Woman was created sequentially after man, but for what purpose? Going back to the beginning of creation, we see God created various features of the earth in stages. After each stage, He stated it was good, with the exception of man. After creating man, we see God was not entirely pleased as He looked on him in his state of solitude, even surrounded by animals, and said it was not good. Man, in his loneliness, needed someone “suitable” (NIV) or “comparable” (NKJV) to him (Genesis 2:18). So, God created a comparable human, woman, to be what the original Hebrew writing called ezer kenegdo. Ezer means “to give aid” and kenegdo means “corresponding to him” or “opposite him.” This term is literally translated to mean “to give aid for him.”
We see woman was created afterward to be something for the man that he was lacking – aid. Let’s dig further to gain insight into exactly what woman was created to be for man. The Hebrew word ezer, “to give aid,” is used in the Bible 21 times and 16 of those times, the word ezer was used to reference God as the ezer, or rescuer, when the people desperately needed Him to come through for them (Deuteronomy 33:7, Psalm 70:5, Psalm 121:1-2). Never was it used to describe a subservient position. Although woman was created second, she was not created second-rate! Also, the word ezer was often used to describe military aid during battle - vitally important, powerful acts of rescue and support. She was to be a warrior for him.
Kenegdo means “corresponding to him” or “opposite to him.” I like the analogy Mikella Van Dyke from chasingsacred.com uses to give us a visual of what “opposite to him” looks like. She compares woman and man to the two wings of a bird. They are similar to one another and correspond to one another - one on the left, the other on the right. When both wings are used together in tandem, they accomplish one mighty purpose.
This is what life together was like before the fall in the Garden of Eden when all was well and perfect in the world. Man and woman were managing God’s creation together (Genesis 1:27-28). Imagine what it would be like if both you and your spouse were managing your lives – family, careers and all decisions - together. Both of you flapping your wings in harmony to move your team forward. I know it's not possible to always be on the same page and in 100% agreement with one another. When both wings are flapping, but in different directions, chaos can ensue. For these cases, God set up a plan to maintain peace within the marriage. For further reading on this, see our article, The "S" Word - Submission - Marriage in Abundance.
This teamwork was God’s original design. Now, we know man and woman, together ruined God’s plan and brought calamity to our perfect world. We now have a woman who longs for her husband and her husband rules over her - again, not the original plan (Genesis 3:16). The two are at odds with one another. Woman longs for equality with man – to have her opinions considered, to make as much money as a man for the same job, to make decisions for herself and to not be overpowered by man. This type of overpowering was a part of the fall and is sinful. This was not God’s intent. Unfortunately, this is still the case in many parts of the world and even in some cultures of America. However, God’s original intent was for man and woman to run the show together.
How do we get back to the original intent of the relationship between man and woman? Men are not to “rule over” women, nor are women to disrespect men. Remember, man alone was lacking something and that missing piece, for sure, was not belittling and deflation. A wife is “aid” to her husband. This means she is supporting him and cheering on his success. She is a safe place for him to find peace with her gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:1-4). She is to build him up and breathe life into him with encouragement and respect for him. And he is to cherish her and sacrifice for her. Man and woman with mutual respect for one another are the wings flapping in tandem to propel their team forward.