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 Shore PA. We will be teaching on the subject of marriage so I thought I would share some thoughts in my blog as well.)
There is a great deal of discussion today about marriage and family. My wife and I have been given the privilege of traveling to many parts of the world. We have been trusted to address congregations in Africa, India, South America and Europe on the topic of marriage. One of the challenges in teaching about anything to do with the family is that family is a very cultural topic.
The current debate over what constitutes marriage in the United States falls in the same category. When I begin my teaching on marriage and family in another culture, I always start with the same introduction. I tell them that every culture is wonderful. God created people with infinite variety. The cultures are expressions of that variety. I tell them that anything in any culture that does not agree with the Bible is wrong. No matter where we live, we cannot conform the Word of God to our culture we must conform our culture to the Word of God.
As I share on this topic, I would say the same thing to anyone who reads this. I know that there are some who follow my blog from other countries. You may have been raised with a completely different understanding of marriage and family than mine. Do not ask if I agree with your cultural understanding of marriage. Ask instead if what I am saying is biblical. If it is and your culture does not agree with what I am saying, I submit that you need to change.
Most of my readers come from the United States. I would say exactly the same thing to you. Some of what I will talk about will go against modern thinking. Some may call my point of view intolerant. I am intolerant of no one. I simply believe that God is real and that the bible is true. Do not judge my point of view. The question is whether what I am saying is biblical. If you determine that it is, next you have to decide if the bible is the guide for your life. If you do and your understanding of marriage does not agree with the bible, you have to change.
If what I am saying is not biblical, feel free to ignore it. If you do not believe in the bible as the absolute Word of God, what I say will be irrelevant to you. However, if you are a Christian who believes in the Word of God as the first and final authority in your life you must adjust your opinion and your culture to what the bible says about marriage. If that disagrees with culture or popular belief, so be it. The bible does not contain the Word of God it is the Word of God.
So, what does the bible say about marriage. There is a rule of bible interpretation that says that the first time something is mentioned in the bible it carries that meaning or throughout the Word of God. Today’s scripture is the first time that marriage is mentioned in the bible. In it, we can find some principles that are still biblically true today.
In the preceding verses, we find the story of how God brought all the animals before Adam to allow him to name them. There are many reasons why God did this but I want to focus on the part that is pertinent to our discussion. All cattle, birds and beasts of the field were paraded before Adam. The most important reason God did this is revealed in verse 20.
Genesis 2:20 (AMP) 20 And Adam gave names to all the livestock and to the birds of the air and to every [wild] beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.
Do you suppose that God thought maybe Adam might find a suitable partner in any of the animals he brought to him? God knew none of these creatures was a suitable partner for Adam. Adam needed to understand that there was nothing in all of God’s creation that could be a partner for him in life. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not man’s best friends.
Next, we see that God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam. Today we call that anesthesia. God was about to do surgery on him. Not only did God know that no other creature could complete man, he also knew that man’s perfect partner had to be exactly like him only completely different. How could that be?
God took something out of Adam. We read that God removed a rib from Adam. I believe the bible, so that is what it was. The rib signifies that this partner is to stand by Adam’s side, not below or above him. However, I believe there is more to it than that. I believe God removed more than a bone from Adam. I believe he removed DNA from him. The DNA he removed contained something that made the being he created as different from Adam as she was the same. He removed that part of himself that we see as female.
Now do not panic! I am not saying God is a she. God represents himself to us as male. That said, did the idea of “female” come from somewhere else besides God? Is the female of the species less a child of God than the male? The New Testament tells us that in Christ there is neither male nor female. (Galatians 3:28) There is no difference in the spirit or in our standing with God.
One of the names of God is El Shaddai. Shad in Hebrew is the breast. This name of God implies that he is the “breasty one” or the source of all that we need just as the mother is the source of all that a baby needs. God represents himself to us as male but what we think of as female is also an aspect of God. It is that aspect of himself that he removed from Adam.
I am sure someone will ask what kind of creature that made Adam. I think he was human. I am not saying he was something other than what we see today. I am saying that somehow in God’s wisdom and ability he took the DNA building block from which he formed Adam, removed the female aspect of himself and made another person from it. She was just like Adam, but oh so different. Let the excitement begin!
So far, we can conclude two things about biblical marriage. First, nothing else in creation is a fit partner for man. His partner must be like him, but must also be different. What point would there for man’s partner in God’s plan to bring the same thing to the partnership that Adam did?
Second, we see that the one that God brought to him was created specifically to meet that need. She was made from what he was. The part of God that she represented was no longer a part of Adam. She was separate and unique and yet she was the same. She was his perfect “helper mate.” He was man and she was wo-man.