Marriage Matters (Genesis 2:4-25)
Cultivating and Keeping (verses 4-15)
The garden was great, better than we can imagine—but it wasn’t an extended holiday. It was a place for worship, worship that includes serving God and obeying Him. Mankind was to “cultivate” the ground and “keep it”—i.e. to serve and obey. Just as God provided life and breath for man and woman, so also he provides work for them—breath is comparable to work! Work is more than just our vocational responsibilities that allow us to provide for our needs; it is a provision that allows us to fulfill our calling of service to others and to God. Any and all vocations that do not contradict the word and will of God are a fulfillment of God’s purpose for mankind.
Provision and Prohibition (verses 16-17)
The prohibition to abstain from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is as strong as anything found in the ten commandments. It is a prohibition with a penalty: obeying God is life, while disobedience is death. Real meaning in life is found in living according to God’s will for us as His image-bearers.
Man and Woman (verses 18-25)
Humanity is incomplete without woman. The term “helper” is in no way demeaning or in any way implies a sense of inferiority. The fact that the woman is “suitable” corrects any such notion of inferiority—what man lacked (not good) woman supplied (good). Aloneness was remedied with corresponding companionship. This need was not the result of sin, since the garden was a perfect environment. Adam experienced the unbroken presence of God, and yet still he was created with the need of a corresponding relationship.
The differences between man and woman are complementary and matching; there are relative distinctions with essential equality. The woman fully assists her husband in fulfilling the divine cultural mandate, to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule” (Gen 1:28). Bearing God’s image requires distinct masculinity and femininity. Rejecting it in any way whatsoever is a rejection of God, His will, and His rights. Gender clarity and biblical gender relations are essential to healthy human identity, as well as for our witness for the God who made us.
Marriage is designed by God, who brought man and woman together—it is not a human invention or social custom. It requires leaving behind all other loyalties, being marked by a couple’s sole commitment to each other (Matt 19:4-6). Marriage, as God prescribes it, is the foundational fabric of society. It is a union between one man and one woman—a union that is physical, personal, covenantal, and permanent. Any and all contradictions outside of God’s design, including sexual desire contrary to His design, is sin. God created us as sexual beings, with clear intentions and specific parameters regarding sex. Being an all wise Creator, He made us to enjoy the opposite gender within the confines of marriage. When sex is desired, pursued, or practiced outside of marriage it is a distortion and perversion of what God intended. Since sexual perversion (of many different types) is increasingly visible and even celebrated in our day, we must be vigilant to know what God says about sin, especially sexual sin (Rom 1:26ff, 1 Cor 6:9-10).
- How would you describe your attitude toward your vocation (job, studies, responsibilities in the home, etc.)? Do you view it as a matter of worship? Do you view it as God’s purpose for you as one who is created in His image?
- What does it mean that marriage is the “foundational fabric” of human society? What does it suggest about our view of God when we begin to distort His design for marriage? Why is it sin to do so?
- How does the gospel give hope to the sexually broken? Have you repented of sexual sin and are you turning to Christ in faith?