What does it mean that it is not good for a man to be alone (Genesis 2:18)?

not good for a man to be alone
Question: "What does it mean that it is not good for a man to be alone (Genesis 2:18)?"

Answer:
It was beautiful! Angels stood in breathless wonder at the universe God had created, complete with moons and galaxies and a planet called Earth. Earth had been “formless and void” (Genesis 1:2), but now it exploded with life: green plants, living creatures, swelling oceans, and, as a final touch of brilliance, the Creator formed a man He called Adam. Creation was perfect in every way but one. The man was alone; it was the only thing God said was “not good” (Genesis 2:18). Not physically alone, as he had animals and even communion with his Creator. But God knew that was not enough. The man needed someone like him, someone on the same level who saw, experienced, and learned the same way he did. So, God created the perfect match for the man. He created the woman (verse 22).

It is interesting that, before God created the woman, He first brought to Adam all the living creatures He had made. He gave Adam the job of naming them, so Adam had productive work and life purpose (Genesis 2:19–20). But through the process of naming all the animals, it became obvious to Adam that there was nothing comparable to him. It is worth mentioning that primates were a part of that naming process, and Adam did not find a suitable partner from among what some call “our closest relatives.” Clearly, from the beginning there was a clear distinction between humankind and the animal kingdom.

Some may wonder why Adam felt alone when He had God as a companion. The word translated “alone” can also mean “separate” or “segregated.” Adam was in a category all by himself, and God knew that this was not good. The animals had been created “male and female.” They each had a partner. Male and female were designed to complement each other. Male and female pairs of the same species experience life in the same ways and benefit the world through unique giftings. The instincts of each gender are different, and they were designed to work together to propagate the species (Genesis 1:22).

The same is true for men and women, and that is why God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Our bodies were designed to complement each other in the reproductive process, and each gender’s psychological and emotional differences enhance the strengths of the other. Despite current opinions, men and women are uniquely designed all the way down to their DNA. We are not interchangeable, and gender is not dependent upon our mood or feelings. Men need the insights and softer approach of women, and women need the strength and rationale of men.

When God stated that it was “not good” for Adam to be alone, He already had a plan in mind. He did not create another man for companionship. Same-sex friendships are important and meet certain emotional needs, but when God put two humans together for the ultimate intimacy, He created two distinct genders. The instinct to find a mate is inherent in most people. Sexuality plays a role but is not the whole picture. The loneliness that singles often feel cannot be assuaged by amassing same-sex friends. It is the kind of loneliness that Adam felt before God created Eve.

While it is good to remain single if that is the plan of God for one’s life, most people cannot do so while remaining sexually pure. The apostle Paul was not married and seemed to believe that was a superior way of life (1 Corinthians 7:7, 28, 38). He may have been married at one time and lost his wife through death, but we cannot be sure. At any rate, he found his total dedication to the ministry so fulfilling and all-consuming that he did not need to be married. However, most people feel the same need that Adam felt, and it is not good for them to be alone.

When considering how to fill that loneliness, we usually begin with dating. It is vitally important that we learn and practice wisdom in choosing a boyfriend or girlfriend because that person may end up as a spouse. As bad as it feels to be alone, it is far worse to be trapped in a terrible marriage. The kind of intimacy that God desires for us is the kind that Adam and Eve had when God brought them together. This union was one man and one woman for life (Mark 10:7–9).

So, when God said that it was not good for man to be alone, He meant that Adam could not reach his full potential by himself. He needed a wife before he could become a father. He needed someone like himself for companionship and intimacy. He needed another perspective as he journeyed through life because no one can see everything all the time. Marriage was God’s solution for the aloneness that Adam felt, and it is still His solution so that we don’t have to do life alone.

Recommended Resource: Genesis - NIV Application Commentary by John Walton

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