Woman Was Taken Out Of Man
Why does it say in the book of Genesis that “Jehovah God … took one of the ribs of the man, and closed up the flesh in its place. And the rib which He had taken from man He fashioned into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And the man said: ‘She is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Therefore she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:21-23)?
Apparently, this statement is a reflection of the internal reality that “woman was created out of man. Consequently, she has an inclination to unite and, so to speak, reunite herself with a man.” (CL 173, cf. AC 152). However, even this statement needs to be understood correctly.
What is meant by woman being created out of man is that:
woman was created by the Lord through the wisdom in man, because she was created from man, and that she is therefore a form of wisdom inspired by the affection of love. And because the affection of love is life itself, a woman is a form of the life in wisdom, while the male is a form of wisdom, and the life in wisdom is beauty itself. (CL 56.3)
The truth of the matter is that the idea of woman being created out of man, is revealing something about the internal interaction between the a husband and wife. The question is, what? From the quoted passages, it is clear that woman being created out of man has something to do with their mutual inclination to conjunction. In fact it may even be clear that “a maiden turns or is turned into a wife because a wife has elements in her taken from her husband, thus elements acquired which did not exist in her before as an unmarried woman” (CL 199). However, there is more to be seen from this truth than simply that men and women have an inborn inclination to be joined or that women get something from their husbands that they did not possess before.
There are two loves in the human race, the love of the pursuit of wisdom, and the love of wisdom itself. “If this second love continues in a man, it is an evil love, and is called conceit or love of his own intelligence…. To keep this love from destroying man, it was provided from creation that this love be taken from him and transferred into woman so that it might become conjugial love, which makes him whole again” (CL 88.2). This means that a man pursues wisdom from a love a growing wise. As he pursues it, his wife comes into a love of the wisdom which he acquires (and internally becomes that wisdom, although he is the form of his wisdom). Therefore there is a means for conjunction in the fact that both of them have what the other loves. Conjunction by means of these loves “happens only in the case of men who are in a state of genuine wisdom, and in women who are in a state of love for that wisdom in their husbands, thus who are in a state of truly conjugial love” (CL 89).
So, the general point is that “woman was created out of man, and that they each have both an inclination and a capacity for reuniting themselves into one. This means into one person” (CL 156r.2). However, more particularly it has been shown that “a man’s love of wisdom is transferred into his wife” (CL 156r.3) for “a rib does not mean a rib, nor flesh flesh, … but that they mean spiritual things, to which they correspond … They mean spiritual things which mold one person out of two, and this is evident from the fact that it is conjugial love which joins them together, and this love is spiritual” (CL 156r.3). What is being emphasized here is that one human being is actually a married pair. The external statement that women are created out of men is pointing to the fact that God created human beings in His image and according to His likeness (Genesis 1:26) and “from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:6-9). In other words, “a woman is actually transformed into a wife according to the description in the book of creation. We are told in this book that woman was created from the rib of a man” (CL 193). Which is to say, just as one angel is actually a married pair (CL 177), one complete human being is always a married pair. A man is exclusively intellect and a woman is exclusively will (cf. HH 369). Therefore there is the inclination and capacity for conjunction in every aspect of each.
So that this may be more clearly seen, recall the internal sense of the passage from Genesis. “The breast of a man symbolizes that essential and distinctive quality which makes it different in character from the breast of a woman. This quality is wisdom” (CL 193). The rib “symbolically means, in its spiritual sense, not a rib but natural truth” (CL 193). Therefore, when it is said that a rib was taken out of the breast of man to build a woman, it is explaining that:
woman was created from man by a transmission and replication of his distinctive wisdom, which is formed from natural truth, and that man’s love for this wisdom was transferred to woman so as to become conjugial love; moreover, that the purpose of this was to replace love of self in man with love for his wife, who, from a nature innate in her, cannot help but turn the love of self in man to his love for her … this comes about as a result of the wife’s love, without either the man or the wife being conscious of it. It is because of this that no one is ever able to love his partner with a truly conjugial love so long as he is possessed of a conceit in his own intelligence from a love of self.(CL 193)
From this it is evident that the creation of woman out of man is actually the marriage process whereby the a man is drawn to love something outside of himself and likewise a woman is encouraged to love something outside of herself. By means of this spiritual love, the two are brought together as:
An image of the husband is formed in the wife, and … because of this image a wife perceives, sees and feels in herself the things that are in her husband, and herself therefore as being in him. She perceives from their communication; she sees from looking at him; and she feels from touching him. She feels the reception of her love by her husband from the touch of her hands upon his cheeks, arms, hands and breast. (CL 173)
It should be noted that conjunction is effected by the Lord through the wife in such a way that a man is in “complete ignorance that his wife is transformed and, so to speak, created from him” (CL 194).
The fact that women are internally created out of men’s wisdom by means of marriage also explains how it is that women are internally the intellectual wisdom of their husbands. For:
A person acquires truth from the good and truth that emanate as one from the Lord … He thinks of truth as originating with him, and he speaks from truth in the same way. This comes about because truth is seen in the light of the understanding and is therefore visible to him … He supposes that truth exists in him…Man is born with a faculty for knowing, understanding, and becoming wise, and this faculty receives truths, by which he gains knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom. And since the female was created through the truth of the male and is formed into a love of it more and more after marriage, it follows that she also receives her husband’s truth into herself and joins it to her good. (CL 122)
Therefore, it may be seen that conjugial love is a continual process of creation wrought by the Lord between two of the opposite sex. The love of growing wise, which resides in men, causes them to seek wisdom, which women then love. To the degree that women love that wisdom they internally assimilate it, which in turn stimulates in men a greater love for pursuing wisdom. And so on. Or one could state it in another way – conjugial love enters the human race by means of women. This love of conjoining good and truth inspires in men a desire to pursue that conjunction, which is wisdom. As men respond to the love from women and acquire wisdom, women are enabled to love them. To the degree that men are loved, they are able to love in return by seeking greater wisdom of life. And so on. This is the secret of conjugial love contained in the story of creation.