God Institutes Marriage Lesson 5
Genesis 2:18-24 Revisited
How does the biblical teaching on the marriage of God affect our understanding of Genesis 2:18-24?
What we see in the rest of Scripture is the mind of God on what this relationship is and what God intended when He established it.
What did God intend by creating us male and female and instituting marriage?
God intended that we live in a relationship with one another that reflected His marriage to us as His people. He intended men to understand that they were to be like Him to their wives. He intended women to understand that they were to be like His beloved to their husbands. He intended our love for each other to be a living declaration of the relationship He has with us and we with Him. By this He would renew his covenant with us each day as we remembered His love by loving each other. He also intended that, in that confession, we would live in His love with each other.
How does this view of marriage relate to the general teaching on marriage in society?
Marriage is primarily taught using the law. Each partner in the relationship is assigned his or her duties and told what his or her responsibilities are. Certainly, responsibilities exist in marriage. But Scripture does not focus on the responsibilities, but focuses on the grace of God in the covenant of salvation. Marriage is not primarily a legal requirement, it is a reflection of the Gospel. As such, our motivation for how we conduct ourselves in this relationship is not what God requires, but what God has done for us and shown us in the marriage covenant of salvation between Himself and His bride. Our Gospel reflection of that relationship will accomplish our marital responsibilities as we show Christ’s love to one another.
What does this tell us about God’s reason for creating us?
God created us in order to have someone to love. Being love, He desired that we be the object of that love. His desire is that we respond to His love by loving Him back. He does not try to force us to love Him, but loves us, that we may respond to His love with love.
How is this reflected in the creation of Adam and Eve?
God states in Genesis 2 that it is not good that man be alone and resolves to provide a helper suitable for him (verse 18). But before He creates the woman, God parades all the animals before Adam so that he might name them. In so doing, God points out to Adam that he has no one to love. As God created us to love us, so He now reflects that in Adam. It is after naming all the animals that Adam is made to sleep and Eve is brought forth. Adam immediately takes her to himself as wife, that they may reflect the relationship they have with God by their love for one another.
What is this relationship we have with God?
As was stated before, we don’t know exactly how that relationship would have been expressed in Paradise, because we aren’t there. The Biblical definition of the relationship for which He created us male and female is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:21-33 specifically refers to Genesis 2 in describing this Gospel relationship. God clearly intends us to understand the creation of male and female in the light of the marriage covenant of salvation.
How is the Gospel specifically related to what happened in Genesis 2:18-24?
Augustine, in his work on the Gospel of John and on the Psalms, specifically applies this account to the account of the crucifixion. He maintained that as Adam slept at the creation of Eve, Christ slept in death. As from Adam’s side came that with which God formed Eve, so from Christ’s side flowed the blood and water with which Christ formed His Church (Augustine specifically refers to the Sacraments). What God did at the beginning, He did in a much greater way on the cross. The marriage He had established between He and His bride, reflected in this creation account, He reestablishes for time and eternity at the great wedding of Calvary.
How does marriage as a reflection of the Gospel shed light on modern controversies on marriage and the relationship between men and women in society and Church?
At present there is considerable discussion in the Church about marriage and the role of men and women based on the Order of Creation and the Order of Redemption. There is also, in society, a movement toward same sex marriage.
How does the teaching of the marriage of God speak to same sex marriage?
To call the sinful relationship between two people of the same gender marriage is to deny the Biblical teaching of the marriage covenant of salvation. Christianity cannot condone same sex marriage because it is a lie about God, and it is a sin against the many Biblical prohibitions against homosexual behavior. The Church should, in love, call people away from these sinful actions to repentance and to see the joyous gift we have in the teaching of the marriage covenant of salvation. Our position is not intolerance, hatred, or homophobia. It is borne of compassion, leading to repentance, just we are all called to repent of all our sins.
What is the Order of Redemption and how is it seen to be relevant?
The order of Redemption is the fact that Jesus has redeemed us all. He has not redeemed some differently than others. The order of Redemption is being used by some to put forth the notion that there are no differences between men and women in God’s eyes, since all are redeemed by Christ’s death and resurrection. They claim that there should be no distinctions in what men and women can, or should, do since we are all equally redeemed. Equality in redemption is said to mean doing the same tasks and having the same opportunities for service. Most quote Galatians 3:28 to support their claim.
What is the Order of Creation and how is it seen as relevant?
The Order of Creation is the fact that Adam was created first, then Eve. This is being promoted by some as the reason why distinctions between men and women must still exist in the home and in the Church. They primarily cite 1 Corinthians 11 and 1Timothy 2.
What is the controversy between these two?
Those promoting no distinctions between men and women contend that relationships between men and women are determined by the Order of Redemption. Therefore, the Order of Redemption trumps the Order of Creation. Those promoting the Order of Creation contend that the Order of Creation is supreme in these matters and trumps the Order of Redemption.
How does the marriage of God assist in this discussion?
The teaching on the marriage of God is the covenant of salvation. Therefore redemption is at the heart of our understanding of marriage. All doctrines are defined by the central article of faith; that we are saved by God’s grace in Christ, through faith. So we must contend that our redemption in Christ defines our relationship as creation to Creator. Does this eliminate the distinctions between husband and wife? No! It defines them. Our redemption does not eliminate our distinctions, it illuminates them in a Gospel manner that enables us to see our life as husband and wife as a confession of our faith in the redemption Christ accomplished for His Bride, the Church.
How is this relationship applied to our daily lives?
This is applied as we see our relationship in our homes as more than just a human institution with God’s blessing, but a wonderful expression of our faith. Husbands and wives have a wondrous privilege to declare their faith to God and each other by the love shown at home. More specific application will be made in the following section.