God’s Design for Marriage
Marriage is a God-given gift that we have tarnished by our sin. These verses describe a perfectly trusting, perfectly shame-free, perfectly united partnership of love. Sadly, one tangible effect of our living in a fallen world is that outside of the movies no marriage is only and ever like that. The tragedy of human sin is that it is in our very nature to corrupt what God has created for our good and His glory, causing the beauty and enjoyment of marriage as He intended to be lost. But there is hope! For believers, God’s Spirit enables us to consider marriage according to His design.
We must first acknowledge that outside of Christ, men and women are in flat-out rebellion against God’s purposes. It’s not that we are simply confused about the nature of marriage; it’s that our sinful desires are completely opposed even to what we do understand. Marriage as it is given to us in the Bible is often perceived as a cage, a restriction, or a human contrivance put together long ago—a kind of useless vestige left over from previous generations. If we see God’s design for marriage in this light, it’s because we are predisposed to say, “I don’t like God’s plans. I’ll do this my own way.”
When we are united with Christ, however, God enables us to view marriage according to His design. No matter what any government legislates, Scripture is absolutely clear that any relationship other than a monogamous, heterosexual relationship cannot be and is not a marriage before God, because that is what He decided marriage should be in the very beginning. Jesus’ affirmation of the Genesis 2 depiction of marriage demonstrates that nothing between the beginning and now has changed God’s design (Matthew 19:4-6). We must not tamper with or readjust the Bible to accommodate social trends which would define marriage differently. Though God’s pattern for biblical marriage may be looked down upon by our fallen world, if we believe the Bible to be the very word of God, then we will uphold its teaching—in how we choose to order our own lives and in how we speak of and pray for other people’s relationships.
As believers, we must recognize that God’s concern for marriages in all cultures and at all times is that they would reflect Christ’s love for and commitment to His people (Ephesians 5:22-25). And we must remember that all that is broken and distorted as a result of the fall the Lord Jesus came to renew and repair. Only in and through Christ is it possible to view marriage according to God’s pattern and plan. Instead of us living according to our own way, He has graciously invited us to bow our hearts under His design, which is like no other. For some, it will call for great personal sacrifice to obey God’s commands in this area. For all of us living in the 21st century, it will call for courage to stand up for God’s ways in the face of man’s. In your particular context and circumstances, what will it mean for you to think, speak, and act in a way that reflects God’s design for His great gift of marriage?
The Seventh Day, God Rests
1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
The Creation of Man and Woman
4These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5When no bush of the field1 was yet in the land2 and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6and a mist3 was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—7then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat4 of it you shall surely die.”
18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for5 him.” 19Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed6 every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam7 there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made8 into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said,
“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.”9
24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
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