Friday 1 October 2021

Genesis. Chapter 2.  Verses 18-25.

The above stated passage is one of the most neglected, yet most important passages, recorded in the Bible.  Constantly overlooked and rejected, it has so much meaning and inspiration for those who treat life and marriage with the respect due, and who wish to live in accordance with God’s order of creation.

This is the Old Testament reading for this Sunday, and whilst the Old Testament is rarely preached upon now, I am fairly confident this passage will not be included.  For many preachers it will not be favored, and others will want to avoid controversy and criticism.  As young men some may fear displeasing the leaders of the Churches, who seem by large to favor teaching contrary to Scripture.

I realize that I wrote on the subject a few months past, but I was then speaking more in relation to the shameful action of the Churches in the United Kingdom, in abandoning the teaching of the Bible, in order to seek popularity with current society.  This morning I am dealing in depth, with the actual words of Scripture, which many at the higher Offices in the Church seem anxious to avoid.

I am aware there will be people who will disagree with me, but if you do, I hope you will not be offended by what is stated.  This is a subject I feel deeply about, and regret the way marriage has been viewed as being of so fragile importance. I am not passing judgement on any who choose an alternative way of life, how individual people live is entirely a personal choice for each person. As a Minister of the Gospel, I believe it is my duty to ‘preach the Word’ as outlined in the Bible, rather than how it may be preferred otherwise.

In the previous chapter God’s order of creation is set out, ending with how man should act.  In this passage God takes pity on man who is alone in the world.  God has given the man, who is named as Adam, all authority to name all God had created, but notes that there was nothing suitable for Adam personally.

God having created the earth with all its elements and animals, then created man. He then saw that man was lonely and loneliness can lead to depression. God saw that man needed a companion.

When Adam is sleeping God takes part of Adam’s body and creates woman as his helper. She was made not out of man’s head to rule over him, not out of his foot to be trampled on, but out of his side to be equal with him, near to his heart to be loved by him. The greatest gift God could give man, woman.

God has now made two people, man and woman, Adam and Eve. We must accept that God knows best, and when he wanted man to have a companion He made a woman as the perfect answer, someone who could complement man in every way, physically and mentally in a way other men could not, and men throughout the ages have appreciated and recognised this. God wanted to supply what was lacking in man’s life and together they could have children and create the ideal family; someone who can be at man’s side, who will give life more meaning, pleasure and support; someone to love and cherish. God planned the human heart to love, marry and have children.

Eve’s creation now makes the point that marriage is the closest of all relationships. The wife now take precedence over all other relationships. The husband is to cleave to his wife, and she to him; cleave meaning they are bound as one for life.  God, it will be noted, gave one Eve, not two or more, and made one man Adam.

The passage closes by stating they were both naked, but not ashamed, stressing ] how much each belongs and means to each other.

The above is but a brief explanation of God’s order and intention of creation. 

Let us now consider the practical things we can follow on from the words and teaching God gave regarding marriage.

If you but a new car or electrical implement you are given a manual; If you fail to follow the instructions, which tells you how to get the best of what you have got, the maker will not show any responsibility for you, and so a sensible person will abide by the manual. When God created the world He ordained marriage, He set out in His manual how we can have the best in that relationship, it is called the Bible.  In the same way, God expects you to follow that which He has set out for your guidance and obedience.

We read in the Bible that we are taught that which is good, profitable, corrects us, and shows what is right and wrong in life, and equips us to fulfil all we are required. 

I once attended a Church where the Minister refused to have the Old Testament read or preached upon, as he considered it of no relevance. Our Lord constantly referred to the Old Testament particularly when referring to marriage.  His first miracle was performed at a marriage. 

The Bible states, ‘he who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord.’  For many years, I have had until recently, a very happy marriage, but my dear wife after a long illness has now gone to be with the Lord, and I can verify how blessed I have been, and what great favour have been given.

Most men if honest, would concede how their wife has been of much help. When I was a Vicar, my wife attended every service I took, and not being one who liked the limelight, preferred to be amongst the congregation, where in fact she became very popular. People who wanted me to know something, but didn’t want to tell me directly, would use her as a communication, and I would be advised as to who needed attention and help, in addition of course to telling me what I shouldn’t have said.

So we have two people, equal yet different, no question of superiority or inferiority. They were not meant to be identical, men are generally stronger physically, more aggressive, with a greater propensity for leadership, women more softer and sensitive and caring, specially equipped to be mothers, and usually live longer. They were God’s great gift for men.

In the film ‘my fair lady’, Rex Harrison playing a professor of phonetics asks ‘why can’t a woman be like a man, and gets the answer, ‘because she wasn’t created to be’. We are a mixture that complements one another. 

