Endnotes: Chapter 5

  1. Throughout this (and subsequent) chapters, I relate the biblical narrative from the standpoint that the original couple is factual. That is, I presume that the human race is descended from Adam and Eve who were real people, and that the human story begins with them. My presumption is strongly influenced by my reading of Jesus (Matthew 19:3-9; 23:35; John 8:44) and Paul (1 Corinthians 15:20-23,42-49; Romans 5:12-19; Acts 17:26), who apparently held the same view. This position is not shared by all Christian scholars and a lively debate is enjoined (See Richard N. Ostling, “The Search for the Historical Adam,” Christianity Today, June 2011, 23-27,61). Regardless of the view one holds on the historicity of Adam and Eve, it is evident from Matthew 19:3-9 that Jesus regarded Genesis 1–3 as an authoritative and reliable description of the Creator’s original intent for marriage, as well as the definitive explanation of what went wrong. For a thorough, accessible defense of the traditional view on Adam and Eve, see C. John Collins, Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? Who Are They and Why Should You Care? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011).
  2. The creation narrative in Genesis is given to us in two installments. Genesis 1 provides an overview of the panorama of creation. Genesis 2 is like a telephoto lens zeroing in on the process by which the man and woman were brought into being and brought together in marriage.
  3. We naturally wonder what is meant by “the image of God.” But the text doesn’t give any further explanation. However, we gain some insight from the practices of people who lived in the ancient Near East who used statues to represent deities or kings. They set up these “images” (1) to embody the essence of the beings they represented and (2) to somehow act on their behalf. See J.H. Walton, “Creation,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch, ed. T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 160-61.
  4. In their essence or identity, human beings were representational (reflecting God’s nature); in their assignment or role, they were representative (acting on his behalf).
  5. “A royal statue at a distant corner of the empire represented the king’s authority when the ruler could not be physically present. So also, at the completion of God’s creation, he left adam as his image to represent his authority on earth. This suggests that the function of the image is to reflect the divine will on earth in such a way as to extend God’s kingdom into every area of nature, society and culture.” R.H. Hess, “Adam,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch, ed. Alexander and Baker, 18.
  6. The Hebrew word for “man” is adam; the term for “earth” is adama. The one was derived from the other.
  7. “These two verbs are used throughout the Pentateuch for spiritual service…Whatever activity the man was to engage in in the garden…it was described in terms of spiritual service to the Lord.” Allen P. Ross, Creation and Blessing (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1997), 124. Professor Ross further explains the meaning of the two verbs: “‘Keep’…is used for keeping the commandments and taking heed to obey God’s Word; ‘serve’…describes the worship and service of the Lord, the highest privilege a person can have.”
  8. The Hebrew word for companion (traditionally translated “helper”) describes someone who comes to the aid of or provides a service for someone. Most often in the Old Testament, companion is used to describe God as Israel’s “help” (or “strength”). Carolyn Custis James notes that the term is masculine in gender and indicates military assistance. She also points out that military imagery is used for women elsewhere in the Bible, most notably in Proverbs 31. “She [the woman] is a valiant warrior conscripted by God, not to fight against the man but to fight at his side as his greatest ally in the war to end all wars…In the Garden, God…was building an army, and the enemy was waiting to launch his first assault.” When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 181,186-87,252-53.
  9. While most English translations speak of a “rib” as the raw material from which Eve was fashioned, the Hebrew terminology points to the area of the ribs that includes the flesh and muscle. Thus, Adam later observed that she was taken from his “bone and flesh” (Genesis 2:23).
  10. “‘Taking in marriage’ was the action of a husband…; ‘giving in marriage’ was the action of a father.” Craig A Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 528.
  11. John Stott, Decisive Issues Facing Christians Today (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1990), 288.
  12. One version of this aphorism was written by the English commentator Matthew Henry (1662–1714): “Observe…that the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; 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.” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Volume I (Genesis to Deuteronomy) (1706).
  13. “The Lord God created a woman from the life of the man to be his corresponding partner in the service of God.” Ross, Creation and Blessing, 121.
  14. Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III, Intimate Allies: Rediscovering God’s Design for Marriage and Becoming Soul Mates for Life (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1995).
  15. As we have noted from Genesis 2:18 and 20, the woman “corresponded to” the man. But this is preceded in the narrative by the “correspondence” between both human beings and their Creator. “It is significant that the man and woman are not first defined by their sexuality or gender; they are first defined by the fact that together they are created in the image of God.” R.G. Branch, “Eve,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch, ed. Alexander and Baker, 240.
  16. This priority of allegiance is precisely the principle that Adam and Eve violated in the fall (Genesis 3:17).
  17. The NET Bible reads: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family.”
  18. This conclusion to the creation narrative doesn’t say everything God wants us to know about marriage, but it is foundational to everything else. So fundamental is this description, it is quoted verbatim three times in the New Testament (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7-8; Ephesians 5:31) and partially cited one other time (1 Corinthians 6:16).
