Genesis 2:15… “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
The basic foundational principals and building blocks of civilization as God intended are found within these next several verses. God created the world and everything in it. God created the man and placed him in its most glorious part, the Garden of Eden and gave man the responsibility and the ability to dress and keep it as it pleased the man.
Genesis 2:19… “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”
Adam saw every creature that was made and named each as he saw fit. The man noticed that there were male and female of every creature, but something was missing.
Genesis 2:20… “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”
There was not a female for the man through which he could create new life himself as all other creatures could.
Genesis 2:18… “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”
God therefore, in His infinite wisdom, created FOR the man, the woman. An help “meet” for him. Webster defines “meet” as: “Fit; suitable; proper; qualified; convenient; adapted, as to a use or purpose.” As Gods desire for all his created beings was to replenish the earth, for the male there must be a female and vise versa. That God put on display all creatures for the man to recognize and name, not having created the woman as of yet, God must have wanted the man to realize something basic. He NEEDED help, a partner, to fulfill his ultimate purpose. Solitude was not functional. That purpose was to dress and keep the garden and to create children.
Genesis 1:28… “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
Thus we see clearly that the man was responsible for “keeping” Gods created earth and that the woman was given him to assist in his adventure. Looking carefully at the circumstance surrounding Gods giving the woman to the man we find a very interesting thing… that at one point the man was complete, physically whole (though unable to procreate). He was formed complete of the dust of the ground into which God breathed the mans living soul. The woman however was not made directly from the dust, she was taken as an integral physical part of the man.
Genesis 2:21-22… “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
God took a physical piece of the man, his rib, and created the woman from that physical piece. In effect, God took the completed man, made him less than what he once was and from that which He removed created something far more beautiful and intricate. The woman, now joined back together with the man in a marriage union thus completes the man once again.
Genesis 2:25… “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
His diminished state has added to it not only that which was missing, but something far more valuable, an help “meet” for him. Another of his “kind” to help complete Gods purpose for him.
Paul (speaking to the mostly Jewish Corinthian believers about customary Jewish head coverings) as always makes a profound observation back to the early scripture he knew so well.
1 Corinthians 11:7-9… “For a man indeed not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
As a saved man and woman is returned by faith in the shed blood of Christ to the image and glory of God (2 Cor 3:18), the woman he chooses to wife is the glory of that man. As the church which is His body brings glory to Christ by its actions, the wife is to bring glory to the husband by her own. While every saved person is “complete” in Christ (he needs absolutely nothing else for salvation) I personally believe a man remains at least partially incomplete in this world without a woman joined to him. There is a piece of him missing. God created the woman to fill that void and allow man to move forward attaining that which God ordained from the very beginning; not that we live any longer in the perfect Garden, but in this present evil world, to work with our own hands providing for ourselves and our children until they can provide for themselves.
Understanding this created order, how ought the man behave toward the woman and the woman toward the man in a marriage arrangement? Such a question can only be answered by our Apostle Paul and in a book written directly to the strangers of the covenants and promises, us. He begins by speaking to all of us before focusing in on the marriage relationship.
Ephesians 5:1-2… “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
He says to follow God as dear children walking in the love of Christ; knowing Christ’s amazing love toward us. To follow God we must take what He says to us literally, not as some fortune cookie “scripture” but as it is in truth, the very Words of God to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:13… “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of man, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
Following the line of admonition to the body as a whole, Paul continues:
Ephesians 5:14-16… “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
We know the days are evil because satan is transformed into an angel of false light (2 Cor 11:14) and is busy blinding the minds of the masses to the truth of Gods word (2 Cor 4:4). The state of deterioration seen in interpersonal and marriage relationships the world over is testament to such activity. People everywhere are becoming more and more angry and less tolerant of one another, hypocritically, in the name of “tolerance”. Go figure.
True light comes from the word of God alone as a persons spirit is quickened (made alive) by the working of His mighty power (Eph 1:18-23, Col 2:13). The foundation of human relationships, especially those of fellow believers and most importantly between a man and his wife begins here:
Ephesians 5:20-21… “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
The relationship between the man and the woman begins with thankfulness to God, one for the other…
1 Thessalonians 5:18… “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
…and submission to and fear (awesome respect) of God who made them male and female; able to create new life from (almost) nothing at all. Only God can create ex nihilo. Similar admonition and instruction is found in Paul’s letter to the Philippian believers.
