God took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
This is a wonderful marvelous thing, the fact that God created Eve out of Adam’s rib and not from the dust of the earth. There is a deep truth in His action and it has great spiritual significance.
It is interesting that God chose a rib bone and not a leg bone or a bone from Adam’s arm. So, why a rib?
What is the purpose of the ribs to the human body? The main purpose of the rib cage is protection. It encloses the heart and protects the lungs. The human rib cage surrounds the chest and heart cavity and is the core portion of the human body. The human rib cage is a component of the human respiratory system. Breathing is made possible as the lungs expand and the diaphragm has elastic recoil of the rib cage and lungs expel the air.
By choosing a rib God shows us that in woman we have the gift of love that protects our heart. The heart would not be able to supply blood to the body without the support and protection of the ribs. It is in a wife we have the covering and protection that is the life-blood of every home. She is the center of every family, she gives life, love and protection to her husband and children. She nourishes both emotionally and physically as God has gifted her with the ability to nourish her children at birth. She provides the protection of the heart of her family, hence the phrase, “ a mother’s love”. The wife and mother is the bank where husband and children alike deposit all their hurts and worries.
As the ribs enable the body to breathe and have life, the woman breathes life into her marriage and family. It is the woman that kisses away the pain of her children and her husband and breathes on the wounds and hurts to make the pain go away. She is breath of life to every home. Her husband is captured by her love as they become one. A husband is moved by the love of his wife as her strength in love captures and guards his heart, breathes life into their marriage, and is the center and core of that love. There is no other bone in the human body that compares to the ribs. The rib cage is the very core of the human body, and I believe that God chose Adam’s rib to symbolize the importance of the female to every marriage.
At the beginning the Creator made them male and female. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’.
The meaning here is that they should be considered as one body, as two souls in one, spirits entwined—with a complete union of interests, an indissoluble partnership of life and fortune, comfort and support, desires and inclinations, joys and sorrows. It is a mistake to consider husband and wife two separate beings. They are no more than two halves of a single form, two converse hemispheres that fit tightly together to make one. They are life and love encapsulated in flesh and blood in holy union.
We can see from the writings of Paul a really clear and profound explanation of this in his epistle to the Ephesians in Chapter 5.
The twenty-eighth verse in Paul’s epistle says,
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of His body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”. (Ephesians 5:28-31)
Going back here to the twenty-eighth verse, we see that a woman is a part of man, for God made man male and female. And the woman was taken out of his side. So then, she is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone. So Adam loved Eve because he loved himself and the two were one flesh. And so the apostle in these verses refers all the way back to Creation and this original state of Adam and Eve. This is a natural reason why he should love his wife, and nourish and cherish her because the twenty-ninth verse says, “no man ever yet hateth his own flesh”.
Even as a man and woman are one flesh and members of each other’s body, we are members of the body of Christ. What the thirtieth verse is really saying is “We are members of His body and of His flesh and of His bone.” We inherited the sinful nature of Adam, but we reconciled to God in a state of grace through Jesus Christ. He becomes the head of the church, and the savior of the body of the church. We who have been born again are united with Christ as one, even as Adam and Eve were one. We are united to Him in the closest way possible. Paul compares that. He finds that similar to that relationship which Adam and Eve had.
Now verse thirty-one says, “shall be joined unto his wife.” This word, joined, is an interesting word. It really means glued or cemented to her. So he should be cemented to his wife. So the Lord meant that only death should part the husband and wife, and nothing but death should dissolve their affection for one another. And so God meant for this to be a wonderful, pure, and permanent holy union.
We as men of God should be thankful for the gift that God gave to us in a wife. We should understand the importance of this gift as her love is the core of our lives, and gives us the power to breathe in her love as she loves, covers, and protects our hearts. Likewise, a husband and wife joined together by God’s creation from a rib should together find support from Christ as they are joined as one flesh into His body, redeemed by His sacrifice, and reconciled to God by His blood poured out at Calvary.
There is no greater love that Christ showed at Calvary, submitting His own life that we in turn might live. It is that submission in love that husbands are to show to their wives. His sacrifice allows us to fully understand the spiritual significance of the union of the man and woman as one flesh from a rib—to the greatest union—as we are one with Christ Jesus, as is a husband and wife. We are members of His body, and of His flesh, and of His bone.