And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)
Thursday, January 24, 2013
BIBLICAL ORDER IN MARRIAGE: THE TWO BECOMING ONE FLESH part 2
BIBLICAL ORDER IN MARRIAGE: THE TWO BECOMING ONE FLESH
Recently I presented a paper in my DMin class on what the Bible teaches about order in the marriage partnership. This paper sought to define terms, exposit pertinent scriptures, and provide practical application. It also sought to make the reader aware of how some well intended Christian teachers have complicated the issue. Thus, in a hopes that what I have found and written will benefit you,I am presenting this paper over the next several posts. Should you have questions or comments, you may send them to Perseveringpastor@gmail.com.
Genesis 2 and the pre fall condition of marriage is imperative to our understanding of God’s intention for Adam and Eve, and subsequently all marriages. When Jesus talks of marriage as “one flesh” in Matthew 19:4-6, He is describing that union which is part of what makes us “very good.” The natural design of a man and a woman is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. They are even more adept when they are joined in covenantal unity to do so.
Andreas Kostenberger points out three principles regarding marriage as God created it: “the man and the woman are created to rule the earth for God; the man is created first and is given ultimate responsibility for the marriage relationship with the wife being a suitable helper, and the fall of humanity creates negative consequences for both man and woman.”[i] These ideas are supported by the scriptures of 1 Corinthians 11:9, Ephesians 5, and 1 Timothy 2:12. The biblical idea of marriage is consistent throughout. Proverbs 31 gives us a keen insight as to how a wife can honor her husband as a virtuous and suitable helper.
The law of entropy states that things move from order to disorder. God however is a God of order. He created everything out of chaos, and likewise marriages. His order in marriage is a reflection of who He is. In Genesis 1 and 2 we see God creating everything with a purpose. These purposes must be understood and utilized as the ordered goal of the home. Therefore, husbands and wives are to work together, in an orderly united fashion, for the purposes of God.
In Genesis 2 we see an order in creation; man, and then woman. Eve is created out of a necessity for the man to have a suitable helper. The man is not complete without his helper. Therefore, the husband is the chief person of order and responsibility; however, his helper is what enables him to complete his charge before God. It would be foolish of the man to not love and protect his helper. In an instance of harming his wife, he would not only be harming his opportunities for success and faithfulness before God, his actions would be an affront to God Himself.
We should consider the gift of a wife from God in the context of Adam and Eve. Marriage is an orderly institution created by God. God saw Adam, and in His design created him with a need for relationship. This is not a flaw, but rather a blessing. This precursor is to help us understand our need for God in relationship.
Adam was created, and commanded to be a tiller of the soil and to tend to the animals before Eve was made. In God’s order, evidenced in the fall, God holds the husband responsible for the leadership of the family. Because the man needed a suitable helper, it is clearly implied that he was to take the lead responsibility for all matters of the home, yet he was incomplete for the task at hand. Adam was created to be a provider and protector; for that he certainly would need a counterpart to love.
“For this reason it can be truly said that marriage is God’s idea and that it was God who made the woman of His own sovereign will as a suitable helper for the man (Gen. 2:18, 20 niv).”[ii] Being a suitable helper carries the idea of being complementary to another. The idea of a suitable helper comes from the Hebrew words neged and ezer respectively. These words carry the direct idea of someone who is complementary in likeness; hence, someone who is synergistic to the leader. This union is where we first hear of God blessing; “and He blessed them.”(Genesis 1:28) One author points out; “Genesis 2 does not teach that she may merely act as the man’s helper when she so chooses but rather that serving as the man’s helper sums up her very reason for existence in relation to the man.”[iii]
In summary, Genesis 2 teaches us that each of the marriage partners has a role to perform in honoring God. It is a God honoring occupation to lead a family as well as to serve as the helper.