Let’s open our Bibles to Genesis chapter 2, Genesis chapter 2. And we are looking at verses 4 to 25 in this wonderfully informative chapter on the original history of man. Chapter 1, the origin of creation; and here is the origin of man. The detailed original history of man begins in Genesis 2:4 with the words, “This is the account,” or, “This is the generations, the toledoth, the generations really of man that are in the heavens and the earth when they were created in the day the Lord God made earth and heaven.” So that is a launch point for the discussion of the details of the creation of man and his original history in the garden.
Now remember, man and woman were created on day six. If you go back into chapter 1 and verse 26, “God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image according to our likeness; let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’
“And, of course, God said, ‘I have given you every plant, yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and every bird of the sky and everything that moves on the earth which has life, I’ve given every green plant for food’; and it were so.” Everybody was vegetarian in the original creation, even the animals.
“And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” So the creation of man came on the sixth day, along with the creation of the animals mentioned in verses 24 and 25. So on day six, it says, “God made man. He created man;” – verse 27 – “male and female He created them.”
Now chapter 2 goes back into day six and gives us the details. All we know about the other five days of creation is given in chapter 1. But when you come to day six, and in particular the creation of man, God knows we need more details. And so, chapter 2 gives us more detail on the creation of man, which was from day six in chapter 1. So what you have in chapter 2 is an expansion of the creation of man indicated on day six in chapter 1.
Now, the thing that sets man apart is he is created in God’s image. And I’ve been telling you that means he is given self-consciousness – animals have consciousness, but not self-consciousness – he is conscious of his own existence. He is given personality, he is given rationality, he is given creativity, and most importantly he is the only one in all the creation of the heavens and the earth that can enjoy relationship, relationship. And that is indicated when God says, “Let Us make man.” And God never says that in the creation of anything else except man. And God introduces Himself as a plurality in the creation of man, which indicates to us that man is going to be made to enjoy relationship, which God Himself enjoys; and that’s part of being made in God’s image.
Now, we have gone into chapter 2 and we’ve looked at some of the features of the creation of man. We have seen his creation, starting in verse 5 and going down to verse 7, and we learned something of the condition at that time. There weren’t any weeds in the world, because the fall hadn’t happened yet. There weren’t any crops, because man didn’t need to till the soil.
The water that really watered the earth didn’t come from above through rain, it came from underground subterranean sources, and it gushed up in springs and literally covered the whole surface of the ground, verse 6 says. So in that wonderful world of creation, which knew no rain and therefore had a constant water supply – didn’t alter like the rain does, which comes and goes, and sometimes you have drought and sometimes you have flood – you had a perfect system watering the perfect environment of the world, and you had no weeds to interrupt the free growing of all the beautiful things that God had planted. And you had no necessity to plant crops, because everything man needed good for food was already there and flourishing; it didn’t take any work on his part. In that perfect environment, God created man, and we found out about the creation of man.
Then when we came to the second point, we came to verse 8, and that was not the creation of man, but the location of man. And God made a garden. God was the original gardener, planted a garden. We remember it was east, probably east of the nation of Israel, and it was in the place called Eden, which as we noted for you is an ancient word that has reference to a well-watered place. And there He placed man, and in that place was every tree pleasing to the sight, good for food, a tree of life in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And then it goes on to describe how a river gushed up from beneath the ground and came out of Eden, and spread itself over this garden, and eventually ran out into four other rivers. And the gardens stretched out into areas where there was gold and where there was bdellium, which was a certain resin used for fragrance and incense; and there was onyx stone there. And then this other river – the Pishon went there; the Gihon flowed around the land of Cush; and then the Tigris, or the Hiddekel; and then the Euphrates. And so, this is the wonderful garden, well-watered, with all kinds of resources, all kinds of wealth, and all kinds of wondrous things; and man is placed in that garden.
In verse 15 we learned about his vocation; and that was he was given responsibility to actually cultivate and keep, it says. The idea would be to oversee the garden, and to provide a stewardship or a guardianship of its wonders and its resources. Then we saw the probation of man. There was one forbidden tree. “You can eat of any tree,” – verse 16 says – “you can eat freely, but not of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The day you eat from it you shall surely die.”
And so, we’ve gone through all of that: the creation, location, vocation, probation of man. And finally we come on – we’re still on day one – to the relation of man. There’s a lot that can be said and should be said about this, but we’ll condense that.
