Genesis 2:4-25, “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
As we noted last Sunday verse 4 opens, “This is the history of…” which marks a transition in Moses’ presentation of the creation narrative. It would seem after providing the larger story-arch of the six days of creation and the seventh in which God rested, Moses now takes us back to the sixth day in order to fill in some of the details.
Thematically, you can divide these 21 verses into 2 basic sections:
1. The creation of man and woman… And the parameters of their enjoyment of this distinction.
2. The formation of their world… And the parameters of their enjoyment therein.
Last Sunday we addressed God’s creation of man and woman… To make the woman, God took certain genetic traits from the man which is why when Adam wakes up not only is he cognitively aware something is missing, but upon the presentation of Eve he recognizes that this part of him now existed in her! It’s why he declares, “Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh… because she was taken out of Man!”
As we noted the Bible is crystal clear on 4 points concerning human gender…
First, genders exist! Genesis 1:27 we’re told “in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Note: Not only does the Bible make it clear genders do exist, but the Scriptures attest that God determines a person’s gender. God made Adam and called him man (male), and He made Eve and called her woman (female). Gender assignments and there particularities were determined by the genetic and biological makeup of each - meaning your gender exists as a work of God.
I bring this up not to get on a soapbox to rage against Transgenderism or to even make an argument as to why you should boycott Target (which if you do you should also boycott Disney, Starbucks, ESPN, the NBA, and the NFL to be consistent)… Instead I bring up this point to explain that it should be no surprise to any of us that a society that has rejected the existence of God in every high school and collegiate classroom for the last 50 years would now view the position of gender distinctions being determined by biology and not the decision of the individual as bigoted.
While it’s clear our society has gone mad, understand it’s only being consistent. If there is no God behind our biology, then why should we allow random biological chance to be the sole determiner of maleness and femaleness, yet alone some antiquated, non progressive, societal norm negatively propagated by people who believe in God?
Second, genders are of equal importance. In Genesis 1:28 we read that “God blessed them, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion… over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Welch Pastor and author Matthew Henry famously wrote, “The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”
Third, while of equal standing and value before God, genders are distinct from one another both positionally and biologically. While all men are created equal, in no way does that mean all men are created the same! Every human being is different! Consider that not only was Adam created first and Eve brought to him by God to be responsible for, but the very fact God removed a certain biological part from the man to make the woman means there are simply aspects of the biological makeup of “male and female” that are intrinsically different from one another.
Finally, there is a divine purpose in these gender distinctions. In God’s design of gender it is through their equality and by their distinctions that a divinely inspired human unity could be achieved. Each gender was created in such a way that they would fill a unique genetic role essential to the most intimate of all human companionship.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed a subtly within the creation narrative, but God does more than simply speak order out of chaos! Over and over again we see His Word further setting the parameters for how this created order should naturally operate.
After creating “light” on the first day God immediately preceded to “divided the light from the darkness” … The same He did for the “waters” and “firmament” on day two. Then upon creating vegetative life on day three God established the parameters of recreation to occur through “seed” and “fruit” yielding life specifically “according to its kind,” before ultimately replicating this command concerning the procreation of fish, birds, and land animals “blessing them saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply!” God not only created all things, but He specifically determined how the things He created were to function and interact in the natural world for there to be order.
Man is no exception to this rule! God indeed made them “male and female” and He did so for the purposes of companionship, but He then determined that this ultimate joining together of the genders occur within the first of all human institutions… Marriage!
Notice how the last few verses of Genesis 2 are structured… We’re told “God made Eve, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’” Then after communicating the existence of and purpose behind creating the “male and female” genders, Moses continues by explaining that this ultimate human companionship of “man and woman” occur a very specific way… “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Understand, God determined that this joining together of the genders occur within a very unique process we refer to as marriage! Notice the result of “a man leaving his father and mother” was that he be “joined to his wife” (the woman) so that “they become one flesh.”
It’s essential you keep in mind the fundamental purpose of marriage was the enjoyment of this most intimate form of human companionship - procreation was a secondary objective!
