Monday, May 6, 2013

Mystery and Meaning in Marriage

The Importance of the Bible to me #5.

I'd like to share with you where the mystery and meaning of Marriage originated. Because of so called 'equality of marriage for same sex couples (and possible other implications) it is important to understand what undergirds the relationship betrween a man and a woman in matrimony.

The Symbolism of Marriage

Our wedding day, Toowoomba

Read Genesis 2:18-24.

            Moses must have heard it wrong. Either that, or God was playing a trick on him. In the Genesis reading it says Adam gave ‘birth’, as it were, through ‘surgery’ to Eve. We know birth is the prerogative of the woman. Moses knew it also. Why then would he write down what seems to be an absurd statement? More than that, it has become an integral part of Scripture?
            The problem is compounded, if possible, by the Apostle Paul. “Man did not come from woman, but woman from man” (1 Corinthians 11:8). He stresses this again in 1Timothy 2:13: “Adam was formed first, then Eve.”
            We know these men were not fools. They were not trying to be funny either. The Bible is a serious book promoting important issues with eternal consequences. Why then would this biologically impossible explanation of Adam giving birth, through surgery, to Eve be stated – twice and implied once?
            Why? Because the Lord God was making a prophetic statement as well as a romantic one concerning marriage. He was also elevating and protecting the idea and the ideal which underpins the marriage.
             Because people do not believe, or understand, or bother to find out what Moses and Paul meant, its meaning has been lost. Probably it isn’t the people's fault but that of the priests and ministers. Such ignorance lies behind the ease of living together without commitment and the leaving each other without regret.          
             The symbolism of marriage is designed by the Triune God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, to point to something awesome. Adam is used also as a type or shadow of Jesus who is called the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). The first Adam had his bride taken out of his side. When Jesus, the second Adam, died on the cross His side was pierced. This was a physical act used by the Lord God to give birth to the Church. The significance of this is also traced back to Eden. For when Adam saw Eve he recognized the fact that she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. In their sexual union they completed the God intended oneness once again.
            When the Lord Jesus gave birth to the Church her DNA came from Him.  The Church isn’t bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh. She is spirit of His Spirit and eternal by His eternity. By faith we believe the Church is betrothed to the Creator and Lord. According to Revelation 19:7-8, there is a set day when all of Creation will witness a true marriage made in Heaven: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready! Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear.” The Church’s garment is said to represent the righteous acts of those who constitute the Church.
            Herein dwells the mystery of marriage. Read the wonderful description of Christ’s love for the Church; Ephesians 5:25-27: ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind – yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.’
            Without this Biblical understanding the only significance marriage has is according to the decrees of the country in which a couple ‘tie the knot’. Unbelief and rejection of God’s word robs the ceremony of its mystery. It has no foundation on which to exist. It has no future to which it points. It offers no sound reason for faithfulness within marriage. This was a problem with which Corinthian converts out of paganism has. Robbed of its spiritual significance there isn’t any surprise in the way society has downgraded this beautiful ceremony and testimony (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
            For Christians Jesus is the supreme teacher and authority. What He said goes! The religious leaders of His day tried to snare Him in a doctrinal issue about divorce. Jesus simply pointed them to the Genesis account. “Haven’t you read, he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one” (Matthew 19:4-6).
            In this statement Jesus adds another beautiful dimension to the significance of marriage. What was He referring to when He said the two become one? The account of God bringing Eve from out of the side of Adam and then becoming one again in the embrace of love! Within this framework can be found the reason why the Scriptures stress the importance of marriage from a Christian framework. Here is the Biblical reason why same sex marriage isn’t Christian. There can be no ‘one flesh’ principle. There isn’t any mystery surrounding such a relationship which points to a higher reality. Same sex relationships cannot fulfil the mandate to bear children (Genesis 1:28.)
            Before there were any Denominations the apostles urged Christians only to marry a Christian. Why? Not for biological or racial reasons. It was because of the spiritual understanding of what marriage was all about. Every time a Christian marriage takes place there is a witness given to the World. It speaks about what God did in the Garden of Eden, what will happen in the future, and the awesome implications of two becoming one. It also stresses the Gospel story of the cross and the spiritual reality to which it points. This is true for all believers, married or single.
This is a chapter with some added material from my devotional book ‘From Eden with Love.’ It is available from Christian bookshops or by contacting me at

You can see my other books on

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