Moses, Jesus and Marriage
When Moses was inspired by God to write the first book of the Bible, he recounted God’s creation of Eve in vivid terms.
Eve, Genesis 2:20 says, was “fit” for Adam. This phrase comes from a Hebrew word meaning “complementary” or “corresponding to.” Each member of the first couple made up what was lacking in the other.
Complementary Is Good
Additionally, Eve was to be a “helper” to Adam. “Helper” is not a demeaning term. In Hebrew, it comes from two words that together mean “enabler” or “one who empowers.”
“Helper” is not a demeaning term. … The same word is used for God numerous times.
The same word is used for God numerous times. For example, the psalmist proclaims, “You are our help” — the One Who empowers us — “and our shield” (33:20). Eve was in Good Company.
In what way would Eve be a source of power and strength to her husband? The mandate the Lord gave them seems to answer that question: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen. 1:28)
In other words, Adam needed someone like him yet distinct from him to enable him to procreate and “multiply.” He also needed someone to help him “subdue” and “have dominion” over the earth. Wisely and intelligently making use of the amazing world their Creator had given them would take more than Adam’s ingenuity and strength. It would take two, and their countless offspring.
Men and Women Are Meant To Be Different
Men and women are different in so many ways, not only biological, but their entire makeup. “Studies of perception, cognition, memory and neural functions have found apparent gender differences. These differences may be attributed to various genetic, hormonal and environmental factors and do not reflect any overall superiority advantage to either sex,” according to recent research.
Complexity, distinction and complementarity: That’s why marriage exists as the union of one man and one woman. We can’t handle more than one of each other!
But there is, of course, a lot more to it than that. When asked about divorce by some religious leaders trying to trap Him, Jesus gave an exposition of Genesis 2 unlike any other.
Jesus and Marriage: Five Ways He Affirmed the Complementary Union
“Have you not read,” the Master asked, “that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:1-6).
Let’s break that down.
First, Jesus affirmed that God created humankind in two distinct and complementary sexes: male and female. There is no ambiguity here. There is no gender confusion, no sense of fluidity or a “spectrum of sexuality.”
Some people are troubled by gender dysphoria, confusion over their sexual identity. They need compassion, counsel, and in rare cases of hermaphroditism, surgery once they are of age. But human sex is binary: man or woman. At least that’s what Jesus thought.
Second, Jesus affirmed that marriage is to be exclusive. Leaving. Holding fast. One man and one woman. There is no room here for polygamy or polyamory or same sex unions. Jesus was unambiguous about this.
Third, marriage is sacrificial: “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife.” Marriage is a risk. It involves leaving the familiar for a new life. It means that parents and siblings take a back seat to the new union. Selfish habits and patterns of behavior, long held and enjoyed, are things to leave behind.
This is especially true for men, whose propensity for self-preoccupation is pretty boundless. My close friends and I are willing, albeit embarrassed, witnesses to this sad truth.
Men and women are different in so many ways, not only biological, but their entire makeup.
Fourth, as we talked about earlier, marriage is to be complementary: “The two shall become one flesh,” Jesus said in quoting Genesis 2:24. The idea is of two interlocking pieces joining together. Men and women are sexually complementary, but also complementary in other ways, as noted earlier.
One flesh? They are joined as one person in the sexual act, which itself creates a spiritual and emotional bonding unlike any other.
Fifth, marriage is to be permanent: “What God has joined, let not man separate.” Jesus is here affirming that marriage is authored by God and, as such, is nothing to be disjoined lightly.
So-called “no fault” divorce laws have made marriage dissolution far too easy. While no one should be compelled to stay in an abusive, dangerous relationship, making divorce cheap and easy means it will be common. Human nature gravitates to the quick and low way out of difficulty, however destructive that way ultimately may be.
Reflecting the Nature of God
As British pastor Sam Allberry has written in his superb book Connected: Living in the Light of the Trinity, two becoming one has a direct parallel to the union of the Triune Godhead. “We find the same particular Hebrew word for ‘one’ in both Genesis 2 and Deuteronomy 6,” where God says, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one.”
“By virtue of their marital union, man and woman are able to arrive at a kind of oneness that can reflect the oneness of God the Trinity,” Allberry says.
In this union, that of man and woman in marriage, there is beauty unlike that in any other human relationship. How could there not be? It is a mirror of something — Someone — eternally beautiful.