The First Gender Assignment Surgery

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the earthling to be alone; I will make a partner for them.” So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to earthling to see what name the earthling would give.” – Genesis 2:18-19

The Hebrew word adam (ha’adam) is not a gendered name. Adam means “human” or more precisely, “earthling.”

After making one earthling, God realizes that although they have a stress-free life in a tropical paradise with plenty to eat, they are alone. For the first time God looks at creation and says, “That’s not good.”

God’s solution was like an episode of The Bachelor/ette. God creates animals and birds, parading the multitude of furry and feathery hopefuls before the earthling to see who would get the final rose (seriously, read it for yourself). All the animals were great listeners, but not much for conversation, and none was found to be a suitable partner.

God’s second attempt was to perform gender assignment surgery (yes, Genesis really says that too) by splitting the nongendered earthling into two gendered beings: Ish and Ishah. When Ish wakes up from the operation he looks at Ishah and says, “You are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” It’s a poetic way of saying, “By seeing you, I see myself.”

That’s how we know we are in Eden: when we see ourselves in the other and the other in ourselves and divine presence in all creation, when the barrier between self and other dissolves. Similarly, Jesus said, “On that day you will know that God is in me and you are in me and I am in you” (John 14:20).

That’s true community. And that’s what it’s all about.


Holy One, may “that day” be now. May I look at all people today and see You and myself.

ddauthormattlaney2014.pngAbout the Author
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first book, The Spinner Prince available now.