Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage. We continue today with our look into the scripturally given Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage.
Last time when introducing the topic of this new series I presented the idea that every successful endeavor necessarily includes both structure and order. There I re-stated what Genesis chapter 1 & 2 speak of so clearly. Marriage is primarily intended to reflect the God that instituted it. God purposefully created mankind to reflect His image and likeness. Additionally, He created the first man and woman in a united condition, inextricably one, made of the same flesh and bone. Following that original union, God authored marriage as the format by which going forward a man and a woman would be joined by Him, affording them the same capacity as Adam and Eve to reflect their creator. I shared with you in that introductory episode that according to God’s Word even the triune Godhead has an order of authority. Therefore, marriage which is determined to reflect God necessarily must also have structure of authority. Finally, I shared that in 1 Corinthians 11:3 the structure and order of both the Godhead and marriage are identified and connected with one another outlining an overall framework of authority. Once again that scripture reads as follows. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
As we move forward in our look at the all-important God ordained structure of marriage, I want to begin with a crucial understanding. In the last edition I quickly made mention of the fact that the order of marital authority has nothing to do with the value of one person over the other. The structure of marriage absolutely has nothing to do with greater or lesser value found in a husband or wife. God’s word offers several explanations for why the order is what God has made it, but none of them have anything to do with the superiority of man or the inferiority of woman – because those ideals are completely and totally false. I want to dedicate this edition of the series on the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage to dispelling that dangerous notion. Instead I hope to illustrate from God’s own word that men and women were and are created equally valuable in His eyes.
There are several errant beliefs we hold as people that cause us to misunderstand our equal value as men and women. Even in our contemporary society where many might say that a corrected equality has finally been established, our thinking is flawed, and actually takes us farther away from the truth of God’s word, instead of nearer to it. At the pinnacle of those misunderstandings is this, “Equality means possessing the same capabilities”. For all of history this thought process has been so simple to disprove that is was never even questioned until the last century. It is more than easy to see that men and women do not have all of the same capabilities. For example, women can give birth far better than men…men have zero ability to do so and with infinitesimal few exceptions, all mature women are physically able to have a baby. To that order, nearly all men are capable of fathering a child, while women have no natural ability to do so. When each of these differing abilities are joined, a man and a woman each play a crucial yet completely different role in the creation of life. Interestingly, when this takes place in marriage, that couple becomes more reflective of God who initially created life. In this as well as many other areas, men and women have dissimilar ability, yet equal value.
Following the science, there are many and varied physical differences between men and women that are not directly associated with reproduction. Some of those differences offer ability to one or the other that is easier to recognize than others. For instance, the existence of a woman’s breasts gives her the ability to nurse a child where her male counterpart has no such ability. A man’s ‘Adam’s apple’ exists because of the greater amount of cartilage surrounding a substantially larger voice box than a woman has. The increased size of the male vocal cords enable men to speak or sing in much lower octaves than the vast majority of women. Though these differences enable men and women to do things the other cannot, it does not in any way affect their overall value.
Many additional differences also exist. There are differences in the ways we think. We exhibit differences in our relational needs. There are differences in the way we use language, the ways we problem solve, the ways we resolve conflict, etc. The list of differences goes on and on. These variations between us give us many differing capabilities that can often be observed to follow along gender-lines. None of those differing abilities increase or decrease our overall value. While one may be more useful in a specific area, the other will have greater success in another, however, a man and a woman are endowed by their Creator with equal value. Interestingly, when it comes to the value God sees in us as men and women, though it is equal, it is also exponentially increased as a man and woman are joined as one. (more on that later)
For the purposes of this episode I want to focus on one specific scripture surrounding the necessity of the creation of the first woman, Eve. Genesis 2:18 says, And the Lord God said “It is not good that man should be alone I will make a helper comparable to him.” I have heard many teachings on this verse. Some good, some not-so-good. The poorest of these have indicated that God decided that Adam would be lonely and so He created Eve to keep Adam company and be a helper by keeping his needs met. Unfortunately, I believe this errant exegesis is only meant to serve unscrupulous men’s desire to utilize this passage to conclude that women are inferior to them in some way. In fact, a correct understanding of this scripture proves nothing could be further from the truth.
