Part Four: A Biblical Worldview/Epistemology of Marriage
There is no institution on earth that reflects the quintessence of God’s relationship with mankind more than marriage. The creation of man and woman is the full expression of the image of God. Genesis 1:27-28 reads,
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”
It is in the creation of male and female that we find the image of God complete. I have always found God’s first words to a human to be very interesting. “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”
Immediately, God begins His relationship with mankind in terms of sexuality. How else could Adam and Eve “be fruitful?” Of course, sex is enjoyable — it is a gift from God! We, humans, have corrupted its purpose — being fruitful — placing the emphasis on the pleasure. Now, pleasure is all we seek!
Genesis 2:21-25 gives us more insight into God’s created order with the institution of marriage.
“So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
The term, “one flesh”, is significant. Only a man and a woman are able to come together as “one flesh”. Marriage, then, is the context God created for fruitfulness and sexual fulfillment. There is so much more to say, but let’s move on.
Marriage, one man and one woman, is the manifestation of the Church’s relationship with Christ.
Ephesians 5:22-33 and 6:1-4 is a classic Scripture on how the home — marriage and family — is intertwined in our relationship with God, as the church. I have often wondered, is the Apostle Paul using marriage and the family to illustrate our relationship with God, or is he using our relationship with God to illustrate marriage and the family?
When we examine these verses closely, we can easily see that each Christian home is a living lab in which God’s redemptive plan is lived out in the world.
- The Husband/Father is the Christ model of sacrifice. Ephesians 5:22-33, 6:4
- The Wife/Mother is the model of our submission to Christ. Ephesians 5:22-24
- Children are the model of our obedience to Christ. Ephesians 6:1-3
To cap off this whole discussion on a biblical view or epistemology of marriage, let’s take a look at the end of the Bible and the end of all time. God’s created image of marriage climbs to the most amazing height as our Lord, Jesus Christ, refers to himself as the bridegroom and his Church as his bride.
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17)
From the inception of time throughout the scripture to the end of the earth, male and female — created in the image of God, expressed through the institution of marriage and the family — is the epitome of mankind’s relationship with God. Marriage is holy. Marriage is honorable. Marriage is the foundation of society on earth. It defines us here and now, and defines our future role as Christ’s bride.
Any attempt on our part as mere humans to re-define this most sacred institution, can only result in dire consequences.
We’ll address this in my next post.