Philippians 2:3… “Let nothing be done in strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
Specifically, God through our Apostle Paul instruct wives to submit to their husbands in EVERY thing as unto the Lord Himself. As the church is subject to Christ, so are wives to be subject to husbands.
Epesians 5:22-24… “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
Before going to much further, let’s allow Webster to give us a proper understanding of submission. Submit: “To yield, resign or surrender to the power, will or authority of another. To give up resistance. To yield ones opinion to the opinion or authority of another. To be subject; to acquiesce in the authority of another. To be submissive; to yield without murmuring.”
Christ is the unequivocal head of the church. What He says, does not just “go”, it “IS”. Submission to such authority ought to be natural. The wife should submit in love and trust to her husband because she understands that her husband is her head as Christ is the churches head. The wife should submit because she understands such love visited upon her by Christ and her husband, knowing that her husband esteems her better than he esteems himself.
Ephesians 5:25-27… “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.“
A husband must love his wife above himself as Christ so loved the church. Christ gave Himself to create the new creature that is the church. The man and his wife give themselves to create the “two become one” that is the marriage relationship. The love that Christ showed in the cross work He performed on its behalf washed the church clean enough that it it is fit to be presented to God without spot or wrinkle; holy and without blemish. Thank you Father! With what does such cleansing take place between the husband and his wife, as we know Christ’s blood cleanses the individual spirit? Interesting words here… “with the washing of water by the word“. From this, I take the spiritual baptism by which we are baptized with upon salvation and its quickening of the spirit, that we both can now understand Gods word (1 Cor 2:14). The washing is the one spiritual baptism (Eph 4:4-6), but it is the word of God that does the actual cleansing of the man and the woman IN THEIR GROWING RELATIONSHIP as they study together and he leads her into deeper understanding. There is no actual “water” involved because we know such actual water based cleansing is specifically for Israel.
Ephesians 5:28-31… “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”
He must always speak the truth to her in love if they are to grow. (I could make a comment about loving my own body here, in such condition as it is in, but I will refrain… 😉
Ephesisns 4:15… “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
In this way the husband lifts the wife above himself as she willingly submits herself to his ordained headship. As she naturally serves him through submission, he naturally serves her as Christ served the church, giving himself for her. He must “let this mind be in him…” in order to lead her properly in love.
Philippians 2:4-8… “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Not that a human man might ever be equal with God, or have to follow Christ to His cross; but we are admonished to let such a mind be in us, serving our fellow believers and most importantly, our wives. A man must love his wife and put her well being above all else and above all others; come what may.
Paul analogizes the marriage relationship beautifully to that of the stunningly loving relationship that Christ shares with His body, the church. We are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone.
Ephesians 5:30 again… “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bone.”
We are the spiritual and physical representatives of Christ on earth, bought with a price and tasked with purpose. Walk Worthy.
Ephesians 5:32… “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
The man and the woman have become ONE flesh AS Christ and the church have become ONE flesh. Talk about a great mystery! What might the man and his wife be able to accomplish together working toward the same Godly purpose? Amazing things, truly.
Genesis 2:23… “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Today, we wait and work together until His glorious appearing assisting one another to the best of our ability as we’ve been ordained to from the very beginning. The mans every action is toward the benefit of the woman, and thus himself, as the two are quite literally one flesh. Her every action toward the assistance of the man in his endeavors is, in the same vein, also to the benefit of him and thus herself, again, as the two are one. Peculiar as that is…
Titus 2:13-14… “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Why such high standards? Such extreme submission and such extreme love… we’re only human after all. True “anti-selfishness”, and admit it, we all tend to be selfish at times. We all fall short of such standards. Damn that evil serpent but thank you Lord for giving us the free will to choose what we did and the grace to learn and grow through our mistakes. How can we who are still stuck in these sinful bodies ever hope to comply? Simple answer (a lifetime to learn), Gods Word instructs us that we have been raised above sin. We are a new creature and should walk as such. That with honest and ardent study we might learn to reckon ourselves to actually be dead indeed unto sin (Rom 6:11) and thus move forward rightly (Phil 3:13-14) in this crazy world. Walking up the down escalator!
