John Piper answers why Eve was created from Adam’s rib

John Piper
John Piper speaks at the Cross for the Nations Conference on Dec. 29, 2020. |

John Piper, the founder of the popular theology website and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minnesota, provided his thoughts on why God created Eve from Adam’s rib.

In an episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast posted Monday, an unnamed female listener asked the 76-year-old theologian about the Genesis account on the creation of Eve.

“I was just wondering why God chose to do surgery on Adam to remove one of his ribs to craft Eve when, as God, he could have just made Eve entirely from dust in the same way he made Adam,” inquired the listener.

“I am very intrigued by this fact in Genesis and wonder if you have any thoughts to explain why it was done this way, and if it carries a particular meaning that He did it this way.”

Piper responded by saying the fact Eve was made from Adam’s rib and not “from the ground” is “not an incidental part of the text.” Instead, Piper contends, that fact contrasts Eve from the animals God created earlier.

“Why did God parade the animals before Adam in search of a helper fit for him since God knew he wouldn’t find one? And my answer is that He did it precisely because He knew [Adam] wouldn’t find one,” Piper explained.

“She is the suitable helper. She fits, she corresponds. She is not an animal. She’s my unique kind. She’s human like me. She’s one flesh with me. Therefore, this concept of helper is not impersonal like an animal, like oxen can be helpers to farmers. She’s different.”

Piper, who served as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church for over 33 years until 2013, added that Adam and Eve were “each other’s perfect, God-designed complement.”

“Together they are good,” he said. “Now it’s good — creation is good — that man and woman are now both created in the image of God, of the same human nature, ‘bone of my bones,’ ‘flesh of my flesh,’ and he could have said a lot more, I think.”

Piper said that Adam was said to be “alone” and “that’s not good.” 

“So, the text is designed to tell us how God makes His creation finally good — namely, with Adam not being alone,” he said. 

Piper spoke about how this teaching applies to the complementarian model of marriage.

Piper quoted Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

“The marriage union takes the unity of male and female to its deepest physical, psychological, personal level, and that becomes a picture — a drama, the New Testament says — of Christ and the Church,” he continued.

“I would say God’s aim in not making the woman from the ground, like the animals, but from Adam’s rib, his side, was to make clear to him and to us that she is radically, gloriously, profoundly human, like Adam, over against all the animals, who were utterly unsuited for man.”

The apologetics website also tackled the question.

“God used Adam’s rib to form Eve,” the website states, to “show that Adam and Eve were of the same substance; she was made from the same ‘stuff’ and was a bearer of God’s image and likeness, just as Adam was.”

“Interestingly, ribs have amazing regenerative powers. Portions of rib bone and cartilage removed in bone graft surgery will regrow in a few months’ time, as long as the rib perichondrium is left intact,” concluded.

“This means that Adam’s loss of a rib was only temporary; he did not have to go through the rest of his life with an incomplete skeletal system.”

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