Marriage: God’s Design
July 30, 2017
Most people in our day have little or no idea why marriage even exists. I believe that is part of the reason we have so many young people who just cohabit and have sexual intimacy outside the marriage relationship. Why get married? What the purpose? Honestly, sometimes parents are even at a loss of how to respond when young people question marriage.
How did this concept of marriage begin? How is marriage supposed to work? Much like the question of our existence as human beings on this planet we call earth, we ask the same question of the purpose and value of marriage. What is the big deal about marriage? Isn’t it just a piece of paper that allows you to have some sort of tax advantage?
Honestly, we live in a society today that has little regard for the honor and sanctity of marriage. We also live in a time of great marital discord and family disintegration. A lot of people are confused about marriage in today’s more “liberated” and “enlightened” culture. Concepts like honor, trust, faithfulness, and commitment seem old fashioned and out of touch.
Some people change the partners they live with, married or not, as easily as they change clothes. This confusion over marriage should not surprise us, considering bewildering barrage of the worldly attitudes and philosophies that hit us at every turn. People today shop for relationships the way they shop for clothes. Try it on and if it doesn’t fit, try another size. When the relationship gets worn down a bit, throw it away and get another. Is marriage still practical for the young people of today? Why is it a big deal that we celebrate 40, 50, 60 years of marriage? Is marriage worth it as we grow older?
Marriage is still the best idea because it is God’s idea. He created it, designed it, established it, and defined its parameters. God Himself instituted and ordained marriage at the very beginning of human history. God established marriage as a permanent relationship, the union of two separate people – a man and woman. This is the first and most foundational building block of society as God intended for us to live.
Somehow, people today think marriage is something man dreamed up, and thus, we can modify it as we see fit. But that is not true. The concept of marriage was not conceived from the mind of man. There was no human originator that said, “we should concoct a means in which a relationship between men and women should be governed.” No, this is God’s idea and so that makes marriage Divine and Sacred.
According to Scripture, marriage is ordained by God as an intimate and permanent partnership between a man and a woman in which the two become one in the whole of life, not just the bedroom. Marriage is the sacred, lifelong union of a man and a woman giving themselves to each other in love and trust. Why did God think this was necessary?
Companionship (vv. 18-20)
In Genesis 2:18, God recognized that something was “not good” in His creation. Now God was not implying a moral defect in what He created, only that there was something incomplete, not satisfactory, or insufficient. In other words, something is missing. Man is alone.
What I find fascinating is that Adam did not recognize this, . . . God did. Adam didn’t come to God and say, “man am I ever lonely.” But God did. In fact, it seems that the whole episode of bringing the animals to Adam for him to name was a teaching point. God was demonstrating to Adam that every animal of God’s created order has a mate. Each kind of animal has another of the same kind in the opposite gender and so they were not alone. But Adam was alone.
God causes each of the animals pass by Adam so that he could give them names. Now the text doesn’t say this, but in my mind, I imagine the animals coming to Adam in pairs of male and female. A pair of lions, a pair of zebras, a pair of finches, etc. God was presenting the animal kingdom to Adam to teach him and make him aware that something is “not good.” Something is incomplete. He is alone.
Verse 20 makes it clear that the purpose of Adam naming the animals was to show Adam that there was not a helper fit for him. So, what does it mean that there was no one fit for him?
First, there was not another created being that was made in the image and likeness of God. Of all of God’s created order, only Adam was made in God’s image and after His likeness. So, someone fit for him must be also made in the image and likeness of God.
Second, there was not another who could be with Adam physically, so that he could enjoy companionship with another human being. So that he would be able to feel complete, loved by someone, and to have someone to love.
Third, there was not another that could help Adam be all that God designed him to be. He needed a helper, fit for him.
Fourth, there was not another with which he would be capable of reproducing and perpetuating human kind.
I believe that as God brought the animals by Adam to be named, God was arousing in Adam a need that Adam himself did not see at first. Why is that necessary that Adam see his need? Well, I don’t know this for sure, but if Adam did not understand God’s design before woman was made, he may not have understood God’s purpose for him with her.
