I know that the God of the Bible is all-knowing but doesn’t it seem that
in Genesis 2 God made Adam and did not know that Adam wouldn’t find a
companion? Why didn’t he make them at the same time if he know that no
other animal would compare to Adam?

God did know that Adam would need a companion. In order to understand this
passage you need to bear in mind the literary style of the early part of
Genesis. The first few chapters of Genesis have God speaking specific
words. One should not take this too literally. It is doubtful that, as
described in Genesis 1:3, God literally said the Hebrew words for “Let
there be light.” God does not have lips, and besides there was no one for
him to speak to, at least in the human sense. You should take the
descriptions of God speaking in Genesis chapters one and two in a
metaphoric sense. Does God talk to himself as described in Genesis? This
is a description of God, given in a form understandable to people. Did God
literally talk into the air and say to himself “It is not good for man to
be alone.” Or is the writer of Genesis describing in human terms how God
decided to give Adam a suitable mate to take care of his
emotional/relational needs and with whom to procreate and populate the

It seems reasonable to assume that the description in Genesis 2 is put in
human terms so that the original hearers as well as we could understand
God’s plan to create people whom he could love and with whom he could have
a relationship. A similar example is found in Genesis 6:6 in which God is
described, concerning the condition of man in the time of Noah that “his
heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind whom I
have created, from the face of the earth…'” Does God have a “heart” in
the sense people do? Maybe. Did he literally tell himself, in Hebrew, that
he was going to wipe mankind out? Again, the Bible writer is using human
terms to express what God did.

Perhaps describing Genesis 1-3 as being somewhat metaphorical might make
you feel you are on slippery ground. Is there any point of fact at all to
take from Genesis? Is the story of Cain killing Abel literal, or is it
just a metaphorical description? I may not be able to give a definitive
answer to every possible question, but let me make at least a preliminary
attempt. When the Bible describes an action of a human being, one should
in general take it literally. When it says that Cain killed Abel, or that
Noah said or did something, one should assume that God intends us to take
this at face value. However, when the Bible describes something that God
said or did, one should generally assume that the Bible is using human
terms to describe in a non-literal way something God did, “said” or felt.
When the Bible says that Eve reached out her hand and ate the fruit, it
means literally that she reached out her hand. When the Bible says that
God reaches his hand down to help the weak, one should assume that it is
meant metaphorically. In Genesis 2, God did not suddenly realize his
mistake and decide to make a woman as well. That would be to
over-literalize the text.

As far as why Adam was made first, then Eve, you could look to 1 Timothy
2:13, 14 for a hint about that. From this passage it would appear that God
made Adam first as a symbol of the fact that, in marriage, a husband would
have authority over his wife. Should we take the birth of Adam first
literally or metaphorically? You should decide for yourself, but in my
opinion, because it is describing a human event, I would personally take
it literally.

John Oakes, PhD

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