Sunday, April 13, 2008

Marriage, Responsibility, and the Fall

In Biblical Theology class today, we were going through the three Creation Ordinances: Sabbath, Marriage, Work (Rule/Reign). I got pondering what Pastor Bob said about Marriage Principles, the Responsibility of Adam as the Covenant Head, and the subsequent Fall.

There are Seven Christian Marriage Principles found in Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed 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. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 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. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then 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.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

1. Celebration of Compatibility.
Both marriage partners are image bearers, made in the image of God (imago Dei), so they were spiritually and emotionally compatible. Eve wasn't a dog or a horse - but was very similar to Adam, because God made the woman out of the rib of the man. This means their flesh was perfectly compatible, physically.

2. Celebration of Companionship.
It was not good for the man to be alone. The animals couldn't talk, or share their feelings or hopes or dreams or desires. Adam needed someone to share his vision, to come alongside of him as his companion.

3. Celebration of God's Precious Gift.
Just as a father walks his daughter down the aisle, giving her to her groom, God brought Eve to Adam as a most precious gift. Adam's reaction was joy! Finally, someone to share his life with.

4. Celebration of Covenant Headship. (vs. 24)
In marriage, the wife leaves her father's headship (including his provision and protection) and comes under her husband's headship.

5. Celebration of Cleaving.
Just like two lumps of clay that are molded together and left to dry in the sun, the husband and wife are to cleave to each other. If you try to separate that dried lump of clay, it crumbles and is destroyed. Marriage is to be a cleaving together of two separate people. As a soldier without his sword will die in the midst of battle, so a husband without his wife is without strength.

6. Celebration of Completely One!
One in heart, one in vision, one in purpose - the husband and wife become one flesh. This is more than physical oneness. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed - completely vulnerable, honest with each other, without secrets.

We are not told in the account how long Adam and Eve were married before the Serpent (Satan) came along, intending to destroy. The Bible makes it clear that Adam fell, Adam sinned, that he transgressed the law, and so on. Eve certainly was deceived.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Eve was the one who reached out and took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and she gave some to Adam, who was with her.

We don't know if Adam was there the whole time, or if he happened on the scene. But it is clear that God holds him responsible as the Covenant Head.

In pondering this, I realized that both of them failed in their role as a marriage partner. As soon as Eve heard the snake talking, she should have run to her husband, her protector, to let him know that the garden had been invaded! Snakes don't talk! Something was up. But she thought she could handle it, and didn't think she needed protection. After all, she was as smart as Adam, and perfectly capable. Or was she?

And where was Adam? Was he being the companion to his wife that she needed? Was he protecting her, and being intimate with her in fellowship, instructing her and explaining all he knew about God's instruction. He should have stepped up! He should have known that she was vulnerable and easily deceived. If he had taken the time to really KNOW her, he would have figured that out.

I know this is speculative. However, I believe that God holds Adam responsible for a reason. Just as the wives and children of Daniel's accusers were thrown to the lions alongside their husbands/fathers, and just as Achan's family was cremated right along with him, God sees the family as a unit, and the husband as the responsible head.

Some applications:

1. Marriage is God's ordinance, not man's invention.
2. Marriage is a heterosexual union.
3. Man is the head of the home. (Genesis 2:18; 21 cf. Ephesians 5:22-23)
4. Marriage is a union for two believers. Do NOT be unequally yoked. (2 Cor. 6:14-18)
5. Sexual intercourse is great, but only within the marriage union. (1 Cor.7)
6. Women are not permitted to be in authority as a pastor. (1 Tim. 2:13ff)
7. Divorce is the result of sin. (Matthew 19:4-9)

So, husbands and wives, spend time together. Cultivate common interests. Practice the roles God has called you to, by letting your husband lead or your wife follow. Men, you are called to be leaders! Wives, you are called to be helpers. Do so, to the glory of God.

Husbands ought to be protecting their wives. This is important even within the family context. If a child is rude to his mother, the dad should be all over that with shock and awe! Protect her, and she will feel loved.

Work at intimacy by being vulnerable. Share intimately, and keep no secrets.

Companionship means working together on the house and property. Plenty of shoulder to shoulder time, subduing the earth and making it reflect the glory of God builds a sense of teamwork!

It's a mystery that Adam, created in the image of God, sinned in the first place. We have inherited that sin nature, but God calls us to be holy, as He is holy. One way we can do that is by determining that, with the Lord's help, our marriages will bring glory to God.

1 comment:

Kim from Canada said...

Hello Janet,
My visit here is a litte overdue. I have meant to browse your site since you visited mine last month.
This post was a good read. Our family is blessed to be part of a church that focuses on marriage and family issues. My pastor has given many talks similar to this one.
Thanks for sharing. I look forward to more!