Not yet. Eve’s name reads like foreshadowing of his partner yet to come.
- Point of the story. Many say the poet is declaring ladies equal partners with the gents.
For the record, in case you’re wondering, men are not shy a rib.
History or poetry. That’s the question.
Most Christians say history. Many don’t.
I say it’s hard to think much about it—what with Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ just a few miles up the road.