The Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).
Have you ever seen the movie Castaway? Tom Hanks delivers an Oscar-nominated performance as Chuck Noland, a FedEx worker who is a passenger on a company flight that crashes over the Pacific Ocean.
Noland is the sole survivor of the crash and ultimately washes ashore to a small, remote island — alone. Noland then spends the next four years in survival mode, using whatever he can to endure.
Two things ultimately help him to overcome what becomes his biggest obstacle — a pocket watch, given to him by his fiancée, Kelly, just before he left on the flight, and a Wilson-brand volleyball that had been one of the FedEx packages being delivered.
Wilson, as Noland named the volleyball, became a personified friend and only companion during the four years that Noland spends alone on the island. The watch contained a picture of Kelly, and Noland uses it constantly as a reminder of what he seemingly has lost.
While there are obviously multiple underlying themes, Noland’s biggest enemy on the island became what so many suffer — loneliness. Being alone.
Loneliness is why Noland adopted an inanimate object as his “friend.” He talked to it, argued with it, and even “heard” it speak to him. He would spend time looking at Kelly’s picture inside the watch, flicking a flashlight he had, on/off and on/off, until the batteries wore out.
(And no — in case you have not seen the movie, I won’t spoil the ending).
He had no one and nothing. Had he died (and he did attempt suicide and failed) there was no one to mourn. He had no companion, no children to carry on his legacy. He was alone.
And that loneliness was his biggest enemy.
It's Not Good for Man to Be Alone: In the Beginning...
During six days, God created dry land, the sun, moon, stars, sea creatures, birds, and other animals. Then, at the end of each day, “God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:4, Genesis 1:10, Genesis 1:12, Genesis 1:18, Genesis 1:21, Genesis 1:25).
Then, for the first time during all of creation, God saw something that was not good. Man was alone. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18).
We so often think of everything as perfect up until the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. Adam had not sinned yet. It was nothing he had done or not done that was not good.
It was not Adam himself who was not good. It was simply Adam being alone that God said was not good. Moreover, God let Adam see — and experience — what life alone was like. He named all the animals yet saw his “helper” in none.
Certainly, God could have chosen to create Eve independently and simply given her to Adam. Instead, he “…made a woman from the rib he had taken out of man, and he brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22). Rather than a new creation, God instead chose to “make a helper suitable for him” — in other words, comparable to him.
A companion — not a competitor. A partner. To be in union with, not dominate. Someone who wasn’t the same, as Adam, but rather, complimented him. Not the opposite, but different, yet somehow the same. Someone Adam could feel near to, “…the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” (Genesis 2:23).
Then, after God had given Adam his eternal companion; after God had formed Eve from Adam’s own body — “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 2:31, emphasis mine).
A woman, a wife, had changed “not good” and made it “very good.” Man was no longer alone.
“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). In this context, “naked” was not just physically. Adam and Eve were vulnerable. They were completely open, with each other and with God.
Adam could not be fruitful and multiply alone. It is not good for him to be alone because the rest of the human race does not come into existence with only him.
It's Not Good for Man to Be Alone: The Blessing of Marriage
Loving fathers have, among others, one very strong attribute in common: they want what is best for their children. The Lord is certainly the ultimate loving Father, and all his gifts, all his commands, all his blessings, and grace are a validation of this.
There is no stronger evidence than the creation story. God knew it was “not good for man to be alone.” Clearly, he knew even before that Adam was not intended to be the only human — “...Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and bird in the sky…” (Genesis 1:27).
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground’” (Genesis 1:28).
God blessed them. God knew that having each other, having family and others would be what was best for mankind. This was his plan from the start. This is what he wanted for them — even though he knew things would not stay that way.
God gave Adam a wife — and Eve a husband — so they could together populate the earth. Eve was indeed a “helper” to Adam, but that does not in any way imply inferiority to Adam or Adam’s superiority. Rather, it underscores the need for two to complement one another to carry out God’s design for all humanity.
In Ecclesiastes 4:12, the Bible explains the power of not being alone, “…pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
A cord of three strands. Husband, wife, God. The three strands represent the joining of one man, one woman and God in marriage. Then, by keeping God at the center of the marriage, his love will continue to bind the couple together in unity.
Two together are stronger than anyone strand alone. When God is the third cord, unbreakable.
It's Not Good for Man to Be Alone: The Importance of Community
We are called to love God — and to love others.
Mankind is meant to be in community with each other. From the very beginning, God referred to mankind as they. The very term refers to a group, a people. Individuals can worship God, but the balance of Scripture tells us that the beauty of God’s design is he seeks a people. At its core, the gospel is not about “me” but “us.”
Christ came to redeem people: “…who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14).
God knew that Adam alone could not accomplish his purposes, thus making a woman who was like Adam, yet so different — so that he could have a people to worship him. From the start, we were not meant to be alone; to worship alone.
We need each other. We are here to help each other. Together we reflect the image of God. Together we reflect who God is, and God’s love for all his people.
Nearing his last moments, Christ prayed for us, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name — the name you gave me — so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11).
Three times Jesus prayed that we may be one. It is fair to say it was important to him.
In the Book of Hebrews, we are admonished to “…not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
How do we remain as one without being in community if we are not meeting together?
Indeed, we need each other. To give us strength to persevere. To encourage each other to surrender our lives while standing strong and living out God’s principles.
The Bible tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). Community helps us stand apart from the world.
But…being a people, being a community, and loving others all begin at home. This is the gift — the blessing — of marriage. So that we could be as one with Jesus and with the Father.
That we would not be alone.
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Greg Grandchamp is the author of "In Pursuit of Truth, A Journey Begins" — an easy-to-read search that answers to most common questions about Jesus Christ. Was he real? Who did he claim to be? What did he teach? Greg is an everyday guy on the same journey as everyone else — in pursuit of truth. You can reach Greg by email [email protected] and on Facebook.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
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