We come to the relation of man, which occupies the rest of the chapter. It occupies the largest amount of space. And as we said, one of the characteristics, one of the dominant characteristics of man being created in God’s image was that he was created with the capacity to have a relationship. That is not true of any other creature in the created, physical world. No other creature is capable of a relationship – and that is a sharing of ideas, a sharing of emotions, a sharing of soul, as it were, in the heart, and the depth of one person’s good and personality. But man is capable of relationship, and that is introduced to us in verse 18.
Now remember, we’re always on day six in chapter 2, so it’s still day six. And verse 18, let’s start there: “Then the Lord God said,” – this again on day six, after having created man, placed him in Eden, this wonderful garden, and warned him about not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.’”
It is still day six; Adam is in the garden. Everything in the garden is very good, everything God has made is very good, but it is not good for the man to be alone. That means it’s still on day six, because look at chapter 1, verse 31: “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” So when you come to the end of the sixth day, everything is very good.
But this isn’t the end of the sixth day yet. This is still in the sixth day, and everything is not very good. There is one thing that is not good at all, and that is it’s not good for the man to be alone. And so, God says, “I will make him a helper suitable for him.” It is not good, it is not very good, because man does not yet have a helper. That doesn’t mean that there was something that was bad or something that was evil, for, in fact, there wasn’t. It isn’t that anything in itself was less than good or less than perfect, because everything was perfect, and everything that had been created was good.
But man’s position, or man’s circumstance in the creation was not yet complete, and it couldn’t be good until it was complete. It wouldn’t be very good until it was not only perfect, but complete. And that completion required woman. And verse 27 says, on day six, “God created man,” – chapter 1, verse 27 – “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” That simply states that He did create the man and the woman on the sixth day, and here in this chapter we have more detail about that.
So God says, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Though man as created was good and he was perfect, created perfectly by God, and his location in the garden of Eden was perfect, everything around him was good, there was still one component missing: he could not do what it said for him to do in verse 28 of chapter 1. He couldn’t be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. He certainly couldn’t subdue the whole earth by himself. He couldn’t rule over the fish of the sea the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
And back in verse 26, “He was given dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” But no one person could do all of that, and certainly could not be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, unless he had a companion. At this point in the sixth day creation he is still incomplete. He needs a partner. He needs an equal, a helper to compliment him in fulfilling the task of filling and taking dominion over the earth; and that simply means woman needed to be made in order to meet man’s insufficiency. Now at this particular point in the creation, all reproducing creation was both male and female, all of it, and man alone did not yet have that compliment.
Later on in the sixth chapter of Genesis, “Of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female.” God made everything male and female initially, except for man. And so, God said, “In order to complete man, I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Now this is a very important concept, and I want you to understand it. The Hebrew is ezer kenegdo, and it means “a helper like him or corresponding to him,” or “worthy of him” is also contained in that idea. Somebody who is a perfect fit for man to make him capable of reproduction and ruling. And, so we then are given some details about the creation of woman.
But before we look at those details, I want to call your attention to a passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. This is a passage that is of importance today, because there seems to be some debate about what is the role of woman and what is the role of man. And I’m not going to go into all the details of 1 Corinthians 11. It’s a fascinating passage, and I have preached on it. There’s a tape, or more than one tape, that covers the section. There’s material in the commentary I’ve written on 1 Corinthians, and also notes in the Study Bible.
But I do want to call your attention to 1 Corinthians 11:7 where it says that, “The man is the image and glory of God. Man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” Verse 8, “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” Now those are some very definitive statements being made there, and actually we could spend a lot of time talking about them. But let’s just take three, one from each verse.
Verse 7, it says, “The man is the image and glory of God; the woman is the glory of man.” Man is the reflection of the glory of God. Man is uniquely created to bear the image of God as a ruler who is given a sphere of sovereignty. In that sense, he is created to be the glory of God. God is a sovereign ruler, and man is created and given dominion to be sovereign ruler over all the created world, to care for the creation according to God’s divine plan. Man was given rulership of the world.
It is true, both men and women are created in God’s image, Genesis 1:27 says that. But it is man who was created from the dust of the ground, and it is woman who was created from the side of man. Creation from the dust of the ground was of Adam only. Eve was created, as we’ll see later, from part of Adam himself, so that the male was given the dominion and authority over God’s created world, and by that fact is the reflected glory of God. In other words, he bears the role of ruler in this world. The fall didn’t change any of that. The man still bears authority even after the fall. “Your desire shall be for your husband,” – says God to the woman after the fall – “and he shall rule over you.”
