Gen 2:18-20 "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him."
God had concern that Adam would have someone to fellowship with, indicating that God is concerned with our family and social life. He said: it is not good that man should be alone. Out of all creation, man was made able to communicate in a variety of ways: a look, speech, reading, writing. It is Godís intention that we should communicate, particularly with him, but also with each other. According to this verse, being a loner, a hermit, is not the will of God. We NEED to interact with others.
God said, "I will make him an help meet for him." an opposite, a counterpart. This new thing was to be of the same kind, but different. Notice the word is "help meet" - not slave. Marriage is introduced and it is to be a give and take relationship, a mutual helping of each other.
Verse 19 - doesnít state WHEN God created these animals, we already know from chapter 1 that that the animals and birds were created before Adam, on the fifth and sixth days. In this verse he simply brings them to Adam to see what Adam would call them, and here we learn a couple of things. Adam had great intellectual ability. Think of how many different kinds of animals and birds there are in the world. Adam named them all. How many of us could think up so many descriptive names? We also learn that animals are fine for companionship, but they can never take the place of human interaction. Itís okay to love and enjoy our pets, but they are pets, not people. In verse 20 Adam names the cattle and birds "but for Adam there was not an help meet found." Animals donít fill the bill.
Gen 2:21-22 "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."
This was the first surgery ever performed, and anesthetic was used. Blood was shed. Anytime the flesh is opened, blood is shed and the shedding of blood indicates covenant. In Godís plan, marriage is to be between two virgins and when the marriage is consummated blood is shed. Marriage is a lifelong covenant between two people, broken only upon death of one of the people or when one or both of the parties introduces a third party into the marital relationship. This is called adultery. In the Old Testament it was punishable by death, and in the New Testament it is grounds for divorce. Marriage is a human institution initiated by God. It is not eternal - Jesus said there is no marriage in the resurrection, and the marriage is ended with the death of either spouse. This is why adultery was punished by stoning in the Old Testament. In the New Testament divorce is allowed (but not required) because of fornication, which introduces grace: the person is allowed to live. The idea is that he or she will repent for the sin .
"And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." God did not use a foot bone: Eve was not created to be a door mat; God did not use a hand bone: Eve was not created to be a slave; God did not use part of the skull: Eve was not created to ĎLord it overí Adam.
God used a rib: a bone that protects the heart and lungs - internal organs that are critical to the existence of life; a flexible bone that is very close to the heart. When teaching on this subject, I like to ask a husband to put his rib back in place. He will lift his arm and place it around her shoulders: this is a protective position. She will also put her arm around his lower back: this is a supportive position. He is usually a little taller - someone she can look up to. She is usually a little smaller - she needs his protection. Their heads are close together - no need to shout, a position conducive to intimate communication. It is not the physical size that is important - it is the relationship demonstrated by Godís choice of the rib that is important. It is a picture of an intimate, loving, protective, supportive relationship - marriage.
The first marriage ceremony ever occurred in the Garden of Eden. Gen 2:23-25 "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 shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."
The marriage relationship is meant to teach the union between Christ and his church: the body and the bride. As Eve was taken out of Adam, through marriage she is rejoined with him. In the same way, we are one, united with Jesus Christ. Christians are the body of Christ on earth, and we are also the bride of Christ.
Eph. 5:22-33 gives us information regarding the marriage relationship and how it is a picture of the Christianís relationship with Jesus Christ. "22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."
The passage begins direct instruction on the marriage relationship - "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body." Notice that wives are to submit to their own husbands. God has established an order in the family: the husband is the head, the wife is his helpmeet, and the children are under the authority of both parents. The wife is to submit to the leadership of her husband just as ALL Christians - including husbands - are to submit to Jesus. It is not that God sees men as more valuable than women, it is simply that an authority structure needs to exist in any organization and the family is the basic structure of society.
All organizations have one person who is in charge of the whole thing: it might be the president, the CEO, the owner, etc., but there is one person who holds organizational authority, and that same person also holds organizational responsibility. He is the one who will answer for the decisions that are made. The ultimate authority is held by God and he commands us to live according to his precepts recorded in the Bible. Because he knew that man could not do this on his own, he also took responsibility for making it possible for man to live in obedience by sending Jesus to die for us.
