It is Not Good for Man to Be Alone
Text: Genesis 2:18-25
Proper 22, B
18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
According to a study conducted in Sweden, lonely people seem more likely to die of heart disease than do the socially active. The study in question allowed for medical and lifestyle risk factors like age and smoking, physical inactivity, and signs of pre-existing conditions – and still found that the subjects with few social contacts had a 40 percent greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than the rest did. “Loneliness” said Newsweek magazine in reporting a similar study, “can speed your demise no matter how conscientiously you care for your body.” One study of elderly heart-attack patients found that those with two or more close associates enjoyed twice the one-year survival rate of those who were completely alone.
From Health Canada statistics covering March 2020 to April 2021, during the period of repeated closures, isolation, and lockdowns we have seen here in Canada four times as many excess deaths attributed to the effects of loneliness than to the virus itself in people under the age of 65. It is not good to be alone, even in times of pandemic!
We also know that even in normal times married men live longer than single men. This has been well established. You could chalk it up to healthier eating, or living in a cleaner environment, or having a second opinion on all the risky and foolish ideas men can get themselves into. But there is more to it than any of that. How do I know? Because married women live longer too. It is not good for anyone to be alone. It is a lesson learned right from the very beginning of creation.
19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.
God’s answer to Adam’s loneliness? Marriage. Marriage is an outstanding demonstration of God’s kindness to the human race. Adam had been given the companionship of all the animals by God, and while they were all great in their own way, none was a suitable partner or “help meet” for the man. An equal and complimentary companion. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. God in His kindness and compassion created the woman for the man and instituted marriage for them. And so from the very first man and woman marriage has been a great gift of God, a life enhancer and extender, and the very foundation of all this world’s societies, culture, and cohesion. And it remains a gift made even greater in the fact that it serves as one of the clearest forerunners of the greatest gift of all, His own Son, Jesus!
23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
And at the heart of that Gospel is God’s observance that it is not good for man to be alone. Alone in our fear. Alone in our failings. Alone in our sin. And so it was that Jesus left His Father to cleave to His bride, the Church. He too, in His birth at Bethlehem became bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. The woman God created for Adam was made out of man. Jesus in turn is made of a woman.
It is not good for man to be alone so Jesus became man himself to share in all that we are and all that we face. Jesus lived as we do, facing every hardship common to man. Jesus loved everyone He met, even when it broke His heart. Jesus cared for the lame, and the blind and the sick and outcast. He healed every hurt, cured every ill. He visited the clean and unclean, the favourable and unfavourable. He spent time with the outcast and the lonely. And He prayed. He prayed for everyone ... always. It is not good for man to be alone, and Jesus made sure never to leave anyone to themselves.
And that is what makes His cross such a poignant sacrifice! For not only did Jesus not leave us alone in our sin, but in going to the cross in our place He not only died there for us, but He died absolutely alone. Terrifyingly alone. Teeming with our sins and only moments away from His own death, what did the crucified Jesus do? What He always did. He turned to His Father for help and comfort. And what happened? Something that had never happened before and never will again. God the Father was gone. He isn’t there! He isn’t listening to His Son’s pleas. Because He cannot. And that, that right there is the agony of Hell. The horrible reality of sin. The true pain of His sacrifice. “My God, my God, Why have you foresaken me?”
It was not good for Jesus to be alone on Calvary, at least in the terms of the broken relationship within the Trinity. But from our perspective, it was indeed very good for us that Jesus was alone on that cross. Because the sins He carried there were our sins, and the hell He suffered was our hell. He tasted the absolute loneliness that should have been our punishment, and because He did we never have to. His sacrifice made us right with God, and grants to us the very special privilege that we will never be alone ever again. God is always with us and we will live, not just happier or a little longer, but with Him in His heavenly kingdom forever more!