Genesis 2:21-25 (NKJV) 21 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. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 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.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
(We will be joining Pastor Steve and Dilonna Coran at their great church, Faith Fellowship Worship Center, in Jersey , PA. We will be teaching on the subject of marriage so I thought I would share some thoughts in my blog as well.)
This week we are looking at marriage from a biblical perspective. For those of us who believe that bible to be the Word of God, the only way to understand marriage is to understand it in the context of God’s creation. Marriage is God’s idea and no matter what culture we live in we must approach it that way. We started by looking at the first mention of marriage in the bible.
In Genesis 2, the Lord brings a helpmate to Adam. In that moment, he created marriage. We have learned a number of things from this section of scripture alone.
1. God brought the animals before Adam, not just so he could name them but also so that he would understand that nothing in creation to that point could meet his need for a companion.
2. He made the woman out of man’s body. He gave her man’s DNA but with a difference. She is like man but designed to be different at the same time. They were, in fact, made for each other.
3. They are called to be one flesh. They are separate individuals but when they come together in marriage, they become one. Their lives, wealth and destiny are now the same.
4. In order for them to create, the male and female aspects must come together again. Physically this produces children. This creative flow affects all of life. When marriage is working correctly, it will affect creativity in ministry, business, family and any other endeavor of life. It will also spill out to the local church and to children within the family structure.
I want to look at one more thing from this scripture. The last statement in Genesis 2 is this. “They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” I have heard teachings from people that I highly respect that say they were not really naked. Their contention is that they were clothed with the Glory of God and so they were actually covered. In the third chapter of Genesis when man falls from grace the bible says that they knew that they were naked and tried to cover themselves. For some this proves that Adam and Eve were not running around the garden nude.
Although I do think they were covered with the Glory of God and something certainly changed at the fall, I think that this scripture says exactly what it means. The man and his wife were naked and not ashamed. The thing that changed in the fall was the shame part. I believe there are some important things we need to understand about marriage from this verse.
First let me be clear. I am not advocating public nudity. There are very few of us that need to be seen without clothes! None of us need those images. Remember, there was no one else in the world at the time. The Garden was Adam and Eve’s bedroom so to speak. One thing we need to see in this verse is the fact that sexuality in marriage is nothing to be ashamed of. They were naked and not in any way ashamed. We have no record that Adam and Eve had sex before the fall. We have not record they did not. They did not have children until after they sinned. One thing is sure; sex was not the original sin. It was always God’s intention for man to share in the process of creation and there is only one way for them to do that. Sex was God’s idea.
I believe it is acceptable for a man and his wife to enjoy each other’s bodies. I believe sexuality in marriage is ordained of God. I believe it is pleasing to God when a man and his wife enjoy that most intimate of physical experiences. I believe that both nakedness and sex are reserved exclusively for marriage. Nudity outside of marriage creates sexual arousal that is inappropriate and can only lead to bad things. Sex outside of marriage creates unions in the spirit that are sinful. Children are born outside the family structure. People are joined together and torn apart at will. God’s way is always the best way. (1 Corinthians 6:15-16)
Today, there is this prevailing idea that sex is just natural fun. When two people like each other, sex is going to result. The thinking is that no one is hurt so what is the problem. The problem is that God created sex and he created for a purpose. The purpose is three fold. First, sex is for creation. God gave us sex so that we could create children in his image. Remember, they are his children as much as ours. What right do we have to create them outside of his plan?
Second, God gave sex to be an expression of the covenant of marriage. Any covenant has a sign in the flesh. Sexual intercourse is the ultimate act of covenant. In the bible, covenant partners become one. The marriage covenant takes two individuals and makes them one flesh. We think this is just a natural thing, but covenants are also spiritual. Jesus came because of a covenant between God and Abraham. When I have sexual intercourse with my wife, we are expressing and reaffirming the reality of our covenant. This is very important.
Third, sex was given to man as an expression of pleasure and joy between a man and his wife. Sexuality should be the ultimate way in which two people can minster to each other. Sex should never be about selfishness. It should always be about ministering to your spouse. When it is, the kind of physical pleasure that comes through our sexuality is deeper and more beautiful than any other. When it is not, it is just an animal response to urges that can become harmful and ugly.
The problem with sex in the world is that the first two reasons God created it are left out of the equation. In most movies, TV and other media, sex is just about pleasure. However, God puts creation and covenant as first and second in the order of importance. The world puts pleasure first, creation second and simply ignores the idea of covenant altogether. The result is human sexuality that is out of balance and out of control. Sexual addiction, pornography and perversion of every kind are at an all time high. The only explanation for abortion is that pleasure is higher on the scale of importance than creation.
Adam and Eve were given their sexuality as a gift and for specific purposes. When we keep that balance in place, we can enjoy what God has given. We will bring godly offspring into the world. We will reinforce our covenant relationship with one another and we will enjoy the pleasure God gave us while walking in the responsibility that comes with the pleasure.
There is one more thing in this verse but that will have to wait for tomorrow.