Summary: An expositional study of Genesis 1 and 2 focusing on God's plan for marriage
Foundation One: God’s Plan for Marriage
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground… The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’…For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Genesis 1:26-28, 2:18, 24
In this session, we will consider God’s plan for marriage as primarily seen in the Genesis narrative. Most married couples miss God’s best simply because they do not know what God desires for marriage. If you don’t know the purpose of something, it is destined for misuse. Therefore, over 50% of marriages end in divorce, and a large number of those who remain married continue to miss God’s purpose for their union.
Today, we will help move your marriage or future marriage in the direction God desires through studying his Word. In this session, we will consider five aspects of God’s plan for marriage.
God’s Plan for Marriage Is to Reflect His Image
Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
The Bible teaches Adam and Eve, as husband and wife, were created in the image of God and, therefore, were meant to bear God’s image—to be in his likeness. Marriage was meant to model and display God’s glory to all of creation.
In what ways is the image of God reflected in the marriage union?
We see his image is in the plurality and unity of marriage. God said, “Let us make man in our image,” and then the text says, “male and female, he created them” (v. 26, 27). When God made man, he made a plurality. He made man and woman, and later in the narrative, he said they would become “one flesh” (Gen 2:24). The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; they are one and yet still individual persons. When a couple gets married, they are meant to demonstrate this. Marriage demonstrates two individual people becoming “one” for the rest of their lives while maintaining their individuality.
With that said, there are other Trinitarian implications to the marriage union. In the Trinity, Jesus the Son submits in all things to God the Father (cf. John 5:19, 1 Cor 15:27) and the Holy Spirit submits to both (cf. John 14:26, 15:26). There is perfect submission in the Godhead. In the same way, when God made man and woman in his image, there was meant to be order in the relationship. First Corinthians 11:3 says: “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”
Paul says in the same way that the head of Christ is God, so the head of the woman (better translated wife) is man. God made the husband and wife relationship to mirror the Godhead specifically in the area of authority. Therefore, Ephesians 5:24 calls for wives to submit to their husbands in everything.
Another Trinitarian implication is love in marriage. The wife submits to the husband and the husband loves his wife. Consider Ephesians 5:25-27:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
The submission of the wife happens in a perfect loving relationship with her husband. Similarly, throughout eternity, the Godhead has always dwelled in a perfect relationship of love and authority. The Father loves the Son and the Son submits to the Father. The Father does not oppress the Son and make him submit. He loves the Son, and within this perfect love, the Son submits to God. The Holy Spirit loves and submits to both. In fact, 1 John 4:8 simply says, “God is love.”