Genesis 2:18-20

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← Overview of Genesis ch.2

KJV

18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

RSV

18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.  (RSV)

NRSV

18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man[a] there was not found a helper as his partner.

[a] Or for Adam
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

REB

18 Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I shall make a partner suited to him.’ 19 So from the earth he formed all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature, that would be its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every wild animal; but for the man himself no suitable partner was found.

NET Bible

18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him.” 19 The LORD God formed[a] out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field, but for Adam no companion who corresponded to him was found.

NET Bible Notes: [a] tn Or "fashioned." To harmonize the order of events with the chronology of chapter one, some translate the prefixed verb form with vav (ו) consecutive as a past perfect ("had formed," cf. NIV) here. (In chapter one the creation of the animals preceded the creation of man; here the animals are created after the man.) However, it is unlikely that the Hebrew construction can be translated in this way in the middle of this pericope, for the criteria for unmarked temporal overlay are not present here. See S. R. Driver, A Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew, 84-88, and especially R. Buth, "Methodological Collision between Source Criticism and Discourse Analysis," Biblical Hebrew and Discourse Linguistics, 138-54. For a contrary viewpoint see IBHS 552-53 §33.2.3 and C. J. Collins, "The Wayyiqtol as 'Pluperfect': When and Why," TynBul 46 (1995): 117-40.

NIV

18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam[a] no suitable helper was found.

[a] Or the man (NIV)

ESV

18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[a] him.” 19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed[b] every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam[c] there was not found a helper fit for him.

[a] Or corresponding to; also verse 20
[b] Or And out of the ground the Lord God formed
[c] Or the man

A deduction from verse 18

Colin takes God's words “It is not good that the man should be alone . . . “ as an indication that "TE" are wrong to assume that "there were others around when Adam was created (evolved?), and from which Cain & Seth found wives."

A deduction from verse 19

According to brother Alan Fowler v. 19 is one of "three passages in Genesis 2 and 3 which support the view that the account is non-literal" — see Problems with Literal Readings of Genesis 2:4-3:24

Sequence of Events

In Genesis ch. 2, the sequence of events is:

  1. God makes the man
  2. God makes the garden
  3. God takes the man, puts him in the garden, and gives him instructions
  4. God decides to make the man a suitable helper
  5. God makes the animals and birds, and brings them to the man
  6. The man names the animals and birds, but none is a suitable helper
  7. So God makes a woman from the man's side

whereas in Genesis ch. 1 the sequence is

  1. On the 5th day, God makes fish and birds
  2. On the 6th day, God makes animals
  3. Also on the 6th day, God makes man and gives them dominion over the earth

Concordist (mis)translation

Fundamentalist translations change this order of events to conform to Genesis ch. 1, where the sequence is:

  1. God makes the animals
  2. God makes humankind, male and female

This change is effected primarily by using a pluperfect verb: God "had formed" the animals, which makes nonsense of God's decision "I will make him a helper . . . " in the previous verse. Compare a similar mistranslation in Genesis 3:20.
See Comparing the two accounts of the Creation in Genesis
See NET Bible notes above, and discussion in bro Rick Brower's The Enigma of Creation, p. 106 cited here with additional discussion and a table comparing the two accounts of early Genesis.

See Christadelphians Origins Discussion for controversy arising from their criticism of the way this passage of Genesis was treated in IEAC's Reaffirmation Statement Concerning Creation and the Fall of Man and a response by brother Rob Thiele in Lampstand Magazine.

This mistranslation of Genesis was referenced here (5.3.4) in our responses to the AACE discussion questions.