Any discussion of marriage especially in this day and age is laden with pitfalls. Our society simply has lost sight of what God’s true intention for this sacred institution is. As a result any effort to clarify and define God’s original intention for the institution of marriage must come from God Himself as the progenitor and instituter of marriage. Which means we must go to the opening chapters of the Bible in which God himself performs the first wedding ceremony. In Genesis 2:21-24 we see how God having formed Eve the first woman from Adams own flesh, brought Eve to Adam in much the same way as a father giving away His daughter at the altar. It was here Adam made his vows that he would cleave to his wife and that they should be as one flesh from thereafter.
“ And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:21-24
What we must take away from these verses is many-fold. God having made Adam at the pinnacle of creation was still incomplete, physically, emotionally and spiritually without a helpmate. This is why God created Eve from man and for man, she was to embody a set of qualities exquisitely unique to her sex such as submissiveness, gentleness, modesty, humility, loving and nurturing affection. It is these selfless qualities that honor her husband, who was formed as the head of all creation, but show her to be the crown of her husband when operating in the harmony of God’s purpose on her life. This verse also shows the absolute trust the man must have in God to form for him a perfect helpmate. Adam fell into a deep sleep in total trust of his Creator, and in like spirit single men should trust God completely while waiting for the arrival of their spouse. The above verses clearly puts the man in the active role, leaving mother and father in an effort to find a wife who remains under the authority of her parents until a man might cleave unto her. God gave Adam a purpose in the tending and care-taking of the Garden which he couldn’t do without a helpmate, and he gave Eve the purpose and instinct to care for and support Adam in that role. The man’s instinct and nature is to pursue his purpose, and rightly the woman’s instinct and natural purpose should be the support and the encouragement of her husband in that God given task. (1 Corinthians 11:8,9)
The joining of two individuals who can rightly balance this truth for a lifetime is as sensitive as a surgical procedure, and must be supervised by the skillful hand of the all mighty creator God who knows us intimately. Often time this process will require the cutting away of many things in our lives chiefly pride and hardheadedness to make way for the new thing God is about to do. Further, Adam states in verse 24 that he fully understood that their union was a model for all of their future progeny when he said that “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” They both being in the sight of God, as perfect, virginal, and still in physical innocence was not commenting on how “one flesh”indicated fleshly union as some might interpret that statement, no, instead he was commenting on the honor that they were to give one another. In this we see the Great Commandments that Jesus gave the disciples that we are to Love God with all of our heart, and love our neighbor as ourselves.( Matthew 22:35-40) It is this act of honoring each other as ourselves in the full knowledge and blessing of all mighty God that will be the glue that binds two souls to one another. This is the foundation of a successful marriage, honor God and honor one another in all that you undertake as a married couple. Everything else is peripheral.
These verses beautifully mark the first couples marriage as something God created, God ordained, God instituted, God sealed and God covenanted for the purpose of a lifelong commitment, communion, procreation, and the modeling of Biblical values to all resulting progeny. Under these circumstances the blessing of God is made manifest to us in the form of a family unit. Nothing is more foundational in all of scripture than the family, it is a sight to behold for anyone who has the spiritual capacity to see marriage and the family as God would have us see it.
Our Fallen World
The Bible comes under a lot of criticism by secular society because it depicts scenes of war, rape, murder, debauchery, treachery, polygamy, fornication, slavery, deception, adultery, and even barbaric retribution by God himself. The complaint is almost always “How can anyone determine a moral code based on the stories found in the Bible?” This is a legitimate question on the surface, but fails to grasp the underlying issue. The Truth is there is nothing about this world that represents God’s original, perfect intent for His creation anymore. We have to remember the Bible illuminates the bad alongside of the good, that we too can better learn to discern God’s original intent for creation and condemn what is obviously unholy and a profane perversion of God’s creation. All of what we experience in this life can be attributed to this process of learning.
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19
The world as it is, certainly is a beautiful, awe inspiring and majestic place, but no matter how we analyze creation it seems to be missing a critical piece of perfection. We have to consume living beings just to live, we must defend ourselves from attackers, work ourselves to the bone, we fight and cut one another down, we all face heartbreak and pain, and as a result doubt our purpose and our Creator at every turn. In fact because of the cruelty we find everywhere in nature some atheists reason that this is exactly why there can be no God, they ask how could a just God allow the cruelty we see all around us.
If we are ever to understand why the world is the way it is we must first understand the impacts and consequences of sin. I define sin as acting knowingly or unknowingly against the perfect nature and original intent that God had for creation from the beginning. The current state of our universe is a result of a collective trillions and trillions of thoughts and deeds that worked against God’s intent for His creation, that all have channeled us to what we see and experience creation to be in this very moment. This domino effect that began with Adam and continues to this day in the way of our brutality and ignorance defines us now as opposed to the finer aspects of our divine nature. So much of what we see in today’s society glorifies the profane, the flow of popular culture almost always runs counter to what we all instinctively know creation should be. Wars, lies, sodomy, transgendersim, greed, feminism, godlessness all run counter to that perfect vision of creation we all long for yet even still it is promoted and lauded by the masses. The measure of a sick society is in direct proportion to how far they have strayed from God’s original intent for creation. The perversity of culture has always been God’s metric as to when judgment and His wrath is nigh. This is the problem with the sodomite lifestyle, the are trying to overtake the definition of marriage through the leveraging of our court system. All they are really doing is demonstrating how far removed in body, mind and spirit they are from some of the most wondrous and purely created things in all of creation. Especially so when they attack marriage, a sacred institution that is obviously beyond nature, and the natural function of the animal kingdom as much as our intellect is. Marriage is as divine as the spirit that occupies mankind, a overt trait and stamp of our divinity. To shun marriage is to be beastly in nature seeing that animals do no such things as covenant together.
