“Ask a Priest: Why Was Eve Made From Adam’s Rib?”

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Q: As written in Genesis, Eve was made from the rib of the Adam, and it is believed that men have one less rib than women. But men and women have equal number of ribs. So, what does it mean that Eve was made from the rib of Adam? – Rebecca

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The Book of Genesis sometimes used symbolic language to transmit deep truths.

One interpretation of the Adam’s rib account is that it emphasizes his role as the father of all humanity; that is, he even gave rise to Eve. And then the two of them generated children.

Adam is cast into a deep sleep first, which shows he had nothing to do with the creation of Eve; it is purely God’s work.

And why is Eve formed from his rib? Jewish and Christian commentators over the centuries have speculated that this shows her equality with Adam.

Eve wasn’t taken from his feet, so she is not to be trampled on. Nor was Eve taken from Adam’s head, since she wasn’t meant to dominate him.

Rather, she was taken from his side, close to his heart, so that she can be a true companion.

You can find St. Thomas Aquinas’ take on the topic in his Summa Theologiae, First Part, Question 92, Article 3.

I hope some of this helps.


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