Human Destiny and Marriage
We are here to unveil both the destiny of human kind and marriage between a man and a woman.
Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the Lord formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.”
Man’s body is a lifeless shell out of the dust of the ground until God brings it alive with his ‘breath of life.’ Once God removes his life-giving breath, our bodies will return to dust. Therefore, our life and worth come from God’s Spirit.
Besides, Genesis 1:27 also says that, humans are created in God’s image (1:27). Thus humans are unique creatures for they have the ability to fellowship with their Creator, and they have spiritual awareness and moral conscience.
Verses 8-14 say, “Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the ‘tree of life’ and the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. The garden was also filled with gold, beryllium, and onyx stones.”
The above scenery in the Garden of Eden—trees, river and gemstone; also appears later in the design of tabernacle or temple (Exod. 25-27). This shows that the Garden of Eden is a sanctuary-garden because God manifested his presence there in a special way with human beings.
After God had prepared all the good things and riches that human beings desire in the Garden of Eden, again it is said that, the Lord God ‘placed’ the man in the Garden of Eden ‘to tend and watch over it’” (v. 15).
This time the term, ‘place’ has a special connotation, for it is reserved elsewhere for two special uses: God’s “rest” or “safety” which he gives to human beings in the land (eg. Gen 19:16; Deut 3:20; 12:10; 25:19), and the “dedication” of something before the presence of the Lord (Exod 16:33-34; Lev 16:23; Num 17:4; Deut 26:4, 10).
It means the man was ‘placed’ in the Garden to “rest and be safe” and very importantly, “in God’s presence” where he has fellowship with God. (Gen3:8)
God also commanded that the man’s, or Adam’s, responsibility in the Garden of Eden is ‘to tendעָבַד and watch overשָׁמַר it’. A more suitable translation of the Hebrew text would be “to worship and obey” which is used to describe the work of the priests in the Temple.
Therefore, Adam is effectively the keeper and the priest of the Garden of Eden. His responsibility is to worship God, to have a relationship with God and to upkeep Eden by obeying God’s command, for he is not the master of the Garden of Eden but God is the master.
God then instructed the man, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every three in the garden; except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die’. (vv. 16-17)
God created humans with a purpose to have fellowship with them. Besides, 1:28 says, God blessed human beings so that human beings will be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and govern it. He wants human beings to have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and all creatures that move on the earth.
But at this point in time, Adam did not have someone that is of his kind to interact with and reproduce descendants. What shall be done for Adam?
Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.’ (v.18)
God put Adam into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. God used that rib to create a woman and brought her to Adam (vv. 21-22).
When Adam saw the woman, he exclaimed, “At last I found her! She is created from the bone of my bones and from the flesh of my flesh. She shall be called ‘woman’, because she was taken from ‘man’ ” (v. 23).
God could have made Eve from the dust of the ground. However, he chose to make her from the man’s flesh and bone. In so doing, he illustrated for us that in marriage man and woman symbolically are to be united into one.
And they are equal in terms of substance and status. She was not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.
Wherever the man has a shortfall, the woman is able to help him. The man cannot fulfil his created purpose alone. The two complement each other.
Finally, God established the institution of marriage by declaring: “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (v. 24).
Marriage between a man and a woman is not just a human social construct but is rooted in the God created order. Marriage forms a physical and emotional bond. The relationship between husband and wife is the most intimate relationship that is ordained by God. Marriage and its commitments make it the most fundamental covenant relationship observed among humans.
Verse 25 say, “At that time, the husband and wife were both naked but they felt no shame.”
This indicates that the couple was open to each other. They have a mutual trust for each other. There is nothing that comes in between the two of them. They do not put up their guards against each other.
God’s entire purpose of creation is to bless human beings so that they will live happily and blissfully on earth. Human beings are also to represent God, to govern the earth for the benefit of all creatures. They are to maintain God’s order and purpose.
They also are to expand and enhance the potentials of creation, which is to expand the harmony and blissfulness of the Garden of Eden to the whole world, so that human beings with each other and human beings with God are able to build a harmonious and intimate relationship.
However, as the creation story develops, Genesis 3 records how Adam and Eve did not manage Eden properly. Instead they fall for the serpent’s temptation and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The tree of life represents God’s presence and provision. The one who ate of it would have everlasting life. On the contrary, eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents a human grasp for autonomy and wisdom that were God’s alone. Humans sidestepped God’s revelation as the means of moral discernment, flaunting their independence rather than submitting to God’s will. This has been the nature of sin ever since.
Choosing human wisdom over God’s instruction brings death and destruction. Human’s close relationship with God was broken. They were expelled from the Garden of Eden. They lost the blessings that were there in the beginning. They suffered ‘spiritual death’ and ultimately also suffered physical death.
Because of the sins of humankind, the world descends into painful abyss: death becomes reality; violence and struggles abound; the relationship between men and women and all human relationships is filled with tension; there is confusion between the genders; we witness environmental harm caused by unsustainable development; personal interests and lust for power leads to political persecutions, corruption, and injustice.
However, God according to his salvation plan sent His own Son, Jesus, the Second Adam, to become a human being and dwell among us. Jesus overcame the temptation of the devil, reversing Adam’s failure; Jesus bled and died on the cross to redeem the world and sinners. And Jesus resurrected from the dead so that those who believe in Him will have a new life.
Jesus Christ is like that fruit of the tree of life, broken for us, and given to us to eat. By faith we eat His flesh and drink His blood. Through Jesus Christ, we have recovered our relationship with God. We are now “resettled” again into God’s presence. The Garden of Eden reappears!
We can each freely receive the salvation given by Jesus by confessing with our mouths and believing in our hearts that Jesus is the Lord of our lives. He will forgive our sins. And bless us with life abundantly.
Marriage in God’s created order is designed as an inseparable, exclusive relationship between a man and a woman. The family unit it creates is the basic building block of human society. Married love is thus a binding covenant commitment before God. Breaching that covenant is a crime against persons and against God, who is a divine witness to and guarantor of the marriage covenant.
Just as the first marriage took place in the sanctuary-garden, every Christ-centred family is a re-establishment of Eden. In this family who has Christ as the head, husband and wife will receive from God, the empowerment and guidance to realize God’s purpose for the entire creation, namely to attain ‘rest and safety’ in fellowship with God, the creator of the universe.