I’m reading First Comes Love by Scott Hahn and was stopped in my tracks by this passage on pages 5-8 that suggests the radical idea that something was less than perfect in Paradise. It’s not that this is a totally new idea for me, that Adam was lonely, but the way Hahn frames the story really makes it pop. Here’s enough excerpt to give you the basic idea:
Thus Adam lived in a world custom-made for his pleasure, a world without sin, suffering, disease— a world where work was always rewarding, a world that, Genesis tells us, was unstintingly good.
Yet God Himself looked upon this situation and, for the first time in the Scriptures, pronounced that something was “not good.” He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.”
What a remarkable statement! Remember, this took place before the Fall of humankind, before sin and disorder could enter creation. Adam lived in an earthly paradise as a child of God, made in God’s own image. Yet something was “not good.” Something was incomplete. The man was lonely.”
Something was “not good.” Why did I never notice before how that flies in the face of what we usually think of as Paradise: everything was perfect until sin messed it up. But in fact everything wasn’t perfect until God finished the work of creation, until he made Eve.
. . . Even as the “image of God,” he was only complete when the woman, Eve, joined him in life. The man and his wife became “one flesh.” “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
. . . Nor would Adam’s good company be limited to the perfect match, the “helper fit for him.” For God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’”
“The image of God was made complete with the creation of the family. Only then was Eden truly paradise.”
This idea, that it is possible that there could be a lack in paradise that is not the result of sin but the result in an incomplete image of God…. The family, not the man or the woman, but their union, the family is the image of God. Something to ponder.