And He (Jesus) answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become on flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” Matthew 19:4-6.
Graduation is in the air. For the next several weeks our local High Schools will be graduating seniors who are ready to move to the next chapter. There will be many parents with mixed emotions, sitting in the audience, watching what their grown children walk down the aisle before they move into adulthood. It is a necessary day but it is also a reminder that time is moving by fast.
Many couples choose to get married during this season of the year. According to the Bible, it’s a big deal. Genesis talks about it being between a man a woman, and Revelation closes with a wedding between a groom and a bride. There is no way around it, this ceremony of the two becoming one is the foundation of the family God intended from the very beginning. Neither the male nor the female can fully represent all there is about the image of God. We may be created by God and are individual, but we express the fullest image of God when the two halves of humanity complement each other and become one.
This is significant to look at – especially in our world of gender equality to the point of losing our identity as male and female. Bear with me for a moment.
In Genesis 2:18, it states that it is not good for man to be alone. We naturally think that God created male and then He needed to create female to complete the two. Yes and no. When you go directly from the Hebrew, it says, “It is not good from humankind to be at one.” In other words God was saying it is not good for humankind to live in solitude. When adam, or humankind was split apart, we ended up with male and female. I know what you are thinking, “What about the rib?” Good question. The word rib does not appear in the ancient Hebrew text. The word that is there is tsela. It is translated half or side. Don’t miss the significance of this next sentence. Instead of God creating Adam and taking his rib to create Eve, the text says that God created humankind, observed that it was not good for humankind to be alone, so God took a side or half of humankind and created a female (Eve). What remained was male (Adam). In other words, the whole (humanity) that was created in the full image of God (with both the strength of masculinity and the tenderness of femininity) is now the two complimentary halves of humanity: male and female.
One of the reasons for the strong sexual attraction of males and females to each other is the desire for the two halves of humanity to come back together (undoing the splitting of the adam) and reuniting male and females as halves to make the whole, now reflecting the full image of God. That is why the enemy of our soul is attacking this culture with confusion on this matter. If satan can erase the fingerprint and image of God from our foundation, then he will erase the burden of proof and have people believe in partial truths. Jesus said in Matthew 19:6, “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together let no one separate.” If that were said today it would say, “What I have defined, let no Supreme Court ever redefine!”
Let’s not forget the ultimate Marriage found in Revelation. Remember, God did not borrow the imagery of groom and bride from marriage. It is actually the opposite. The real Marriage is the one at the culmination of history, the Marriage of the Groom (Jesus) and the Bride (the Church). It takes place at the end of time as we know it. With earthly marriage we are only getting the appetizer before the main course. Earthly marriage is only a glimpse of the true Marriage. I don’t know if we can fully grasp it all. Paul states that it is a profound mystery in Ephesians 5.
So the next time you are at a wedding, think of the image of God expressed in the male and female coming together in this covenantal relationship called marriage. It is a ceremony celebrating a glimpse of the image of God. It matters to God and thus should matter to us. Looking forward to the reception…
Enjoy the beautiful day today as we see the season transition to something we can be out in.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene