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I've wondered this for quite a while.

In Genesis 2:7 NKJV we read:

7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

However God's method changes when He decides to create woman:

Genesis 2:21-23 NKJV

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

It makes sense to create things in similar manners. So why didn't God return to the dust to create woman?

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    The creation of man and woman are clearly (from other scriptures) indicative of Christ and the church. Just as the church takes form from the riven side of Christ, so Eve was formed out of Adam. One has to see natural things in terms of spiritual. Not the other way round. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 18 at 22:31
  • Another, linked, question is: “Why did God create man from dust?” Why didn’t he create man from nothing?” Maybe he can’t create from nothing? And maybe “dust” stands for “small particles”, which today would be called atoms, molecules, etc. (John 3:6) Jan 19 at 1:45
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    If Eve was created from another batch of dust, then Adam and Eve were rivals, not partners. Jan 19 at 2:42
  • You conclude that "It makes sense to create things in similar manners. So why didn't God return to the dust to create woman?". What, and go back to scratch, beginning all over again, when only a tiny tweak of existing deoxyribonucleic acid in Adam's rib-bone marrow was required? Ah, but this is about spiritual truth and significance, pointing to union that is divine, not just physical.
    – Anne
    Jan 19 at 12:30

2 Answers 2

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Great question that many have asked before. The most common answer involves several facets of the same idea:

  1. Adam and Eve were not to be viewed as separate creatures but mysteriously united in both function and origin
  2. Adam was not a complete creature in himself but needed Eve to complete him. The same was true of Eve (and all women).

This appears to be confirmed by God's statement after the creation of woman from man. Note the sequence as recorded in Gen 2:21-24

So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he slept, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the area with flesh. And from the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man, He made a woman and brought her to him.

And the man said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man she was taken.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Thus, the sequence is:

  • a part was taken from Adam's side
  • woman was created to be part of Adam
  • the two shall be one flesh

That is, neither man nor women can function without the other.

The Pulpit commentary captures this idea well:

The peculiar phraseology employed to describe the formation of Adam s partner has been understood as referring to the physical configuration of woman s body, which is broadest towards the middle (Lyra); to the incompleteness of Adam's being, which was like an unfinished building until Eve was formed (Calvin); to the part of the female in building up the family (Delitzsch, Macdonald), to the building up of the Church, of which she was designed to be a type (Bonar); - yet it may be doubted if there is not as much truth in the remark that "by the many words used in the generation of mankind, as creating (Genesis 1:27), making (Genesis 1:26), forming and inspiring (Genesis 2:7), and now building, Moses would set forth this wondrous workmanship for which the Psalmist so laudeth God," Psalm 139:14 (Ainsworth). And brought her unto the man. I.e. led, conducted, and presented her to Adam. "The word implies the solemn bestowment of her in the bonds of the marriage covenant, which is hence called the covenant of God (Proverbs 2:17); implying that he is the Author of this sacred institution" (Bush). On awaking from his slumber Adam at once recognized the Divine intention, and joyfully welcomed his bride. Genesis 2:22

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An ancient rabbinical tradition holds that "Adam" originally contained his/her future mate and was never simply male.

Leviticus Rabbah 12:2

Rabbi Samuel b. Nahman said: At the time that the Holy One, Blessed Be He created Man, He created him as an Androgynos. Resh Lakish said that at the time that [Adam] was created, he was made with two faces, and [God] sliced him and gave him two backs, a female one and a male one, as it says 'And He took from his sides.'

Looking at it this way, Gen. 1 and Gen. 2 overlap. The story of Adam's creation in Gen. 2 takes place just prior to the creation of the unnamed man and woman in 1:26. In any case, God did not need to create Adam's mate (still unnamed at this point) from the dust because "Adam" referred to a primordial human who was neither male nor female (or was both). Of course, for many readers, this story is mythological and need not be taken literally.

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