Because Eve was removed from Adam making them distinctly separate, this subsequent “joining together” returned them to a state of completeness described as “one flesh.” In the Hebrew “one” (“echad”) “flesh” (“basar”) literally means “one body.” In His wisdom God took from the man the woman specifically so that he could bring them back together as “one!”
Before we continue I do think it’s important to say that our human desire for community and companionship can find a measure of satisfaction in the same sex. There is no doubt that we all have lasting friendships that are deeply meaningful. I can say that God has enriched my life with male friends that are more than friends but brothers I’d lay down my life for!
And yet, while same sex companionship is a reality when it comes to Scripture, it is true that human companionship in it’s ultimate form is found in a marriage union with the opposite sex. Paul would write in 1 Corinthians 7:6-9, “I say this as a concession… each one has his own gift from God… to the unmarried… if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
Notice for this marital oneness to occur between two people a “joining together” had to first take place between a “man and his wife.” This word “joined” literally means “cleave, follow hard, or stick.” Beyond referring to the mutual exchange of sexual pleasure this word speaks of a total commitment of the man to his wife and the wife to her husband.
Note: The oneness described in Genesis 2 cannot be achieved through sameness because it requires the unifying of two people uniquely distinct (“male and female”) in addition to decisively committed. Marriage oneness can only exist in a heterosexual, monogamous relationship safeguarded through a lasting commitment made before God.
And yet, for this “joining together” to take place a relational prioritization coupled with individual commitments are essential. In placing this idea in the context of “a man leaving his father and mother” true companionship and oneness with your spouse is only possible when it doesn’t have the strain of competing relationships or committal uncertainties. Note: This includes parental influences, buddies, girlfriends, old flames, children, or even imaginations.
I love Adam’s reaction when God presents to him Eve for the very first time… For Adam this woman (his wife) was the most beautiful woman in the world - true both figuratively and literally! The point is that for Adam his only standard for beauty was his wife.
What’s significant about marriage is not only what’s accomplished between two people (two people independently equal but uniquely distinct from the other forsaking all in order to come together for complete oneness existing in total harmony)… But marital significance mainly resides in how this oneness is actually accomplished and what it was ultimately instituted to represent.
Keep in mind the coming together of Adam and Eve did not occur within a vacuum. Consider the process leading up to Adam marrying Eve… First, the entire undertaking was initiated when God saw what Adam needed even though he was oblivious. Then God had him name the animals which not only reinforced to Adam all the things that were incompatible with him, but stirred within him a desire for genuine compatibility.
But then notice that God didn’t command Adam to go into the world and search for this companion. If he had it’s likely Adam would had settled for “close” not “right!” You see after revealing what was incompatible and stirring a need for compatibility, God put Adam to sleep.
And why did God do this? While it’s true God took from Adam to form Eve, don’t overlook the reality that the purpose behind this sleep was for God to preform an important surgery on Adam which would make him into a partner compatible for Eve! This is why it’s vitally important (instead of searching for a companion) you allow God to work on you so that you’ll become a person who will attract the mate you need! The old adage is true - the people you attract reveal a lot about the person you are!
Finally, in the end, it was God who brought to Adam Eve and conversely led Eve to Adam. We’re told “God brought the woman to the man.” While God left every other aspect of creation to obey the natural order He had established, not so with humanity! You see this marital joining together of a man and women was a direct and unique act of God.
God formed man, split him into man and women, then intentionally brought Eve to Adam so that He might join them back together as one unit. It’s why we call this process Holy Matrimony. By design this divine action is separate from every other part of His creation. This is why the key to oneness is the inclusion of God! While you can forsake all others and commit yourself to your spouse, it is only God who can supernaturally weave two separate people into “one flesh.” Note: It’s why we traditionally structure our vows not only to each other, but we make them to God as well!
