Marriage was not created by people but for people. God designed it to fulfill His purposes and give fulfillment to His creation. We cannot truly appreciate marriage without appreciating and following the principles God established in His Word to govern it.
We’re looking again at the sixth day of creation. So far, God has filled the oceans with marine life and the universe with galaxies. Grass and trees are covering the ground, and cattle and all kinds of critters, including dinosaurs, are grazing on a miraculously mature earth.
According to Romans 5:12, before sin entered the world, there was no death—death came as a result of sin.
This means none of the animals here are carnivorous. There’s no death and therefore no killing for food at this point. The fall of Adam into sin will change a million things about God’s original creation.
Well, then, how did that T-Rex survive on grass? The same way an elephant does. But what about all those sharp teeth that are obviously used in ripping the meat off bones? They’re no different from the sharp teeth of the panda bear, who eats bamboo and leaves.
As the Holy Spirit communicates it to him, Moses is writing down God’s eyewitness account of creation—and He was the only eyewitness there. And according to God’s account, the original animal kingdom wasn’t killing and eating each other. And that’s good news for Adam because none of the animals are going to be wanting to eat him either.
Now the details of Day 6 are given to us in the second chapter of Genesis, where Adam has been taking in the wonders of his new home. And here in verse 18, God announces on this sixth day, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
After each day of creation, God always said, “It was good.” Now, for the first time, He says, “It is not good.”
Adam had figured that out too. According to verses 19 and 20, God had brought to Adam all the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky—the original pairs of each family or species—and Adam named them all. But verse 20 tells us that “forAdam there was not found a helper fit for him.”
In other words, God created animals male and female. Adam has observed their basic anatomy and design and complementary roles. And he’s suddenly aware that he’s missing his female counterpart. The Hebrew expression for “a helper fit for him” can be translated, “one who complements.”
You might expect God to scoop up another handful of dirt like he did in creating Adam. But God does something absolutely beautiful and unexpected.
Look at verses 21-22:
So 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. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
God didn’t use a handful of dirt this time. Maybe He wanted the woman to smell better! She probably did, but that’s not why God chose this method. I believe God wanted to show Adam (and us) that she was to be a companion, one who comes alongside her husband.
She wasn’t formed from his feet to be trampled on, or from his head to be his leader, but from his side.
Can you imagine this moment when God introduces Eve to Adam? I don’t know what Adam first said when he saw her, but the Hebrew word probably sounded a lot like shazzam!
We’re not told everything about this first encounter, but eventually Adam makes a speech here in verse 23. In fact, these are the first recorded words ever spoken in human history. Adam says, “This at last is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.”
I love that: “At last—finally—there’s a companion, a counterpart who fits me.”
Adam exercises headship by naming her. He says, “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
God is creating something else here besides the woman. He’s introducing the first couple—the first union, our first parents. This was the creation of the institution of marriage and family.
Marriage, which is the union of a man and a woman, isn’t man’s idea, but God’s. This wasn’t man’s creation; this was God’s creation.
A male and a female—a husband and a wife—this isn’t a social construct we’ve made up or somebody’s preference.This was God’s plan and His design for marriage from this time forward and throughout the human race.
And let me show you three principles here that make marriage a blessing, in any nation and in any culture.
First is the principle of priority.
God says in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother.”
A man leaves his father and mother. Now this isn’t telling the man to never speak to his parents again. He might not want them on his honeymoon, but he’s not supposed to ignore them.
God is referring here to priority. The couple are to develop their own direction in following the Lord’s leading. The responsibility of the wife is now to her husband, and the husband gives priority to his wife over every other relationship.
Second is the principle of permanency.
Verse 24 goes on to say that a man shall not only leave his father and mother but also “hold fast to his wife.” To hold fast, or “to cleave,” literally means “to cling to; to stick to.” It could even be translated “to weld together.”
The principle of permanency means you’re going to take your hand off the back door and throw away the key. If your marriage has a fire escape, there’s going to come a time when you’ll run for it rather than help put out the fire.
Third is the principle of unity.
Verse 24 wraps up by saying, “They shall become one flesh.” This idea of one flesh not only involves sexual intimacy, but also spiritual, emotional, and mental unity. It involves two people going in the same direction for the same reasons.
That doesn’t mean you’re going to think alike. My wife and I have been married for forty years, and I still can’t read her mind. And I still can’t get her to think like me. Even after all these years, we’re different from each other. And that’s a good thing because I certainly don’t need to be married to someone like me.
I had a man tell me one time after church that he and his wife were so different that the only thing they had in common was that they were both married on the same day.
Well, in spite of the challenges, the Bible, in 1 Peter 3, directs the husband to live with his wife in an understanding way and the wife to submit to her husband. These two directives are actually impossible for either spouse to fulfill perfectly. Can a husband perfectly understand his wife? No. Can a wife perfectly submit to her husband? No. And that’s where the Lord comes in. As we demonstrate our allegiance to Him, He enables us to express His love to each other.
Genesis chapter 2 is God’s original manual on marriage. These aren’t suggestions; these are descriptions of a godly marriage, marked by the principles of priority, permanency, and unity.
So, if you’re married today, make a fresh commitment to walk with God, who created you. Make a fresh commitment to encourage your spouse’s relationship with the Lord. And as a couple, make a daily commitment to walk with the God who created you for each other—for better or for worse (hey, you’re going to have both), for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as you both shall live!