Summary: The first marriage shows us what God meant marriage to be.
[Read Genesis 2:18-25.] In Genesis 2:22, we read of the world’s first marriage ceremony: “[God] brought [the woman] to the man.” God “gave away” the first bride and Mr. Adam and Miss Eve were joined together in holy matrimony. You could say it was a marriage “made in heaven.”
Once when the Pharisees asked Jesus a question about divorce (see Matt. 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12), He answered them by going back to Genesis 2. He went back to “the beginning”—to the first marriage…the marriage of Adam and Eve. What does this tells us?
• First, the account of Adam and Eve is historical, not allegorical. Jesus believed that Adam and Eve were real people who were actually married; so should we.
• Second, the guidelines for marriage found in Genesis 2 are for all marriages, not just the first one.
Married couples soon learn that marriage is not a fairy tale lived happily ever after in a castle. It’s easy to get married; it’s the living together part that causes all the problems. Someone who had a poor view of marriage once said, “Marriage is a three-ring circus: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering. Obviously, that was not God’s intention for marriage. Marriage is a creation of God, so it is good (though we often make a mess of it). In Genesis 2:18-25 we find God’s original plan for marriage—or, in other words, marriage as it was meant to be.
1. Marriage was meant to be a LOVING relationship.
“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (v. 18).
In the Genesis 1 account of creation, there is one statement that is repeated over and over: “And God saw that it was good” (vv. 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). However, in 2:18 there is a difference: “It is not good for the man to be alone.” What was God’s solution? God decided, “I will make a helper suitable for him.” This “suitable helper” would be the woman. The account of God’s creation of Eve reveals a few facts about women.
a. Women are men’s RESCUERS.
The woman was created to rescue the man from loneliness. She was created to be his “helper.” Our English word “helper” doesn’t sound very important. One dictionary defines “helper” as “one that helps; esp.: a relatively unskilled worker who assists a skilled worker, usu. by manual labor.” The original Hebrew word, however, is much more meaningful. It conveys the idea of someone who “assists another to reach complete fulfillment” (Charles Swindoll, Strike the Original Match, pp. 21-22). It is used elsewhere in the Old Testament when referring to someone coming to rescue another. In Psalm 46:1 this word is used of God Himself: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” As God can rescue us from fear, a woman can rescue a man from loneliness.
b. Women are men’s COMPLETERS.
In verses 19-20 we are told that God brought all of the animals to Adam so that he could name them. As Adam named each kind of animal, he would have noticed that they came in pairs—male and female. But, as verse 20 states, “for Adam no suitable helper was found.” There was no female human—only male, only Adam. Adam was living in paradise, but there was something missing. God’s creation of man was incomplete; Adam was incomplete. The woman was made to complete the man. [This does not mean that single people are incomplete. However, every person—single people included—are not meant to live alone. Everyone needs friends—preferably both male and female.] The woman was created to provide the missing piece in the man’s life.
c. Women are men’s EQUALS.
In verse 21 we read of history’s first surgical operation. With His divine scalpel, God took a piece of the man and used it to make the woman. Most Bibles say that God “took one of the man’s ribs.” [When Adam found out that he was getting a wife, he asked God how much it would cost him. God answered, “It will cost you an arm and a leg.” Adam thought for a moment and asked, “What can I get for a rib?”] Actually, a better translation might be “side.” [The Hebrew word appears thirty-five times in the Old Testament and this is the only time it’s translated “rib.” Most of the time (in at least twenty of its occurrences) it means “side.”] Notice in verse 23 that Adam describes the woman as “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” A piece of Adam’s side would consist of both bone and flesh.
[Some people foolishly argue that if this account is really true, men should have one less rib than women. But if I had accidentally cut off one of my arms before the birth of my sons, would they both have been born with only one arm? Of course not!]