By Nancy Eskijian
Nancy Eskijian is Senior Pastor of Bread of Life Foursquare Gospel Church in Los Angeles, California, and author of Restoration NOW!, nominated for 2012 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year. Her latest book, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex and Gender and the Bible, What’s Hot and What’s Not According to Scripture, deals with the issues of same-sex attraction, abortion, gay marriage and other issues affecting today’s culture. Along with being a pastor in an inner city church, Nancy worked for several years as a lawyer in the position of Vice President and Senior Counsel for a major Southern California corporation. Visit www.RestorationNowMinistry.com for more information.
Much has been written about the Supreme Court of the United States opening the door for same sex couples to marry. While any nation may pass civil laws and call same sex unions “marriage,” enabling rights and privileges under the law, such unions have little in common with the Biblical significance, intention and definition of marriage. For those of us who believe in the God of the Bible as the originator and Creator of life, then we accept that everything flows from Him, and all relationships have a spiritual dimension, especially marriage. In the beginning God created man in His image. Genesis 1:27 - 28 (NKJV) states: “27So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.”
Let’s ponder that statement for a moment: gender is part of the very image of God, and that is why it is so important and non-negotiable. We also see that God blessed them, male and female, as individuals and as a unit, with the charge to be fruitful and multiply. There are many things we can have and be in this life, but not everything is blessed. In the scripture, we see God blessed their individual identity and unity, releasing them to multiply and exercise dominion, as the rest of the scripture goes.
In Genesis 2:23, the creation of woman and the origin of marriage are described further and merged together. God put Adam into a deep sleep and took a rib out of Adam’s side. Genesis 2:23—“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.” That’s why husbands are to love their wives for no man hates his own flesh. The oneness means that she is physically part of him. It’s now personal—the woman is taken out of his side.
Jesus Himself reiterated the Genesis scriptures in Mark 10:6 - 9 (NKJV) “6But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ 7‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Here are a few important points that express God’s order, intent and revelation in marriage from a Biblical perspective:
1. From the beginning of creation, God created male and female, and He physically designed them to be joined together and they reflect His image. He blessed their gender and unity as “one flesh,” forming a new creative order. Similarly, when we come to the Lord we merge with His body spiritually through the Holy Spirit and become a new creation, His body, and bride, under the new covenant, taken out of His side, the second Adam.
2. The married couple leaves family of origin to start something new. The Lord sets out a personal governmental order, the family unit, with husband and wife, mother and father, if there are children. The man departs from one home to create another governmental structure with himself and his wife. As believers, we leave an old life to be merged in Christ for a new life under a new headship.
3. As the man cleaves to his wife, neither is to be self-identified any more, but instead identified with the new family unit. This is an important spiritual point, too, as we enter into Christ. We are no longer just self-identified, but part of Him under the new covenant. Marriage reflects the divine purpose of God to form a new covenantal order.
4. The family unit is where the Lord sets out human sexual order, because it unites God-ordained and God-designed creations, for sexual relations, and to be fruitful and multiply.
5. Reproductive order: A new creation has occurred (man and woman as one) to give birth in the natural to other new creations (babies), just as Christ is married to His church, (a new creation), and that union expands His family (spiritual babies).
6. God’s stamp of approval is on marriage because it reflects a divine pattern of Christ and His church. So, the union reflects a divine order.
In short, the human covenant of marriage, as revealed in scripture, expresses a deeper spiritual pattern. It has roots in heaven just as other profound realities in the Bible. God’s relationship to His covenantal people, Israel, is described in the Old Testament of the Bible as marriage. The relationship of Christ and His church is described in terms of marriage. There is the marriage supper of the Lamb. The New Testament instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. The mystery of marriage is the mystery of Christ and His church: Ephesians 5:31 - 32 (KJV) “31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” That doesn’t mean that marriages are perfect. It just means that the pattern is perfect, expressing something on earth as it is in heaven.
The earthly relationship of marriage is a reflection of a divine pattern, for unity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, responsibility, and a divine covenant. In fact, all of creation and redemption (God’s act of love to give us a new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) is reflected in the marriage relationship and covenant. This simply cannot be altered by men and women in black robes or by popular vote.