Summary: The church is the body of Christ, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way, because we are his bride.
The Glorious Bride
Ephesians 1: 15 – 23
Sometimes I think we don’t think often enough about that first week of creation described for us in the early chapters of Genesis. We kind of breeze by it, as if we’re in a hurry to get past the wonder of the creation itself, and even the glory of the man and the woman, created to bear the image of God and to rule over the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and every creature that moves along the ground, so we can get busy focusing on the sinfulness of our fallen condition. But we need to focus more often on that creation—on paradise—on Eden—on that garden that God created so that his people could live with him in the fullness of joy and blessing, understanding who their creator was, and why he made them.
So this morning, as we begin, I want to focus especially on that sixth day, when, after he had made the “living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals each according to its kind,” God said, “Let us make humanity 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.”
We’re told that on that day, God formed Adam from the dust of the ground, inspired him with the breath of life, and the man he had formed became a living being. But something wasn’t quite finished in that moment, because in spite of the fact that God had stepped back at the end of each day, looked at all that he had made and pronounced it good; after causing all of the other creatures to pass before Adam so that he might name them, when he looked at Adam, standing there by himself, he said, “It is not good…” “It is not good for the man to be alone…”
So God caused Adam to sleep, and while he was asleep he took from his side a rib, and from that he formed the woman who would become Adam's wife. And we can only speculate about what it was like to awake and to be introduced to his bride—no dating rituals, no courtship here; just a match made in heaven so to speak. And whether or not they were the pinnacle and ideal of humanity as some have suggested, surely they were ideal for one another, this first man and first woman. After all, God had said, “I will make a helper suitable for [or corresponding to] him.” And let me reiterate, guys, that when God saw that it was not good for man to be alone, he did not give the man a dog, or a truck. He did not, seeing that it was not good for the man to be alone create the NHL; rather, he made a woman—a “helper” corresponding to him.
And let me also point out before we move on that she was not created to be a “helpmate” with all of the connotations of that lovely word—not a “helper” as in, “an assistant to the man”. It was not as if God saw that Adam, having so much work to do out in the garden, was gonna need someone to pick up his laundry……just think about it for a minute, you’ll get it in a while……As a matter of fact, the Hebrew word translated “helper” here is the very same word used in the Psalms where David and others make statements like, “God is my helper…” so it’s clear that the word itself is not an indication in any sense of some kind of superiority of the one helped over the one doing the helping.
So, God creates this magnificent and beautiful person to be counterpart to the man. She is all that he is not, and vice versa. She completes him and makes humanity whole and together in the fullness of their humanity they will bear and perpetuate the image of God.
Adam seems to understand this instinctively, because immediately, when he sees her he says not, “Wow!” or even, “Cool! this is now the little woman, and she shall pick up my socks and keep me warm at night.” NO. He, in that moment when he is introduced to his bride, says, “This is me.” “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.” Which is to say, “Everything else in the world is not like me. This one—this woman—she is like me. She’s made from the same stuff, the same blood and bone and breath.”