Without doubt we live in a sin cursed world surrounded by sin cursed people which makes such ideal conditions difficult. But in the confines of a Biblically loving home the two can become very strong if they move together along the new course they have been set upon since salvation. No longer (hopefully) are they moving along the course of this world, functioning by the instruction of the prince of the power of the air and the vast majority who follow him (Eph 2:2). They move forward according to Gods instruction to them to the best of their ability. The more they study and learn the more effective they will be to see Gods will done in and through their lives. That will being thankfulness in ALL things (1 Thes 5:18) and seeing other men and women saved and coming unto the knowledge of salvation and the truths of this world (1 Tim 2:3-4).
I want to point out here as a short aside, that these conditions between the man and his wife are not conditional. “IF he loves me, then will I submit.” “IF she submits, then will I love her.” The instructions God gives are to the man and the woman individually. Of course a mutual coming together in such understanding will be of great benefit. A saved man or woman should not seek to be yolked together with an unbelieving spouse (2 Cor 6:14). That will be problematic in the long run.
The love of Christ is eternal and bigger than these finite minds can comprehend. Yet, it is the kind of love a man should show to his wife that she might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19… “And to know the love of Christ which passeth all knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Romans 8:38-39… “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
That’s love beyond measure.
Again however, why establish such exacting standards of submission and love for us puny humans? For the answer we must look back to the beginning. Unto whom did God give authority AND responsibility for the whole of earthy creation? Even though the wife broke Gods command first, the husband hearkened unto her voice and not the command of God which was given specifically to him (Gen 2:16-17). Eve was not held accountable. Adam, as her head, was. It was him that failed her (and humanity) by listening to her. Ooops. It is why satan targeted her, the “non responsible” party. She was, by her submissive nature, more susceptable to temptation (lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, pride of life – Gen 3:6 which John identifies – 1 John 2:16). Peter (speaking of course to the poor Jerusalem saints of fading remnant Israel) refers to her as the weaker vessel and he’s not wrong.
Peter 1:3… “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
But back to the beginning, we see clearly what took place…
Genesis 3:17-18… “And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for THY sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Cross referencing scripture with our Apostle Paul…
Romans 5:12… “Wherefore, as by ONE MAN sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Yup. The condition of the world is the mans fault. Not the woman’s. He was in charge back then. He is in charge now. It is the created order and not a power trip for the man as the man should not lord his authority over his wife in an unreasonable, unloving way. The wife is the mans greatest ministry next to his own self edification (2 Tim 2:15), that she might be made spotless in love and knowledge.
Colossians 2:2-3… “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
So very critical such wisdom and knowledge. So ignored by most of society. May we study it always and grow as it works effectually in us.
Paul wraps up his ideas for the man and his wife by saying:
Eph 5:33… “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Reverence: “Fear mingled with respect and esteem; veneration. An act of respect or obeisance; a bow or courtesy. To regard with reverence; to regard with fear mingled with respect and affection.”
It takes a Biblical loving man to deserve such affection.
Winding up, let’s leave a short note to the children of the man and his wife…
Ephesians 6:1-4… “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
…and a note to the body as a whole. May we all put on the whole armor of God that we all might edify one another to stand against the wiles of the devil. Webster defines Wile as: “A trick or stratagem practiced for snaring or deception; a sly, insidious artifice. To deceive; to beguile.”
Ephesians 6:10-11… “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
The devil is out to destroy that natural order which God has established using cunning and subtle deception and he has done a remarkable job. His wiles are everywhere and in everything. Let the local assembly of believers strengthen one another in every way possible that each may be strong enough to stand on their own and help others to do the same.
It is the knowledge of His word which empowers us. As we examine modern society we see more and more that its most basic building block, a man and his wife, has been relentlessly attacked in myriad ways, especially since the 1960’s woman’s liberation movement (Liberation from what exactly? Biblically loving relationships? Dang.) and the free love (fornication for all) movement. Men have more and more abdicated their God given instructions in favor of listening to women of the world as did Adam, leading to an increasingly feminized society, not being her necessary head. Woman have usurped the natural role of the man to serve her own selfish needs as did Eve. Natural gender roles have been twisted and this is a very psychologically real satanic process infecting the whole of society. The only way to correct such gender devastation is to get back to the basics of love. Couldn’t help myself there, enjoy… 🙂
Father, help Godly men and women learn to treat each other the way you set forth in the natural order of things and help them set proper examples for others. Help us to walk according to who you have made us in Christ; new creatures motivated by the love of Christ for us.
2 Cor 5:14-15… “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5… “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”