It all began in a garden. God had created a beautiful world. A world free of sin and death. A world that provided everything man needed. Everything, that is, except a helpmeet.
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR ADAM
When God created Adam, He gave him a purpose – to tend the garden He had made. Sometimes, I wonder just what was involved in tending the Garden of Eden. He didn’t have to plant it, for God had already done that. He didn’t have to water it, for “there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground” (Gen. 2:6). He didn’t have to weed it, for the ground had not yet been cursed. Therefore, thorns and thistles were not yet a problem. It seems he had only to harvest the fruit and eat it. Whatever was required, it was pleasant work – no sweat involved!
Not only did God give Adam a purpose, but He also gave him a job. After each creative act, God “saw that it was good.” But, after creating Adam, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen 2:9). To remedy this situation, God gave Adam the daunting job of naming all the animals. God had named Adam, and He could easily have named the animals. However, everything God does has a purpose, and His purpose here was to help Adam recognize his need for a helpmeet. And it worked!
GOD’S PLAN FOR ADAM AND EVE
As always, God has a plan for every need known to man. In this case, Adam needed someone to help him and to be a companion for him. God already had the solution. He caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, took one of his ribs, made a woman, brought her to Adam, and created the first institution – marriage (Gen. 2:21-25). Eve fulfilled a need in Adam’s life. She was brought to him as a gift from God to be a help and a companion. Together, they would fulfill God’s plan for mankind.
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.Matthew 19:4-6
We see here the participants, the process, and the intent. The participants were male and female – one man (Adam) and one woman (Eve). The process was leaving and cleaving. Even though Adam had no father or mother to leave, the principle needed to be established. Marriage involves breaking away from one home to establish another. Every time I attend a marriage ceremony, I witness a miracle. God takes two individuals and makes them one. Once the union takes place and a new home is created, God’s intent is that the marriage last “until death do we part.”
god’s plan for marriage
Adam and Eve’s marriage would be the first step in fulfilling the command God had given them: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it . . .”
When God created Adam and Eve and brought them together to become one flesh, He had more in mind than companionship. He also instructed them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. At the time of the command, there were no other people on the earth. Adam and Eve had no parents, no brothers, or sisters – there was absolutely no one else besides them. Theirs was the first marriage. Eve was the first woman to conceive and bear a child. She was the first mother to walk through all the phases of childhood. Adam was the first man to lead his family, and he was the first father to face the challenges of rearing children. Neither of them had any experience or earthly example to follow. Yet, God used them to replenish, or fill, the earth with people.
While it’s not stated here, we see elsewhere in Scripture that another part of God’s purpose for marriage is to raise up a godly heritage. Although Adam and Eve didn’t have parents to model after, they had walked and talked with God Himself! They knew Him personally – intimately. Despite falling into sin, they still had access to a heavenly Father who could teach them all they needed to know about marriage and parenting. What a blessing it is to know that, even though generations have gone before us, we still have access to the same heavenly Father who will teach us all we need to know about marriage and about training our own children. (See Hitting the Target: Pointing Your Children To God)
We see in Scripture clearly defined roles for husband and wife. Even from the beginning, there was a distinct difference. God created man first, then He created woman as a helpmeet for the man. After the fall, we see the roles more clearly defined as Adam was to “rule over” Eve. We even learn more about these roles as we read through the pages of God’s Word.
The husband’s role in marriage
We won’t spend a lot of time here, since this is our husband’s territory. However, it may be helpful to consider his role so that we can lovingly help him fulfill it. First, the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). If you are like me, this is not always easy. I am not always a lovable person, yet, God has commanded my husband to love me anyway! Second, he is to teach her God’s Word (Ephesians 5:26). Third, he is to live with her “according to knowledge” (1 Peter 3:7). Finally, he is to honor her as the weaker vessel. (1 Peter 3:7) Overall, the husband is to be the head of the family (Ephesians 5:23, 1 Corinthians 11:2) and will be held accountable to God for how he fulfills his role in the marriage.
The Wife’s Role in marriage
While the husband has the overwhelming task of leading his wife and family, the wife has the not-so-easy job of submitting to her husband as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). The word “submit” is a military term that means “to put oneself under.” Therefore, the wife is to “put herself under” the authority of her husband and to respond to him as she would respond to Christ (1 Peter 3:1). In addition to this, she is to reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33). This literally means “to stand in awe of.” Do you “stand in awe of” your husband? If you do, you will not find it difficult to go to him for answers when you have questions (1 Corinthians 14:35). Reverencing him will also make the task of exhibiting a meek and quiet spirit more doable (1 Peter 3:3-4).
From the first marriage in the garden to now, God’s plan and purpose remain the same. His Word provides the guidelines and encouragement needed for men and women to fulfill the roles He has given them. There are blessings for couples who are faithful to walk in obedience to their God-given calling, and through it all, we can bring glory to the One who created marriage in the first place.
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