The Thomas Pages homepage
God's Mind on Marriage
Oneness of heart
said, that – in contrast to Israel's marriage rules which were based on their Mosaic covenant –
"in the beginning it was not so".
Matthew 19:8-9.
is here referring us to what is described in Genesis – for an understanding of God's mind on this issue of marriage.
For instance, the Lord described the divorce certificate arrangement of Moses as only necessary because of the 'hardness' of their hearts. In other words, it did not in any way affect the character of marriage in God's sight. What had been added in Israel's law under Moses by God had only been an accommodation to protect the vulnerable from the hard-hearted.
God's standards for human society are actually higher.
In summary, this
Genesis-defined original marital relationship between a man and a woman, as designed by the Creator, may be summarized as –
Fully Equal – but Different (that is, not equivalent),
Constitutionally Wounded by Subsequent Rebellion (but Liberated in Jesus Christ!).

Genesis 1 One  
"So God created His own image, in the image of God ...male and female He created them".
Genesis 1:27.
That is, both sexes – man and woman – were made in God's image. They were constitutionally designed to represent Him in managing their world. They were equipped to exercise authority over their environment – in every sense – on His behalf.
That is – they were made equal!
Genesis 1:26-28.
The New Testament confirms this basic truth when, in the personal sexual relationship of a marriage, it directly states –
"The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way,
the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife."
I Corinthians 7:4.
This equality of the sexes in the marital relationship has been grossly downplayed in favour of an exaggeration and perversion of the next basic truth.

Genesis 2 Two  
"And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man He made into a woman and brought her to the man."
Genesis 2:22.
God, the Omnipotent Infinite, could have made male and female instantly from nothing. But the procedure He used carries a message to us. The male was made first to indicate his special responsibility for leadership and protection, as expressed in the physical and psychological differences between the sexes. (1 Tim.2:12,13). So –
they were made equal but not equivalent!

Leadership Gender
Genesis 3 Three  
"To the woman He said, 'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing ...Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you'." Genesis 3:16.
And to the man:
"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground..."
Genesis 3:19.
  Sin's effect on our fundamental human experience, would unhappily be –
The Woman's sense of need ('desire') for her husband and his exploitive oppression of this ('rule over you') in response,
The Man's endless bondage ('sweat of your brow') to earning a living.
But this was NEVER God's design for us!
Adam's sin did not change God's attitude toward us, or His design for our lives! The Bible presents these statements simply as part of the resultant side-effect of the first sin on our natural human experience throughout the consequent history of our race.
Jesus came to restore us – to what?
to God's original intention for our lives!
This cannot be stressed enough. It is true that according to the Bible the physical restoration of our world will only happen when Christ returns and imposes His direct rule,
but now
every aspect of our personal life, as we express in our relationships to each other as well as in our handling of our personal environment, is transformed NOW by the practical effects of our salvation in Christ.
Christ be praised . . .
– no more is any Christian woman to be dependent on the behaviour and attitude of her spouse for the well-being of her self-esteem. Because of Christ's healing grace the health of her relationship to herself now lies in discovering her Creator's awesome unconditional love for her! (see Headcovering)
And, likewise – in Christ – no more is any Christian man to be dependent on his job satisfaction or career achievements for the well-being of his self-esteem. Because of Christ's healing grace the health of his relationship to himself now lies in discovering his Creator's awesome unconditional love for him and toward him!

. . . of course, there's more – much more,
but that is part of the personal progressive unfolding of what we have already been freely given as the act of God's grace in Jesus Christ
– a grace complete, that simply cannot be added to.
  O'h how He loves YOU!  
See also: The Essence of Marriage
Copyright © Lloyd Thomas 1998-2015. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Feel free to copy, as long as this full copyright notice is included.
 A note from history (about 200 AD) for you:
Tertullian's ideal –
(Not a standard to compare with or to judge by, but a goal toward which we can grow . . .)
'How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow,
one in the religion they practice. They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master.
Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in spirit.
They are, in very truth, two in one flesh; and where there is but one flesh there is also but one spirit. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God's church and partake of God's Banquet; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations.
They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other's company; they never bring sorrow to each other's hearts.'
(Ad Uxorem II, 8, 7.) Translation is Ancient Christian Writers 13, p.35.