The Family: Foundations are Shaking

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1. Marriage: God's Good Creation

(Genesis 2:18-21)

Rev. Barry Gritters

The family is foundational because God made it that way. God created the family in paradise as the first institution He made. To begin our treatment of good family life properly, we must understand the beginnings of family life in creation, especially the first marriage and family.

First, God made Eve out of Adam, and not from the dust, as He created Adam (Genesis 2:7). Therefore, Eve was not independent, not Adam's equal, but was made a helper, and perfectly "fit" for Adam (this is the idea of the word "help-meet" of Genesis 2:18 in the KJV). What a wonderful creation of God the woman is!

But now, since woman is not man's equal (except in terms of their salvation), we need to guard against thinking that women are lowly, insignificant, inferior creatures. Not so! The long history of the woman being trampled on is not Biblically founded! Let every male chauvinist hear this: God said that it was necessary for Adam to have a wife (Genesis 2:18). Remember, too, that also Eve was created in God's image, unlike all other creatures. The woman must be glorified, and her place exalted.

Second, marriage is "leaving father and mother" (Genesis 2:24). Not that children must abandon their parents when they marry, but that they must see marriage now as the most important relationship in their life, even above the parent-child relationship. This is amazing! The tie of flesh and blood takes second chair to the tie God makes in marriage. There are two important implications of this. First, if this is true, parents ought to let children go when they marry. More marriage problems occur either because children do not really leave, or because parents do not release them. Second, if this tie is stronger than the bond between parent and child, people should be even more horrified at a spouse abandoning another spouse, than at parents who abandon an infant in a dumpster! How sad that some have become numb to this horror!

Third, in marriage a man "cleaves" to his wife (Genesis 2:24). Cleaving means "clinging to, holding dearly." This refers to a covenant commitment by the husband and wife to each other. They are, as it were, glued together. That's the picture in the Biblical word. This also expresses the permanence of marriage. Jesus emphasized this in the New Testament, in answer to the Pharisee's question on divorce: "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." If a man and woman are not committed to this kind of permanence in marriage, they may not marry in God's name.

Fourth, marriage is "becoming one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Marriage is even closer than cleaving to the other; it is two becoming one. Jesus reaffirms this in Matthew 19:6: "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh." This refers to the sexual union, but we should not limit it to that. Husbands and wives become one in their entire nature--their thinking, hopes, sorrows, joys. . . . What a wonderful, good creation marriage is!

Is this what the most television programs teach? That God made marriage? That God brings men their wives? That the woman is a helper, perfectly suited for her husband? That the woman was made the glorious image of God and ought to be honored for that? That marriage is leaving parents and cleaving, permanently, to the wife? Rather, it teaches the opposite, leading away from the Biblical foundations. Can't you just hear the Old Testament prophet sing, "Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law" (Psalm 119:136)?

God made marriage. God brought Eve to Adam. God performed the first wedding and established it as a permanent institution among men. Denial of this truth explains why marriage is corrupted so badly today. Also, any kind of evolutionism denies that God created marriage--if not explicitly, then implicitly. And if marriage is not God-made, but man-made, then man may do with it as he pleases, as is being done almost everywhere today. Then Ann Landers, Harvey Rubin, and Sally Jesse Raphael will determine the standards for right and wrong in marriage. Then anything may be done. But marriage is a creation of God. Because it is, we must obey God's regulations for marriage: one man for one woman; sex only for marriage; no divorce, except for fornication, and no remarriage unless death dissolves the bond; the man is the head of the woman, husbands loving their wives, wives submitting to their husbands. (the Lord willing, we will look at each of these more closely in future pamphlets that we send to you.)

To disobey these regulations is to invite disaster. Shall someone say that because he does not like the ordinance of gravity, he will disobey it . . . without suffering seriously? So it is with the regulations of God in marriage. No one can disregard them without suffering the most disastrous consequences, as we all know so well.

The only escape from this misery is to look at the Creator of marriage, the Creator of heaven and earth: obedience to Him, following His ways, and finding grace in His Son Jesus, Who came to deliver us from all our misery and destruction, yes, in family life too.

Next: Marriage: A Beautiful Reflection
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Last modified, 26-Apr-1998