Originally published in Creation 5, no 2 (October 1982): 26-28.
“Why get married? It’s cheaper to shack up!”
“No way - There are more tax advantages if we just live together!”
“But why should I marry, I am in love with Albert. He and I are going to do it together through life.”
“Hmph. .. even if I did get married, the odds are 3:1 it would end in divorce, after all, the only boy I’ve had sex with lately already had two wives.”
No-these attitudes are not made up. Just go to a party, ask around, check the kids at high school—find out for yourself. Even Christian marriages are breaking up, and young children torn from their faith by the actions of parents. People just don’t have a reason to believe in marriage anymore.
Why not? Marriage is a purely creation based relationship, and in Western Society, both nonChristians and Christians generally ‘think’ evolution, that’s why not! And evolution provides people with no basis for marriage at all.
When Jesus answered a question on divorce, He quoted from the Genesis creation story. Likewise, when Paul used the concepts that the “wife should submit to her husband, and the husband is to love his wife sacrificially,”3 he based all his reasoning on the Genesis account of creation.
To illustrate what I mean, consider just some of the events which happened in the Garden of Eden:
Now for a question. What did Adam and Eve have in common?
Note that Eve didn’t get there until everything was finished. She had never been alone.
She didn’t have to name the animals. She had not experienced God’s power or creativity. In fact, amongst the few things they had in common were a rib and the knowledge of God’s presence. Their experiences, even at creation, were different.
Paul points out another difference between them when he states that Adam, (but not Eve), had a lot in common with Christ.10 So much so, that Paul calls Christ the second Adam.11
Many are aware that Christ was the Son of God.12 He was sinless.13 Man was made for Him.14 But few people are aware that Adam was also the son of God’s, was also sinless,16 and woman was made for him.9
There is another dissimilarity between Adam and Eve. “Eve was deceived”17 into error. Adam “sinned”.18 The contrast between these is important. A child who swallows an overdose of sleeping pills thinking they are follies, is deceived. An adult who knowingly takes an excessive dose of tablets has sinned. Now while the end result is the same, i.e. death, the means by which they arrived at it was not. One was willful the other either ignorant or innocent.
Eve is never excused for what she did, and therefore the final result of her actions was similar to that of Adam’s rebellion. However, since they got into trouble in different ways, the details of their individual judgments are also varied.
These variations in judgments and actions form the basis for much of the teaching on marriage in the Bible, particularly how man will exercise the Headship of a marriage.
But before we expand on that point, consider again the resemblance between Christ and Adam:
There can be no doubt that Adam knew what he was doing when he chose to join Eve.
He had been personally warned about it by the God who made the garden for him, who had brought the animals to him, and who had also made the woman for him. Adam chose very deliberately to die in order to join Eve. But his sacrifice would not save his wife. Instead of taking her sin away, all he took was the credit, for we read sin came from Adam, not from Eve.18
Both Adam and Eve were judged. Firstly by themselves-they covered their sexual parts4. It would be their offspring who would suffer most from their actions. Never again would mankind know a life on earth free from evil.
Secondly, they were judged by God and it is these judgments which are basic to understanding some of the major differences in the roles of Husband and Wife. Eve for example:
She had acted alone in her decision to eat. 24 Then she had used her God appointed role as counselor to her husband, to give evil advice. Adam had submitted.
God’s judgment on Eve was very fitting. “From now on, Eve, you will submit to your husband!”
It was Eve who had been made to be Adam’s helper, his wife.
It was Adam who had been made in God’s image. Adam who had been warned. Adam who had been alone. He saw that his friend had been tricked, deceived into sin. She was cut off from God. She was going to die. He would be alone again.
It was a choice between the God who made the woman, and the woman made by God. It was a painful choice, but one which Adam made, knowing full well God would punish him for it. He willingly chose to join the woman. He was prepared to give his life for her—to sacrifice himself.
Eve had made a terrible decision necessary. Eve had brought pain to love. From now on she would suffer pain from love. “Eve, I will increase your sorrow in conception”. That was the judgment upon her. Not simply an increase in the created ‘natural’ pain of childbirth, but the ongoing pain of heart in watching the future’s children live and fight and die and choose as she had—evil rather than good.
When Eve’s actions forced Adam to choose, He directed his love away from God to the woman.
“Eve from now on you will direct your love and your desire to your husband and he will rule over you”.7
But the judgment on Adam was to be stricter still. He had been formed from the dust, distinguished from all other creatures by being made in God’s image, appointed a king with authority to rule all this earth, and been given a woman made in his likeness, one who would reflect his glory as ruler of the earth. But he had honored the word of the image who was his wife, above that of the Image Maker, who was his God.
“Because you have listened to the word of your wife, the earth will no longer yield to you as it should!”
He had been made from the ground, given authority over it, and rebelled! The ground was now in rebellion against him. The earth would oppose his kingship.
You will earn your living in the sweat of your brow and you will die and return to the dust from which you were made!”25
It was through Adam that sin came to the human race and through his sin death became our inheritance. Through his sin came the suffering of profitless toil.
It was not work which was a judgment on Adam, for he was already a hard worker in the Garden of Eden. It was the agony of sometimes meaningless labor.
This came through Adam, not Eve.
It is this background which Paul and other New Testament writers use for all their teaching on marriage God had provided in the garden.
Adam was now cast out of the garden and would have to provide for himself and his wife. “Whoever does not provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever”, wrote Paul.26
It was the husband who was given this job. God has not time nor tolerance for the man who refuses to take this role seriously. Man was made responsible for the woman and not vice versa. Men pay a price for this headship. They usually die younger. Their insurance policies cost more. Women who choose foolishly to reverse this role and take on the job of provider when they have no need, will pay this same price, as well as those they reap from disobedience to God.
When Adam listened to his wife in the Garden, he honored the word of a lesser being above that of God.
“The husband shall honor his wife, remembering she is the weaker sex”.
Adam had chosen to willingly sacrifice eternity, to die to join Eve.
“The husband shall love his wife as Christ loved the Church and died for it.”
Not only was Adam similar to Christ, but his marriage was a type for all marriages. What happened to the first couple is what gives meaning to the roles of man and woman in marriage today.
The first man was created to be head of the house, but how he was to exercise that headship, has been governed by the way in which both the man and the woman responded to sin, and the varied judgments God placed upon them. Hardship has never been a contract to turn a woman into a door mat. It has been a willing commitment to sacrificially love a wife.
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