Eph 5:24 says, "Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." This verse tells us that the relationship between Christ and the church is to be mirrored in marriage. This does not mean that a wife submits if her husband asks her to do something that is against the moral laws of God. In that case a wife is not required to submit, but she needs to make sure that she really is in the right.
When a woman is going to take a stand within the home she needs to search the scriptures to make sure her position is based on Godís word and not something she heard or thought she heard at any point. Someone once told me she has a "conviction" about not wearing jewelry, including a wedding ring. She was raised to believe that the Bible teaches that women should not wear jewelry (the Bible does not teach this) and she decided she should remove her wedding ring. Her husband did not approve, and in fact told me that the day she took off that ring was the day they were divorced. The woman, believing she was in the right, lived in such a way that her husband had no interest or desire whatsoever to visit her church. He is dead now, and possibly in hell, because his wife insisted in doing something in the name of God that was not part of scripture and was directly opposite of her husbandís wishes. As wives, we need to be very sure that what we believe and proclaim really is the word of God
Eph 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." Men are not off the hook with God. They are to love their wives even as - just like - Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Jesus loved the church so much he literally died for it. This is what it took for him to acquire that which he loved, which is us. He placed the salvation of those who would become his body/bride ahead of his very life. Men are not called to literally die to obtain a wife, but they are to put her needs and desires ahead of their own just as Jesus did. Jesus gave himself for the church: husbands are to give themselves for their wives.
As a woman, I am not known for my baking skills (because I plainly donít have any!). Now, my husband loves lemon pie. On his birthday several years ago I hadnít acquired a birthday cake, but the makings for a lemon pie were in the house, left there by my mother (who certainly CAN bake). So, I pulled out the stuff and made my husband a lemon pie for his birthday. He was so thrilled that I had actually baked for him. I cut him a piece of the pie and proudly served it to him, and he ate it with joy and thanksgiving. Now, I really donít like lemon pie, but a little later I decided to have a piece in honor of his birthday. I cut the piece, took a bite, and looked at him with great astonishment. It was truly the worst taste of pie I had ever eaten. Itís a fact that my husband loves me. We had a good laugh and put the rest of the pie down the garbage disposal. We gave ourselves for each other - the pie was horrible but we sure enjoyed warm fuzzy feelings of love for each other because each was willing to give of himself. We still laugh over that pie.
Verses 26-27 tell us why Christ give himself for the church. "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." The Lord Jesus will have a beautiful bride - he will see to it himself. Jesus sanctifies and cleanses his bride with the washing of water by the word, which means that as we study his word we learn more about how he wants us to live, and things that shouldnít be in our lives fall out of our lives. When a woman dresses for her wedding she does not just grab any old thing out of the dirty clothes, throw it on and go. That wedding dress will be the most beautiful and finest that she can afford. It will be spotlessly clean and pressed to perfection. When she puts it on she will feel like a queen: royal and beautiful. And all that preparation is for the man waiting at the altar.
In the same way Jesus prepares his bride by cleansing us with the washing of water of the word. There wonít be anything defiled, or dirty, or wrinkled in his bride. No missing buttons or jammed zippers. In these verses Jesus himself is an example that husbands are to follow. HUSBANDS are to see that their wives and children are instructed in the scripture. If the husband fails in this regard, he is responsible to God for that failure. Men have more authority, but they also have more responsibility.
Eph 5:28 says, "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself." Just as God created Eve out of one of Adamís ribs, so when a couple are married they become one flesh: the man puts his rib back in place. As the woman was created out of the manís rib, so when they enter into the covenant of marriage the rib is replaced. In Godís sight, they are one body. "He that loves his wife loves himself." Why? Because the two are joined as a unit - as one body. Marriage is a human institution - it only lasts until death or rapture. There will be no marriage in heaven (Matt. 22:24-30) because the heavenly marriage is between Jesus and his bride.
Eph 5:29-30 says, "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." Notice: "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh." This is the word of God, and the word of God directly states that no man ever yet hated his own flesh. We have all heard of the idea of low self esteem. According to the word of God NO human being has low self esteem. People do horrible things, not because they hate themselves, but because they love themselves so much they feel they are above every law. Ever hear someone say, "I hate myself - I am so ugly"? That person doesnít hate himself: if he did he would be glad he was ugly. That person loves himself so much he feels he deserves to be pretty.
