Lessons from the First Wedding (Genesis 2:18-24)

In the biblical account of the Creation, loneliness was the first thing that God called "not good" (Genesis 2:18). Probably all of us can remember a time in our lives when we experienced loneliness to some degree. And yet here Adam experienced loneliness to a degree that is perhaps hard for any of us to imagine. For you see, Adam was the only person on the face of the Earth!

Finding a Mate for Adam

In response to Adam's loneliness, God had all the animals that He had created pass before him. In this portion of Scripture, I do not believe that God was only interested in Adam's giving names to all these animals. There was an important lesson for him to learn as all the living creatures passed before him. There were Mr. & Mrs. Beaver and Mr. & Mrs. Bear, Mr. & Mrs. Horse and Mr. & Mrs. Hare; and there were also Mr. & Mrs. Boar-but I will not bore you by attempting to list all the others who were present on that day.

But as Adam watched all the living creatures pass by, he felt a cold, numbing sensation creeping over him, and he realized something. He realized that he was all alone! All the other living things had a companion, but Adam was alone?alone in the whole world. He had no one to talk to, and no one to listen. There was no one to help him. No one to comfort him. No one to understand him. And so he started to become anxious, anxious with an intense fear?that same fear that perhaps some of us have felt, the fear of living one's whole life all alone.

Saving the Best for Last!

"And so the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man [the Lord caused this sleep, because whenever one realizes that he or she is really all alone, it is hard to sleep]. And while the man slept, the Lord God took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. And the Lord God formed woman from the rib that He had taken from the man, and He brought her to the man" (Genesis 2:21-22).

Six times in this first chapter of Genesis, we read where God Himself views His creation as "good" (1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). But after the creation of woman, we read His seventh and concluding description, where God now sees His creation as "very good" (vs. 31). Apparently God Himself must have seen woman as the crowning achievement of His creation. He had indeed saved His best for last!

Can you imagine the joy that Adam and Eve experienced that day when their eyes first met? Adam awoke to a new day, another day (he surely thought to himself) filled with loneliness, filled with emptiness. An as he brushed the sleep from his eyes, his gaze suddenly fell upon woman, the fairest of all creation?the last and best of all that God had made. For you see, God had saved His best for last!

Unrivaled Love

Immediately Adam was completely overcome with her beauty, as the morning sun broke through the trees to highlight her lovely form. And I am sure that this thought was foremost in his mind: "There is no other girl in all the world for me."

And you know what? He was right. There was no other girl for Adam. His love for Eve was unrivaled, for there were no rivals and no other women. Adam and Eve had a special relationship just between the two of them. Adam was truly a "one-woman man," and Eve was a "one-man woman." They really only had each other.

What Are the Lessons for Us Today?

I believe that the Story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:18-25 is not just to explain the origin of mankind. God also intends us to learn some valuable lessons from this first wedding. And the first lesson for us to learn from this first wedding is that marriage was given by God so that none of us would have to live alone in this world. It is not good for a man?or for a woman?to live alone in this world.

Adam never forgot the lesson of loneliness. Perhaps if couples today could remember that lesson, they would be more tolerant toward each other, more understanding, more forgiving, and more unselfish. Adam knew what it was like to be all alone, and so he cherished his marriage. Eve was precious to him. Life was unbearable without her. In fact, she was his life.

And there is another lesson that we can learn from this story: Adam's love for Eve was unrivaled! There were no other girls. Eve had no rivals. For Adam, in all the world, there was no other woman. The same ought to be true for us today. Just because there are billions of other women or men living in our world today does not change or alter the pattern set by this first wedding. We husbands need to learn the lesson that marriage is not just the decision to include a woman in one's life; it is also the decision to exclude all other women. And the same applies to wives. And so, even if Adam and Eve were alive today in our heavily populated world, I think he would still say, "Eve, there is no other girl in all the world for me." And Eve would still say, "Adam, there is no other man for me." This is what makes marriage so special. It is the union of a "one-woman man" and a "one-man woman." Even today, in our heavily populated societies, marriage is supposed to be a special, unique relationship between a man and a woman, where observers should honestly be able to say: "You know, it is as if there really are just the two of them in all the world."

Perhaps there is one more significant point to be made from this story. Most translations of the Bible read that God made Eve from Adam's "rib." But this translation is not really accurate, for the Hebrew word ????? actually means "side." The Lord God made woman from Adam's side. Even Adam's reference to a single "bone" in Gen 2:23 does not really imply that God made Eve from a single rib, for in the singular the Hebrew term merely expresses kinship, as it does in Laban's words to Joseph: "Surely you are my bone and my flesh" (Gen 29:14). Today we would say, "Surely you are my flesh and blood." And so the Hebrew text of Gen 2:21-22 merely affirms that God made Eve from one of Adam's two sides.

And there is an important symbolism here. Woman was not made from man's foot that he might strive to be over her, to trample her or run her down. Neither was she made from his head, that she might strive to rule over him. But rather, woman was made from man's side, and that is to be her place throughout life-to remain at his side.

What You Believe about the First Wedding Matters!

Ah, but you might say, "It's all just a story. It's just a fable. It did not really happen." Well, I believe that it did happen, and I believe that it happened just the way the Bible says it did. But maybe this same attitude of unbelief explains why, for so many today, this kind of union never really comes true. It remains a distant dream never realized. And yet God wants this kind of marriage for us all.

Maybe if couples today can remember these valuable lessons from the first marriage and apply them to their own, then they too will have the same kind of unique, special relationship that Adam and Eve shared only with each other.

-David Warren

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