The Bible and Marriage
likeness included maleness and femaleness. That is not to say
that one member of the Godhead is male and another female. It
worth noting, however, that God the Father appears to be the Initiator.
He sent God the Son to this earth to redeem and rule man.
When God the Son left this earth, He promised He would send
Holy Spirit. Ever since, the Holy Spirit has been indwelling
Church. Clearly the leading and the following, and the triune
cooperation of the Godhead is embodied in the male / female nature of
the marriage relationship as God designed it. To denigrate
maleness and femaleness in marriage is to denigrate the image of God in
man. In that God made man as male and female, in His own
likeness, it is implied that man as male and female in the marriage
relationship are to reflect the image and likeness of God.
is to be
understood that a primary purpose of marriage, then, is reproduction.
That is easily understood from the manner in which God
the human anatomy. He designed and wired the husband to be
initiator and impregnator. He designed and wired the wife to
the receptor, the responder, the bearer, and the nurturer.
designed the whole process to be a joint venture of the highest
magnitude of unity, intimacy, pleasure, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
God instituted marriage, there was no death. The Wedding Band
symbolizes marriage as God designed it - one man and one woman joined
together without end.
Genesis 2 God Inaugurated Marriage.
How Can We Summarize What
God Has Revealed About Marriage in Genesis 1-2?
It is A UNION OF MALE
AND FEMALE. Gen. 1:26-27
It is a UNION OF ONE MALE AND ONE
FEMALE. Gen. 2:22-24
It is a LIFE-LONG UNION. Gen. 2:18-25
God's plan did not include a Trial
God's plan did not include Divorce.
God's plan did not include
It is a UNION INITIATED BY THE
MALE. Gen. 2:24. For
this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined
to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
It is an INDEPENDENT
UNION. Genesis 2:24
It is a UNION IN WHICH THE
WIFE, AS COMPANION, ASSISTS HER HUSBAND IN SUBDUING THE
How Did Sin Affect the
Marriage Relationship? Genesis 3
illustrated in the diagram above, if God represents the apex of
the triangle, and the husband and wife represent the corners,
the more distant the couple are from God, the more distant they are
from one another. Conversely, the closer the husband and wife
draw to God, the closer they draw to one another.
is also physical. Physical death is defined as the separation
of the human spirit from the human body. As a consequence of
his sin, God told Adam in Gen. 3:19,
sweat of your face
will eat bread,
you return to the ground,
from it you were taken;
you are dust,
to dust you shall return.”
man and woman are in their physical prime in their twenties.
age increases, so also does entropy and decay. Physical death
is a process with a final exclamation point, and to be quite blunt, it
is an ugly process. A woman who looks beautiful or at least
attractive at 22 will, to a 25-year old man, look repugnant at
age 80. The same holds true for the appearance of a
man. Any marriage based merely upon the physical will have
extreme difficulty in surviving, because, quite frankly, the eye appeal
and the physical joys of marriage gradually decay. God never
intended for humans to decay, and the onset of physical death creates
growing difficulty in a marriage until finally, the marriage dies
when its participants cease breathing.
God's original purpose had apparently been for man and wife to subdue
the earth and rule the animal kingdom almost as coequals (Gen.
1:26-28), now the woman's role in the home would grow problematic.
Pain would mar her child-bearing uniqueness; now,
her husband would rule over her (Gen. 3:16).
About Polygamy in the Old Testament?
We should understand
from God's design for marriage in Genesis 1-2 that He planned the union
of one man
woman in marriage for life. Sadly, fallen man does not
often burden himself with following God's design in marriage, or, for
that matter, in anything.
It should not surprise us that
man would resort to polygamy. It happened as early as Lamech
and his two wives in Genesis 4:19. Let us also be fair in
saying that God does not reveal all his thoughts on a subject in a
particular age. Divine revelation was ongoing, but
intermittent over a space of four thousand years.
On the other hand, the Old
is instructive. In every instance in which the dynamics of
the home with multiple wives are detailed, the home is fraught with
strife. There was conflict between Sarah and Hagar (Gen.
16:1-4; 21:9-14). There was conflict between Rachel and Leah
29:30-31; 30:1-2, et al). There was bitter conflict between
Hannah and Peninnah (1 Samuel 1:1-8).
The conflict between Sarah and Hagar did not end with their
generation. Jewish people are descendants of Sarah's son
while the Arabs are descendants of Hagar's son Ishmael.
polygamy is not in God's plan, nor does it prove to be beneficial in
New Testament standard is given,
for example, in the qualifications for church leadership. An
overseer (elder) and a deacon must be , literally, "an of one woman
[kind of] man." (See 1 Timothy 3:1, 12; Titus 1:6.)
by James T. Bartsch
quotations taken from the NASB 1995.
Used by Permission.)
Published November 3, 2010
Updated February 15, 2022