Summary: Marriage is under assault today on several fronts. This message makes clear God's original design and intent for marriage, and shares some tips for helping a marriage to survive.
MARRIAGE GOD’S WAY
Pastor Eric Hanson
We are living in curious times regarding marriage. There are those who would like to abolish marriage altogether and replace it with various legal arrangements having to do with property and finances. At the same time, there are others who wish to re-define marriage as extending to couples of the same gender. There are still others who wish to open marriage up to all sorts of arrangements, including groups of people, and in some cases, even children.
On another front, there are social writers who construct arguments in such a way as to cast dark shadows over Christian marriage. Most of their writings do not argue with or even make reference to the instructional passages found in the Bible’s New Testament regarding the inner workings of marriage. Rather, they tend to be reacting to marital legal history in America’s past, where there were some real disadvantages to women who may have been in abusive situations at home. Many of these same writers were also influenced by their personal observations of unhappy homes. A large percentage of the angry feminists of the late sixties and the seventies were primarily informed on the nature of marriage by such writings as those I just referred to.
Many of today’s commentators, television writers, and shapers of public policy, have come from a background which embraced much of the radical feminism of that time. Let me define what I mean by “radical feminism”. I am not speaking of “equal pay for equal work”. There is nothing radical about that concept. It is just a matter of fairness for people to receive their pay based on the merit of their work performance.
By radical feminism, I am primarily referring to two ideas. One is that men are a blight on the landscape of humanity. This idea inculcates an attitude that men are not to be loved and trusted. They are needed for reproduction and not much more. They are certainly not needed for raising children. The second such idea is that of erasing all gender distinctions, and insisting that such distinctions are merely artificial constructs designed by men in order to dominate women. This type of thinking manifests itself in arenas as diverse as calls for women to be in front line combat roles in the Army, and insistence that the giving of toys to children be gender non-specific.
For over thirty years now, the mindset that comes from these ideas has shaped the public perception of what traditional marriage is and how it was designed, by men, to work. The average American today probably sees Sit-Com couples as being the embodiment of traditional marriage. Many of these average Americans have come to the conclusion that they don’t want to be involved with such a thing.
These images from popular culture have been continuously reinforced for younger people by one new TV comedy after the next. In almost all of these the male is a dishonest and self absorbed personality. Many of the wives are something less than great role models too.
I wish to present an alternate take on traditional marriage. I will be speaking from the Biblical marital writings, which are the primary source authority on this topic. I will not be basing conclusions upon personal observation of marriage in American society.
Now let’s take a look…
I. God designed marriage: (based on Genesis 2:19-25)
It was in the very beginning of human history that God very profoundly illustrated His intention and design for marriage. Observe now as the almighty creates the first marriage. (Read and narrate the passage)
A. 1. “Rib” is the Hebrew word “Yom”, which actually means “part”, not “rib”. (Explain the implications of the genetic code here, and of her coming from his side.)
2. In Hebrew “Woman” and “Man” are both “Adamah”. The separate words here are from the English translators. In the original, the word for both is the same! This is how close, in God’s perfect design, the husband and wife are to be!
3. Upon marrying, our primary focus changes from our relationship with our parents, and becomes the one with our wife or husband. Oneness between a married couple is important on multiple levels in God’s design. We are to leave home, cleave to our spouse, and become one, physically, emotionally, and in our goals, walking together in vital relationship with God.
B. 1. (Read Genesis 1:26-28) Dominion over the Earth as responsible stewards under God was given to “Man”, not meaning male, but male and female, who are together created in God’s Image.
2. The having of children is part of God’s design for marriage. Much of the thrust of our society today, de-values this, to the point that the population is now actually falling in many western nations, and is barely at replacement level in the USA among whites and blacks, being slightly below it for whites, and slightly above for blacks.