Volume. XXX, No. 8
Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Christian Marriage III: The Institution of Marriage

Genesis 2:18 - 25 “18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
God has ordained that marriage is between a man and a woman. This Institution of Marriage began with Adam and Eve.

A. The Institution starts with the First Marriage.
By the sixth day of creation, God had created all the animals and had made man, Adam, out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 1:24-31). God set Adam in the Garden of Eden, and commanded him to take care of it. He forbade him from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).
However, there was something not right. There was something lacking. Adam was alone!
Adam did not have a “help meet”. In other words, Adam had no woman with him. In Genesis 2:18, God said that it was not good that Adam should be alone by himself.
As it was not good for Adam to be alone, God created a woman out of Adam. He anaesthetised Adam into a deep sleep and created the woman from one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 2: 21,22). After creating the woman, God brought the woman to Adam: “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man” Genesis 2:22.
The words in the last part of Genesis 2:22, “brought her unto the man,” mean that Eve was introduced to Adam, and they were married - the first recorded marriage in the universe.
This marks the beginning of the Institution of Marriage, a marriage between Adam and Eve, between a man and a woman. Since then, this Institution has been an enduring ordinance for the entire human race.

B. The first marriage has important implications.
That first marriage between Adam and Eve, that initial Institution of Marriage, is fundamental for our:
understanding of marriage,
high standard view of marriage, and
right and proper behaviour in marriage.

1. Let us consider what our Lord Jesus teaches in relation to the institution of marriage!

a. His answer to the Pharisees about divorce and marriage.
Our Lord Jesus teaches very clearly the importance of the Institution of Marriage on the sixth day of creation. When questioned by the Pharisees about divorce and of marriage, our Lord answered by referring to the original Institution of Marriage in Matthew 19:4 “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,” and went on in the next verse (Matthew 19:5) “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?” Matthew 19:5 is a quote from Genesis 2:24. Obviously, what our Lord Jesus did was to confirm that marriage is between a man and a woman, and on marriage these two individuals become one indivisible flesh.

b. Divorce is not God’s option.
The Pharisees went further in Matthew 19:7 “7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” They received this answer from our Lord in the next verse (Matthew 19:8) “8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
Note the words “from the beginning it was not so.” Our Lord Jesus says that divorce is not an option. Marriage is meant to be permanent. What our Lord is saying here is that if we want to know the truth of marriage, about the truth of right and proper behaviour in marriage we have to go back to the original first marriage.

2. The Institution of Marriage declares that the Male is Incomplete.
a. Adam was alone on his first day.
Let us go back to the sixth day of creation. On that day, which was the first day of Adam’s life, he was by himself. He was alone. Despite the presence of animals and birds, and other living things, Adam was still alone. These creatures could not overcome his loneliness.

b. Adam was incomplete.
Every living thing that God created had a male and a female. It was a perfect world. Every creature created was 100% male and 100% female. There was no transsexual, transgender, or intersex categories until after the Fall.
Adam did not have a partner of the opposite gender. When he did not have a partner of the opposite gender that means Adam was incomplete, and not whole. Adam did not realize he was incomplete.

c. God was aware of the incompleteness of Adam.
God knew this and so He said in Genesis 2:18 “18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” At this time, Adam actually lived a life as one separated from another person who belonged to him. When Adam was by himself, God said “It is not good that the man should be alone”.

3. To complete Adam, God acted.

Let me reiterate again - Adam was not aware of his incompleteness.
a) God brought the created animals to Adam.
In the process of showing Adam his incompleteness, God in His infinite wisdom did something “strange”. He brought the created animals to Adam. Yet, by looking at the paired animals, Adam was still not aware of his incompleteness. This is because he did not realize that he was alone and incomplete. It is like us when we do not realize we have a good thing until we lose it, but from the opposite perspective!
Why did God, being aware of Adam’s incompleteness, bring the animals to him?
By bringing the paired animals to him, God was making Adam to become aware of his incompleteness. In the second part of Genesis 2:20 we read “but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”
Adam was not able to find a “help meet” among these animals. Adam did not know the exact nature of his lack or incompleteness. Only when God brought Adam’s “help meet” would he realized what he needed.
Was there any other reason as to why God was making Adam aware of his incompleteness?
It is important that this incompleteness was made known to Adam before God brought his wife, Eve, to him. This is because this would make Adam appreciative and prompt him to give proper treatment of Eve.
Otherwise, Adam would have regarded Eve as just a nice but unnecessary addition to him and would treat her as an object that is expendable (or unnecessary part). This would make the woman a slave and not a “help meet”.
Instead, through God’s wise actions, Adam would view and treat her as someone who was necessary for his own completeness. Experience would very soon tell him that Eve was the help that he needed…..…….to be continued.                                  

Elder Michael D Lee

(Reference: “Marriage - The Mystery of Christ & The Church” by David J Engelsma, 1998 edition)

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster - Today: Group B. Next Lord’s Day: Group C.

*Baptism & Re-affirmation of Faith will be held next Lord’s day, 30 Aug.

*New Basic Bible Knowledge course to commence 6 Sept. Please let Elder Michael D Lee know if interested.

*Daily Manna for July - Sept quarter available on the literature table. Donation: $1 per copy.

*Sparks/YAF Retreat forms to be handed to Deaconess Joyce Gong or Sis Shu Ai Cho by 6 Sept. Speaker: Rev Hyun Choi.

*Please note: Fellowship Lunch on 13 Sept is catered.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo (Adl); Dn Mark & Sis Helen Heah; Mr & Mrs Brett Ryan (Adl/Melb); & others arriving safely at their destinations.

Church activities in the past week.

Visitors & new worshippers.

God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

Last weekend’s “Focus on the Family” Seminars; Mr & Brett Ryan; Good attendances.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe & others in affliction.

iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.

House of Hope, Cebu - Pastor Roel M Allocod, staff & volunteers; treatment & salvation of drug addicts; Provision of car & sufficient funds for ministry.

New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.

Covenant BPC (Perth) - purchasing of church property.

Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

Journey mercies: For all those who are travelling.

Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

Persecuted believers in Islamic countries.

Voice of Martyrs: staff & volunteers. God’s protection of volunteers who distribute Bibles.

Protection & Preservation of Israel. Salvation of Jews.

God’s guidance: purchase of new church property.

Australia: God’s wisdom for our political leaders. People to repent and turn to God.

Session Meeting this afternoon: God’s wisdom & guidance



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