Adam had to see his need of a companion for his journey. Part of the reason for marriage is for companionship. Another reason for marriage is divine
Completeness (vv. 21-22)
God recognized the incompleteness of His human creation and decides to solve the “not good” situation. So, Jehovah God, His personal name is used here, Jehovah God caused Adam to fall into a “deep sleep.”
The words “deep sleep” are interesting. The words “deep sleep” are translated from a Hebrew word that has the idea of a deep trance. This sleep was like suspended animation or as though he were dead. Why did God need to put Adam into this death like trance? It was not to control pain, because there was no pain before the Fall. So why the “deep sleep?” I believe the idea here is that it was as if Adam died to obtain a bride. But at the same time we know he didn’t die, because there was no death before sin.
Henry Morris says that “it seems almost as though Adam “died” when as yet there was no death in the world, in order that he might obtain a bride to share his life.” As we look at this episode in the life of Adam from our perspective on this side of the cross, Christians cannot help but notice the parallel of Jesus’ very real death, after the curse of sin, in order that he may obtain His bride, the church (all those who have put their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior). Jesus did this so that He could share His life with us. We could say that this situation with Adam is the first portrait of the Gospel Message in the Bible.
Jesus died a very real death so that as His bride, we can share eternal life with Him. Adam was put into a death like sleep so that he could obtain a bride to share his life with.
Our text tells us that God did Divine surgery on the first human being. While Adam sleeps, God removes a rib and closes the wound back up. Again, the Hebrew word here indicates that this is not just a rib bone, but part of his side including flesh, bone, blood, tissue, etc. Anyway, God takes the rib and the flesh that was with it and Jehovah made a woman. This whole wife thing must be pretty important to God.
What a miraculous thing we say. Of course, it is certainly a miracle only God could perform, but let me ask you something. Did God need a rib from Adam to make a woman? No!
God created Adam ex nihilo, which simple means “out of nothing.” God certainly could have created another human being, of the female variety, out of nothing, without a rib from Adam, so what is going on here? Why all this Divine medical work?
Woman is made from the same bone, the same flesh, the same blood, literally the same life. We are told in Scripture that the life is in the blood. From the life blood of Adam, God made Eve. Are you beginning to see the implications here?
I like what Matthew Henry said in response to the life of the woman being taken from Adam. He says, the woman was taken, “not from his head to rule over him, not from his feet to be trampled by him, but from his side to be equal with him, from under his arm to be protected by him, and from close to his heart to be loved by him.”
From the very life of Adam, Jehovah God made Eve his bride. Eve was to work alongside Adam in fulfilling the divine commission of being fruitful, multiplying, filling the earth, subduing it, and having dominion over it.
In order for Adam to fulfill the purpose God had for him, he needed a helper fit for him. God could have created a woman from nothing but in His wisdom, God understood that the best way to have someone who completes Adam was to take a part of his own flesh and blood to make a woman. He would them see his bride as he sees himself.
Discover Card – “We treat you like you treat you.”
When we begin to grasp the concept of what God has done suddenly we understand the equality we have with our spouse. Though God does give us different roles in how we live for Him and how we live with each other, we are equals as we stand before Jehovah. Our spouse completes us. Men, you are who you are today, because of your wife. Ladies, you are who you are because of your husband. We complete each other.
Have you ever noticed how that as we grow older, married couples begin to act like one another? Some even say that old people begin to look like one another, but I am not sure I would go that far.
Your spouse completes you. That is probably why we often feel that opposites attract to each other. We complete one another, we are made of the same stuff, we have the same image of God, we have the same flesh and blood, and thus there is equality. Marriage is for companionship, marriage is for completeness, and the last thing I see here is that marriage is for
Unity (vv. 23-25)
God takes Adam’s rib, forms the flesh, bone, the blood and the tissues of his side into a woman and brings her to him. The text records Adam’s response in verse 23. “Hubba, Hubba, what a body!” No, not really! However, the words “at last” in verse 23 are the equivalent of a modern day “Wow.” An exclamatory cry of delight.
