BY: MICHAEL BERGLUND
I am a SUITABLE HELPER for my wife... and, yes, I am a man.
When reading Genesis 2:18, it says:
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (NIV)
(I didn't put the KJV translation here because that verse calls Eve a "help meet" and I don't even know what that means, so...) Many modern day teachers try to tell us that what God meant by that is that Man (Adam) couldn't do what God was calling him to do on his own, so he gave him an assistant, an intern, a staff member, a secretary, a sounding board… an Eve. The ultimate job of steering the ship, making the tough decisions and following God were up to the man, but because there was so much other work necessary (and there would be sexual urges that needed to be met... we'll discuss this in another article), God granted man a woman (a wife) to help.
If that's true, how on Earth can I be an ezer kenegdo? That's a female or wifely role, right?
Nope. That "helper" word in Hebrew is "ezer” and the part translated as “suitable” is the Hebrew word “kenegdo".The term, ezer, is used 20 times in the Old Testament. Two times it is used to describe Eve. Sixteen times it is used to describe God when a savior or protector is needed against an enemy (see Ex 18:4, Deu 33:7, Deu 33:29, as examples). It always is used referring to a strong, rescuing, saving, alliance type of help.
Therefore, I find it an annoying and flawed use of Scripture when pastors or others use “ezer” to try to prove that I, as the husband, somehow hold more authority or ranking in the marriage than my wife. If anything, based on the examples given to us in the rest of the Bible, the opposite would be true and my wife would be the one holding more authority. She would be the one called to protect and save and rescue me!
But that would be missing the point of this scripture passage as well. The point here is that it was not good for man to be alone and so another human was made who was just like him, equal and similar to Adam, and unlike all the other animals he just named. Together these two would reflect God’s image, the plurality of more than one becoming one. There was no hierarchy and no set of separate instructions (see Genesis 1:27-28 where it clearly states that both male and female were made in God’s image and both were given the exact same mandate.)
To persist in using this wrong transltion of “helper” as a tool to keep women and wives lower on a false hierarchal scale is lazy and legalistic. My wife is an ezer for me but I also am an ezer for her. I'm a helper suitable for my wife. I'm also a helper suitable for the Church Body. All my personality tests, all my ministry gifting tests, and all my conversations with God confirm that my goal in life is to: Help People
As a doctor, I am really just interested in helping people overcome their conditions so they can live the life they are called to live. As a father, I just want to help my young adult children become the adults God is calling them to be. As a husband, I want to encourage and support my wife to accomplish the dreams and goals that God has placed before her. Everywhere I go, my satisfaction rests in how well I take a difficult/dysfunctional situation and help to rectify it. To HELP PEOPLE.
You may find that you have other core motivating principles in your life. I am not trying to make my calling, yours. But what I wanted to affirm by writing this is the point that God decided that two people in the garden were better than one, and that we all need help.
God is three persons in One. We are made in the image of God. Part of that image is that we are many and yet, in Christ, we are called to be one. Once we understand that we all need many ezers in our life, and we are called to help others and to be helped by others, we can really embrace what God is doing in our lives and see ourselves as His tools... His workmanship... His masterpieces... that outwork their function through the
communion of saints acting as one.
Dr. Michael Berglund resides in Mt.Pleasant, Wisconsin with his wife of 26 years. He owns and runs Berglund Health and Wellness Center and is a contributing writer to Egal Mag and other publications.