When we look at the original Hebrew, the phrase “it is not good” is indicative that it was not yet complete. Each day of the creation week, we see the opposite phrase spoken in the affirmative. Genesis 1:4 says: and God saw the light, that it was good. In verse 10 it goes on to say and God called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the waters He called seas. And God saw that it was good. Again in verse 12: And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Further on in verses 16-18 we read: Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. Again in verse 21: So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw thatit was good. The phrase is repeated again in verse 25: And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Finally, we come to verse 31 after God made mankind and the statement is made once again but this time with special exclamation! Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. In light of that, we know that as God concluded the various tasks of creation and He made the statement that it was good He was intimating the job at hand to be finished, or complete.
Therefore, in Genesis 2:18 when we read that God said “It is not good” we can surmise that He meant it is not complete or finished for man to be alone. In order to gain an accurate understanding, I think it important to do a bit of a word study of the original text. In this verse The Hebrew word [Towb] pronounced [to be] translates to the English phrase “It is not good”. According to Strong’s Bible Dictionary, the definition for this Hebrew word as used specifically in this reference means inappropriate for its use, or incomplete for its intended use.
The Hebrew word for “Alone” used here is [Bad] pronounced [bad]which means separated or apart from its counterpart. Much like if your salt shaker was in the dining room and your pepper shaker was alone in the kitchen. Though it was by itself, it would still be part of a set intended to be used together.
The final phrase necessary to have complete understanding of this verse is “A helper comparable to him.” The King James Version reads “A help meet.” This phrase comes from the Hebrew words [ezer] pronounced [ay’-zer], and [Neged] pronounced [neh’-ghed]. These words together, according to Strong’s, mean an absolute counterpart to a perfect set.
When you put all of that together, a good literal translation of Genesis 2:18 would read something like this: And God said, It will be inappropriate and mankind will remain incomplete for his intended purpose if man is an unfinished creation, so I will create an absolutely perfect counterpart to him (woman) and together they will be a complete complimentary matched set, each an equally valuable part of the whole, that will more fully represent Me.
Eve was the absolutely, perfectly created, counterpart to Adam. She was equal in valuation to Adam in every way. She was not more than Adam and not less than Adam. He was not superior to her in any way; she was not inferior to him in any way. They were a perfectly created, matched set. Equal in every way, yet often completely different in function. Together their purpose was to reflect the image and likeness of God. The analogy I like to use for them was that of a mirror. A mirror’s purpose is to reflect whatever is in front of it. A mirror is made up of two components. A sheet of perfectly clear and perfectly flat glass and a polished silver coating. Neither the glass nor the silver by themselves are very effective at producing a quality reflection, but when married together, they form a mirror that reflects with absolute clarity. The glass is not superior to silver nor is the silver inferior to glass, they are simply different yet both crucial to their collective purpose.
Adam and Eve’s oneness was intended to reflect the image and likeness of God. The primary purpose of your marriage is the same. Adam and Eve were created differently than one another, just as you and your spouse were. Adam and Eve had equal value though differing individual abilities, just as is the case in your marriage. Those differences were not given to determine value, they were offered that together they might find the highest value…reflecting their supreme Creator, God.
Was there order? Yes. Adam was created before Eve. Did that make him superior? Not in any way shape or form. Eve followed Adam in creation, but only to illustrate his need of her help to fulfill their purpose. Next time we will delve into some additional scriptures that display the God ordained structure and order of authority within the marriage, as well as the blessing God was attempting to give us within that very framework.
So now, recognizing the incredible and equal value you and your spouse hold in your marriage…Go be Awesome!