And so, man there’s the glory of God because he’s given headship, he’s given the responsibility to rule. And that takes you back into verse 3: “Christ is the head of every man, the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” There is even a responsibility of headship and of rulership within the Trinity as well as within human creation.
Woman is described here then in verse 7 as the glory of man. Man was made to manifest God’s authority; woman was made to manifest man’s authority. The woman is a vice regent, if you will, who rules in the place of man, as it were, or carries out man’s will, as man rules in the place of God and carries out God’s will. Man in a sense shines with the direct light of God, while woman shines with the derived light from man. She comes along to help man.
Man is the image and glory of God. Woman is also the image of God, but she is the glory of man. And the point is, God can make a magnificent creature out of the dust to reflect His glory; and He can also make a magnificent creature out of the side of man to be a helper to man, and to radiate his glory.
As far as saving grace goes, as far as sanctifying grace goes, a woman comes as deeply into communion with God as a man. She is made equally in the image of God, and that image is equally restored through faith in Jesus Christ. She is as much capable of being like Jesus as any man is capable of it. She is capable of an eternal reward like any man would be in the spiritual realm; there is no difference. But in the human realm, she bears a position under the authority of man; therefore she reflects the glory of man who reflects the glory of God in looking at the sovereign responsibility of man.
And then to further defend that truth in verse 8, the apostle Paul goes back to creation: “A man does not originate from woman, but woman from man.” Man has the priority. And by the way, that deals really deadly blow to any form of evolution, because it tells us that man was made out of the dust of the ground, and man was not born from some female, some pre-Adamic hominoid. That strikes a blow at all of the point that Paul is making here, that man bears a glory because he was made out of the dust of the ground by God. He did not come from any female. He didn’t come from some female hominoid that was a part of a pre-Adamic society. I’m amazed at how popular that particular view is among Christians.
But woman really initially came out of man, and that’s the only time. From then on, folks, all men and woman come out of women. But at this particular point, man does not originate from woman, but woman from man. Adam was first created, was given dominion over the earth before the woman was created. And she was created from him, taken out of man; and she was created for man, not from man.
Again, I want you to understand, she is intellectually, morally, spiritually the equal of man. She is unique. Her role is to come, however, under the leadership, protection, and care of man; and she is to be a helper suitable for him; and that’s what he’s saying. “She” – verse 9 – “was created for man’s sake.” And that is clearly a perspective that is drawn from the book of Genesis.
Now let’s see how God did this. Back to Genesis chapter 2. Let’s see how He did this. In verse 19 – and this is very interesting: “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man.” Obviously He didn’t bring the fish, they couldn’t have survived the trip. “But He brought the beasts and the birds to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.”
Now it was God who created all the animals, not evolution. He made them all out of the original atomic and chemical material that was in the same chemical material and atomic material that the dust is made of. So it says in verse 19, “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field.” I can’t imagine how anybody who wants to be faithful to Scripture could find evolution in that statement. God made everything out of the ground, out of the same material that dirt is made of. He made it, whatever it is that lives out of that same material.
“And all these animals who were in the sky and on the earth, He brought to the man to see what he would name them or call them.” By His power, God could do this. Obviously we see Him doing it in Genesis 6 even after the fall when He collects all the animals for the ark. The God who created all the animals could collect them all; His intelligence was capable of doing that obviously.
And so, God collected all the animals and He brought them before Adam. And Adam, who is more intelligent than you can ever imagine because his mind had never been corrupted by sin – in his unfallen condition six thousand or so years ago, Adam was far more intelligent than anything we could imagine six thousand years later the victims of constant degeneration. And Adam had the capacity in his mind to look at all these preachers and to determine some characteristic about them and give them a name. Now, at this particular point we don’t know what language he spoke; but in whatever language he spoke, he gave them a name. There was at that time, and prior to the tower of Babylon, only one language; so whatever the language was, he used the language to give them a name.
Now, if Adam – and he certainly could have done this, it’s not unreasonable – if he could name ten of them a minute as they passed by, he could do three thousand of them in five hours; and that just gives you a little idea. That would be covering some significant ground in naming the animals and the birds that God brought before him. And it isn’t so much the idea that God wanted them all to have names, but He wanted to set up the scenario a little bit for the creation of woman.
