This was written as a submission for Christianity Today, for the Her.menuetics magazine. They were having a summer writing contest for the women’s magazine. My submission was not picked. Probably because I really couldn’t stay on topic. It was great working on it with my wife and young teenage daughter. That was its own reward.
So, I’m sure you’ve all noticed that I’m a man, writing about a relevant topic for women. In this postmodern, secular western world, normally such a thing would be considered something offensive, but I hope my sisters in Christ will indulge me a few words. An observer from a distance can add a perspective that those “close in” cannot see with ease.
Marriage is taking a heavy beating lately. You would have to be deliberately not looking to not know. Everywhere around us people are saying “we are evolving on marriage.” Quite frankly I don’t believe any of the evolving talk. They didn’t have any idea what marriage really is to begin with. But, do we as Christians really know what marriage is? I believe we do and a woman is utterly necessary for it to work with a man, and yet only in the power of God, through the atoning work of Christ Jesus and in unison with the Holy Spirit.
We know that in Christ we are all new creations. We had to be reborn of the Spirit because we are fallen. To have fallen means we have fallen from somewhere. That somewhere is at creation where, we were designed.
In Genesis we learn of God’s creation of the race of man: male and female He created us. From a rib of Adam God fashioned Eve. I have always thought of it as God taking the better chromosome, the longer X chromosome and making woman, XX. He took the better half of a man and doubled it. At least that’s how my mother viewed it. Woman was the peak of creation she said, not made from the dust, but from living flesh.
Adam was made “to tend the garden.” Eve was created as a “helpmeet” for Adam. That word is notoriously difficult to translate from the Hebrew. That same word is used other places in the OT to describe an attribute of God. It is most assuredly not a maid like role.
There is something almost Christ like about Eve. Adam was made from the dust, she from his rib; taken out of flesh and refashioned.
Consider this part from the Nicene Creed:
“We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.”
She is life from life and likeness from likeness. And Adam names her Eve, because she is the “mother of all the living.” Add in a ‘and in the unity of the Holy Spirit’ and you have a triune relationship. We were made to walk together in unity man and woman with our Lord. And there is something powerful about what Eve added to the equation, in a unique way, that Adam didn’t and couldn’t.
Consider her thought process before sinning: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise”. See that phrase: desired to make one wise. She wanted wisdom. Consider also that wisdom is personified as a woman in Proverbs. Not a coincidence, it simply can’t be.
But then the curse: To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Let’s leave the minefield of childbearing and go to the second part, the rupture of the union with Adam. Her desire for wisdom was replaced with a desire for her husband. And on top of that, where there had existed a true equality, that also was now cursed: “He will rule over you.”
Again, we are new creations in Christ. Let us consider that Glorious verse in Galatians: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Reconciliation has come to commence reuniting our broken world. As Paul teaches: “be reconciled to one another.”
Which leads me to my point. Marriage is taking a beating. Everywhere it is misunderstood and misused. Eve was created to be in relationship, Adam lacked a suitable mate and God in His infinite wisdom made Eve. She was made to be the perfect mate. She brings a God given dynamic that Adam lacked. What exactly is that dynamic? I have no idea, I’m not a woman. But I will say I think it is how you are able to maneuver relationships and sense when things are off, all like a sixth sense. It’s a spiritual gift. Wives, as one child of God to another, please consider the ministry of your husband and your family. You are supremely valuable in God’s creation, because when He finished making you, He was done.
The apostle Paul used marriage as an allegory to try to explain the mystery of our union with Christ. As the world goes mad around us, our lives, our marriages, our children and our churches will appear to outsiders as different by increasing orders of magnitude as the years go on.
The Lord calls us to be Holy as He is Holy. Our differentness will be a mark on us. Ladies, minister to your husbands. We need you. Not because they are small boys in need of a mother. They are men facing a world increasingly difficult to maneuver without sinning. We will both be called to account for our lives before the Judge of the Universe. I am told to love my wife. I will be called to account for it. And I tremble at the thought. Wives you are called to respect your husband.
So let us be reconciled to each other. And let us let our light shine together in unison with Christ before the world.