Marriage Strengthens Our Knowledge of God Despite the World
The Jewish religion is unique among all the other cultures because it required that men and women were to remain sexually pure until they were married. This was something unheard of in the pagan world, and equally unheard of in our culture today. There was no serial dating, no sleeping around, no moving in to together, we simply don’t find that at all in the Biblical tradition. This is a modern and often destructive model of looking for a spouse. If anything the man’s family often arranged a marriage with another family, or the man himself would work alongside the woman’s family in an effort to gain the favor of both the daughter and her parents towards marriage.
The men were circumcised at birth and both the women and men were expected to maintain their virginity. This was mainly because it was common knowledge among the Jews that the Messiah would one day as prophesied in countless passages of scripture be born into the world through their chosen people, specifically to a virgin woman (Isaiah 7:14). For this reason purity was emphasized and ingrained in every child, they could be the one that brings the Messiah into the world.
The obvious mark of circumcision, was a blood oath made by God and Abraham and was a tell tale sign that the man was of Hebrew stock indicating that this man was bound by the shedding of blood to God. With a woman God literally built into the physiology of a woman a blood oath binding herself to the husband and the husband to his wife.
In God’s economy, courtship, purity, and marriage were sealed in blood, and were seen as unbreakable. Think about how differently a young woman and man would view the sanctity of the marriage vows having gone through the Jewish model of courtship and marriage in the purity and watchful eyes of both families. You can see why Jesus said to the Pharisees that questioned him on divorce in Mark 10:2-9, ” What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” In the perfect will of God marriage should reflect the will, character, and steadfastness of God himself seeing that he is the instituter of marriage. The way people divorce and give themselves over to sexual impropriety shows they have no concept of the nature of God, or what it means to covenant with another person. As a result look at how our culture has deteriorated as families fall apart, and children are not instructed, schooled and made to be accountable to the level and standard required of us by God. In fact this standard is often mocked by the world despite the obvious fallout divorce and adultery have on society. Those who engage in licentious lifestyles themselves reap the destruction their lifestyles bring and as does society as there is no one with the courage, fortitude and character to model Godly marriages to the younger generations. We often look to blame people like Obama, or the elite or any other societal evil that may have caused the moral decay of our society, but what has caused the most irrevocable harm is the abandonment of our own responsibilities of our spouse and children. It is to easy for people to quit rather than take responsibility themselves and seek peace, and love with in their immediate relationships.
Marriage is one of the few things on our planet that still retains a sense of that lost and most perfect world. It was ordained and instituted before the fall of man, and because of that those lucky enough to experience marital bliss can tune their hearts, and allow the love they share to resonate with that of their Creator. This love also echoes of the unconditional love of the Cross, seeing what is required of us to maintain a relationship means dying to oneself daily in favor of your spouse and children. This dying process is a prerequisite on marriage, as it is a prerequisite on ones life towards the submitting to the Cross of Jesus for our salvation. Pride, and conditional love are relationship killers.
The innocence, tenderness and Godly affection that was upon Adam and Eve and the rest of creation has long since been lost. I think each of us in our own way try to come to terms with this reality. Some deal with it by hating or doubting God, some fill their horizons with the pursuit of pleasure, while others struggle to reconcile what we feel the world should be with this question of God. Nonetheless the nagging feeling remains, this world should be exactly what we read about in the Garden of Eden. The concept of nature having once operated in perfect harmony haunts us, we can feel it as a sense of perpetual melancholy and longing for something primordially pure that can overwhelm us at times. Especially during those times of deep hurt and depression each of us experience over the course of our earthly interactions.
For those of us that seek to understand creation in terms of a divine Creator, who accept the Bible to be true, to see how Jesus and only Jesus as God can transmute our ignorance into knowledge of Him.
God through the Apostle John addresses this longing we all experience in Revelation 21:4 when He cried out in a great voice saying, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Can you imagine this day? God at some point in the future plans to restore all things, everything that we can’t put words to depicting those shadowy remnants of our collective memory will one day be all we know without thought to the former things of this life. At least for those who believe on Jesus that is. Until then we are stuck with this world as it is.
I want to encourage you to seek renewal of your own relationships, your own purity, your own character and responsibility among those God has blessed you with. Most of what the world has given us is illusions of what marriage is and should be, marriage and family life is a Cross to bear, a sacrifice for the good and betterment of humanity through the imparting and practice of Biblical truths. If we don’t have a proper understanding of the importance and emphasis God places on marriage we suffer, society suffers, children suffer and all of it rests on whether or not we are men and woman who can act in the humility and roles God has provided us at Creation.
“For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:7-10