  19. It may appear, at first glance, that there are three elements. But leaving father and mother to be united to one’s mate are two parts of one action—namely, establishing an allegiance to one’s spouse above all other human relationships. Craig L. Blomberg, “Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, and Celibacy: An Exegesis of Matthew 19:3-12,” Trinity Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, Fall 1990, 166-67. Stott, Decisive Issues Facing Christians Today, 288.
  20. In actuality, in Israelite society it was the woman who left her parents and joined her husband, becoming a part of his family’s clan. The wife was not instructed to leave her parents in this statement because that went without saying. But the husband is given this directive because, even though he might not physically leave his father’s household (that is, the extended family), he was to abandon his emotional attachment and loyalty to his parents and transfer them to his wife.
  21. “{Marriage} can be compared to two objects that have been glued together, each maintaining its distinctive features. It is not the same as an alloy, an admixture of metals, because in that case the distinctiveness of each person would be lost.” Harold W. Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2002), 775. “This phrase suggests both passion {see Genesis 34:3} and permanence.” Gordon J. Wenham, Word Bible Commentary: Genesis 1–15 (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1987), 70.
  22. “{A biblical} covenant is a solemn, sacred agreement, in which persons bind themselves to certain obligations, swearing an oath and signifying in a ceremony the total commitment to fulfill the obligations. The promise is made under God’s watchful eye. He is witness as to whether the obligations are completed or not.” Jeff VanGoethem, Living Together: A Guide to Counseling Unmarried Couples (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2005), 99.
  23. This passage describes the marriage covenant as something undertaken by the woman. As such, it confirms that marriage was a matter of mutual consent, not simply a unilateral action on the part of the husband.
  24. “Sex is not technically necessary to create marriage—Joseph did not have sexual relations with Mary until after Jesus’ birth, yet Matthew says they were married (Matt. 1:24-25). But apart from exceptional circumstances, Scripture simply does not picture marital union without physical union.” Steve Tracy, “The Marriage Mystery,” Christianity Today, January 7, 2002, 63.
  25. This is the case, of course, if the groom and bride have remained chaste prior to the wedding, as is expected. It is significant, in today’s context, that the divinely ordained order is covenant first, followed by consummation, for it is the covenant that marks marriage off from cohabitation. People who live together apart from marital commitment experience bonding without the benefit of commitments that bind them. Thus trust and security, which marriage was designed to ensure, are absent. The consequences of getting the cart before the horse are predictably harmful.
  26. The equation of “one flesh” with sexual intercourse is clear from Paul’s citation of Genesis 2:24 in his dire warning against sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 6:15-16.
  27. “‘Flesh’ here implies kinship or fellowship with the body as a medium, thus setting forth marriage as the deepest corporeal and spiritual unity of man and woman.” L.I. Granberg, “Marriage, Theology of,” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984), 694. “It incorporates every aspect of intimacy and interdependence which should ideally render the married couple a unified entity at the deepest levels of interpersonal communion.” Blomberg, “Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, and Celibacy,” 167.
  28. “The retention of the word ‘flesh’…in the translation often leads to improper or incomplete interpretations. The Hebrew word refers to more than just a sexual union. When they unite in marriage, the man and woman bring into being a new family unit…The phrase ‘one flesh’ occurs only here and must be interpreted in light of v. 23. There the man declares that the woman is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. To be one’s ‘bone and flesh’ is to be related by blood to someone. For example, the phrase describes the relationship between Laban and Jacob (Gen 29:14); Abimelech and the Shechemites (Judg 9:2; his mother was a Shechemite); David and the Israelites (2 Sam 5:1); David and the elders of Judah (2 Sam 19:12); and David and his nephew Amasa (2 Sam 19:13, see 2 Sam 17:2; 1 Chr 2:16-17). The expression ‘one flesh’ seems to indicate that they become, as it were, ‘kin,’ at least legally (a new family unit is created) or metaphorically. In this first marriage in human history, the woman was literally formed from the man’s bone and flesh. Even though later marriages do not involve such a divine surgical operation, the first marriage sets the pattern for how later marriages are understood and explains why marriage supersedes the parent-child relationship.” The NET Bible, first edition (Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., 1996–2007), 10, translation note 6.
  29. “The term for joining or uniting [‘what God has joined together’] is literally ‘yoked together’…and portrays a married couple as partners working in tandem for a common cause.” Blomberg, “Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, and Celibacy,” 169.
  30. In the USA at the present time, every wedding is also a civil ceremony that changes the legal status of the husband and wife. A wedding confers specific privileges and obligations assigned by the state. With its focus on the divine design for matrimony, this chapter is concerned with what constitutes marriage in the eyes of God. But application of Romans 13:1 (and related passages) requires believers to adhere to the statutes of civil authority as well. Historically, the people of God have sought to live out their marriages according to the guidelines of divine revelation within the framework of a given culture. That approach remains appropriate for Christians today.
  31. Stott, Decisive Issues Facing Christians Today, 289.