Friends Are Spiritual Necessities

Genesis 2:18-20 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a fitting companion.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a companion suitable for him.

As all animal lovers know, pets are great companions, but incomplete.  They do not have the intellectual or spiritual capacity to be our equals, and so they cannot be sufficient support for our heart concerns.  They are safe and delightful, but it is their very harmlessness, their subordination and domestication, that makes them inadequate companions since they cannot challenge our deep issues.  Safety can be stunting.

Of course, to the degree that women are subjugated and domesticated, they also lose the equality necessary to provide real support and challenge.  There can be no full, genuine companionship when a power differential is actively at work—when one person’s words, actions, viewpoint, and opinions in a relationship carry more weight than the other’s.  Friendship is still possible in that case, but is limited.

Eve was not an afterthought for God.  He designed us as social creatures, needing one another to grow into wholeness.  We suffer when we lack relationships that are vitalizing, supportive, and safe.  These are fundamental to our wellbeing and maturation, not merely a nice addition to our otherwise adequate lives.  The need for bonding is so deep that children will often rather live with abusive parents than be separated.  Healthy connections are vital, and so we must take every means necessary to make them.

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