Sadly, while many Christians rail against the State’s redefining of what’s always been seen as a religious institution, we fail to recognize that it has been our failure as Christians to live up to the uniqueness of our view of marriage that has undermined our own moral footing. While we claim marriage is supposed to be a supernatural act of God, should there be any surprise that our society no longer respects our stance when the divorce rates among Christians is identical to those who don’t share our position on marriage?
Think about it this way… Who really is responsible for removing God from the institution of marriage - the Church or State? Honestly, the State just made official what the Church has long been illustrating! Our failure to keep God in the center of our marriages has provided the secular State all the evidence it needs to claim God isn’t involved in marriage at all!
Let me explain why this is so tragic… The reality of the Bible is that God directly involved Himself in the instituting of marriage because it was designed to be a picture to humanity of a much larger reality… Marriage (this covenantal joining together of a man and woman by God for the purposes of enjoyment, completeness, and companionship) served to illustrate the way in which God viewed His relationship with mankind!
The reason Moses includes this story in the narrative of Genesis was not only to explain the importance of marriage and the origins of this institution, but to remind God’s people that Israel was in a covenantal relationship with God! Note: This is why in the book of Hosea, in order to explain the grave nature of Israel’s continued idolatry, God refers to them as being an adulterous bride!
How interesting it is that the only Biblical grounds for divorce is when an activity has been committed that fundamentally undermines the oneness marriage was instituted to create! Physical and emotional adultery tears at the fabric of “leaving all” and the act of being joined only unto your spouse (domestic violence does the same). Additionally, a spouse abandoning the other as a result of the involvement of God makes oneness impossible.
And yet… While God’s plan for marriage doesn’t include divorce, God’s plan following the fall of man did create an allowance for the abandoned or cheated upon party to remarry! Consider that God Himself divorced and remarried following years of Israel’s adultery.
Over and over again in the New Testament the Church is described as being the Bride of Christ. C.H. Mackintosh observed concerning this point, “God left not ‘the first man’ without ‘a helpmeet’; neither would He leave the ‘Second.’ As, in the case of the former, there would have been a blank in the creation without Eve, so, - stupendous thought! - in the case of the latter, there would be a blank in the new creation without the Bride - the Church.”
In his series on Biblical Masculinity Pastor Sandy Adams said, “Marriage derives its highest significance not just because it makes two people happy, orders society, or promotes the raising of kids. Marriage is special because it conveys spiritual truths important to God. God took a rib from Adam’s side. He used it to create a bride… On the cross a spear was thrust through Jesus’ side. Out flowed blood and water - the same blood that washes away our sin. God took from Jesus’ side, what He’d use to create His bride, the Church.”
And yet, the imagery Paul uses in Ephesians 5:22-33 takes this even further… “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
In conclusion… God created genders (man and women) and then determined that within marriage (this most intimate of human companionship when these distinct but equal genders join together to become “one”) to present a profound picture of His grace!
Consider… The only reason any of us have been “made alive” rests in the reality that from Jesus’ broken body we were formed by God so that we could be presented back to Him. Sure while it’s true we’re uniquely distinct from Jesus, as His bride, we have been afforded a covenantal relationship with Him through which we are now able to become “one” with Him…And what did we do? Well… What did Eve do? Absolutely nothing! It was a work of God!
While it’s true the only thing required of us is that we forsake all others, in His great love and by His grace, Jesus (the man) choose to “leave His heavenly father” to be “joined to his wife” in order that through our oneness with Him we might have life and that more abundantly - Justified, covered, sons and daughters of God, co-heirs of all the heavenly promises.
With all of this imagery in mind is there any wonder our secularistic, pagan society (one that has rejected the existence of God and the authority of His Word) would specifically attack the distinctiveness of human gender in addition to redefining the parameters of marriage?
Not only are these two progressive trends an affront to God’s established order, but they’re malicious in that they intentionally seek to deconstruct this very picture God has given to illustrate His desired relationship with humanity. Within Genesis 2 we see that it is by these very gender distinctions that marriage oneness has been made possible which present an amazing picture of God’s amazing grace!
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