**This will be the first in a series of articles covering a very important topic from scripture. I would like to make a request to those who read it. The request is simply this… read it all. Do not just read one article, as it can leave you with an incomplete/invalid view of the teachings of scripture. For those who are willing to commit to reading a series, let’s dive in!**
As we consider the design of marriage, one thing that should be abundantly clear to all of us is that we cannot allow society to tell us what marriage is supposed to be. Like most things, in our frailty and sinfulness we have distorted what God’s design is. In order to see the design, we need to go to the beginning.
In the creation story in the book of Genesis we read that as God looked upon His creation He saw all that He had made was good.
I often pause to close my eyes and try to imagine what creation would have been like in the beginning. What the clean air would smell like/feel like in your lungs as you breathed it deeply in. What would it be like to be able to be surrounded by all of the animals without fear? I try to fathom what it must have been like for Adam to live each day without any weight of sin/shame. Total union with God and creation. This is truly an awe-inspiring thought. Everything was good… Well, almost everything.
Genesis 2:18 ESV
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.”
The one thing in all of creation that was not good is that man was alone. God’s solution to this situation was not to create more animals for Adam to tend to, or give him more work to do to keep him busy, or even to create someone else who was just like him. God created Eve.
The text says that God made a “helper” for Adam. Some bristle at that terminology and reject it. They view that language as somehow being demeaning to women, or speaking as if a woman’s only purpose in life is to be an assistant to a man. This is far from what is actually being said here in the text.
The Hebrew word translated as “helper” is עָזַר (ʿā·zǎr) which can mean- “one who helps, a support, an aid.” What is important to notice is that this word does not denote inferiority as we might apply to it when we hear “helper”. We know this because Exodus 18:4, Psalm 70:5, and several other passages use this same word to describe God. God is an ʿā·zǎr to his people. God certainly is not inferior to His creation.
The thrust of what is being said in the text is NOT that Adam (the man) is the “important one” and that Eve (the woman) is simply his assistant in life. Rather, the picture of scripture is that just as God helps His creation in ways that they cannot help themselves, Eve was able to do for Adam what he could not do for himself.
Anyone who has been married to a good spouse understands this principle first hand. You compliment one another, have different strengths, and you need one another. I sometimes wonder if my wife needs me half as much as I need her. I am confident that without my savior, I would be lost. I am also confident that in a different sense (but a very real one) without my wife, I would be lost.
In Genesis 2:21-22, we read that God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam and took one of his ribs and formed Eve. Upon seeing Eve, Adam recognized that she was “bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh”. She was like him, but different. She wasn’t inferior to him, she wasn’t superior to him. She came from his side. She was an equal part of God’s crowning jewel of creation, and she came to be for Adam what he could not be for himself.
In writing the creation account, Moses here adds the words of Genesis 2:24:
Genesis 2:24 ESV
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Moses ends this section of scripture with a point of application. He writes, “therefore”, most of us were taught to always remember that “therefore” is there – for – a – reason. It is connecting the previous thought. Moses is saying, “since it is not good for man to be alone” and “since God has created women to be what man cannot be” and “since woman is an equal part of creation” – a man shall leave father and mother, hold fast to his wife, the two shall become one flesh.
Moses is writing centuries after the creation event unfolded. He is drawing our minds back to the beginning to teach about marriage. Since God created the perfect partner for man, men should leave their family unit behind, and form a new family.
Man is not just to leave father and mother and get married. Rather he is to, “hold fast” to his wife. Literally meaning, “fasten himself to her”, forming a one flesh union. Just as one would “fasten their seatbelts” to make sure they don’t fall out of a rollercoaster through all of it’s ups and downs, twists and turns, husbands and wives are to fasten themselves together. They are in this relationship for the rollercoaster of life. They are to be together in the twists and turns, the ups and the downs. The two, have now become one.