A Biblical Understanding of Marriage: Pt. 1 The Divine Foundation for Marriage

A Biblical Understanding of Marriage: Pt. 1 The Divine Foundation for Marriage

Read Genesis 2:18-25

“The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which he had taken from the man and brought her to the man.”

Where did marriage originate? This question is more than just a sociological question to be explored by anthropologists. The issue of marriage is profoundly theological and grounded in our understanding of God’s design and purpose for all humanity and all creation. Unfortunately, in recent years the divine origin of the marriage institution has been pushed aside and discarded. An article in The Atlantic (July 1, 2019) raised the question, “What if marriage is not the social good that so many believe and want it to be?” The writer then questions the value of the institution itself as the basis for all social good. People seek to redefine marriage and remove it from its theological roots and transform it into a relational and social construct.

However, when we turn to the pages of Scripture, we find a different message. Marriage is not an institution established by humanity to merely provide companionship. Marriage is a divine institution to serve as the bedrock upon which all society is built. God treated the relationship between man and wife radically different than the male/female relationship within the animal kingdom. Not only were the man and the woman intrinsically different from the animal kingdom by being God’s divine image-bearers, but their relationship was also to be fundamentally different as well. It is vital to notice that God brought the man and the woman together. The term “brought” in verse 22 is causative with the idea that God ordained and initiated Adam and Eve’s marriage by bringing them together. Marriage was not invented by humans but originated from God. He is the one who established marriage between the husband and wife, and this relationship serves as the bedrock upon which all society is built. It is to take precedence over all other relationships, including the parent-child relationship.

Because marriage is a divine institution, it is not something that we can alter and change. Christ also makes it clear that marriage is an institution established and governed by God “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6).

Our modern understanding of the nature and scope of marriage often starts with the wrong questions. The foundational question that must be asked is, “What are God’s purpose and scope for marriage?” We are not to start with the anthropologist, the sociologist, or even the psychologist. Instead, we must begin with the theologian, for the question is ultimately a question of our understanding of God and His purpose for society and humanity. He is the one who established the institution of marriage, and therefore we must go to Him and His word to find the meaning and purpose of marriage. If we look to any other source, it will ultimately lead us down the wrong path. It has always been the audacity of sinful humanity to think that we can alter what God has established. We desire to throw off the constraints of God’s moral law, which includes marriage, to establish our own.

In Scripture, we find the answer for the design and nature of marriage. From the very beginning, God established marriage as a man and a woman being united together to form one life where God is reflected through them. Anything beyond this becomes a distortion and perversion of God's purpose.

However, this is also a very personal question for each couple. For not only must we understand God’s purpose for marriage in society, but we must also personalize it by asking, “What is God’s purpose for my marriage?” Then we must look at Scripture to discover the answer.

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