God’s handbook on the divine institution of marriage

God’s handbook on the divine institution of marriage By Richard D. Land, Christian Post Executive Editor for The Christian Post

Any and all discussions of marriage must commence with the basic and profound understanding that God created marriage in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:18-25).

His ideal is described at marriage’s inception. In the Garden of Eden, even before the Fall, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” (Gen. 2:18).

God declared, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:21-22).

The biblical word for “cleave” means to join together in a way that never again can one be separated completely from the other. The means by which this “becoming one” takes place is sexual intercourse. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul warns Christians against sexual sin because you cannot separate God’s purpose for sex from the consequences of the act. There is no such thing as merely “casual sex.” Whether intended or not, you “cleave” to the person with whom you engage in intercourse. (I Cor. 6:15-19).

Adam and Eve, in their innocence, “cleaved” together, becoming one, and “they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (Gen. 2:24-25).

And ever since, men and women have, as couples, longed for that incredible intimacy of “knowing and being known.”

Alas, everything changed with the Fall of Man. As a consequence of our first parents’ sin, they acquired a sin nature within them which they then passed on to all their progeny. As my faith heritage, the Southern Baptist Convention, states in its Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M),

“Man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence, whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.” (BF&M)

Nevertheless, humanity’s moral failure did not cause God to abandon His master plan for marriage.

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