Genesis 2:18 – It is not good for man to be alone.
In Genesis, we are introduced to a God who creates all things. In chapter two, this God creates the first human, a dude named Adam, from the dust. This God breathes the breath of life in Adam. And this God watches pleasantly as Adam begins a very fulfilling job as an environmental scientist and farmer. But the text says that God looked upon Adam in worry and concern because Adam was alone a lot. In an effort to find Adam a companion, God made a whole bunch of creatures but the text states that no suitable partner was found (Gen. 2:20). Adam couldn’t find a suitable mate. So God put Adam to sleep and created Eve from his rib. And Adam was immediately smitten with her.
And that was that.
His lonely days as a single person were over.
He goes on with a normal life. Just like any typical person, he makes some poor choices but recovers from them. He experiences the joy of having children, the grief of losing a loved one when he buries his son Abel. He leads a generally fulfilling life and his legacy includes the whole human race and, most importantly, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Kudos for him.
He was single for all of what? 12 verses?
I am not sure how long that worked out in actual years but I suspect not long given how fast the plot picks up after he meets Eve.
And that’s exactly the problem with looking to the Bible for advice of navigating singleness. While this story of Adam and Eve is truly beautiful and we cherish it as a community of faith, it is definitely hard to relate to. And in general, the question of singleness in the Bible is a non-question. Generally speaking, mates, partners, companions are just there, finding each other is just the backstory. Adam meeting Eve is the prologue. The real story is inviting sin into the world by eating the forbidden fruit. Abraham meeting Sarah is the back story. The real story is how they produced an heir despite Sarah’s barreness Mary being betrothed to Joseph was the backstory. The real story was that God told her that despite her virginity, she would conceive through the power of the Holy Spirit (I really hope that was the best or most “divine” orgasm ever by the way).
The reality is that there aren’t a lot of single people walking around in the Bible. I mean there are. Some of the prophets were single. Ruth was single (look out for my reflection on how she navigated her singleness). Hell, Jesus was single. No, fuck Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and whatever nonsense the History Channel is saying these days. Jesus was single. There are tons of single people in the Bible but their singleness was not a major aspect of their lives, or at least the Biblical writers didn’t feel it significant enough to reflect upon.
But presently, the reality for so many of God’s people is the same problem Adam had, a suitable mate has not been found.
Don’t get me wrong, people find mates. People couple up. People get married. People have children. People mate.
But the decline in marriage suggests
But the rise in the divorce rate suggests
The shockingly high numbers of survivors of domestic/ intimate/ relationship violence and abuse suggests
That we have a “suitable mate” problem as a community of faith.
And Genesis 2 tells us that this is a problem that God is deeply concerned about. This is a problem that God feels very compelled to fix. I mean think about it. God didn’t say to Adam
“I see you’re single. Maybe you should use these 12 verses to work on yourself.”
“Adam, have you ever tried online dating?”
“Here’s a book on the 12 steps to navigating the single life and landing the bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh of your dreams.”
No, God had to get actively involved. God had to cut some things open. Rearrange some things. God had to re-create to make this first relationship happen.
And that’s the reality of it all.
Finding a suitable mate is one of the few things that we cannot create for ourselves, give to ourselves, or do for ourselves. God has to do it. And that may be 12 verses or 12 years but it is God’s job to provide a suitable mate.
This reality makes me think that perhaps being single is the first act of faith.
Single people must believe that this God that we worship is just as concerned about us as God was about Adam. This God is still crying out, “it is not good for humans to be alone.” Single people must allow this God to get actively involved. To cut some things open. To rearrange and recreate to make suitable relationships happen.
That means that the answer to singleness is that we have to do the uncomfortable,
We have to do nothing.
We have to actually to do the command that we are given again and again in the Bible:
We have to actually… you know… like… Wait on the Lord.