Does Gen 2:18 mean being single is not good?

Hi everyone, I need help understanding Gen 2:18 When God is creating and he says it is not good for man to be alone let us make for him a suitable helper then Eve is made.
I believe it refers to man’s need for community but at the same time the verse seems to be alluding to the importance of the marriage union which raises some questions for me.

  1. Does it mean Jesus did not leave a good life since he was a single man who never got a suitable helper? Or was this verse just specific to Adam and hence doesn’t apply to all man?
  2. The garden of Eden was the way life should have been before the fall, and we know that in heaven there will be no marriage, hence if marriage is so important why does it not feature in heaven unlike community which we know will be there in heaven.
  3. Can this scripture be specific for the marriage union and being single still be a good thing.
    Thanx in advance.
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@LisaRufaro Great question! Two thoughts to consider:

  • The NET Bible note below suggest that within the context of Genesis 2 in which God had commanded man to fill the earth and subdue it, Adam alone could not fulfill this role. If you take that view, it is clear that the point of the text is not that marriage is inherently good and singleness inherently bad, but that man needed woman to fulfill his role in creation.
  • Paul the apostle clearly did not interpret Genesis 2 this way, since he suggested that it is better to remain single to be wholly devoted to God in Corinthians.

“The being of man by himself is not good.” The meaning of “good” must be defined contextually. Within the context of creation, in which God instructs humankind to be fruitful and multiply, the man alone cannot comply. Being alone prevents the man from fulfilling the design of creation and therefore is not good.

I Cor 7:8-9 - Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

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I believe that this means that the responsibility given to man by God (Gen 1:26-28) is a responsibility to be carried out by mankind as “male and female”. (Psalm 8:4-9)

I’m currently doing a book on the subject and your quotation from the NET Bible gives me some better insight that is invaluable.

The responsibility to replenish the earth is not to man as male alone but to mankind as male and female and the marriage relationship (Gen 2:23-25) is where God intends the major aspect of the “fruitful and multiply” to be fulfilled.

Thus the institution of marriage enables the necessary companionship, and the family institution creates the necessary environment to nurture not only sons and daughters of men but “children of God” that would declare His glory and many sided wisdom to all of creation on earth. (Mal 2:15)

One main thought I glean from you is the fact that “alone” here indicates that man as male could not fulfil this responsibility without the female. A man or woman can choose to be single (single does not mean lonely) to dedicate themselves to God. The person who dedicates him/herself to celibacy for the purpose of God’s work is not alone either.

I heard someone preach that when God declared that it was “not good for man to be alone,” the female was not planned by God in the first place and that she was only an afterthought. He seemed to infer that the woman was not supposed to have a voice, but rather maintain her “subordinate” position as helpmeet. I disagreed and still disagree.

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Yes, Solomon and SeanO are right, it does refer to the context in which man was to fill the earth and subdue it, and he needed Eve for that. But that does not mean that singleness is bad.

Jesus’s life was a good and perfect life: an example to us all of how to live. No, Jesus never got married, but he did have community. He had the 12, he had the 3 (Peter, James, and John) and he is the only man since Adam to have a perfect relationship with God. It is by having a relationship with God that our other relationships are then transformed. That is why the friendship of David and Jonathon in the Old Testament was so great: because both loved God first and foremost, and both loved each other more than they feared King Saul or loved the possibility of being the next king. I think we all long for that sort of community: where we love God with all our souls, hearts, and minds and we love each other as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27.)

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Hi thank you very much for the responses all very helpful I’m realising this particular passage of scripture might be one of those I’ve been trying really hard to eisegis which might have led to illogical thinking so your feedback has been really really helpful. God bless you for your gracious responses.
The garden of Eden portrays the relationship between man and God and not how life should be like in heaven.

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