Observing the Master Designer at Work in Marriage
GENESIS means “beginnings”. That is why the first book of the Bible was given that name. In this chapter we are going to explore the origins of the man/woman (marriage) relationship as it is laid out for us in Genesis 1:1-4:1.
The first chapter of Genesis describes God’s creation of the heavens, the earth, and all the creatures which He placed upon the earth, from the smallest single celled creature to the crowning part of it all, man and woman, whom He made in His own image. Think of the excitement God must have experienced as He brought to life the first human being made in His very image!
When I was growing up I heard very few messages on the origins of marriage. If Genesis was preached on at all it was about the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob or Joseph. Yet God’s design of man and woman and their subsequent union is the center-piece of these first two chapters of Genesis. Look carefully at the following verses.
Genesis 1:27 says “And God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” What does it really mean to be created in God’s image? In his book “Christian: Celebrate Your Sexuality”, Dwight Hervey Small explains that there are at least six ways in which men and women are separated out from the rest of creation and made like God.
First of all we are rational beings-we can think. God is rational and He thinks. In Genesis 2:18 (NASV) we read “Then the Lord God said ‘it is not good for the man to be alone;” obviously God is reasoning. He is thinking about the process of introducing the whole idea of “relationship.”
Secondly, we are affectional-we have emotions. God also has emotions. The Bible speaks of His anger, His jealousy, His love, all of which describe God in affectional terms, and we are made like Him, in His image.
Thirdly, we are volitional-we can make choices. God also makes choices. Isaiah 59:1-2 (NIV) says, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear,” (underlining is the author’s). Here God has made a choice not to hear us because of our sins.
Fourth we are responsible – we have moral values. God has a set of moral values and they are given to us in His Holy Word. We have acquired our personal set of moral values through our homes and culture. God asks us to check these values against His Word and to accept and live by His standard, changing whatever is necessary to follow His will.
Fifth, we are self-evident, we can know who we are. No other part of God’s creation understands or cares about who they are except man and woman. We even want to look into our ancestry, our heritage, to find out where we came from. God knows who He is: He is the Alpha and the Omega, The Good Shepherd, The Light of the World, The Bread of Life, The Way, The Truth, and The Life, etc.
Finally, we are self-transcendent, we will live forever. No other part of His creation will live throughout eternity. Only man and woman will share eternity with God and Jesus Christ our Savior. As He lives, so shall we live with Him in Glory. It is true that our bodies go back to dust but because He has given us a soul and spirit (“God is spirit … John 4:24) and He promises eternal life to those who believe in Him (John 3:16) and receive Him into their life (John 1:12), we will live with Him forever.
There may be other ways in which we are like God, but I think this is sufficient for us to understand that being made in God’s image frees us to have “. . . fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3b [NIV]). He has invited us to communicate with Him in prayer and through reading the Word.
There is a second point that needs to be made from this first chapter of Genesis. A marriage relationship is like a triangle, a trinity, a picture of the Triune God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Chart C – How Satan Attacks Our Marriages). In this marriage triangle, or trinity, Christ is the head of one’s marriage-the high point of the triangle, and the husband and wife are at opposite ends on the bottom of the triangle. As they grow closer to our Lord, at the top of the triangle, they come closer to each other. This illustrates why we need to keep our lives centered on Christ, as our foundation.
Jacksonville Baptist Theological Seminary, Doctor of Philosophy & Theology, Master of Divinity Degree
Published: GOALS Mentoring Program, The Impact of the Gospel on an Internet Community
Dr. Ponceti has traveled for international mission projects in Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, and Europe.