I believe in traditional marriage, but I had never really thought through what that means from a Bible point of view. So I looked up various combinations of husband, wife, bride, bridegroom, man and woman, marry, and marriage to see what I could learn. What I found took 40 plus pages to print. At first, I thought I'd be a smart-alec and just print the list, but you would probably tune out at about the 25th or 26th verse (plus why should I cheat you out of the fun of looking them up yourself?) So I picked a few and categorized them.
So with much joy (and in celebration next month of 33 years of marriage!), I present "Why I Believe in Traditional Marriage."
1. Viva la difference:
- Creation: It all started in the beginning: "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Genesis 1:27)
- Compatibility: In the zoom lens account in Genesis 2, we're given the details of this creation: "And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." (2:18). After Adam names the animals, the account states, "But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him." What kind of companion, what kind of helper was compatible with Adam? The answer came after history's first surgical procedure: "And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man." (verses 21-22). In verse 23, Adam responds by saying, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, for she was taken out of man." I've been told by a few Hebrew scholars that Adams' reaction was one of enthusiasm. This was it!
- Commentary: In bringing the Woman to the Man, God offers this commentary: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (verse 24). Jesus reaffirmed this pattern in Matthew 19:5, while the apostle Paul reaffirmed it in Ephesians 5:31. If it's in the Old Testament, if it's in a New Testament letter, and if it's spoken by Jesus Himself, it must be a valid commentary!
2. Getting to know you
- The act: Almost immediately, we read that "Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived...." (Genesis 4:4). As most students of the Scripture are aware of, the word "know" means "have sexual relations with." This is not surprising, since one of the reasons for marriage is reproduction: "Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply..."(Genesis 1:28). Notice that reproduction is one of the reasons, not the only reason or even necessarily the main reason for sex. But nobody would argue that it's irrelevant, because without it, the human race would have ended with Adam and Eve!
- The fact: Not to get too far into Biology 101 (or worse, the dreaded "birds and the bees" talk!), but the Man and the Woman are uniquely equipped for the sexual act. And if we were to get into the conversation about reproduction, it is a biological fact that a man's sperm and a woman's egg are required to create a new life. So we see the constant reference in Scripture: "he knew his wife and she conceived." "He knew his wife and she conceived." "He knew his wife and she conceived."
God invented sex and He intended for the Man and Woman to enjoy it, and, through it, keep producing the human race. What a great command to keep!
3. Famous examples
- Ruth and Boaz (the line of which produced the Messiah!)
- Song of Solomon--yeah, I know, the man Solomon blew it and later had a bunch of wives and porcupines, but this erotic romance ballad is a tribute to the love of a man and a woman (and has also served as an allegory of the relationship between Israel and God and later, Christ and the Church).
- Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptizer, faithfully married for years without a child, until one day, Zechariah enters the Temple....
- Mary and Joseph
- The apostles. It seems that many of the apostles had wives. Reference is made to Peter's mother-in-law (Mark 1:30) and 1 Corinthians 9:5 alludes to the right of Paul to travel with a wife, "as do also the other apostles."
4. Let me illustrate
- Marriage is used to describe the union between Israel and God. There are a few examples in the Old Testament, both negative and positive, but one of my favorites is in Isaiah 62, which describes the restoration of Israel. In verse 5, we read, "For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you."
- Marriage is used to describe the union between the Church and Christ. After a description of the relationship of husbands and wives in Ephesians 5, Paul concludes by saying, "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (verse 32).
- Marriage is used to describe the descent of the New Jerusalem. Regardless of your eschatological leanings, this is a beautiful picture: "Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (Revelation 21:2)It's no wonder the bride's arrival at a wedding is accompanied by such pomp and majesty! Every wedding is a royal wedding!