What Do the First Three Chapters of Genesis Really Mean? — Chapter 2, the Creation of Eve
This is the ninth article in a series, following on from an introduction. It will only make sense if you are familiar with at least some of what has preceded, the most relevant being part 5, part 7, and part 8. (For links to the whole series, please see this list.)
Following on from the discussion of the gradual process of the creation of Adam, I’ll now move on to Eve. Here is the relevant passage in NRSV (Genesis 2, v18 and 21–23): “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner’… 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 its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’ this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken’ ”.
Readers who have been following the series so far will not be surprised that, in the claimed original Hebrew, this passage does not refer to anything in the physical realm. We are still dealing with the formation of beings at a higher level. There is unsurprisingly no mention of the word ‘rib’.
For the same passage Best (B), following d’Olivet (OE), has: “And IHOAH said, It is not good that Adam-Man should be alone in his solitude; I will make him an auxiliary force, a companion and counsel, emanating from himself, and formed in the reflection of his own light… And IHOAH caused a profound and mysterious slumber to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and He released from his composite form one of its involutions — vehicles of higher consciousness, and shaped with corporeal beauty its original weakness. And IHOAH restored to its former state this covering, the involved vehicle of consciousness which He had released from the composite substance of Adam, for shaping the form of Aishah — creative and volitive faculty and companion of the intellect; and He brought her unto Adam. And Adam said, this is actually the universal substance of my substance, and corporeal form of my corporeal form; this one he called Aishah — faculty of volition and feminine companion, for out of Aish — intellectual man, she had been taken in substance”.
In his esoteric interpretation (BEI) Best comments: “In this great task of progress man must be aided by ‘Aishah’ which means ‘Whom GOD lends’ for the completion of Man; it does not imply his ‘wife’ but the higher self and human soul”. “It clearly refers to a new faculty that was being evolved as an aspect of the Divine Light residing within man, that is the soul. In his primitive state man was lonely because he was unaware of his higher self, which is his best companion. Of greater significance is that the soul, as ‘psyche’, is feminine, but not a woman”.
Readers outside the United Kingdom may not be aware of a now defunct British feminist magazine called Spare Rib. The title was an indignant response to the verse in Genesis which suggested that a woman was nothing more than a spare part of a man’s body. If only those responsible had been aware of the true meaning of Genesis, they might not have been so indignant and chosen a different title.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, psychology, science, Christianity, politics and astrology. All of those articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click here and here). My most recent articles, however, are only on Medium; for those please check out my lists.