The Creation narrative recorded in Genesis chapters 1-2 is a fixture in the debate over homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Traditionally, many Christians believe these chapters demonstrate beyond all doubt that homosexuality was never God’s intention for mankind, and that the first marital model–Adam and Eve–is the only model that carries his approval. However, tradition has a way of causing people to accept a premise without due analysis and deliberation. Does this narrative, in fact, provide unquestionable opposition to homosexuality, or have traditional Christians overlooked evidence in this very passage that actually lends substantial support to the very thing they oppose–same-sex marriage?
 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him… ”  So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.  The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:18, 21-22)
You’ll notice in my quote of this popular narrative that I skipped verses 19-21. Tragically, this is how the vast majority of traditional Christians perceive this story, as though those intermediate verses don’t exist at all. But, it is what takes place in those verses that casts a dark shadow over the interpretation held by so many. By skipping these verses, people understand the story to progress as follows: “God makes man. Man is alone. God makes woman as man’s companion so that he won’t be alone.” This flow is very convenient, as it allows people to conclude that God prescribed Eve for Adam, thus prescribing woman for man. But, when we add verses 19-21 back to the narrative, another story altogether begins to form.
 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”  Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.  The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.  So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.  The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.  The man 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.” (Genesis 2:18-23)
What people can’t seem to remember is that after God determined that it wasn’t good for “the man” (“the” being a definite article that points to a single individual–Adam), He didn’t immediately create Eve. First, He brought all the animals He’d created to Adam. Now, we must ask why a God who is concerned that all things are “good” (remember how He pronounced what He made good after each successive stage of creation) would take this time-consuming step of having Adam name all of the animals before creating Eve to resolve Adam’s “not good” state of being alone. Why not create Eve immediately, so as to remedy Adam’s loneliness as soon as possible, as most Christians wrongly assume He did?
The answer is found in the second half of verse 20. Although God brought the animals before Adam to see what He would call them (v. 19), resolving Adam’s loneliness was in His mind and purpose the whole time. After Adam named all the animals, there was still “not found a helper suitable for him.” This means that even this naming process was a part of God’s purpose to remedy Adam’s loneliness. Unfortunately, nothing in all of creation was found to be suitable.
But here’s an interesting question: What was an omniscient (all-knowing) God doing searching for a suitable companion for Adam? Why did He have to find one, seeing as He already knew that nothing in creation to that point was suitable? The answer is simple. God wasn’t searching… Adam was! It was he, not God, who named the animals; and it was he, not God, who determined that none of them were suitable for him.
Now, if God already knew that no animal was suitable for Adam, why would He go through this time-consuming process, allowing Adam to search for something he would not find? There’s only one reason: God needed Adam (and, by extension, us) to understand that when it comes to finding a suitable companion, it is not He who does the choosing, but us. Sure, He knows who would be best for us long before we do; but no purpose is served in His assigning a companion for us, when we don’t make that choice for ourselves. We’re the ones who have to come into covenant with our companion for the rest of our lives, so it makes perfect sense that God would leave the determination of suitability to us.
It was only after Adam found that nothing in creation was suitable that God fashioned Eve. But notice something important at the end of verse 22. As God did with all the animals He’d created, so He did with Eve. Rather than assigning her to Adam, telling him, “This is your suitable companion,” He brought (presented) her to him, allowing Adam to give the okay. And so it happened. In the next verse (23), it was Adam, not God, who gave approval, saying, in effect, “Now this is someone I can become one with!”
Notice one final point in the text. On multiple occasions, the text demonstrated that it was God’s intention to provide Adam with a companion that was suitable for him (for Adam). This is born out in verses 18 and 20. The companion was not to be suitable for mankind, but for one man–Adam. Traditionalists would like to require that what was suitable for Adam is suitable for all men; but this absolutely violates what Scripture teaches. Not only do we find in this particular passage that Adam determined suitability for himself; but a necessary consequence of traditionalist logic would be to conclude that as it was not good for Adam to be alone, so it’s not good for any man to be alone. Because what’s good for the goose (Adam) is good for the gander (all men), singlehood is not appropriate for anyone, since it was not good for Adam! This line of reasoning indicts many heroes of our faith as people who violated God’s supposed intentions, including the prophets Elijah and Elijah, but also the apostles John and Paul, and, dare I say, even our Lord, Jesus! None of these men married; yet by traditionalist logic, they were supposed to based solely on the fact that Adam did.
Traditionalists would obviously try to wiggle out of the consequences of their (ill)logic by claiming that the Adam model only applies as a spiritual law to those who decide to get married, and only in relation to whom they marry. But this just isn’t true. Their logic requires us to conclude that what happened in relation to Adam’s sexuality is a requirement in relation to all of humanity’s. If it was not good for him to be alone, it must not be good for any of us to be.
Now, although their logic has already failed on this point, let’s assume that it did not. Problems still exist with the traditionalist line of reasoning. Adam’s model was one man with one woman, as conservatives incessantly spout today. Yet, in Scripture, polygamy (or more specifically, polygyny–one man with many women) was not only allowed and facilitated, but God even established certain polygynous unions (2Samuel 12:7-8), violating this presumptive principle. So, either God violates His own word, or this law of the Adam-Eve marital paradigm (one man, one woman) exists only in the minds of people who refuse to study Scripture objectively, allowing it to speak for itself.
So, what do we learn from the creation narrative, a passage of Scripture presumed to hold a smoking gun against same-sex marriage? We find that:
- Adam determined suitability, not God.
- What he determined as suitable was only suitable for him.
Marriage (and sex) was intended to satisfy the human need for intimate companionship. Now, in order for this purpose of marriage to be fulfilled, those involved in it must necessarily be suitable to the individuals; else, it’s a marriage of form, with no real godly purpose. This absolutely necessitates same-sex marriage for homosexuals, else those with a natural inclination only to the same-sex are caught in an unresolvable “not good” situation: needing of companionship, yet unable to have it in a suitable way (suitable as determined by the biblical testimony, meaning suitable for the individual).
The best solution traditionalists can come up with is lifelong celibacy; however, according to 1Corinthians 7:9, that’s not an option, either. In fact, verse 7 of that same chapter explicitly says that celibacy is a gift, meaning that not everyone has it. For gay people not gifted with celibacy, the biblical remedy pronounced in Gen. 2, as well as 1Co. 7:9 is sex through marriage. But this requires a suitable companion: Eve for Adam in the case of heterosexuals, but Steve for Adam, and Jane for Eve in the case of homosexuals. There is no other solution.