The ultimate expression of self-love is suicide. The person who takes his own life does not do so out of a lack of self esteem or self love, he does so because he loves himself so much that he feels he should not have to tolerate whatever circumstances he is in. The Bible says no man ever yet hated his own flesh. In Matt. 22:39 Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as (just like) ourselves, because man is so filled with self-love that if he loves others just like he loves himself he would do no one any harm.
A man nourishes and cherishes his own flesh by making sure his own body is fed and clothed. He is to do the same for his wife, even as - just like - the Lord does for the church.
Eph 5:30-31 says, "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." These verses are a statement that the body of Christ and the bride of Christ are one and the same. Notice that the verse uses the same words that Adam used in the garden. While human marriage is only temporary, the real marriage, which is between Jesus Christ and his Bride, is eternal. Like human marriage, it is a covenant sealed with blood - the blood of Jesus.
As has been stated, adultery (extra-marital sex) introduces a third party into the human marriage covenant. Since that covenant is between two people and there isnít room for a third party, a person who commits adultery breaks the covenant. The law of Moses says this: Lev 20:10 "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." The New Testament allows divorce (Matt. 19:9).
God is very serious about this because he wants what is best for man, but also because just as human marriage is a picture of the relationship between Jesus and his bride, so human adultery is a picture of the introduction of a third party into that same relationship. The only third party there is spiritually is Satan. Nothing and no one is to come between us and the Lord. Jesus said he would never leave us or forsake us, but if we allow Satan (sin) to enter the relationship, we are in effect walking away from the Lord
Just to make sure we get it, the next verse says (Eph 5:32) "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." For those who donít get it: (Eph 5:33) "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."
In Matt. 19:3-9 Jesus addressed divorce. "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
Divorce is allowed for "fornication". We usually define this word as sex outside of marriage which can include both pre-marital and extra-marital sex, but the Greek word is porneia - we get our word pornography from it. What it means is any illicit sex - period. But Jesus himself took it further: he redefined adultery. Matt 5:27-28 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." According to Jesus, adultery is a matter of the motives of the heart. Notice he simply said "looks on a woman to lust after her." He gave no qualifications whatsoever as to who that woman might be. She might be a woman walking past, a model in a magazine, a movie actress, or a woman who poses for pornographic pictures. A man commits adultery when he looks on ANY woman with a thought to what it would be like or I WANTÖ A woman is equally at fault when she dresses in a manner calculated to make a man think things he should not think.
Jesus redefined adultery because what a person thinks about, or dwells upon, he will DO at the first opportunity. Again - according to Jesus fornication is grounds for divorce. In the Old Testament the person was stoned to death and the surviving spouse was free to start dating that afternoon.
Because the New Testament allows divorce under these circumstances, we see the introduction of grace and mercy. The bottom line is that adultery breaks the marriage covenant, and while under the Old Testament this resulted in the death of the adulterer thus freedom for the innocent party, under the New Testament divorce is allowed which gives the adulterer an opportunity to repent for his sin. Either way, the innocent party is free, and whom the son hath made free is free indeed. God does not penalize the innocent for someone elseís sin. Today, sex outside of marriage can result in death: AIDS. This is not to say that adultery MUST result in divorce. God is able to perform miracles of forgiveness, but in the case of marriage he does not require that the innocent party forgive and act as though nothing has happened.
According to I Cor. 7:13-15, divorce is also allowed in the case of a mixed marriage. A Christian is not to divorce an unbeliever simply because he or she is an unbeliever, but if the unbeliever wants out, the marriage may be ended. This does not give the Christian the right to make the marriage so miserable that the unbeliever wants out. "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace." A person who is not under bondage is a person who is free, and whom the son hath set free is free indeed.
I Cor. 7:20 answers the issue of a person who has been married, divorced and remarried before they were saved: "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called" and Deut. 24:1-4 clearly declares that this person should not remarry the first spouse: this is an abomination to God.
There are people that I know and love who are caught in these issues. They need to know that Godís mercy and forgiveness are greater than their sin. They will have problems in life - no doubt about it - but they have not committed the unforgivable sin. It is far better for a Christian to wisely and prayerfully choose a believing mate. If so, most of the really huge problems can be avoided.