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It is not good that the man should be alone (Genesis chap. 2, verse 18)

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Here we come to the most solemn moment of the second account of creation. The verse contains what God said to himself. We could also say that this verse contains God’s thought about man, about his existential condition: man was “alone”.

God says that “it is not good to be alone” When he said that the works of creation were “good” (cf. Gen chap. 1), God meant that they corresponded perfectly to his will. Here God says the opposite: to be alone corresponds in no way to his will.

However, the phrase “to be alone” isn’t a good translation of the corresponding hebrew word. If you want to understand what the hebrew word means, you have to imagine a castle with high walls that do not allow in any way to see the nice buildings and gardens that are inside. This imagine explains better than words what the words “to be alone” mean. It is not the solitude. In fact, solitude can have a positive meaning, because it can describe the condition of people entirely devoted to an higher ideal.

Solitude is not isolation. Isolation is the condition of those are not able to give voice of what is in their heart. They aren’t able to give voice to their inner wealth, their true identity. They don’t want in any way to share with other people what they really are.

When, then, it is said: “I will make him an help meet for him”, it means something that corresponds to the profound nature of man. Something or rather someone who will allow man to come out of himself, communicating with a human being able to understand him. “Help” to say that men need someone  useful to them. Someone that allows man to break the wall of his splendid isolation. Who will be able to do it?

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Simone Venturini

Writer and Researcher at Vatican Secret Archives, Professor of Bible at Pontifical University of the Holy Cross od Rome

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