Now, after all, as Adam looked at life, everything was perfect: the garden was perfect, the food provided was perfect, the scenery provided was perfect, and he was perfect. And he was conscious of the presence of God and communing with God, and he really had no concept of a woman because none existed; and life seemed to him to be absolutely perfect at that point certainly.
But God was giving him an object lesson as all these animals went by, and he was recognizing some characteristics about them. One of the things he would note about these animals is that they all existed in pairs. It’s pretty clear that he could do all of this in that sixth day. Somebody said he had to do it before Eve was created or the process would have taken much longer. And there might be some truth to that, because if a discussion ensued at every point they’d never get it done in one day.
But, nonetheless, he had the intelligence, and all the animals came by, and he named the animals; and as they passed by quickly and he named them – again, we don’t have any idea what he named them. I don’t think the point was to make some long standing name; and don’t think for a minute it was the Latin name for animals that you find in the encyclopedia, it wasn’t. But he was recognizing that the design indicated to him that they all came in pairs. And verse 20 says, “The man gave names to all the cattle,” – which would be those animals that could be domesticated – “and to the birds of the sky, and every beast of the field,” – probably referring to those which could not be domesticated, they’re more non-domestic animals – “but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” It became very apparent to him.
Now remember, he’s only a few hours old, but he’s a full-grown man, and he’s been created in the midst of a perfect world. And he’s human, so he’s located in this incredible garden, and he only knows what’s there to see. And at first, it’s the garden itself that overwhelms him with his magnificence; and then he finds out that God has filled this creation with all kinds of creatures. And he’s not able to recognize a male and female reality in the world of plants, although that exists.
So God starts parading in front of him all of these animals, and he begins to recognize that there is a male and a female here. And as he goes through that process, the end of verse 20, it says, “for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” Nothing in the animal kingdom was suitable for him.
Now there is no kinship – now I want you to mark this – there is no kinship in any manner between man and animals; that is a very important thing to note. If he was some small step from some pre-Adamic hominoid he wouldn’t make that conclusion. There was nothing in that entire creation that went by him which he noted with enough attention to give a name that designated some feature about it. There was nothing that he saw that went by that was suitable for him.
There was nothing compatible for him; there was no partner, no counterpart; none was like him. There was no animal that could provide fellowship; there was no animal that could provide companionship. And it’s abundantly clear that he wouldn’t have said that, he wouldn’t have recognized that if he had just evolved from some of them. If Adam was, as some are telling us today, if he was essentially an ape’s body with a sort of emerging human mind, it would be ridiculous to say about him that he couldn’t find anything in common with anything that he saw.
The notion of human evolution finds no place here. There wasn’t anything he saw that was in any way compatible with him. So Adam comes to the conclusion that in all the creation, he alone is alone. He has no kenegdo, no counterpart, no partner, no companion, no one suitable to come alongside and be with him, and help him to multiply being fruitful, and fill the earth. And since there was in the animal kingdom no creature capable of a relationship to man, God made one, verse 21: “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man.”
God is the original anesthesiologist, and God is the original surgeon; and He caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, because God was going to do an operation. And it says, “He slept.” He slept while God operated. And here was the operation. The NAS says, “He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.” So God puts Adam out, and then He takes His divine scalpel, as it were, and He cuts open Adam, and then He closes up the flesh at the place where He did the surgery. It’s a fairly common look at surgery, only a very uncommon surgeon.
And by the way, the term “ribs,” the word “ribs” really doesn’t say it well enough, because when you think of a rib, you think of a bone, right? And rightly so; that’s what a rib is. But the word tsela, t-s-e-l-a, transliterated, tsela is used about thirty-five times in the Old Testament, thirty-five times. This is the only time they ever translate it “rib.” Thirty-four times it’s not translated “rib.”
Now, maybe that’s just a tradition. Twenty of those thirty-five times its translated “side.” And that’s essentially what we would translate it. God literally put him to sleep and then slit open his side. In case you’re wondering, men don’t have one less rib than women. And it doesn’t say, “God took out a rib.” In fact, look at verse 23: “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and’ – what? – ‘flesh of my flesh.’” So when God did the surgery, He didn’t just take bone, He took what? He took flesh.
So it’s not limited to just a rib. God took out of man some bone and some flesh, part of man’s side. Verse 22: “And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the side which He had taken from the man.” So the woman was created – listen to this – with material from the man.
