To understand anything that was designed for a specific purpose you have to go back to its origin which includes the designer’s intent and purpose. This objective provides a clue to its meaning along with the laws and principles regulating it. Looking beyond the many viewpoints on marriage that apparently have been influenced by our culture within a small window of time, we must go back to the beginning. The answer to the rhetorical question is that marriage is absolutely a thing of the past—for it predates history. The fact is, marriage was designed by God as the foundation on which to build the human race through the most intimate form of companionship—decidedly by design—between a man and a woman.
A Thing of the Past, Present, and Future
The very essence of its design is that God’s purpose for marriage was so critical that he made this institution a fixed law rivaled only by the laws of the space-time continuum that preceded it. In fact, since God is outside of space and time, his laws and institutions are timeless. Though many attempts have been made to redefine marriage, like a firmly driven nail that refuses to be removed, its very nature defies redefining. Those who scorn its tradition turn it into a debate over civil and religious liberties and gender rights. Many who see the fallout of their parent’s broken marriages view it as either an untrustworthy arrangement or a less attractive alternative to cohabitation.
A Matter of Distinctions
But all who deny God-given aspects of their created humanity and twist its glorious intention must live with the consequences of that denial which will inevitably reveal itself. Moral absolutes, like all fixed laws, have built within them a reap what you sow scenario. That scenario is a constant reminder that God cannot be mocked and that we are not sovereign. How could we be? We didn’t create a thing let alone give it meaning. As Dr. Peter Jones of The Truth Exchange said in his article titled, Why I Signed The Nashville Statement on Sexuality, “It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences, but God structured the cosmos on a principle of distinctions within unity, reflecting the very nature of the Trinity. The Bible presents a heterocosmology, not a homocosmology—a created universe based on “otherness,” not “sameness.” That primary “otherness” is between God and His creation. Within the creation, there are many distinctions that witness to that ultimate distinction—between animals and humans, for example, and (supremely) between male and female persons. This cosmic fact is true for everyone.”
Getting Back to the Garden
So as we look back to the inception of marriage, all of our questions crystallize into simple yet profound answers regarding love, marriage, sexuality, and divine intervention. Imagine the beauty of human love as it first began when God introduced Eve to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Everything God created was perfect and had its perfect counterpart: heaven and earth, land and sea, day and night, and the woman for the man. God created a companion for Adam from his rib so that loneliness would be a stranger and companionship would be an ever-present guest. The introduction was more like a ceremony; one with an intimate magnitude rivaling the cosmic magnitude of the creation of the world. Let there be marriage! On that day, the divine officiator established the original mandate for marriage. That sacred scene where God himself was present would set a pattern for all time, and provide us with the most quoted text in history: Genesis 2:24.“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Subsequently, teachers of the law and followers after them would be forever bending the Genesis mandate. Jesus, later in his ministry had to reinforce the account in the wake of erroneous opinions about divorce in Matthew 19:5-6.
Let There Be Marriage
We know that the reference to “leaving father and mother” applies to all subsequent marriages because Adam and Eve had no parents. The “leaving” and “uniting” was directed to all descendants of Adam and Eve. From the historical account in Eden, at the very first marriage on earth, it is clear that marriage is a divine initiative rather than a man-made mirage. It is God himself who proposed the first wedding. He then conducted the ceremony and joined male and female into a mystical union. His defining proclamation to let no one separate what God has joined together carries the weight of intended permanence. Marriage, according to God, is to be preserved. Knowing the power of this union gives us considerable reason for confidence because the prospects are positive when we stay on course with the original plan and the Planner of the plan. Breaking marital oneness is difficult, painful, and unnatural, precisely because of the spiritual dynamic present when we take our vows.
Thankfully, because marriage is a thing of the past, we can count on it to be a thing of the present and future—and what a way to spend life with your closest companion.
Co-Author of The Music of Marriage