The Bible states a man should leave his parents and cleave to his wife. Cleave means glued together, so the two should grow in love through the years in an exclusive commitment. As they do so they share likes and dislikes, and whilst they will have different strengths and weaknesses, each will help the other. They will find they can know the other’s feelings, and often anticipate what the other is thinking. They need to trust each other and have no secrets. The wife is now the one in the man’s life who takes precedence over all others.

Marriage today is under attack as never before, and not seen as a lifelong commitment, divorce is easy and generally taken as acceptable.  Government has now made it possible for one partner to decide to end the marriage, without any specified cause, and the other partner cannot resist. God joins them as ‘one flesh’ in a ‘structure’ that can be broken only by death. 

Jesus laid strictness on marriage, but ruled divorce out. In Britain we have one of the lowest marriage rates in Europe, but the highest number of divorces.

In the days of Henry Ford and the Model T, someone asked him to what formula he attributed his successful marriage. He said, "The same formula as the making of a successful car: stick to one model."

Marriage is the bedrock of society yet now long held beliefs are being challenged. Marriage lends stability to society and builds a framework, which is held in high esteem. It is one of the most important aspects of our culture, which no government has the right to redefine or diminish its value. 

Marriage is a solid foundation for the bringing up of children, who are a key factor in God’s intention for marriage. I have worked in every class of society, in the  country’s most vibrant city, and I once remarked to a Jewish Rabbi that I had never known a Jewish boy (or girl) get into trouble for anti-social or violent behaviour. I asked him what he attributed this to, and he said ‘the Jewish Mama, she keeps control of her family.’ I am sure that is true, but there are many Christian mamas too, perhaps not as many as hitherto.

The Jewish father also teaches the children, using the ten fingers to lean the ten Commandments, and recounting historical events of Israel.  The Muslim fathers are very attentive to teaching their children the Koran; it appears only the Christian children are deprived religious teaching.

Those of you in my generation, will remember that women when they married did not usually go out to work, most in fact thought it their privilege to look after the home and children, which again is why there was nothing of the anti-social behaviour we now hear of and see.  Life now makes that harder, though I know of numerous women, who if they had the chance and the financial ability, would certainly choose to stay at home. 

When two people appear together at Church for the wedding service, they pledge their faithfulness to each other and there is the giving of a ring(s). The ring has no break, no ending, signifying unending love. The ring is made of gold for precious and longevity. This what God intended, and when God’s plan for marriage is not followed there are so many failed ones. The marriage vow is made by both man and woman to be ‘ till death do us part; not until we get fed up with each other’. We need to return to the Biblical pattern where the secrets of a happy married life are laid out.

Marriage, being understood as being one man and woman who have met and committed themselves to a life together is under more attack than it has ever been. Politicians appear to have shown little respect for the traditional view of marriage, which has from time immemorial  been a global practice. They have been more concerned on supporting alternatives to marriage, which have caused problems for couples and consequences for children.

The ordinance of marriage was God’s first major act of creation, and that has always been the worldwide understanding and adoption.  In recent  years the idea of two people of the same sex being suitable for ‘marriage’ was accepted following a well-organized and forceful campaign by the homosexual lobby, which rather than challenging, the Church eagerly embraced at the highest levels, this despite legal provision having been made by government for civil unions to be given all the secular rights that marriage afforded, only without religious acceptance.   

The  traditional (not just Christian) definition of family has been ‘married father and mother and their offspring’.  Left-wing political and other activists, do not like this, and there is an ever threatening effort to destroy the family in order achieve their aims.
A common cry has been why the need to have a piece of paper and an unnecessary ceremony, when you can be just the same without. But it is not the same, for whilst legal civil unions were introduced for same sex couples, thereby giving legal protection to the parties, such has been refused to mixed couples of man and woman.

I think any woman who is prepared to live with a man, in the image as of marriage, is extremely unwise.  The best of couples fall out from time to time, and it is much easier in most cases, for a man to break up on his own than for the woman, who is likely to be less financially able to live, and indeed may be left to care for a child(or more).

Some people will tell you they do not read or believe what the Bible states, as justification for not accepting marriage. But marriage has been a practice from the first days of creation and adopted through the centuries as the proper and traditional way of life. God created woman to be an attraction for men, and for them to be together in a covenant (married) relationship with God Himself. We are looking at a global consensus, and the sanctity of life.

I close with the words of Archbishop Nichols, in a pastoral Letter to clergy.

‘‘we have a duty to married people today, and to those who come after us, to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations.






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