A Brief Theology of Marriage, Pt. 2

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Last week I began this short series with a post about the Creation of Marriage and the Family. At the outset, things were all “very good” but then something changed. That is where I will pick up in this post.

The Fall of Humankind

Though the creation was good, something soon changed. The theological term for the change is the fall of humankind and it is the result of Adam’s sin as described in Genesis 3. As mentioned above, belief in creation demands belief in the fall as well. The negative effect of the fall was universal. The Bible describes many results of the fall in Genesis 3 and in other passages such as Romans 1. One of the first results of the fall was the entrance of shame and fear into the relationship of marriage. Genesis 1:25 teaches that the man and woman were naked and “not ashamed.” Following the fall, in Genesis 3:10, Adam recognizes his nakedness and expresses fear.

The fall of humanity has more than an emotional effect on marriages. It also resulted in a dissolution of the order within the marriage and family. God created both the man and woman with the Imago Deiwhich gave them an equality before God. In the fallen state, now the woman’s “desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). As equals the man and woman are to submit to one another in marriage (Ephesians 5:21), and at the same time, the wife is to submit to her husband as her head (Ephesians 5:22-24). The husband is commanded to unselfishly love his wife (Ephesians 5:25). All three of these things have been corrupted by the fall.

The corruption of family as a unit is evidenced by the murder of Abel by his brother Cain as described in Genesis 4:1-8. How could this be? It is because all of Adam’s offspring bear both the Imago Deiand Adam’s fallen image. Genesis 1:26 (pre-fall) and Genesis 9:6 (post-fall) both speak to humans being made in God’s image. Genesis 5:1-3 adds the truth that all who came after Adam bore Adam’s image as well – the image of fallen humanity.

This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. (Genesis 5:1-3, italics added)

This “Adam-image” and its resulting death and corruption passed on to all people (Romans 5:12).

The upcoming section will examine how a marriage can be rescued from the corruption that is mentioned above.

In counseling I offer the use of the Prepare and Enrich marriage and pre-marriage assessments as well as the use of Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

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