Now again, according to chapter 1, verse 27, “She was made in the image of God.” That is, she has all the same characteristics of self-consciousness, cognition, spirituality, personality, relationship, emotion, all those things, creativity. All that the image of God gives to a man also He gives to a woman; the only difference is that God made Adam out of dirt and God made Eve out of Adam.
Now the word “made” I think is very interesting. It’s translated here in verse 22 “fashioned, fashioned.” It literally is the Hebrew word for “built.” To build, banah, three hundred times – I think so, around three hundred times in the Old Testament – is translated “build.” God took the material out of man – some bone, some tissue – and out of that He built woman. It’s the same term used of the builder who takes stone and wood, and builds an edifice of grace and beauty.
So God took bone and flesh with blood in it, and He fashioned the most beautiful of all His creatures – and no one would argue that. He fashioned a woman with all the loveliness and all the beauty and all the grace that a man could never imagine until he saw one. And then verse 22 says, “He brought her to the man.”
After God had sewed up his side by some divine miracle, He brought the woman to the man in all her perfection. She would have been a mature woman, of course. Adam was a mature man with the capability and faculty to function as a man, and certainly the full intelligence of created man without sin who could name all the thousands of animals brought before him in a very short space of time. And God brought to man this wonderful woman. By now, you see, he’s ready, because he’s seen this sort of all day parade of creatures who all have partners, and he’s come to this clear conclusion that none of them are suitable for him; and how is he going to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth? And God sets him up, as it were, for the deep sleep and the provision.
And then comes the first love song – you didn’t know that – verse 23: “And the man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’” Most translators would set this apart, you see, in the text in a poetic form, recognizing it as poem. The man is frankly overwhelmed, and he launches into poetry.
This is not something that hasn’t happened since, right? How many poems have been written for a woman? How many love songs have been penned for a woman? But here is the first one from Adam himself, and he says, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”
Because Adam said that, that became a common expression to speak of family relations. In fact, in the Jewish society, they use it very often, in fact, still do to refer to someone who is in the family. Laban says to Jacob, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh. You’re in my family.” That’s Genesis 29:14.
In the book of Judges, chapter 9, verse 2, “Speak, now, in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that seventy men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, rule over you, or that one man rule over you? Also remember that I am your bone and your flesh.” This is Abimelech talking.
So flesh and bone became just a way of expressing family relationships. You see the same thing in 2 Samuel 5:1; also, I think it’s 2 Samuel 19 around verse 11, 12, 13. So that’s where that originates. We even say that today, “Well, she’s bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh,” meaning we share the same family life: blood relationship.
And so, he identifies who she is; she’s his family. And then he gives her a name – and this is good:’. “She shall be called Woman.” In the Hebrew, “man” is ish, and “woman” is ishshah, ishshah.
Now, it’s probably good to note that the name ishshah, though it sounds like ish – and I think it was intended to show compatibility and to show linkage and to show relationship – the name ishshah is not from the same Hebrew root as ish. In fact, the root – and I think this was the genius of Adam. It sounds the same, it sounds the same. It may have sounded the same in whatever language he was speaking at the time, and maybe the Hebrew somehow preserves that. But the word ishshah is the word “soft.” Comes from a root meaning “soft.”
That was his first impression about a woman: she was soft. And that was by God’s design. I mean, if you want to know what the perfect woman is like, I hate to tell you this, she was soft. When he came down to one word to define her, it was “soft.” “She shall be called soft,” – and a little play on words – “because she was taken out of man.” Man is ish, she is ishshah: she came from man, she is soft.
Now man has the perfect compliment, the perfect partner. And then Adam’s poem to women ends – it’s a short one, one verse – and the chapter closes with a word from the Creator. This was given to the inspired writer Moses who wrote, of course, the book of Genesis. Verse 24 – now God’s going to make a comment on this relationship: “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
That is a comment from the Creator. And this, beloved, establishes the foundation for marriage; and it also establishes the foundation for sexual behavior. There’s only one kind of sexual behavior that God recognizes in the human realm, and that is the sexual behavior between a man and a woman who have left father and mother, and cleaving to each other have become one flesh. That is the only context in which God has ordained and recognized sexual conduct.
