Finding God's Design for Marriage

This article has been curated from "Marriage: Finding God's Design" by Dr. Corbett Gaulden. You can purchase your copy in the eGen store.

GOD'S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE DISPLAYS SONSHIP

Many have acknowledged that the first human relationship was marriage; specifically, the marriage of Adam and Eve subsequent to Eve’s coming forth from Adam. The only relationship that preceded marriage was the Father-son relationship that GOD had with Adam (Luke 3: 38). Technically, even that is not true, because before Adam could take Eve in marriage, Eve had to be brought forth out of the living flesh of Adam (Genesis 2: 20-25). It may be provocative to say so, but this implies that there is a kind of spiritual womb in a man that stands in some kind of parallel to the natural womb in a woman. Now, it is only fair to say that GOD was in a “startup”mode and that Adam and Eve were the first of each: male and female. Hence, each of these starter-persons had to come into existence. First, GOD created the male from inanimate earth and breathed life into that inanimate object (Genesis 2: 7). He could have repeated that process to create Eve. He could have taken some more inanimate earth, rolled it up, and breathed the female into existence. However, He did not choose to make Eve in that manner. To bring her into being, GOD caused the man to fall into a very deep sleep, opened his living flesh, took some component from that living flesh, and then closed the opening in the man’s flesh. Then, with that extracted, living flesh, He made the woman. The woman was “born”from (came out of) the flesh of the man. Subsequently, all human beings have been born out of the living flesh of a woman.

Apparently, Adam approved of the work GOD had made from his living flesh. Adam immediately claimed that woman as his own because she came out of him. He reclaimed that which had been within him and took her as a wife. This, obviously, was the first marriage. But Eve was first Son of Adam; her flesh-being came from his flesh-being in a manner that did not require the normal mechanisms of human reproduction. There is no evidence that GOD breathed life into the woman. It seems that the living flesh of the man had the requisite life already in it. GOD simply made the living flesh of the man into the woman. Her life came out of the life of the man.

GOD'S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE DISPLAYS FELLOWSHIP

There is an interesting implication in this opening narrative of human history. It is found in Adam’s declaration, upon first seeing Eve: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”(Genesis 2: 23, emphasis added). GOD’s act was not political or sociological in any way; He “simply”made the woman with purposes of His own. In so doing, He also knew what He expected from the man (Genesis 1: 28-30). It was a simple wedding, really. There were no groomsmen or bridesmaids, and only heaven was there to witness the events. But they were truly married, nonetheless, in humanity’s first wedding “ceremony.”Adam’s use of the first person singular possessive pronoun—“bone of MY bones and flesh of MY flesh”—signals his recognition that GOD made this particular woman for him and brought her to him. In this particular instance, it was absolutely true that she was bone of HIS bones and flesh of HIS flesh. She was exclusively “of” him in all her being. There was not another from whose bone or flesh she was taken to make her and bring her to life.

It is interesting to note in passing that when GOD created the man, the woman was already inherently in the man; that is, once the man was created, all that was needed to make the woman was already in the man. Scripture specifically implies this (Genesis 1: 27). GOD created them “male and female.” Thus, man was some sort of compound being from the start, in spite of his apparent solitude. This compound being needed fullness of expression in a manner that provided human fellowship for the man (Genesis 2: 18). That fellowship came in the form of the woman. This was not intended to replace the man’s fellowship with GOD, but to add the richness of human fellowship with the woman to the divine fellowship Adam already enjoyed with GOD. The divine fellowship was of a Father-son type (Luke 3: 38), while the marriage was fellowship of a very different kind.

GOD'S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE DISPLAYS ONENESS

It is my assertion that the marriage dyad is of fixed construction. Not only is it composed of one man and one woman, but it is composed of a particular man and a particular woman .

Suppose for a moment that it were GOD’s will that a particular woman who was alive in the earth at a particular time be the wife of a particular man who was alive in the earth at the same time. Could GOD not fashion the spirit-life in the woman from the spirit-life He placed in the man as He did with the flesh in the case of Adam and Eve? I’m not trying to sound creepy, but is it possible that an omnipotent GOD could do such a thing? If so, would it not be wonderful for the particular man to be united with the particular woman in a marriage? Or is marriage simply a random phenomenon?

In distinction from our modern cultural ideas, Scripture presents us with the idea of the man and the woman becoming some sort of unitary phenomenon. The two are to become “one flesh”(Genesis 2: 24; Mark 10: 2-12; Ephesians 5: 31). This design feature is unequivocal. One of GOD’s expected outcomes of marriage is that the flesh man and the flesh woman together exemplify the oneness of CHRIST and His one, particular Bride. There simply is no room for ambiguity in this matter. Marriage between the man and the woman has a nature that, while mysterious, is not ambiguous. Part of that nature is to put on display on the earth the oneness that CHRIST displays in eternity with His Bride, the church.

Obviously, a man and a woman in a marriage do not occupy the same existence. They can be in places that are separated by great distances. They are not physically congruent. So, what is this “oneness”of which Scripture speaks? Oneness does not mean sharing a brain or a physical body, but the word clearly implies the sharing of something. It may even imply sharing virtually everything. We actually have a picture available to us in the form of inheritance in the patriarchal family. The husband inherited property and built its value. The wife lived in it and gave it color. She was as entitled to whatever was her husband’s as he was, whether they were in the middle of a quarrel or celebrating some great thing together. It was his but it was hers. This was not a distribution of things; it was a sharing of things. That must have something to do with oneness.

Oneness may also include shared purpose. If this be so, it implies that the marriage is working properly when the purposes of its partners are the same and not at variance with one another. This, of course, is not always an easy matter, as each partner has their own mind, senses and feelings, but generally it works in life.

GOD'S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE DISPLAYS PERMANENCY

The permanency of marriage in the face of the vicissitudes of life is quite a phenomenon, particularly in today’s self-interested culture. Regardless of stress, however, marriage is to result in a permanent oneness. As CHRIST and His Bride are eternally faithful to one another in their permanent oneness , so we must treat our own marriages. We must always be of the mind that whatever trials we face in marriage are simply for the purification of our frail humanity. This is necessary if we are to adequately represent CHRIST and His Bride in the world of humans .

Many people in most modern cultures today insist that these principles are too confining. They see oneness, in particular, as an offensive requirement for both males and females. That very struggle is a significant component of marriages in the world today. Oneness has been reduced to a political consideration. For all who follow CHRIST, however, marriage is a spiritual phenomenon, not a political one.

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