Though the text doesn’t tell us this, I imagine Adam must have gazed at Eve with awe and appreciation as they stood face to face. This was God’s creative genius at its best, unblemished grace and beauty, pure loveliness of face and form. Fashioned by the hand of God Himself, Eve had to be the most gorgeous creature who ever walked the face of the earth. And like Adam, she was made in God’s image. Her mind, her emotions, and her will were still unaffected by sin at this time.
Adam immediately recognized her similarity to himself as he said in verse 23:
"This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."
It seems that without any special revelation from God, Adam instinctively knew that Eve was made from him; she was part of him; she was his equal; she was his complement and counterpart. He called her woman, “female man.” He drew her to himself in tender love. She ended his loneliness and filled his life with happiness. She was just exactly what he needed. And nothing brought her more satisfaction than the assurance that her husband needed her so very much. What intense and indescribable pleasure they must have found in each other’s company! How they loved one another!
You say wow, you have quite the imagination Pastor Mike. Remember, this is before sin and the Fall of humanity. I believe that Adam was keenly aware of his unity with this woman that is his bride. When I speak of unity, I don’t mean they were identical in personality, disposition, abilities, and gifts, but that there was unity in purpose and their reason for existence.
Verse 24 gives us the design of marriage. First, there is severance in marriage. There is a leaving process. Though Adam and Eve did not have human parents, God wanted us to know that when marriage takes place there becomes a commitment that is greater than our commitment to our parents. This is not an abandonment of parents, but a new relationship that takes precedence over our relationship with our parents.
But the second part of God’s design is a permanence. It says that the man will hold fast to his wife. The word “hold fast” in the Hebrew means to be inseparably joined, glued, or stuck to his wife. The word indicates a permanence. The unity found in marriage has always been considered by God to be a lifetime commitment to one another with only one exception, and by the way, it is not irreconcilable differences.
The man and the woman are to leave their parents and hold fast to each other. They establish a home together which results in a one flesh relationship. Now you have probably heard that this word translated “one flesh” can have some sexual overtones to it. It is certainly true that marriage is consummated in sexual union. But the idea of this one flesh relationship goes much farther than just having sexual intimacy. This also includes spiritual, moral, intellectual, and familial oneness. The two shall become one.
When Jesus was asked about divorce in Matthew 19, His answer referred to this very verse in Genesis. Listen as I read what Jesus said:
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?"
4 He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
5 and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."
Jesus makes it clear that there is unity in marriage. There is permanence in marriage. There is oneness in marriage.
Here we see the first marriage. And we can conclude from this account in Genesis that marriage is God's idea, designed and instituted by the Creator. In these verses, we also discover that at the heart of God's design for marriage is companionship and intimacy. God wants marriages to be strong. He wants them to last long. He wants them to be a reflection of His relationship with His redeemed people, the bride of Christ.
The focus of marriage should not be whether our spouse meets all our conditions perfectly, to provide an easy relationship to enjoy, rather we should focus on the opportunities God gives us in marriage to build up our character. You are married to a person who does not meet all the conditions, so that you might learn unconditional love. You are married to a person who needs mercy, so that you learn to give it. You are married to a person who needs forgiveness so you can learn to forgive. You are married to a person that has needs so that you can learn to give of yourself to fulfill those needs.
The person you are married to is God’s design for your life. Even if you have had a divorce or lived with someone in the past, if you are married today, that person is God’s design for you. Companionship, completeness, and unity are part of God’s design. You are made of the same life-giving blood. You have a connection with your spouse that is the most unique in all of creation. No other part of God’s creation was created this way. We need to begin seeing the design God has for our marriage relationships.
If you are married and your spouse is here, I want you to stand facing each other. Carrie come up. Look into their eyes (without laughing).
Your spouse is an image bearer, created in the image and likeness of God.
Your spouse is made from the same flesh and blood as you.
Your spouse is the one God designed to be in your life.
Your spouse needs you and you need them.
Your spouse and you are one.