So you have not only the creation of man on day six, but you have in the creation of man, the creation of marriage. And you have in the creation of marriage, the definition of sexual conduct: one man, one woman, leaving and cleaving, becoming one flesh for life. And what God established in the garden has never changed, never changed, so that you have marriage defined right there in the classic statement of Genesis 2:24. And you will find that that statement is a point of contact with the apostle Paul, and it’s a point of contact with Jesus Himself. This establishes God’s design for man, made in His image, to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over it. He does it through marriage. And marriage is defined as one man and one woman, leaving and cleaving, becoming one flesh for life. That is the only biblical definition for marriage.
Two women do not make a marriage. Even though there’s a lobby group in the state of California trying to pass laws to recognize that as marriage, that is not marriage. Two men coming together, that is not a marriage. God does not recognize that as a marriage. Both of those are sins. They are iniquities of significant proportions, not to be recognized as marriage, but to be recognized as perversion.
Any sexual conduct outside of marriage is also a violation of God’s design. What you have here is the exclusion of homosexuality, the exclusion of fornication, and the exclusion of adultery. All sexual behavior is excluded, except that which is conducted within a marriage between a man and a woman who have left their parents, covenant together to make a lifelong bond and become one flesh. That’s what God established in the very beginning.
Now, the Jewish leaders in the gospel of Matthew come to Jesus and they say, “Well look, Moses allowed for divorce.” And Jesus responded by saying to them, “Yes, because of the hardness of your hearts.” Remember that in Matthew 19? “But from the beginning it was not so, it was not so.” “God” – says Habakkuk – “hates divorce.”
The original design: one man, one woman leaving parents, cleaving together in a lifelong bond and initiated by a covenant, making them one flesh for life, with no divorce. That’s God’s design; so that homosexuality, fornication, which is sexual conduct among unmarried people; adultery, which is sexual conduct among married people with other than their spouse; and divorce are all violations of God’s primal creative purpose in this union. We cannot support anything other than one man, one woman becoming one flesh for life; that is God’s original design.
And then there’s an interesting final comment in verse 25: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” That fascinate you? They were both naked and they were not ashamed. You know why they weren’t ashamed? Well, they weren’t ashamed because they didn’t know any evil, they didn’t know any evil. They didn’t know that sexual desire could be used for wicked purposes. They didn’t know that sexual desire could be perverted and twisted. They didn’t have any wicked thoughts running around in their imaginations. They had no capacity to feel shame, because they didn’t know evil existed.
Can I give you a simple definition? Shame is produced by the consciousness of the evil that may exist in a thing. Shame is produced by the consciousness of the evil that may exist in a thing. We feel shame in our lives as sinners because we have evil thoughts, because we have evil desires. They didn’t exist; and there was a beauty in the shameless wonder of that original marriage. And they enjoyed to the fullest Hebrews 13:4, which is a great statement: “Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
God brought them together, and they enjoyed the full joy of that relationship; and certainly their marriage bed as it were was absolutely and utterly undefiled. They had no capacity to feel shame because they had no knowledge of anything evil. How sad when you think about that, and then you think about the fall, and how that the fall produced sin and took the pristine, pure, shameless joy of that union and corrupted it by bringing into their thoughts evil ideas that cause them, even in their own relationship, to bear a measure of shame.
But in the beginning it wasn’t that way. In the beginning in the perfect environment, there was perfect love, there was perfect rapture with each other and the perfection of wondrous creation by God. It was a shameless love that God gave these two. They had that kind of union that God has designed to be the pinnacle. Peter even calls it the grace of life: one man, one woman, leaving their parents, cleaving together in a strong bond for life, becoming one flesh. And, of course, becoming one flesh means coming together as one; and that is certainly manifested when children are born, children being the very symbol, the very reality of the one flesh, because they bear the life of both the father and the mother.
So woman was made for man, and there is where relationship begins. And, folks, I want to tell you, this is the purest and greatest, and most blessed and wondrous relationship that God has ever given; that’s why Peter calls it the grace of life. It is the best that life has to offer. It is the best gift that God could ever give.
Now, I know there are some people who have the gift of singleness; but they are the exception. And I know there are people who have corrupted this ideal, and they’ve gone through marriage and after marriage, and they’ve committed fornication and adultery, and there have been people in homosexual sins. And all of that brings all kinds of guilt and all kinds of consequences into life, and really produces havoc in the lives of people; and we have to reach out for the grace of God, and we find His grace sufficient.
God is a God of grace and a God of forgiveness. But I’ll tell you, that doesn’t change the ideal. The ideal is one man, one woman, in a strong bond for life, becoming one flesh. No relationship outside of that can even come close to the joys and the fulfillment of that relationship.
