Reflections on the Word: Are you ‘joined in holy matrimony?’
I thought about marriage as Valentine’s Day came. The beauty of complementarity is not only a theme in the creation account but also a necessity in marriage. In the Biblical account of God creating the first woman God declares “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Then, a rib is removed from Adam’s body to fashion Eve. (Gen. 2:18-24). Creating woman from Adam’s side, as opposed to the dust from where he came, speaks to me. God formed animals separately, but a significant point is found in Genesis 2:23 — “She shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
God used Adam’s rib to show they were actually two halves of a whole. She was to be a suitable helper. In the Hebrew that word does not mean assistant or subordinate. In all other instances of the Bible it refers to a powerful, extensive aid (Deut. 33:7, 29 and Ex. 18:4). While Eve might not have been as strong physically, she was made to make Adam stronger in the ways he needed. The two genders play different roles but can achieve the same goal of being one.
In a closer examination of the Hebrew we see that the word “side” was used to refer to the “sides” which held up the Ark of the Covenant (Exod. 25, 27, 35). When we are married, we are to be one with our spouse. Adam got it as he declared Eve was “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and the two shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2:23-24). They are not just one in purpose, but one in soul and spirit. MARRIED sex is the culmination of being united in “holy matrimony.” We are cautioned that “What God has joined together let no man tear it asunder.” Nietzsche wrote, “It’s not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes an unhappy marriage.”
Marriage is not a human invention, it is a divine revelation, so we don’t have the right to change or modify it. Every faithful marriage points to the perfect union we have with our “bridegroom,” Jesus Christ. What a role model for us men! Our marriages can draw strength and inspiration from the real marriage we all have with our Savior. Matthew Henry wrote “The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”
Pastor Bill Baltz is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.