When God made Adam, the first man, He made him incomplete. Not imperfect, but incomplete. Then through a series of tasks in which Adam was obedient, this new creature realized that he did not have that which was understood for the other living beasts: every animal had a mate, yet Adam was alone in his humanness. There was a community and togetherness that each animal had in their mate, that Adam could not share.
Yet a mate was not that which made the first man incomplete.
The lack of wholeness Adam had in and of himself was the need for community, love and intimacy and understanding.
But the realization that he did not have a mate, nor the realization of the need for deep soul-communion did not stir up complaint. Adam’s lack of a mate was not a lack of community, love, intimacy, or understanding. There was nothing lacking, simply because those preordained needs were perfectly and overwhelmingly met in God himself.
Yet the Lord’s plan, purposed from before anything had a beginning, was already thrumming through all creation. Before He had directed Adam to name every beast- thus understanding the gift each animal had in a mate- God had looked upon the man in whom he had breathed, and said “it is not good that he should be alone. I shall make him a helper.”
How could God, who had made and named each of his created wonders and called them ‘good’ now look at the current capstone of creation- this man in God’s own image- and call him ‘not good?’
‘Good’ here is the Hebrew word טוֹב (towb), which is translated as good in the widest sense: better, pleasurable, gracious, beautiful, fine, precious.
In other words, God had said, ‘it is not the absolute best that man is alone.’ And so he created woman. Not to replace himself as the perfection of community, love, intimacy, or understanding, but as a helper. An aid, encouragement, and succour. And upon the completion of woman, God looked at all he had made- from the smallest atom to the farthest star and every earthly beauty he had fashioned- and said it was VERY good. Creation was then no longer simply good and whole, but it was the most pleasurable, the most beautiful, the most precious.
And though woman did indeed have the capacity to offer community, love, intimacy, and understanding to Adam, and he to her, that offering was built on the fact that they were made in the image of God. They reflected the characteristics of their Maker, and when that reflection was a perfect one, the needs for community, love, intimacy, and understanding would be perfectly met.
Yet now, as we live the result of sin having thrust us from the Garden, we realize all the more that we are built with humanly insatiable, legitimate needs that we in and of ourselves are unable to satisfy. We no longer reflect our Creator perfectly, and thus are unable to meet the needs with which we were created.
As Christians we understand that every one of our deepest eternal needs, including community, love, intimacy, and understanding, have been purposed from before time, that we might find our utter satisfaction in Christ.
God himself is our community. He is our perfect love, deepest intimacy, and truest understanding.
When we reflect our Maker well we have the opportunity to showcase those attributes well (though dimly) to those around us, simply because we look like Jesus. And when those around us inevitably fail in satisfying our ordained needs, it is because they are not God.
Apart from Jesus we will never perfectly realize the fulfillment of our beautiful incompleteness.