We are so familiar with the creation of Eve that it’s easy to miss the importance of some details. If we approach the account as though it’s our first time reading it, a number of significant points arise…
1. Eve wasn’t created “out of the ground”
One recurring theme has been God’s creation of living things from ordinary dirt:
- Genesis 2:7—And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
- Genesis 2:9—And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow.
- Genesis 2:19—Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air.
With this repetition, we would expect to read: “The Lord God formed woman of the dust of the ground, and breathed into her nostrils the breath of life; and woman became a living being.” Instead, Genesis 2:21–23 says:
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. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 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.”
In being fashioned from Adam, Eve has the unique distinction of being the only part of creation not created out of the ground. Since Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, Eve was just as wonderfully created in the image and likeness of God. Also, while God created woman from man, He brought forth every other human being since Eve from woman. 1 Corinthians 11:8–9, 11–12 records:
For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man . . . Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman.
2. Eve was created from Adam’s own DNA
God performed history’s first surgery by using Adam’s body to fashion Eve. What modern science reveals about this is fascinating. Every cell in our bodies contains our entire genetic blueprint or DNA. Therefore, God could take some of Adam’s cells and use their DNA to create Eve. The reverse, however, would not have been possible, because men’s DNA contains both X and Y chromosomes (XY), while women’s DNA contains only X chromosomes (XX).
If God had created woman first, it would have been impossible to create man. There would be no Y chromosomes, which is the chromosome that determines male gender. Adam had the genetic material—both X and Y chromosomes—for a woman to be created from his DNA, allowing for the reproduction of men and women.
More than likely Paul had Eve’s creation in mind when he commanded husbands in Ephesians 5:28b-29a:
He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.
Just as Adam saw Eve as an extension of his own bone and flesh, so God wants husbands to see their wives as extensions of themselves. A husband should care for his wife as well as he cares for himself. Since he views her body as part of his body, when he loves her, he is loving himself. Since no husband hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, husbands should offer their wives the same concern and devotion they lavish on themselves.
3. Eve was created from Adam’s side (not only his rib)
The Hebrew word for rib is tsela. The word occurs forty-one times in the Old Testament, but only in Genesis 2:21–22 is it translated “rib.” Nineteen times tsela is translated as “side” and eleven times as “chamber.” Here are a few examples:
- Exodus 25:12—You shall cast four rings of gold for [the ark], and put them in its four corners; two rings shall be on one side (tsela), and two rings on the other side (tsela).
- 2 Samuel 16:13—And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside (tsela) opposite him and cursed as he went.
- 1 Kings 6:8—The doorway for the middle story was on the right side (tsela) of the temple.
Eve came from much more than Adam’s rib. This is also made clear by Adam’s words in Genesis 2:23 when he calls Eve “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”
4. Eve was created from Adam so husbands and wives would see themselves as “one flesh”
Immediately after Eve was created and given to Adam, Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This is an odd statement since Adam and Eve are the only people in history with no “father and mother.” Therefore, this verse is not primarily about them but is instructive for all future marriages. God wanted Adam and Eve to understand the unity between them, but more importantly He wanted all future husbands and wives to see the same unity between them.
- Why did God choose to create Adam from Eve’s side rather than from the “dust of the ground” as He had done with every other living creature (including Adam) up to that point?
- Why does Genesis 2:24 mention man leaving father and mother, when Adam had no earthly father or mother?
- Do you see any other reasons God created Eve from Adam?