Monday, February 27, 2012

Marriage Monday: Purpose of Marriage, part 1


Last week, in my first Marriage Monday post, we talked about the fact that marriage was created and ordained by God.  Today, I want to talk about the purposes for which God created marriage.  Let's start off by reading the beautiful account of the creation of Eve in Genesis chapter 2:

18And the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet for him."     19And 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.     20And 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 a helper meet for him.     21And 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.     22And the rib which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman and brought her unto the man.     23And 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."     24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.     25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

In addition to the overriding purpose of bringing glory to God, there are four specific purposes for which God designed marriage.  We will discuss two of these purposes today, and conclude by discussing the remaining two next week.

The Four Purposes for Marriage:

1.  Companionship

In the biblical account above, we can see that God proclaimed that it was not good for Adam to be alone; he needed a helper suitable to him.  God assigned Adam the job of naming all of the animals -- Adam didn't just give them random names, but names that fit the nature of each creature.  God knew that through this process, Adam would become painfully aware of his lack.  It would become obvious to Adam that, unlike the animals, he did not have a helper or companion that was of a comparable nature to his.

Douglas Wilson in Reforming Marriage, says:

"As a result of the creation order, men and women are oriented to one another differently.  They need one another, but they need one another differently.  The man needs the help; the woman needs to help.  Marriage was created by God to provide companionship in the labor of dominion.  The cultural mandate, the requirement to fill and subdue the earth, is still in force, and a husband cannot fulfill this portion of the task in isolation.  He needs a companion suitable for him in the work to which God has called him.  He is called to the work and must receive help from her.  She is called to the work through ministering to him.  He is oriented to the task, and she is oriented to him." 

God created the woman to come alongside the man, and help him fulfill both the universal and specific calling that God puts on his life.  She is also to be his companion, his friend, his supporter, his encourager, his completer.  (We will talk more about these wifely roles in the days ahead.) 

2.  Godly Children

One of the things that a man obviously can not do alone is reproduce.  In Genesis 1:28, we see where Adan and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth:

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  (New King James Version)

This command was reiterated after the flood in Genesis 9:1 and 9:7, and was never rescinded anywhere else in the Bible; therefore, we can assume it is still in effect today.  I believe that God still wants Christian couples to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with a godly generation.

In speaking to his disciples about why God hates divorce, Jesus referred to Malachi 2:15, where it is clearly revealed that Godly offspring are the Lord's desire and a primary purpose for marriage:

And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth.  (Amplified version)

Then, in Psalm 127:3, we learn that children are God's heritage -- "Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is His reward."

While these Scriptures show us that children are a part of God's design for marriage, I'm certainly aware of the fact that some godly couples are not able to have children.  I'm not able to solve that enigma.  All I know is that we are not always able to understand God's ways; we just have to trust Him and believe that He never makes mistakes and that He has a purpose for everything He allows.  However, it is still a general principle that godly procreation is one of the primary purposes of marriage, and this being the case, a union that is biologically impossible of producing children (as in two men or two women) is not a part of God's design. 

Your Turn to Share 

Every Monday, I plan to explore some aspect of marriage here on my blog.  I invite you to share your marriage-related blog posts, as well.  Please link up with me by entering the URL of your specific blog post in the Mr. Linky below, and make sure you grab my blog button and add it to your post!  (Just copy the HTML code under my button and paste it into your blog post.)

Next week, I will conclude this discussion with the final two purposes of marriage, so make sure you come back next Monday to read my post and share one of your own!


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