Does the word "helper" in Genesis 2:18 refer to Christ or the Holy Spirit?

Monday Musings for December 09, 2019

Good morning, Musers,

Biblical typology is an important business — but it’s a tricky business, too. It is important because the New Testament authors breathed new life into Old Testament entities (such as the tabernacle) through this symbolism. But it is a tricky business because the whole is now greater than the sum of its parts, and this means that we are relying on the relationship between the words rather than the words themselves to give us their fullest meaning.

So, do we have a problem? Yes. Commentators routinely disagree on what the words themselves mean in any given passage — and typology adds a level of difficulty to the words! So, when we test for typology, we have to assess the relationship between words or concepts — and often while the words and concepts are still in debate! This can lead to circular reasoning if we’re not careful.

It’s a worthy enterprise, though. Compared to the rest of God’s creatures, we are savants when it comes to language. After all, God gave us the ability to think in symbolic terms. But he didn’t stop there. He also gave us the ability to communicate these rarefied thoughts via language... and communication is (or should be) what we Christians are all about.

Now, language is easy. Nearly everyone falls into it as they grow. But formal language-studies are a lot of work — and that’s where we are when discussing typology. Fortunately, we laymen have access to scholarly thinking — and it’s often right in our Bible’s margins! These point out ideas that we might not come to on our own without a scholar’s perspective.

But the thing we are really good at — with or without scholarship — is making connections between words and concepts. We see connections everywhere! The problem is that we are not quite as good at sorting through them and making critical decisions about which ones are valid and which ones are false... and that can be a problem as we study God’s word.

Today, we explore this question by asking, in the Bible, when is a symbolic relationship purposed by God and when is it incidental? After all, there are about 788,280 words in the Bible... so similar words are appearing all over the place! But this is just data until we make sense of them… and the main rules for making sense of them have stayed the same since language was first developed.

That being said, we live in an age where everybody reads — not just the scholars... but this is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because people can read God’s word for themselves. It’s a curse because the common reader has much more data than he or she can handle in a scholarly fashion... and we have the opportunity to spread either truth or falsehood around the world at nearly the speed of light!

There’s this idea out there that the “helper” in Genesis 2:18 might be a type of Christ — and we’ll explore that today... but we’ll do so with help from our old friend, John Nash. Nash was a man who loved connections. But also, he was a man who had a beautiful mind. So, come and see what this is all about.

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