The Great Consummation – Genesis 2:24

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

Wedding RingsAnd now we have marriage.

In our first blog post we asked the question as to whether the man and woman were in any sense “married”. This was a reasonable question given that the text did not indicate such a thing explicitly. Here however in the next chapter (and in the second Creation narrative) we have the introduction of marriage into the Scriptures. Is the passage above connected to out first text? Well someone certainly thinks so.

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Matthew 19:4-6

Jesus ties the first text (“male and female”) to the second (“man and wife”) indicating that Adam and Eve are the archetypes of marriage in their sexual binary. We have another poetic form of words, this time the first articulated by a human in the Scripture, that echo the words used previously by God (indicating that the knowledge of the creative order has been communicated from Creator to Created).

Genesis 1:27 Genesis 2:23
So God created man in his own image This at last is bone of my bones
in the image of God he created him and flesh of my flesh;
male and female he created them she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Though the two creation narratives are from varied sources, this mirroring of acclamation indicates some level of editorial control over their combination together in this form. The creative act of God in producing a relational being to mirror his eternal relationship is re-emphasised in the acknowledgement by Adam that Eve is the same as him (in a way that all the other animals are not) and yet different. The sexual differentiation is made explicit in the third line of both pieces of poetry (and linked to the marriage a few verses later) but this time the similarity of the binaries is contrasted in shared strength (“bone of my bones”) and weakness (“flesh of my flesh”).

That the humans are both naked and unashamed indicates a high degree of mutual knowledge and understanding. Everything that is physically true about them is known to the other and to God (and by implication, what is spiritually true is also). The simple statement, “And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed” is not simply a physical and emotional description of Adam and Eve at some point pre-Fall. Rather, it is a deep spiritual and relational statement that enters into the heart of what it truly means to be human. Adam and Eve exist in the Garden of Eden ultimately in a state of truth, and that state of truth is a reflection of their relationship with, and open dependence upon God. They are truly Imago Dei – creatures who in their own inter and intra-personal relationships reflect completely the ultimate truth of a God who is eternally, ontologically, true.

Finally, where is the Patriarchy? In verse 24 the bride does not leave her home to join her husband as one would expect in an Ancient society, but instead the bridegroom leaves his place of nurture to join his wife. What is this model of a groom departing from his comforts and safety to come to the place where the bride dwells? Why is it explicit in the text at this point? Why would the culturally dominant partner in the covenant of marriage give up his rights for the sake of the other?

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:5-7

3 Comments on “The Great Consummation – Genesis 2:24

  1. And we have a New Testament tie-in!

    Once more, agree with all this exegesis. :)

    Although Genesis goes on to subordinate women to men after the Serpent does his thing, it’s fascinating that a text written amidst a patriarchal culture envisaged gender equality, not only as a concept, but as Adonai’s intent for creation.

  2. The last point that you make about the man leaving and then cleaving I have often pondered but never really picked up how this is set in direct opposition to what happens in life, regardless of the setting. That God outlines His intent and that man so easily misses this point is quite profound and a strong position to speak from.

    • I think what I’m suggesting is that not only is Scripture at this point describing the creation of a new family unit, but it is also laden with Messianic pointers (the Son leaving the Father to come to earth and unite with his Bride, the Church).

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