What is marriage? From the earliest chapters of Scripture along with others we learn that marriage was created and instituted by God. Marriage became a part of this world by means of Divine design and definition. Scripture is clear that it was between a man and a woman with the purpose of procreation (Gen. 1:28a), pleasure (Proverbs 5:18-19), partnership (Gen. 2:18) and productivity (Gen. 1:28).
The opening chapters of the Bible give the record of the first marriage in history (Gen. 1 & 2). This was the wedding between a man and a woman. Before this union occurred, it is helpful to consider the events leading up to it. God made Adam (the first man in history) on the sixth day and declared, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18). After this the Lord brought land animals and the birds which He created to Adam to see what he would name them. Of course, none of these were suitable to be “a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:20). So then, the Lord caused Adam to sleep and from his side created the first woman (Gen. 2:21-22). After the Lord brought these two together in marital union, He said to them “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). It was essential that if this mandate of procreation was to be fulfilled, Adam needed a wife and Eve needed a husband. The Lord provided the gift of sexual relations within the confines of marital union between a male and female.
This first act of marital union was not intended to be first simply so that there may be a further population, thus allowing for other forms of union (homosexuality, open marriage etc.). Instead, this first marriage provided the Divine standard and pattern for marital union. As a result of Adam and Eve coming together we read, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). The pattern is simple – a man (male) will leave the confines of parental authority (again male and female) and cleave to his wife (female) and thus become one flesh. This creation ordinance was also affirmed in the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 19:5) and Paul (1 Cor. 6:16 and Eph. 5:31). These passages indicate an affirmation of the continuance of this Divine design of marital union.
Another feature of marriage is the benefits and blessings that are enjoyed and intended in the Divine design. Here are four things mentioned earlier on:
Procreation: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28a).
Pleasure: Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love (Proverbs 5:18-19)
Partnership: Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him (Genesis 2:18)
Productivity: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28)
These four blessings of marriage actually fall under the main point of marriage. Marriage is actually an illustration and picture of something far bigger. God didn’t create marriage simply because He thought it would be a good idea, though it is certainly good! He created so as to be an illustration or picture of the greatest relationship ever to be experienced – and that is the relationship between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:22-33). God joins a husband and wife together in marital union, which then becomes an enterprise for the glory of God. Christian marriages are to be a picture of Christ and His Church. Looking beyond the earthly illustration, there is good news for people to hear. Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners. For all who trust in Christ alone for forgiveness of their sins, they enter into the greatest relationships ever.
The institution of marriage is a wonderful creative act of God. Marriage is something that God has established and designed. The Church didn’t invent it, nor is it something reserved for conservative Christians. Also, marriage is not something society or government have any right to redefine. Marriage is an institution that God has ordained and is grounded in creation. When God made male and female He intended for them to be married. Furthermore, marriage provides many benefits of a spiritual, sexual and social nature. For this reason, God views marriage as important and precious.
What is marriage? From the earliest chapters of Scripture along with others we learn that marriage was created and instituted by God in creation. It was between a man and a woman with the purpose of procreation (Gen. 1:28), pleasure (Proverbs 5:18-19), partnership (Gen. 2:18) and productivity (Gen. 1:28). The Bible is clear that marriage is an exclusion of same-sex union or any other form of relationship outside of the clear parameters set by Scripture. God designed marriage, His Word describes marriage, and the people of God ought to defend marriage.
In future posts I will be looking at practical issues surrounding this topic like, cohabitation, sexual sin, same-sex unions, and how a marriage can bring glory to God.