Woman was made specifically for Adam to meet his needs: physical, emotional, and relational needs. Marriage is the very, very, very best. Now you can figure out the implications of that: if you’re not married, get married. Some of you people are so picky. You’re just pushing off the best of life until who knows, some nebulous tomorrow when no one’s left. It isn’t a hasty decision you make, but it certainly ought to be the objective and the goal. So God’s created design renders fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and divorce outside the plan, outside the plan.
Proverbs – I don’t have time to develop it – but Proverbs talks about being satisfied with your wife; and Scripture just puts so much honor into marriage. It is the primary and essential relationship for a man. If you want to be fulfilled as a man or a woman, this is where you find your great fulfillment.
And having said that, obviously your heart aches because there has been so many unfaithful wives and so many unfaithful husbands who have made havoc out of marriage. And that’s part of the curse, that’s part of the fall. And we’ll see that when we get into chapter 3; that’s part of the chaos that comes. But this is God’s ideal, and this is the wondrous way in which it all began.
Soon as the fall came, chapter 4 of Genesis, you have polygamy. Chapter 9 you have evil thoughts and evil words. Chapter 16 you have adultery. Chapter 19 you have homosexuality. Chapter 34 of Genesis you have fornication, you have rape. Chapter 38 you have incest; chapter 38 you have prostitution. Chapter 39 you have seduction. The enemy of the souls of men as soon as the fall came went after that relationship of marriage with a vengeance, because that is the defining relationship of man’s life.
It doesn’t say God created man, then He created woman, and then He had man join a union, or join the royal order of the goats, or a club, or get a membership at the country club, or get a membership at the gym, or any other kind of relationship. The relationship for a man in which he finds his greatest fulfillment and in which righteousness is passed from one generation to the next is marriage. And that is the defining relationship for man. And immediately after the fall it just gets assaulted. Conflict comes into it, and then you have polygamy, wickedness, adultery, homosexuality, fornication, rape, incest, prostitution, seduction; and that’s the story of the rest of history. And then you can add divorce.
But as Jesus said in Matthew 19:8, “From the beginning it was not so, it was not so.” In the beginning it was perfect and it was wonderful, and there was no shame about anything in that relationship, because there was no evil; therefore there was no consciousness of any potential evil. This was the wonder of the original creation.
Well, you can see where we are in the text. The next words, chapter 3, verse 1, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field,” and here we go into the tragic fall of man. And we’ll look at that next time. Let’s pray.
Father, we thank You again for Your Word. So many thoughts flood our minds and hearts as we think about the wonder of Your creation, what is was like. We thank You, Lord, for this, that in Christ we have a measure of paradise regained. We thank You, that in Christ we can know again the wonderful delight and joy and bliss and wonder: love of marriage; that in Christ marriage becomes the grace of life; that in Christ, we can leave and cleave in a strong bond, becoming one for life.
We thank You, that in Christ we can enjoy communion with You as well as with each other. In Christ we can go, as it were, into the paradise again, and walk and talk with you in the cool of the day, as the man and the woman once could do. We thank You, that in Christ there is a great measure of paradise given back.
We thank You for the joys of marriage, for the blessedness of that relationship with all its richness. We thank You, Father, for showing us again the wonder of Your creation; and we give You all the glory. It didn’t happen by chance, it didn’t happen by random mutation; every single thing that came into existence, including man and woman, are made by You, by Your creative hand, for Your purpose.
And, Father, we pray that You would cause us always to believe Your Word no matter what it says, because it is, in fact, Your very Word, spoken to us through inspired writers like Moses, who wrote the Pentateuch. And we thank You, Father, for the light that it sheds on life. You want the best for us. You’ve again shown us the best is marriage: a faithful husband, faithful wife, lovingly devoted to each other for life. That’s Your best gift in the human realm. We thank You for it.
And, Lord, make our marriages what You would have them be. Fill them with grace, and fill us with the Spirit, that we may live lives that cause us to enjoy the best. Keep marriages together; keep married people from sin. Keep Your church free from the sins that destroy marriages. Keep Your people who are married free from the seductions of sinful people who would seduce away a husband or seduce away a wife, or cause a divorce.
Restore to Your people the ideal as much as we can possibly enjoy that ideal in this life. And we know we can. We can be married for life, and enjoy the sweetness and delight that most wonderful of all relationships. And we pray to that end for Your glory, in Christ’s name. Amen.
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