Adam and Eve: The Intended Ideal
(Genesis 1-3, 1 Corinthians 11)
Introduction: There are three kinds of people: those who read the owner's manual/directions carefully; those who never read the owner's manual; and, those who read the manual when forced to do so. I don't know which group you would identify with, but our lessons this quarter take us to the "owner's manual" on marriage. How is your marriage? Would paying a little more attention to the "owners manual" be helpful? Why not try it? God created us. He created marriage, and we start this week with what God has to say about the first marriage: Adam and Eve. Whether your marriage could use a little "tune up" or is a complete disaster, let's jump right in and see what the "owner's manual" has to teach us!
- Creation of Marriage
- Read Genesis 1:26. Imagine you were sitting in a "box seat" during Creation watching God put together the world. First you saw Him create light, then sky, then separate land from water, then create vegetation, then the sun and moon, then the sea creatures and finally the land creatures. The result was this beautiful world. Now you hear God say the words of verse 26. What would you think about being a human? (It is great to be you! It would be a thrilling thing. Not only would I be in the image of God - who had just done all these great and powerful things, but I would be in charge of the creation!)
- Read Genesis 1:27. How can God say that He created humans in His image when we refer to God as "Father" and "Son," and Holy Spirit and He created both "male and female?" (There are several attributes of God's "image," that apply to humans. But, the obvious is what you just saw from your "box seat." God just created this fabulous world and now, with the combination of male and female, He gave to His creation the ability to further create. Not just create trees or cows, but create the most sophisticated part of His creation: humans!)
- Who was God speaking about when He said in Genesis 1:26 "Let us make...?" (It must have been the Trinity.)
- Read Genesis 2:18. What motivated God to create a helper for Adam? (God said it was not good for Adam to be alone.)
- Read Genesis 2:19-20. Where were Adam and God looking for a suitable helper? (Among the animals!)
- Is this a joke? Is God inserting a little humor into His account? Or, is there some substance here that we do not want to overlook? (One of the grand attributes of God is His partnership with us. Not only did He partner with Adam in naming the animals, but He let Adam make a judgment about who would be Adam's "suitable partner." Adam found none among the animals. Instead, he found a pattern of male and female in the animal kingdom.)
- Consider the world "helper." Is this like a "carpenter's assistant," a "plumber's helper," or even "hamburger helper?" Does it communicate a secondary role for Eve? (Read Psalms 70:5. This is one of several texts where God is referred to as our "help" or "helper.")
- Read Genesis 2:21-22. This is one of the most interesting passages in the Bible. Ponder a few questions:
- Much of the Creation was spoken into existence. God seems to have "hand made" Eve. Why?
- Why did God put Adam to sleep while He made Eve? Why "bring her to" Adam? Why not let him watch her being created?
- Adam was also "hand made" from the dirt. (Genesis 2:7) Why did God make Eve out of a part of Adam? Why make her out of a rib?
- Why do people even have ribs? (Your ribs protect your vital organs. God took something that gave Adam protection and used it to create Eve.)
- Read Genesis 2:23. What is Adam's response to the way Eve was created? (He felt this real identity with his wife.)
- What lesson do you draw from this regarding marriage? (That God intended husband and wife to have this close identity with each other.)
- Read Genesis 2:24. Who is speaking? The context of this is Adam having a rib removed and Eve being created from it. I have not seen that in a modern marriage. How do husband and wife become "one flesh?" (I don't think Adam is speaking. It is the "narrator" - God speaking through Moses. Husbands and wives literally become one flesh in their children.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 11:11-12. How does Paul understand the significance of Eve being made from Adam's rib?
- I'm often teased that men (and the rest of the animals) were made from dirt and women from Adam. From what does Paul say men were born? (Women! Paul says men and women need each other!)
- Read Genesis 2:25. What do you think is the purpose for this comment? Bible "real estate" is scarce. This story is very abbreviated. Why is this detail so important that it is recorded? (This is the ultimate proof of their combined identity and innocence: their ease with each other.)
- Corruption of Life
- Read Genesis 3:1-6. Matthew Henry, along with other commentators, reads these verses to mean that Eve and the serpent were at first alone, and then Adam was brought into the picture later. I believe that is the implication from the way this is written. Whatever the timing, who is the "leader," the "ringleader" in this sin? (It is clear that Eve is the ringleader in this terrible sin. She is the one who gives the fruit to Adam.)
- Read Genesis 3:7. Have you ever "had your eyes opened" to your sin? Do you remember that terrible "after sin" feeling - where you realize how awful you have been?
- We now get back to our Genesis 2:25 question: why would they feel naked now? They are sinners, but the are still married! (Sin exposes you to shame and humiliation and guilt. If you let sin into your marriage, you will be humiliated. It seems clear that Genesis is not talking just about being naked, it is talking about the impact of sin on humans. It strips away our dignity. It robs us of our joy.)
- Read Genesis 3:16. Did Eve's leadership role in bringing sin to humanity alter her relationship with Adam?
- Did it alter the relationship between all married people? (The results of sin were passed on to all humans. It does not seem that God is speaking only to Eve. What God declared fell on all women.)
- Isn't this grossly unfair? Why should Eve's sin affect the marriages of those women who come along after her? (The whole thing is "unfair," in the sense that Adam and Eve plunged us all into sin. This lack of fairness is not God's fault. He was not the author of sin. God "unfairly" died in our place and paid the penalty for our sin. In our text God is declaring the results of sin - results that were more terrible for Him.)
- Read Genesis 3:17-19. Television tells me to listen to my wife. My wife tells me to listen to her. Is that an un-Biblical principle? (No. The context is listening to your wife instead of listening to God. A penalty is imposed on Adam which is passed on to the rest of men.)
- Was the marriage relationship altered by sin?
- How should that fact impact your marriage? Would it be reasonable to strive for a "pre-sin" marriage relationship? Or, is that not possible? (Before sin Adam seemed to have a leadership role. See, 1 Timothy 2:13-14. The Bible gives husbands a leadership, not tyrant, but leadership role in a God-honoring marriage. However, if God is not at the center of the marriage, then we have moved on to something else.)
- How should wives relate to a husband who is not godly? (Read 1 Peter 3:1-2. Having the right attitude towards an unbelieving husband helps to attract him to God.)
- Sometimes I am asked if "submission" means submission to improper behavior. What would you answer? (This text suggests the answer is "no," because it refers to "the purity and reverence" of the life of the godly wife.)
- Friend, God's ideal for your marriage is an identity between husband and wife. When spouses start looking out for their own needs first, then the marriage starts to unravel. Will you commit to putting the needs of your spouse before your needs?
- Next week: Abraham and Sarah.