In Genesis 2:18 God said it was not good for man to be alone. He then created a mate suitable for the man and brought her to him and performed the first marriage. God had already taught the man about the “birds and the bees” by showing him the birds and the bees and the goats and the camels and the rest of the animals. Adam had the opportunity to see the pairings as he gave the animals names. I think Adam was smart enough to catch onto the fact that the animals were in pairs, but he was one-of-a-kind. So God gave Adam the missing part of his life by taking Eve from Adam's body. They were the matched pair, a complementary pair. They complemented each other in more than just physical characteristics. Any married person can recognize that men and women are different in their attitudes, their desires, and in the way they see things. Sometimes both men and women become frustrated with those differences, but we are wise to thank God for the differences. The differences make life much more interesting as men and women complete each other in every way. I would like for you to think a little deeper about marriage and family, and what God had in mind when he created us. Did God want to teach us something by giving us marriage and family?
Remember that there are many things we cannot fully comprehend. We cannot understand a God outside of time and space since we are limited by those barriers. The Bible tells us that God is a spirit (John 4:24), and we can only understand persons who have physical bodies. To help us understand and relate to God, he took the form of a man in Jesus Christ. Jesus came not only to redeem us but to show us what God is like.
When we realize the vastness of the universe, we wonder how a God who created and controls all of this could care about us. The Bible refers to God as our Father — a perfect Father (Psalm 68:5, 103:13; Proverbs 3:12; Isaiah 9:6, 63:16, 64:8; Matthew 5:16, 45, 48). We can begin to get an understanding of a father's love and care for his children when we have fathers who care for us or we become fathers ourselves. God is even sometimes described in “mothering” terms (Psalm 91:4). If we did not have or become mothers or fathers, we would be hard-pressed to understand this relationship. Perhaps God created parenting to give us a clear, physical object lesson. We can now say, “I get it!” We can understand God as Father (or parent) only because we understand that concept in our own lives.
When I read the book of Revelation, I see how John struggles with describing heaven. He uses terms like gold, rubies, and emeralds. John runs the gamut of precious and beautiful things we have here on earth, but I am sure that heaven is much more than gold and jewels. John can only describe what he sees with words that he and his readers will understand. The real thing must surely be much more precious, amazing, and beautiful than words can describe. The same goes for descriptions of hell using fire, brimstone, and worms. Do those things literally describe hell? No, I believe it is much worse than human words can describe, but words we understand are all we have to use.
Getting back to marriage, did God have something more in mind when he gave us marriage and family? Did he know that we could never comprehend our relationship with him unless we had something we could physically perceive? I think that God gave us marriage so we could grasp the relationship he wants to have with us. At Mount Sinai, God performed a marriage with his people, his bride that he had rescued from Egypt. The covenant of marriage was sealed with two tablets of stone. Amazingly the bride was unfaithful at the marriage ceremony, but God forgave and gave her another chance. In fact, he gave many more chances as the bride failed to be faithful. God kept calling her back. He even used the prophet Hosea to illustrate this relationship. He told Hosea to marry a prostitute (Hosea 1:2). Hosea brought Gomer out of the street life and made her his wife, only to experience the pain of her going back to the streets and Hosea buying her again. By reading the story of Hosea and Gomer, we can feel the pain of this unfaithfulness in a way that we could not comprehend otherwise. We can feel God's pain at our unfaithfulness. We can finally understand what God meant when he told Moses on Mount Sinai, I am a jealous God, you shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3 – 5). Without the object lesson of marriage, I do not think we could ever really understand how God feels.
Then we come to the New Testament, and we find the marriage illustration used again to describe the church as the bride of Christ. Marital love and faithfulness make it possible for us to understand that word picture. The pain of unfaithfulness and divorce allow us to realize the importance and meaning of what God is saying.
God gave us a beautiful gift in marriage, family, and parenthood. But did God have more in mind? Did he give us marriage and fatherhood as a dynamic object lesson so that our feeble minds could see something greater? Maybe we cannot fully understand what heaven is like and we cannot fully understand what God is like. We do not have words to adequately describe either, but we can understand our personal relationship with him as our Father and our corporate relationship with Christ as his bride. We can know those things only because God has given us a physical object lesson. It is an object lesson we live out so we can see and understand a greater truth. Marriage and family are gifts from God to make life meaningful and to give us an understanding of spiritual concepts that would otherwise be beyond our grasp. Is that the reason Satan is working so hard to destroy marriage and parenting — especially fatherhood? Yes, I absolutely think that is the reason.
— Roland Earnst
© monkeybusinessimages. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
© Marmion. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
© newnow. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.