The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 2:24-25

Genesis 2:24‑25  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
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The closing words of the chapter are the more to be weighed, as they were cited by our Lord in His vindication of marriage according to the mind of God, apart from that concession made to fallen man which is characteristic of the law. In reply to the question, Why the command to give a bill of divorce and to put away, Moses, said He, in view of your hardness of heart allowed you to put away; but from the beginning it hath not been so. As He had previously answered, Have ye not read that He Who made them from the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause a man shall leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the twain shall become one flesh? so that they are no longer twain, but one flesh. What therefore God yoked together, let not man separate (Matt. 19:3-83The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19:3‑8)). It is not Adam who so said, but God.
How good it is to have divinely given certainty! And this the Lord supplies. We need Him in one form or another to interpret the Bible; and here it is simple and direct. He Who made the man and the woman regulated the relationship from the first; and when things were out of course, the Lord Who made everything perfect cleared it of that allowance which man had abused, and recalled to its original order. This is all the more impressive, because it was so ruled of God, not merely for the transient state of paradisiacal innocence, but as His mind for man on the earth at any time: so the terms prove. Marriage was divinely instituted from the beginning.
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become (be for) one flesh. And they were both of them naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (vers. 24, 25). The former verse contemplates circumstances wholly different from those of Adam who had neither father nor mother to leave; the latter presents the facts which attached to the primeval condition and neither were nor could be with propriety at any other time. Shame followed sin: the knowledge of good and evil led them consciously fallen to cover themselves.
As marriage was to be the social bond, so is it the ground of family life; the oldest of all institutions I relative, yet a fresh start for each man and woman so united, as ver. 24 contemplates. The work of God corresponds with His word. If a man was to leave his father and mother, he was to cleave to his wife, not to multiply wives. So had the Creator made one man and one woman. So had Jehovah Elohim ordained. Self-will too soon broke through the order, and sorrow followed personal and widespread, for man in nothing errs with impunity, even in a world out of course.
But there are deeper things prefigured. The apostle refers to these words both in 1 Cor. 6 and in Eph. 5; and each is of the highest interest and importance, though the one be individual, and the other corporate. The fleshly union, shameful out of marriage, God would have honorable under marriage, honorable in all things (Heb. 13:44Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)); for even the married are gravely exhorted, as the licentious are solemnly warned. But that union is used and meant to remind the Christian of his own blessed privilege: he that is joined to the Lord is (not one flesh but) one spirit. It is indeed in virtue of his receiving the Holy Spirit. Thus is impurity shown to be a sin not only against his own body, but against the Trinity and the price paid. “Glorify God then in your body.” The corporate reference is no less striking. “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it,” not merely to sanctify it, purifying by the washing of water in the word, but to present it to Himself glorious, the Eve of the Second Man, the Last Adam. Hence He meanwhile nourishes and cherishes it; for we are members of His body. Thereon our text is cited, with the appended comment, “This mystery is great, but I speak as to Christ and as to the church.” In no way does it yield the paltry sense of “sacrament” which Romanism has drawn from the Vulgate mistranslation, though not without the protest of such as Cajetan and Estius. Holiness is therefore as incumbent on the church as on the Christian; and the Holy Spirit abides in the one as in the other to secure it, and to make the sanction of evil inexcusable in either.
The type is methodically set out. On the man was laid the responsibility, when the woman was not yet in being (Gen. 2:15-1715And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:15‑17)); as He Whom Adam foreshadowed was to glorify the Father and to bear all the consequences of man's failure in the judgment of God on the cross. Then began to dawn the hidden purpose about His bride, but His dominion is carefully shown over the subject creation before laying the basis of that purpose (vers. 18-20). Then comes the deep sleep on the man from Jehovah Elohim and the building up of his wife, owned by him as bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, the intimacy of this relationship transcending every other in his eyes. So was it in the secret hidden from ages and from generations: even Christ, after His death of redemption, raised and glorified in a heavenly headship and universal supremacy, far above promise and prophecy; and the church made one with Him in sovereign grace, the sharer of all that is given to Him, His dependent but associated bride, even now His body, as each Christian is a member in particular.