Sunday, January 29, 2006

Creation of Woman

We have talked about how Original Solitude prepares us for that ultimate communion relationship, both with the other sex, and most importantly with God. This solitude prepares us, as we get to know who we are through our experiences with the rest of the world.

However, as Christopher West puts it so perfectly, "Man is not fully human - his creation is not complete - until he emerges in his 'double unity' as male and female."

Man, as a whole, is not complete unless he has someone to share the experience of being human. This goes back to the idea of the "two in one flessh" principle. Humanity, man, is incomplete unless he has someone to share in that union of humanity with.

Here enters woman.

Man seeks to experience that total oneness of being human, but knows it is not possible without someone to share that with. Man needs a helper in order to be fully himself. Adam needs someone to share in his work, so that with the total completeness expressed by the utter distintiveness and equality of both sexes, man in his completeness is able to fully do the work that needs to be done.

In order to understand this creation of woman, let us first and foremost take a brief look at the idea of Adam's "deep sleep". This speaks, again, to that deep and personal experience that Adam has, and this experience expresses and divine and objective truth.

It is not a state of dreams, of sub-consciousness, but is rather a passing from conscious to un-consciousness. This sleep a "return to non-being" according to JP II. What does that mean? He is stating that Adam is not taking part in the activity of the creation of the woman. As we have stated, in order to be, one must have activity that is conscious, for it is that activity that brings about our personhood in a very real way. Man falls into sleep in order to awaken to find man in his completeness through the union of male and female in a unitive and loving communion. Man is fully realized when Adam awakes from his deep sleep to see Eve standing in front of him, Adam and Eve see in each other, through their experience of each other in their bodies the completeness of man.

The rib is a bone, and it is the bone that represents a person's very intimate and personal self. It is the stuff that they're made of. It can be likened to how people view the heart nowadays, it is the center of what makes us human. By creating Eve out of Adam's rib, the Bible is showing us the sharing of humanity that men and woman have. The rib thus indicates that they are equal in the eyes of God, and that they share that dignity which each and every human person shares.

Masculinity and femininity, thus, express in two different yet equal ways that solitude before God. In a more real way, that solitude of man is still very real after the creation of woman, in that man as a whole is still the only creature who is self-willed. It is the masculinity and femininity that complete what it means to be human, and what it means to be male and female. They complete each other in that loving communion that they share. They are very different, and yet, this difference is completely complementary. God creates Eve as a helper for Adam. Adam does not need another man to be his helper, but a woman, Eve, so that through such difference which is apparent to the other through the body, this perfect harmony is created in which these differences are completely complimentary. It is sin that will create tension between the differences.

The bone, too, expresses for the Jews the human being. So when Adam exclaims "Bone of my bone", he really means "being of my being", someone who he sees as another person, and he recognizes it immediately. Notice, too, that Adam does not name woman, but it is a title given to her from God. This declares her total unique dignity as a human person.

Now that woman is created, the idea of Original Solitude reaches that new meaning as I discussed earlier in this post. Original Solitude is completed through Original Unity. Man is completed through the communion of male and female in a very unique and profound way, and it is through this communion that man fully realizes his utter uniqueness in the world as a being who has a self, who has the will to choose or deny love, and has the will to fulfill the meaning of his very person through the total love between him and another. Man is fulfilled in communion, and his uniqueness is at its peak, because it is only through this willing and loving communion that man can come to realize for himself his true uniqueness in the most intimate way through the one flesh union.



Anonymous said...

I'm confused about two things here. 1) does that mean that woman exists to complete man and not as her own complete person?

2) what about the other account of the creation of woman, where she's not made from a rib?

KA said...

Another question-- so a priest, or a determined single person, is incomplete?= because neither matches with a human helpmate?

Harrison said...

When I'm using Man in the bold (which I should have in all the right contexts, I might have missed one) I am refering to all of humanity, so man is completed only with woman, for male and female perfectly complement and complete each other.

A single person or a priest is not incomplete. I said that man and woman complete each other with regards to the human person. They each find their total fulfillment within each other. Those who are priests or celibate single people can still have very profound and deep, yet chaste, relationships with people of the opposite sex. They however, have a different calling, in which their calling completes the call. They are a special sign to the world, they represent that end in which we will all share, the reality of Heaven where no one is married, but everyone is in a perfect loving communion. I hope to have answered your questions, if not, please let me know, I can go more in depth and will be touching on the celibate life later on.

Harrison said...

I forgot, about the other creation of woman.

I explained it in earlier posts (you can find them in the Theology section) about the two accounts of creation. The first one, the Elohist text, refers to the objective truths about the human person, those truths which are expressable to us from God and such. The Yahwist account, the second account, is the subjective account, seen from the experiences of Adam and Eve, Original Man. This account looks at the experience of each in a specific and personal way, in a sense, it is a further development of that original truth expressed in the Elohist account.


Anonymous said...

You said that Adam didn't give Woman here title, but that isn't true:

I both agree and disagree with what you have posted.

I believe that man is the head of woman as that is the authority God gave him as the "firstborn."

I believe men and women have individual equality and worth as image bearers of God, but God designed us to have relationship with each other as he has relationship with the other parts of the trinity.

I don't see the Hebrew emphesis on bones that you are talking about. The bible does talk about how the blood is the life. There is nothing about bones that are unique to humans - what makes us uniquely human is that God fashioned us with his hands and breathed his breathe into us, where as the rest of creation he spoke into being. Active vs passive creation.


Harrison said...

First, if you look in Chapter 1 of the Elohist account of creation it is God who gives them the title, thus it is God who actually gives the title first, Adam affirms this later in the Yahwist account of Chapter 2.

What do you exactly mean by head? And what is it refering to from my post?

I totally concur with your second statement, I don't think I presented it elsewise in my post.

The emphasis on the bone as that which represents the human person is a very old Jewish traditon. For the Jewish people, the bone represents the human person, so the verse "bone of my bone" can very well mean "being of my being." This is something inharent in Jewish tradition which Christianity comes out of, thus making it a valid way of interpreting the text.