The Man and the Woman
The heavens and the earth.
The light, separating day from night.
The waters, separating sea from sky and bringing dry land to view from the deep.
Plants, animals, birds of the sky, fish of the sea and every creeping creature.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
So man was made in the image of God.
And God looked at everything and said, “It is good.”
But, despite initial impressions, something was not quite right.
Before there was ever a temptation and a fall, the Father looked at his creation and found it lacking, saying : “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.”
It’s as if God looked at the man, all alone in the vast creation and realized something about Himself: that man, created in God’s image was created for relationship. After all, is God not triune. Is he not a relationship of three persons in one God, a communion of persons?
How then, could a man, created in the image of a triune God be fulfilled alone?
He, like the one who’s image he bore was created for relationship.
So, God brought all of the beasts of the field and birds of the air and all of the creepy, crawly things to the man to let him inspect them, to determine if any was a suitable partner. The man gave them all names, but none was deemed worthy of the task of being the man’s partner.
So the Lord put the man into a deep sleep.
The writer of the book of Genesis fully illustrates the relational happenings between God, the man and the woman who is to come. For, when God first creates the man (in Hebrew = ‘ha-adam), he forms him out of dust (in Hebrew dust = ‘adamah). The man’s name, ha-adam alone signifies nothing more profound than “one who came forth from the dust.”
However, upon entering that sleep, everything changes. God takes the man’s rib and forms out of it the perfect partner for the man.
The man wakes up to find that he is changed; he is fulfilled. No longer is he man (‘ha-adam), but rather man (‘ish) He looks at the woman and declares, in a sudden crescendo to our story, “SURELY THIS IS BONE OF MY BONES AND FLESH OF MY FLESH, she shall be called woman (‘ishah) because she was taken out of man (‘ish).
The old and incomplete man is gone, and with him the designation ‘ha-adam . This, now, is man completed. Now the man reflects the image of God, the communion of persons because he, too lives in relationship: two persons (the ‘ish and the ‘ishah) that, together, are made of one body.
The man and woman, ‘ish and ‘ishah, are not opposing forces, but are two sides of the same coin, two parts of the same body. They are made for reciprocity. There is no ‘ish without the ‘ishah.
Simply put: they “fit” together, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually.
For this we are made and in this reality we find our true destiny: reflecting the very image of God himself by living in a communion of persons just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have lived for all eternity.
May you, whether married or single, rethink the relationship between man and woman and realize that, while there is much that seems to keep us a part, we are intrinsically made for one another.
Man is not from Mars. Woman is not from Venus. We are one in the same, but need each other to realize the fullness of what, and who, we really are.
When we look at ourselves, our spouses or even just the opposite sex in this way, it has the power to change the way we think about everything.
**This post is the first in a series based on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, a collection of 129 lectures he delivered at the outset of his Papacy between September 1979 and November 1984.